We hope everyone is doing well! In the months since we wrapped up Nourish, Julia has been working long and hard on creating a website to represent her new identity and interests. She very recently launched the final product, The Natural Novelist, and is stoked to be able to finally share it with all of you.
this time last year from coming up with the domain to customizing the site to planning out the recipes, then baking and photographing them. It’s fortunate we’re both extremely organized, or else this project could have had a very different outcome!
Our year-long mother and daughter pandemic project is coming to an end. It was important that we created this collection of recipes and stories of how we found balance in eating amid an eating disorder. Balance, I have learned, is not something you find; it’s something you create. And that is exactly what we were ultimately able to do. I realize that our story is unique to our set of circumstances, yet at the same time, I strongly believe that all of us can improve our way of eating to better ourselves, and equally importantly, to better the world.
Recovery. It means something a little different to everyone. I’ve been on this long and winding journey to conquer my trifecta of mental illnesses for the past eight years, yet only recently have I begun to experience certain feelings and freedoms that I’d associate with being “in recovery.” Feelings like excitement about life and the future, joy from my hobbies and pastimes, and desire to live independently, meet new people, and put anorexia, depression, and anxiety behind me once and for all. Freedom from the disordered thoughts that consumed my mind for too long. Freedom from urges to restrict, count calories, and hurt myself. Freedom from the assumption that my worth is dependent upon a number on a scale. Freedom from self-loathing and body dysmorphia. Freedom to eat whenever and whatever I please and genuinely enjoy food too. Freedom to be my authentic self and feel proud of who that person is.
Every post I have written on Nourish about what it was like helping Julia survive anorexia has been both difficult and liberating. Some of these last ones before our one-year project ends are the hardest. Julia is in this place called recovery, which can be kind of nebulous since it’s not clear what defines recovery. All I know is that it was the goal when she was diagnosed in November of 2013. “This disease can be extinguished,” I remember her very first program therapist telling us, and I believed him. The statistics for achieving recovery from anorexia are grim—and the ones for staying in recovery aren’t great either. Despite this, we are here, and I couldn’t be happier for Julia. She gets a second lease on life; a chance to be the person she wants to be free of mental illness.
Tomorrow is my birthday, the big twenty-one (and no, I won’t be celebrating with a drink). In the past, birthdays and similar celebratory events were stress-inducing occasions for me. I’d spend the days and hours leading up to them worrying about what food would be offered, where that food would be from, how much I’d have to eat, if I’d be expected to indulge in dessert or if partaking in the main course would suffice—the list goes on. In fact, from age thirteen to eighteen, there was no such thing as a “happy” birthday for me.
Growing up, exercise was a huge part of my childhood. I was the kid who played three sports competitively, five sports leisurely, and always needed to be on the go. Both my parents were college athletes so I have natural athleticism and coordination that allowed me to excel at just about every sport I tried. Soccer? Check. Basketball? Yep. Tennis. Game-set-match. Swimming? Well, I wasn’t fond of getting my hair wet but it was exercise and I was good at it so why not?
A huge thank you to Rachel Duerden for the nomination. Please be sure to check out Rachel’s incredible blog Jasperden Health here. The Golden Bloggerz Award was created by Chris Kosto to motivate and reward all the amazing bloggers who work hard every day to serve their audiences and deserve some recognition.