Progress

This is a subject I had actually started to compose a tweet about, but then I remembered you can’t discuss weight on Twitter without a swarm of trolls accusing you of “fishing for compliments” while reply guys yell “you’re not fat you’re beautiful :)” which is so fucking far from the point of this, so I decided to turn it into a blog instead. With that being said, lately there has been a pretty significant influx of people leaving shitty comments about my weight on Instagram, and I realised the other day that for the first time in my life, it’s not actually affecting me.

I’ve mentioned my history with eating disorder behaviours and body dysmorphia before but I don’t think I’ve often gone into the extent of it. I was never hospitalised or anything, and I was never diagnosed with a specific eating disorder as I flip flopped between habits from different ones (technically I guess that’s EDNOS aka ‘eating disorder not otherwise specified’), but it decimated a large part of my early 20s.

When I was 19-23ish, I would guess I probably weighed around 25lbs less than I do now, maybe even a little more. Whatever it was, it was thin. And I was so completely consumed with the idea that I was too fat that I was barely able to function. One day I might eat nothing but raw cucumber and red peppers, the next I would go to the gym for three hours of cardio followed by 30 mins in the sauna. I took every diet drug I could get my hands on – clenbuterol, sibutramine, phentermine, you name it. At one point I had a giant tub of clen (a catabolic steroid intended for treating bronchial issues in racehorses that increases your resting heart rate and raises your core body temperature – fucking AWUL for you but like rocket fuel for fat loss) that I had acquired straight from a veterinarian, that I would mix with some orange juice and chug while standing over my kitchen sink until the 2 min wave of extreme nausea that followed had passed, then run on a treadmill for 90 mins. I put my body through HELL.

At the depths of my struggles with body dysmorphia, even someone saying to me “You look healthy!” would be construed as an insult because my broken brain would process that as someone saying I’d gained weight. Someone telling me with concern that I looked too thin would have me on cloud nine for the rest of the day. Someone outright telling me I was fat (a thing that unfortunately happened a lot during my career as a bikini/underwear magazine model, mostly from girls who were jealous that I was getting the shoots they wanted despite me not being a naturally small toned petite girl like most others in the industry, sometimes from bitchy wardrobe assistants who would make snarky comments about not being used to having to dress girls in “my size”) would completely break me for a week and cause me to act out with purging or starving or whatever destructive habit I chose that time.

When I was at my thinnest, I was often barely able to leave the house because I genuinely believed I was too fat to be seen in public. My boyfriend at the time was a DJ and I faked being sick for his first major music festival booking because I imagined people looking at me and saying “Why did someone who looks like that think she was welcome at an event like this.” There were days when I was unable to even walk ten feet outside of my house to collect my mail because I thought a random stranger might drive past and think “Why does that fat girl think she can wear that outfit.” I was so fucking sick and completely drowning in my delusional self-hatred.

Body dysmorphia is really fucking isolating. Even now, despite not suffering like I used to it is still difficult for me to talk about and reflect on because people get so offended. So many times when I tried to opened up about this I had extreme retaliation from people who were bigger than me who would say, “Oh wow if you think you’re fat you must think I’m fucking disgusting, thanks” but the thing they don’t understand is I didn’t think anything about them. The unrealistic expectations I had for my own body never applied to anyone else, I never thought anything negative about the way anyone else looked because it was never about them. At its core, body dysmorphia isn’t actually about physical appearance at all, it’s a mental illness.

But that’s all in the past, and the point of this blog is the present. I still don’t love my body. If I feel like a guy I’m into is rejecting me it’s still my knee-jerk reaction to assume it’s because I’m not thin enough and he obviously wants someone smaller and if I was thinner this wouldn’t have happened. I still have that voice in my head that constantly tells me I’m too big and I think I always will because it’s just a part of me. But the other day, someone commented on a photo of me on Instagram saying I was gaining weight and my belly looked fat and I replied to say “Well yeah dude I was in Mexico drinking beer and eating tacos for five days straight and like most normal human beings with functioning bodies I get bloated sometimes” and then it wasn’t until a few hours later when I noticed some comments replying to it that I remembered he’d even said that and I was like “Holy shit I actually read those words and went on with my day and didn’t give it another thought.” And then I realised I’ve done that a lot lately, and when I think back on how many photos I’ve deleted and cried and restricted my food intake over because one person left a “You’re getting fat” comment, I realise how much progress that is.

I’m never gonna be the size 0 my brain’s default setting tells me I should be, but my life is good and my body is healthy and I’m finally learning to kinda not really give a fuck. It feels good.

P.S. I really, really, really don’t want anyone replying to this saying “your body looks great” or telling me I’m not fat or whatever so please don’t do that. Again, this isn’t the point. This isn’t about weight, it’s about mental health. Thx.

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Balance

My life is a contradiction sometimes.

(I want to preface this by telling you all this is not a complaint, that I am fully aware that the things I am talking about are the inevitable side effect of the career path I choose to follow, and that this merely an observation.)

Every day of my life I am swamped with unwanted and unreciprocated sexual energy. I am exposed to a near constant flow of the absolute worst of male sexual aggression, I am sent unsolicited dick pics and jerk off videos from men I didn’t know existed a minute prior, I receive explicit messages and comments from men graphically detailing the things they would like to do to me, I am called a slut and a whore and told over and over again that I have no value in the world beyond my body and the sexual gratification it can provide.

It’s always been interesting to me that my ability to handle all of this seems to depend almost entirely on the state of my actual real life sex life. It’s a pattern I’ve noticed over the years and it consistently holds true – when I am happily sexually active in my personal life, I am a lot more likely to laugh this shit off. Roll my eyes, send a screenshot to my friends to laugh at together, go on with my day. When I approach the “3-4 months since I last had sex” mark (a fairly common occurrence in my life, despite what people who follow me online assume) I can feel my mental health slipping. The bullshit starts taking a serious toll and the things people say to me make me feel distressed and violated.

I think it all comes down to balance. There is so much negative sexual energy in my life, that without positive sexual energy to balance it out, it becomes overwhelming. I need someone around to remind me that sex can actually be a fun, mutual, positive experience, rather than just feeling like I’m drowning in a whirlpool of random men making the entire concept of sex seem utterly repulsive.

As for sex itself? Well, believe me when I say I wish I didn’t regularly go months at a time without it. Hypothetically speaking, if all I wanted was simply for some dude to stick his dick in me I’m sure I could walk to the bar down the street right now and find that within 30 minutes but sex as a physical act without companionship is of no real interest to me these days. I’m someone who only likes to have one guy in the picture at a time… even if it’s completely no-strings-attached casual, there will only ever be one guy that I’m talking to, fucking, whatever, that’s just how I’m wired. And I need that guy to be a companion, someone I can text about my day and do fun non-sexual things with even if it’s just going out to a bar, someone whose company I enjoy and who makes me laugh and who I know likes me as an entire person and not just a sexual object. Sex without companionship is entirely unfulfilling to me and rarely worth the effort, yet finding someone who fits into the role I’m looking for has always been difficult for me, and keeping them around longer than a few weeks without them freaking out that I’m trying to trap them in a relationship and running away has proven to be near impossible.

Existing in this juxtaposition between being so aggressively sexualised online while simultaneously feeling about as sexual as a lump of coal most of the time in real life is a fucking bizarre way to live, but at the end of the day, it’s just the price I pay in exchange for earning a high income on my own flexible schedule.

What Really Matters

When you do the job that I do, you are endlessly inundated with people telling you that you do nothing, that you contribute nothing, that you ARE nothing (beyond a set of tits to look at), that you should be ashamed of yourself for using your body to make money to improve your own life instead of spending every cent you earn to help the less fortunate, as if the person shrieking at you about your assumed contributions has devoted their own life and income to a charitable cause (plot twist: they never have).

I was supposed to be in Nashville right now. One of my favourite country artists who I happened to befriend over Instagram played a show tonight to open CMA fest, and other friends I know through my travels were posting stories from the crowd, and I was supposed to be there, in my favourite city, with VIP passes to my favourite music festival, and I’m not, because two weeks ago I took four tiny, sick kittens into my care and they still need me so on Tuesday I canceled my trip. Between them they had severe eye infections, upper respiratory infections and an urgent legally enforced quarantine that basically meant me taking them in was a matter of life or death. One was worse than the others – when I would try to clean her bad eye she would fight and bite and scream the most pained blood curdling sound, so loud I would worry the people five apartments down might think I was engaging in animal torture.

It’s a weird thing, to find out what you truly prioritize. To know that no matter how much awful shit anyone online says about you, you gave up the weekend you’d been most looking forward to all year to sit at home and microwave water to the exact right temperature to compress and clean a kitten’s eye before applying two different medications three times every day in a last ditch effort to try to save what might already be lost.

Despite what all of the angry people who follow me on Instagram think, I’m not writing this because I want praise, I don’t give a fuck about “attention” (btw I have been brainstorming a blog on the concept most men have of ‘attention’, I have not quite articulated my thoughts enough to write it just yet but stay tuned). I don’t want people to respond to this to tell me I’m a good person, I’m not “fishing for compliments”, god, I fucking HATE that it’s almost impossible to reflect on your personal growth and changing priorities without being accused of this bullshit but that’s a rant for another day.

I guess it’s just about realising what really matters, not in the fucking ~grand scheme of things~ or even to anyone else, but to YOU. I love country music, I love Nashville, I love day drinking, I love CMA fest weekend but I love this kitten enough to sacrifice all of that for her wellbeing. Caring for these tiny little lives feels like my PURPOSE, and knowing I’m doing something good is so powerful against the avalanche of negative voices telling me how worthless I am or whatever the fuck else they try to say.

I don’t really know what the point of this is but FUCK my heart is so full.

A Week in Canada

Traveling alone is an activity I’ve always found very peaceful for some reason; there’s something about walking around a new city on my own that makes me feel strong and independent and grounded. I’m currently sitting in a hotel room overlooking the Vancouver harbour after spending my afternoon wandering around a beautiful park and drinking a little too much pinot grigio while reading a book at a cafe surrounded by trees and flowers in every colour.

My trip to Canada started out a little less peaceful. It’s far too complicated to explain in great detail, but when you immigrate to the USA there’s part of the process that requires you to leave the country to sit an interview at a US Consulate General’s office somewhere else. My attorney advised me to go to an office in Canada for my interview, I chose Vancouver as it was a place I’d always wanted to visit, and so I’ve been waiting almost six months for my appointment. Although my new working visa was approved last year, it’s technically still possible to be denied at the interview (the final step in the process), which ultimately means I flew out of Austin early Wednesday morning not knowing 100% if I was able to go back. There’s something really fucking surreal about packing a suitcase while thinking “What if I can’t come back to all this stuff, what am I supposed to take?”

Rationally I kept telling myself it was going to be fine, that there was no reason it wouldn’t be fine because the interview is just a formality to make sure my visa application isn’t fraudulent and that I’m not a felon which it isn’t and I’m not, but even knowing that there was a chance, no matter how unlikely, that it wouldn’t be fine had me in such a high state of anxiety that I think I actually went beyond the threshold of stress that my brain was even able to process and I kind of just shut down and went into autopilot for the last couple of weeks. It’s extremely hard not to focus on the negative “what if” when the “what if” is that fucking bad. Immigration is, without question, the most stressful thing I have EVER voluntarily put myself through. You think dating is bad? Try immigrating to another country.

My appointment was early yesterday morning, and thankfully, I was approved. The interview itself took less than five minutes and consisted of a few basic questions to make sure I am who I claimed to be in my application, but it was about two hours of standing around in various lines at the embassy feeling so nervous that my stomach was cramping before I got to that point. Upon approval they take your passport and send it away to have the actual visa stamp thing put in it, so here I am, stuck in Vancouver for an estimated 3-5 business days waiting for an email telling me I’m able to pick up my passport from the collection center.

There’s definitely worse places to be stuck, and now that the weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can breathe again I can make the most of being in a cool new city and treat it as a vacation. I’m crossing all my fingers and toes that my passport will arrive Monday or Tuesday so I can keep my original flight home to Austin on Wednesday and not get hit with fucking awful last minute flight change fees, but even if I have to cop that extra cost, at least I CAN go home. That’s really all that matters!

Red Dead Redemption II

*** WARNING – Major storyline spoilers for RDR & RDR2 below, don’t read this if you haven’t finished the game/don’t already know what happens

This blog is coming much later than I would have originally expected to be writing it, for a few reasons. When RDR2 was released, I was recovering from surgery and was unable to sit in my gaming chair which meant I didn’t get to lock myself in my apartment for a week on release day with no contact to the outside world, sustaining myself entirely on Doritos and coffee until I finished the story without encountering any spoilers as I would have liked to do. Unfortunately this also gave some fucking dipshits time to go out of their way to deliberately spoil it for me, and a few “Arthur gets TB and dies and Micah was the rat” Twitter mentions and Instagram comments later I’d lost a bit of enthusiasm for the game.

A few weeks ago I decided to finally sit down and finish it despite knowing what happens, and was pleasantly surprised to find that even though the main thing had been spoiled there was still SO MUCH story I didn’t see coming (Like the whole fucking Guarma thing, what the hell). This blog is probably going to be a bit jumbled because I’m not trying to write an IGN article or anything lol I just wanna get my thoughts out somewhere and don’t wanna Tweet and risk spoiling things for someone else who hasn’t finished it.

First of all, man, what a fucking emotional rollercoaster. I REALLY struggled once Arthur got sick, and playing through it honorably and trying so hard to do good knowing he was gonna die felt like a form of masochism, like it was actually almost making me miserable. Watching him suffer while he tried to come to terms with the path he chose in life was torture, I just felt so sad throughout chapters 5 & 6. The scene after a chapter 6 mission where Arthur encounters Sister Calderon at the train station fucking BROKE ME (I believe if you’re playing dishonorably and didn’t do her stranger missions in Saint Denis you get this scene with Rev Swanson instead), the amount of raw emotion Rockstar managed to capture in Arthur’s face when he admits he’s afraid literally had me ugly crying (and actually, speaking of capturing emotion I also wanna mention another scene that stuck with me – when Colm O’Driscoll is standing on the gallows, the moment he looks up and sees Arthur on the roof instead of one of his boys and realises he’s not going to be saved from hanging, that look of fear and panic in his eyes was incredible).

Much like the ending of RDR, I spent a lot of time grappling with feelings of “It’s not fair.” It’s like yeah you know Arthur and John both did a lot of bad things but ultimately they tried to be good men in the end and neither deserved to die the way they did. Before I went into the final chapter 6 mission I spent two hours riding around eating nice food in saloons and buying Arthur nice clothes and taking photos in nice locations and bursting into tears every time I thought “this is going to be his last ever bath/meal/etc”. I got the “good” ending for Arthur, which just meant I cried myself to the point of dehydration while he succumbs to his tuberculosis peacefully on a mountain as the sun rises. The first thing I did in when I was able to free roam in the epilogue was go straight to Arthur’s grave (before I even got a gun) which made me cry again… In fact I started crying pretty much every time Arthur’s name was mentioned in the epilogue. Definitely shed a few tears as John was building the barn because if you’ve played the first game you know what happens in that barn. Cried again when John pulled out the photo of Arthur & Mary with the ring before he proposes to Abigail. I fucking lost it during the credits when we see Mary standing at Arthur’s grave. I watched the 100% completion cut scene on YouTube since I know I’ll never put those hours in and, you guessed it, I cried like a lil bitch. It’s truly insane that a video game can evoke this much emotion and make you care so deeply about fictional characters.

I loved the journal, I thought that was such a great addition into the game and it made you feel ‘closer’ to Arthur. I found John’s little drawings in the journal during the epilogue so endearing. I loved having so much ability to customise your appearance and horse. I loved a lot of the little easter eggs, like the cabin with the paintings of The Strange Man (my favourite stranger mission from RDR) and his creepy reflection, the time traveler and “Gavin’s friend” on his 7 year search for whoever Gavin is. I loved how it set the stage for RDR perfectly, other than the fact that it breaks my heart that Arthur was never mentioned at all in the original. I thought the music throughout the game was incredible. I found some of the gameplay a little slow and dreary at times but the story was so beautiful and tragic and brilliant that it more than made up for it.

The game put me through the emotional ringer but I’m so sad that it’s over, and all that’s left to do is desperately hope we get a story based DLC. Undead Nightmare from RDR is, in my opinion, one of the best DLCs ever released for any game ever and I’d love to be able to play something like that as Arthur. I wondered if the UFOs you can find around the map might hint at an alien themed DLC but who knows. I’m unsure if I’ll do a second playthrough on the main game as I already got the good ending and I don’t know if I can put myself through the sadness I felt watching Arthur suffer all over again, but I’ll be crossing my fingers for a DLC.

Fuck Dating… For Now

I decided about a week ago to take a complete break from men for a while. No dates, no Bumble swiping, no sex, no flirting, no texting, no mental energy invested into any of that in any way for at least a month. I think when you get caught up in actively trying to date, you don’t realise how much of a fucking drain it is on you and the only way to describe how I feel about it all right now is burned out.

I moved to Austin with naive hope that getting out of LA was going to be the answer and that I’d find it so easy to meet someone here, but I was wrong and I’ve definitely tried too hard to make it work. The past few months have honestly been exhausting. I met someone who I really liked a lot but it went down in flames because we were just not in the same place in life and that made me fucking sad, and then I bounced immediately to someone who seemed cool but turned out to be not so cool and who then made trying to end things with him so unreasonably stupid and stressful and dragged it out for longer than we even knew each other for. It took going on a Bumble date last week with a guy who seemed genuinely great for me to realise “Holy fuck I actually just can’t do this right now with anyone, my brain is fried and I need a goddamn break.”

We spend so much of our lives feeling like we’re supposed to find “the one”, that being in a relationship is the happy thing and being single is the sad thing and, even worse, that if we don’t have a partner there’s something wrong with us, that we’re flawed, not good enough or unworthy. When you’re single and alone and wishing you had someone it’s easy to forget that so many people who are in relationships are miserable, they’re fighting, they’re getting cheated on, they’re having a whole world of drama that us single people don’t have to worry about and having the title “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” in your life doesn’t suddenly mean everything is nice and good and you live happily ever after.

Dating has gotta be the biggest drain on me emotionally, when I like someone it CONSUMES me and I spend so much time obsessing over whether they like me too and overanalysing texts and checking to see if they’re watching my IG stories and it just drives me down into this pit of anxiety and uncertainty and self-doubt, and for what?! It ends up not even being fun. I think about all the workouts I’ve skipped, all the days I’ve slacked off on work because I was too busy being anxious on the couch about some guy who hadn’t texted me back yet and god it’s so frustrating! It takes such a toll on your mental health and I’m TIRED of it!

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and I’m just like, man, my life is fucking cool, I have a lot of friends who love me, many who are also single, I love where I live and I’m financially secure and I get to do fun shit all the time. I’m really actively working on reframing my thoughts from the negative, “Waaah I’m so sad that I don’t have a boyfriend to share this with, woe is me” to a more optimistic, “My life rocks and I’m excited to one day meet the right person to share it with but for now I’m actually fine.” I had a great Super Bowl weekend out on my friend’s family ranch and kept thinking to myself, “It’s going to have to be someone really great for me to welcome them into all the things I do” because right now I’m genuinely cool with being single.

I feel so calm and peaceful since I made this decision last week, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m excited to spend this month focusing on fitness and friends and foster kittens and Patreon and ME.

Foster Kittens

I legitimately think I’ve cried more tears in the last few days than I have in the past six months combined. Nothing is wrong, I just had to say goodbye to my first litter of foster kittens.

I made the decision to foster knowing that saying goodbye is the end goal and with an awareness that it would be hard, but the whole experience has been so much more intense than I was prepared for. This morning I feel hungover despite not drinking last night, and I think it’s just extreme dehydration from sobbing when it was time to send one of the kittens I’d developed a bit of a favoritism for away to his new home yesterday evening. I was a fucking MESS.

Even though they were only with me for three weeks, I got so attached to them. I think when you spend time syringe feeding these tiny little babies and have alarms set every three hours in the night to check on them when they got violently ill with a stomach parasite and you barely sleep anyway because you’re so worried about them, you really develop some kind of deep emotional bond. Having them all get so sick was fucking awful, on my third vet visit with them I broke down in tears at the clinic out of sheer exhaustion and stress and feeling like I was doing everything I could and still failing them.

But ultimately, what I am constantly reminding myself, is that even though it’s so hard for me to say goodbye knowing I’m not going to see them again, they’re going off to an excited new family who are going to love them and give them good lives. All the people who have taken my boys have been so nice and I am confident they’re going to be very well taken care of. The goal is getting them strong and healthy and adopted into good homes and I have achieved that, and despite the emotional rollercoaster leading up to this point I feel happy and proud. It really is one of the most bittersweet things I have ever experienced.

A lot of people have been asking if I’ll do it again. I definitely will. I’ve even put my name down for the emergency foster list, meaning if a litter comes in that immediately needs a home for a few days to save them from euthanasia while looking for a full time foster, I’ve said I will possibly be available to come pick them up at short notice. In hindsight I think perhaps taking on four at once for my first time was a little ambitious and having six cats in my apartment was chaotic, so next time I may just take in two.

I’ve still got one of the kittens with me, he’s found his new home but his adopter is out of town for Christmas so he’ll be staying with me a little longer. Once he’s gone I’ll be getting the maids in to deep clean the living fuck out of my apartment, taking a break for a week, and then I’ll be ready to start chapter two.