Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Final Step of Recovery: Trust in Yourself


I always knew this day would come. In fact, I arranged my entire life around it. I worked the two jobs at once, I went to school full time. I did the internship and a made a promise to the City and to myself: I will come back.

This past year has easily been the hardest of my life (I clearly haven’t been through much). I came out of my internship and back into my senior year of college with every intention of going straight back to New York upon graduation. Of course, you can’t always plan things so definitively.

Life got in the way, which is a super vague and tactful way to say I was starving myself to death and I needed to stop before it was too late. Instead of moving to New York a few days after graduation like I had hoped, I had to dedicate the next year to recovering and becoming healthy again. This isn’t something that was decided by anyone but me—I knew I couldn’t go to New York until I was fully ready, and although I had no idea where I was going to start, I knew I needed to at least eat a little more.

Recovery is something that can’t be understood until it’s experienced, which is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Recovery is stripping back every single piece of you that you thought you knew (but it isn’t the real you: it’s the anorexic you) and teaching yourself to love what you see.

We all handle it differently. Some of us can’t quite see the end of the dark, dark tunnel that is recovery and so we quit. We relapse. And the cycle continues on, and on, and on. I recognized this when I started, and as hard as it was, I did not let myself slip back.

With this in mind, going to New York sounded terrifying.

I had to change my plans. Although New York has always been my dream (and the only place I’ve ever truly, truly felt at home), it was also the place where I got really sick. Of course, I had been on a two-year downward spiral into apathy and appetite abstinence, but New York sealed it in writing: I needed help.

Of course, I’m not blaming my mental illness on a city. However, it didn’t help that I was completely isolated from the people who knew I wasn’t naturally that skinny, walking everywhere I went, and eating less and less each day. I knew if I were to move to an anorexic wonderland like this when I had barely starting recovering, I would have been in trouble.

I made the hard decision and stayed. I took a job nearby to get me started in my career and I dedicated every single day to working out less and eating more (doesn’t that sound ridiculous?). It felt impossible. I couldn’t see an end.

About two months ago, I recovered. Of course, not entirely. I still have issues in regards to body dysmorphia, depression and anxiety. However, I recovered physically. I stopped feeling weak, faint, exhausted and overwhelmed by the hormones that were coming back to my body. My period finally normalized. My appetite felt human again.

I got hired as a fashion assistant at Harper’s Bazaar last week, a gift seemingly rewarded to me for recovering and doing it well. I am 13 months into recovery now and I feel extremely ready to do this.

Jumping back into life and re-adopting the person you were before your eating disorder is a difficult thing to accomplish. It’s hard to know which version of myself I should be, so I’ve decided to become a new one entirely.

I’m not the person before I was before anorexia, nor am I the person I was during it. I am a woman now, and I’m ready to get moving.

I’ve had a few people express concern about me moving to New York when I haven’t been recovered that long. Most people saw the weight I lost when I was there before and they’re concerned I might go back.

Of course, this is a possibility. It’s always a possibility. But recovery is something I had to choose. In fact, it’s still something I have to choose. I did not have to get better, and I did not have to stay better. That was purely me: my own will to live a happy and healthy life. I choose recovery every single day, and I can’t box myself out of life-changing opportunities for fear of what I might do wrong in the future.

I know I’ve messed up in the past. I’ve hurt myself what I thought was beyond repair, but I still managed to bounce back. I have hated my body and myself and I’ve wanted nothing more than to waste away. But I trust myself now.

On March 4, 2017 I chose recovery. I chose life. I chose to pursue what makes me happy, regardless of what my body looks or feels like. I promise to always choose recovery.


You have to have faith in yourself to stay well.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Best Trends at Paris Fashion Week

I'll be honest - Paris didn't really wow me this season. 

The week started off with a few awkward transitions in creative direction, resulting in collections that were a bit all over the place. However, classics like Miu Miu, Chanel and Stella McCartney brought us back to where we needed to be: dripping in the royal purple, leather, feminine and sexy emerald-y wonderland that is Fall/Winter 2018 (You heard it here first: Emerald is THE color of the season).

As usual, I picked apart each runway presentation and gathered all of my favorite runway trends. Although Paris was the least impressive week in my book, there were still some looks served:

1. Velvet

Fashion Month spent time paying tribute to the nineties this season, but no one did quite like our Parisian designers. Velvet has come and go since the nineties in all forms: as booties, chokers and crop tops. This fall encourages going head-to-toe in the soft, sleek material.

Versus Versace

Dundas

Talbot Runhof

2. Plaid

Further proof that Paris was inspired by the nineties this season. Plaid makes you think of winter, scholarliness and warmth.

Christian Dior

Loewe

Lacoste

3. Multi-fabric

Many collections experimented with using more than one fabric per garment in an obvious, almost exaggerated way. This is either next-level or catastrophic.

Tome

Off-White

Louis Vuitton

4. All White

The only color combination to incite anxiety all day long for the wearer, that still doesn't take away from the fact that it makes you look damn good. Pack a stick of Tide-to-Go and enjoy all the attention your outfit gets.

Valentin Yudashkin

Ralph & Russo

Akris

5. LBD

Quite the opposite effect of the purity and officialness that comes with wearing all white is the mystery that comes along with the provocative little black dress, something we need in our closets year-round, forever, until the end of time.

Balenciaga

Saint Laurent

Alexandre Vaulthier

6. Leather

For the days we want to feel like bad asses. (We all have them).

Yang Li

Lanvin

Haider Ackermann

7. Legs

Because showing what God gave you is a look in itself.

Mulberry

Sonia Rykiel

Isabel Marant

8. Bright blue

Although emerald and royal purple dominated the runways this month, that didn't stop byzantine blue from being a huge hit.

Dundas

Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood

Alexis Mabille

9. Chokers

Remember how these came back for like, a week last year? They weren't going away so fast.

Versus Versace

Christian Dior

Koché 

10. Sunglasses

The right pair can complete any look.
Elie Saab

Dries van Noten

Lanvin

Agree? Disagree? Let me know.

XOXO,

Taylor

Sunday, March 4, 2018

My One Year Ana-versary


One year ago today, I was the slightest bit willing. The slightest bit. The rest of me was still in denial.

One year ago, I couldn’t stand for very long without feeling sharp pain in my knees. I couldn’t lift a case of water. I couldn’t stay awake past 9 p.m. because I was often delirious with hunger by dinner time (which I barely ate).

I couldn’t cry because I didn’t feel any emotions. I didn’t have many friends and I noticed people actively begin to dislike or avoid me because of how mean I’d become. I only left my room when absolutely necessary. I pulled the skin on my arms, legs and stomach all day, every day, furious with how “disgusting” and “fat” I was.

The hair on my head was the thinnest it’s ever been. On the contrary, I had extra hair growing all over to compensate for my lack of body fat. My wrists were the size of a small child's. My greatest form of exercise was swimming—in all of my clothes (which were never bigger than size 00).  Oh, except I still went to the gym seven days a week, minimum three hours a day.

One year ago, my family didn’t know what to do anymore. They were scared but I was furious. Furious every time they tried to talk to me, furious every time they tried to feed me, until eventually everyone just stayed quiet and let me starve in infuriated peace.

One year ago today, I decided to become the slightest bit willing.

Today I stand on two big legs—legs I got from my mother. They’re thick and strong; they get me where I need to go without pain or injury. My feet are two sizes bigger (or rather, back to their actual size). My wrists are no longer tiny and dainty—they’re sturdy. They don’t make me nervous.

In fact, no part of my body makes me nervous anymore. I’m not afraid if I brush my hair too much it will fall out—now when I brush it, it grows in abundance, shiny. I can sit on any surface no matter how hard, because my ass is officially phat enough to handle it.

Today I go out with friends because I have the energy to do so. I’m also nice enough to make friends in the first place. Today I try new foods, go to parties. I get through the day without obsessing over food. It is, slowly but surely, not that important anymore.

Don’t be fooled—it still isn’t easy. Don’t think because I’ve gained the weight back and am living a much happier life that I’m over anorexia. It still lives in my head, which is quite arguably its most lethal residency.

I can get through most days without feeling massive or like I need to starve myself, but there are always going to be triggers. However, I choose to confront my triggers rather than avoid them. It’s never great for me to listen to others talk about their strict new diet or their rigorous workout routine, but I believe it would be even worse to cover my ears. 

Facing triggers is terrifying. The voice in your head, the voice that is begging you to fall back into the darkness, wants you to give in. To adopt a crazy diet of your own, just to see what it’s like. To go to the gym a second time because that person’s workout sounds way more intense than yours was that morning. But real power is telling that voice to go to hell. Gaining confidence back and truly recovering looks like resisting every urge your body has to destroy, destroy, destroy.

I’m one year into recovery as of today, and to say I haven’t felt this great in years would be a lie. I definitely felt better when I was young, before I was anorexic, when I was just a healthy kid who ate what she wanted and lived her life. So no, this isn’t the best I’ve ever been, but it’s the wisest I’ve ever been. It’s the strongest I’ve ever been. And if I keep working at it, one day I'll look back from an even stronger, wiser and happier standpoint.

I will never lie to anyone—this shit isn’t easy. But wherever you are in recovery, know that it’s doable.

A year ago today, I wanted to die. My biggest fear was gaining weight, but here I’ve done it. I’ve faced it. But I’m nowhere near done mentally healing, and I have to keep pushing forward. I promise you can too.