Monday, April 28, 2008

my beautiful mommy...

...has a quote that has become more than famous under my parents' roof. "we're all gonna blow." i have been subjected to these four little words since my first memories and, after a while, they started to irritate me. i don't know if it was more the fact that she said it after every stupid fact of society that was announced, or that there were so many stupid facts of society to follow with it.

well, mom, here's your time to shine. such hard proof that "we're all gonna blow," it is actually all i could think of when i stumbled over this website. and now, my friends and devoted readers, i am convinced there is no stopping it.

this is the cover a new children's book that has come onto the market. look how excited the little girl is about her stick-figure mother with big boobs surrounded by sparkles and butterflies. but WHY is mommy so beautiful? i'm so happy you asked. it's because mommy had plastic surgery!

that's right, kids. mommy wasn't beautiful before, but thanks to a special "doctor", she's not only beautiful... she's socially acceptable! and if you're 4-7-years old, you can learn all about her surgery and understand why, one day, you won't be beautiful either unless you go under the knife!

the floor is all yours, mom. and, by the way, thank you for raising me on "goodnight, moon" instead.

Friday, April 25, 2008

direct from jezebel's self-help section.

jezebel created a list of 25 things "all women should learn to do already". it was a fantastic list and i would like to share a few that i very strongly agreed with:

Tell the truth.
I can't make it tonight. I have a date. I'm interested in your ex-boyfriend. When you cheated on your husband it really disturbed me. You should maybe look into taking responsibility for your actions. "I would like to put a hit out on your therapist." I know, it's not easy. But isn't that kind of sad?

Take nothing personally.
He didn't do it to hurt you, and if he did, that's fucking weird. Humans are self-obsessed, that's the only reason you think this is about you, when it's really about something that has left people much smarter than us befuddled for millennia now, so you might as well focus on what you can control, which leads me to...

Praying and loving are good skills to have, too, but if you can't nourish yourself without experiencing a complex range of guilts and fears and anxieties, you need help.

Break up with someone before you cheat on them.

i think women should also learn how to take more responsibility, in about 10 different ways, but that's just me. let's be honest, though, women love excuses. anyways, head to jezebel's site to read the whole article.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


i don't eat as much as i should, but it's not because i am afraid of food, or consumption, or gaining weight. i don't keep up with my meal plan because i don't want to fucking get up. having to buy food... having to actually stand at the stove and create something... oh god, having to wash everything afterwards? fuck that.

here i am, all this time, thinking i am the laziest person in the world. on top of not putting food together, i don't bring my rent to my landlord on time because i have to walk across the street to get there. when i don't have to be at work or school, i don't leave my room until about 3pm... if then. what a shitty feeling. i thought it was purely laziness.

i was diagnosed with ADD when i was in 7th grade. i self-diagnosed myself at age 12 after watching the similarities between my dad and i starting when he was diagnosed 5 years before. my teachers, like i do now, thought i was just lazy as hell and refused to believe that i had ADD. low and behold, i was properly diagnosed and put on medication... that i never took. i was inconsistent and i was young and medication did nothing for me. ritalin, stratera, concerta... none of it will work if you don't take it as prescribed. (ritalin just blows, though.) i gave up freshman year of high school.

lately, i am thinking, "i am never going to want to do anything. i don't want to work, i don't want to go food shopping, i don't want to walk into the other room." it never occurred to me that these were symptoms. i always thought that my symptoms were only that i couldn't concentrate during class.
apparently, my dad is just as awful. if he is off his concerta, he won't do shit, which is really rough on him because he is literally killing himself if he doesn't get up and move around. but on it, even with a fatal illness, he gets up, runs errands, goes for a walk, gets work done around the house... it sounds so simple.

i am talked to my NP yesterday. we have been talking about how to get my OCD under control, and the topic of trying ADD meds again has come up quite a few times. i talked to him about concerta, because whenever a medication works really well for a parent, it typically does just as well with the child. i am also starting to hear that ADD meds can help with OCD. anyone else know anything about this?

i need. to get off. my ass.

[disclaimer: "addorexia" is not a real diagnosis. it's not even a real word. i made it up, just like "drunkorexia" and "wannarexia". don't use it... you'll make a fool out of yourself.]

Friday, April 18, 2008

back and forth. forever.

[i apologize if you know what the title actually comes from. take it for the meaning of the post ;)]

there has been a question going through my mind for quite a while, now. it started screaming at me when a met a girl that came into my life and, finally, kc hit me with an e-mail suggesting i blog about it without even knowing it had been lingering around me for a while.

the question: does full recovery exist??

don't lie to yourself; we've all wondered at some point or another. so, what's the answer? are we destined to go back and forth the rest of our lives, having Ed taunt us every now and then, whether or not we resist? what measures recovery?

first of all, yes, i believe full recovery exists. i also believe that even if you don't, you need to pretend you do because you can only do as much as your mind believes is possible.
i had to deal with the question, "how is this time going to be different?" many times from friends and family who watched me get my spirits up and hit rock bottom again and again. especially after going into residential for close to a month and a half and walking out feeling like i was on top of the world. my weight was up to it's highest ever and i had all the motivation in the world. how could people believe that there was an end when i came crashing down within weeks and ended up right back in resi?
i felt amazing. i felt healthy. however, i decided to keep it in the back of my mind that my eating disorder might always be there and i would have to deal with that. the important part was knowing that i had the skills to deal with whatever feelings and urges might arise, and that's what kept me in recovery. i accepted the possibility that i might relapse once in a while for the rest of my life and that that was ok.
what made this time different? this time, i stopped accepting that my life would always have disease lurking in the background and started training my mind to prepare for a life without numbers holding the control, or at least thinking they have a say in everything i do. as i always told my groups, your mind only knows as much as you tell it. if you keep telling yourself the same things, even if you don't believe it, the mind will begin to ingest that information. we can train our minds to believe anything. i am living proof.

there are two sides of recovery: physical and mental. physical is obvious; recovery includes maintaining ideal body weight, as determined by your team, good labs, eating well (including eating things with no real nutritional value once in a while), etcetera.
mental is a little more complicated. mental recovery comes with ultimate radical acceptance, having solid coping mechanisms, letting. go., realizing what life is really about... i'm sure we could all go on and on about what makes mental recovery. it also depends on the individual, as most things do.

so, if we have to ask how we "measure" recovery, it's not there yet. you just know. mentally, i know i am done. there is not a single molecule inside of me that questions the content of food other than, "i need protein... yogurt would be good" or "i need chocolate... i'm gonna grab a pack of ring dings." (i fucking love ring dings.) when i'm frustrated or angry, my eating patterns don't change. numbers aren't flying through my head all day and i only think about food when it is time for a meal or snack. there is no tiny voice in the back of my head that even tries to sway my decision... he's dead.

it is possible, and don't you dare let a single soul tell you otherwise, no matter how many years of medical experience they have. just know that it takes trust, it takes honesty, it takes breaking your own rules and boundaries, and it takes hard work. but if you've been in it, you know how much work it takes to hold on, too. working on recovery gives you much better results for your productivity.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

reality check, via txt.

at 7:43am, i received a text message from a friend of mine currently on the walden edu:

"my roommate just fell and broke her hip! she just turned 34! my age! reality check."

it's the unfortunate truth.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

i am not my eating disorder.

i was reviewed today by ask and ye shall receive. aside from having a problem with my boycotting of the shift key, it was a rather helpful review. the part i was interested most by was that she was bothered by the fact that i never really let my readers into my personal life. i don't do it on purpose, though it is true. i suppose i have figured that i should stick to the topic and my personal life would be irrelevant. however, this blog did originate as a personal blog about my recovery and i believe that part of recovery is realizing that, as we are repeatedly taught, i am not my eating disorder. i have/had anorexia, but it is not who i am. so, i believe i'll let my readers into who i am without Ed.

50 things:
  1. my name is emily sam.
  2. my birthday is 28 july 1986.
  3. i am the ultimate summer baby. if it's 70ยบ+, i'm in heaven.
  4. i am a reform jew, but my beliefs are more spiritual than religious.
  5. i write in all lowercase for comfort reasons that i can't describe.
  6. i have never been outside of the country aside from 1 day spent on a haitian beach.
  7. i have a crush on every nice guy with an irish or israeli accent.
  8. i love math, but almost didn't graduate hs because i never did my algebra hw.
  9. i am a dropout musical theatre major.
  10. acting is the one thing that is guaranteed to get my lazy ass out of bed any day at any time without complaint.
  11. i was born and raised a bostonian (dis my sox, i dis yo face.)
  12. i believe i was born on the wrong coast - i'm a boston girl with a cali heart.
  13. i have been completely and utterly head-over-heals in love.
  14. my childhood nickname was "beaver" - my dad's side has enormous teeth.
  15. my addictions consist of photoshop, blogging, and performing.
  16. i've acted since i was 5, but i've *never* gotten to do a stage-kiss.
  17. i'm a leo to the core. i love being in the spotlight.
  18. i was bat mitzvahed on 9/18 in the "year of chai" (5760 -> 5+7+6= 18).
  19. my motto to live by: "everything happens for a reason" has never failed me.
  20. there is one thing nobody knows about me.
  21. i would rather cut off a limb than learn about history.
  22. i have 2 tv crushes: jim halpert (the office) and jd (scrubs).
  23. i love hospital shows (scrubs, house, grey's...).
  24. i try to use every last scrap of tp or else i feel like it didn't get to fulfill its life purpose.
  25. i'm pretty sure i was a cat in my last life.
  26. i'm a massage whore and i'm not ashamed.
  27. nothing makes me happy quite like a good summer storm.
  28. i love my handwriting.
  29. i would kill to be in a dance class again.
  30. i fucking love pie.
  31. i'm scared that i will be forced to settle.
  32. i don't agree with "PC", but i am always appropriate in mixed crowds.
  33. i am emetophobic.
  34. i have no idea what i'm doing after i graduate in less than 40 days.
  35. i love flannel pj pants like nobody's business.
  36. creative, spontaneous romance wins every time.
  37. my cat is my baby and i love him beyond words.
  38. when i go through a major life change, my hair goes with it.
  39. i've been dying my hair since i was 12. name a color, i've done it.
  40. i believe that just because our "love trends" may consist primarily of men or women, no one is 100% gay or straight. the only thing you can be 100% of is human.
  41. i find working out utterly boring.
  42. i really suck at swimming.
  43. i can't wait to have the money to spontaneously skip town for a few days.
  44. if it's butterscotch, i love it.
  45. 9 years ago, i thought my grandfather died because i prayed too hard for a snow day.
  46. in general, women annoy me. i'm very attracted to how simple men can be.
  47. i wish normal body functions weren't something people had to be ashamed of.
  48. whenever i learn something new about life, i imagine myself teaching it to my child.
  49. my imagination is far too involved to ever watch horror movies.
  50. one of my life goals is to have the money to send someone to ED treatment who needs it, but is denied by insurance.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

maybe she's born with it, part deux.

it has been one week since my previous post, maybe she's born with it, maybe it's photoshop. i'm excited to tell you that it has been my most well received blog post since the birth of frozen.oranges, and i would like to take the time to respond to the comments posted on this entry.

the response i heard the most of was that, despite what goes into a magazine photograph and whether or not people know how far from reality it is, these advertisements are still taken as comparisons. on top of that, why would these be the photos portrayed to advertise a product if anything "less" was good enough? the portraits of these airbrushed-to-"perfection" models is what society is telling us is the standard of beauty. and i absolutely agree that this is absurd.

it's true that how fake it may be doesn't matter. it would be like a skincare company making an ad where that giant close-up of a face was on minnie mouse. they wouldn't do that because it's not an "accurate" representation of what their makeup can do for you. they want you to think that you should have perfect, flawless skin and their product can achieve that. we all know that there is no makeup that can make your skin that flawless, which runs me into my endless motion of where to aim my anger.
the digital art world is giving our society an unrealistic standard of what we're supposed to look like, and based on who? who was it that said, "extra flab on arms must be spliced off in photoshop, skin must be blurred to be blemish free, and breasts must be perfectly symmetrical and perky in order to be considered worthy of your title as 'woman'." i'm sure it started as, "you can look like this if you wear our product!" but has undeniably ended as, "if you don't look like this, you're worthless... so buy our product!" thanks, assholes. you've single-handedly destroyed womankind's self-esteem.

which brings me to my other side of the argument... why are woman allowing themselves to fall victim to these farcical ideas? this is not a rhetorical question; i want to hear your answers to this. the fact of the matter is that we are responsible for the way we feel about ourselves. no one else. we can blame society for the way we look at our bodies, or we can take responsibility for our own feelings. as a recovering anorectic, i know what it's like to compare myself to those in the media. i had the "thinspo" scrapbook (and still technically do... it's buried in my closet and i'm planning on burning it when it's nice enough outside to really sit and watch it burn). however, with all that skinny, blemish-free, perky breasted media i'm surrounded by, i now look at it like i see any average woman on the street; acknowledge it as a human form that has no personal connection to myself and move on. society does not choose for me to hate my body, i choose to love what i look like. i have broken out, dry skin, but i take care of it and move on. anyone who cares enough to have a conversation with me is looking at my face on the whole, not at the zit over my left eyebrow. (if anything, they're probably more worried about whether or not i'll notice the one on their right cheek.) people often tell me, "wow, you need to go tanning." nope. you don't tell me what i need for my body, i do. i may be close to transparent, but i also have healthy, skin cancer-free skin. i also love that it makes people laugh when i joke about being transparent. i look exactly how i'm supposed to look and i believe i wear it well. the standard for beauty should be to wear your natural features with confidence.

now, running in my track some more, this doesn't make what the advertising companies are doing right or acceptable. however, we're all the human society has; without people, there wouldn't be a society. we make the rules on standards, not the magazines. the employees, the readers, the photographers... all groups that are made up of human beings with insecurities. so change it.

i would like to clarify that, yes, i see retouching as a form of art like any other. yet, the point we miss is that art exists to make a statement that cannot be put into words. i will never use my art to make the statement that the human body is not beautiful as it was created and i am in strong disagreement with those who do. expecting that i go into digital retouching, professionally, i do not do so without the goal to reshape the industry. as i wrote in my portfolio artist statement, my ultimate goal is to help other retouchers to understand that - while it may be our job to fine-tune a frame to create what is most visually pleasing to the eye - it is not our place to reform the human body in a way that is to be depicted as what is expected of our society.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

maybe she's born with it, maybe it's photoshop.

the irony of my great passion for eating disorder awareness and my career choice has come into conversation quite a few times since i have returned to school. i’m a digital retoucher; i take photographs and i enhance them to my liking. i fell in love with the art of retouching when i found it to be an amazing (and healthy) outlet for my perfectionism tick, something i never would have guessed existed.

so, what? i fix colors, make composites, take out sensor dust; nothing wrong there. except that those are not the types of images that i really enjoy enhancing. the most fun i have is in model/beauty retouching; erasing skin imperfections, reforming limbs, smoothing skin down to plastic. i think i find it fun because i do it knowing it’s not real. it’s like building a barbie doll. is it possible that Matel doesn’t care that a real, live barbie would have to walk on all fours because they know how fake it is? i mean, it's just a toy. why don’t people compare themselves to anime? what about disney movies? (let’s be honest – what little girl didn’t want ariel’s crayola-red, perfectly set hair when she threw her head back out of chlorine-treated water?) it’s so blatantly fake, it just seems ridiculous to idolize it.

painters and cartoonists don't get reamed for creating false idealizations. photographs are analyzed and compared to because it used to be a still-frame of real life. now, photography is just as much distorted to please the artist’s eye as any other form of traditional art. don’t trust anything you see. every human being has hair, acne, scars, stretch marks, etcetera. retouching is done for purpose. it is done to create a work of art that is visually pleasing in a still-life setting: beautiful colors, bold lighting, a certain feeling that is set on print for life and never to be aged. how can you compare a human face/body to that?

when you look at a makeup ad and her skin is 98% flawless, it’s about a 20-40% blur layer, and maybe a noise layer to give the effect of skin texture - not to mention 7-30 layers of digital painting and adjustments. secret’s out, ladies: she ain’t born with it. no human is. but that’s not the point of the ad. the point isn’t even to show how good the makeup will make you look (even though they want you to think that). the raw point is to have you associate a beautifully made-up face with their product. that’s marketing for ya. i can’t even gaurentee that those models are made-up with their product, but i highly doubt it. and what’s it matter? those sparse, clumped lashes are just going to be multiplied, thickened, and cleaned up in photoshop, anyways.

take the following image for example. soak in the beauty. then rollover it to see the original. she is a gorgeous girl, but the makeup, the skin, the color... that's all digital airbrushing, folks. and thank god, because i think i would have been freaked out shooting her if she looked like this in real life.

i'm always fascinated when i look at retoucher’s websites with mouse-over before & after images. i try to look at the before, first, to see what i would change. the after usually suprises me by cutting of chunks of skin from thighs and upper arms that i didn’t find anything wrong with to begin with; they looked like human limbs. of course, when you go from the after back to the before, the before is suddenly very unattractive to the eye.

a photograph is a piece of art. sometimes, hours upon hours of work are put into perfecting it to the artist's eye, including the process of taking the photo itself. lighting it with thousands of dollars worth of equipment, finding the perfect location, the right colors, hair & makeup, etc. and then, after all is said and done, the model is frozen in time - never to age, never to be in a different light, never to fade.

it's about the shapes and form, and i love creating them. but i don't see these pictures as people. they're digital paintings that resemble people. no personality, no movement, just colors and shapes that are fun to look at. so really... where's the comparison?