How did my eating disorder begin?

How did my eating disorder begin?

How did my eating disorder start? I have a picture on a bulletin board next to my bed. It shows a brown-eyed girl with blond curls tumbling away from her round face in a halo. She looks to be only five or six years old but her gaze strikes me as intuitively wise, confidently determined, and full of questioning wonder. She is jean jacketed, ready to change the world, and unassumingly sure of herself. I have another photo hidden between the pages of a book. This one is of another girl. She too has curls but these brown ringlets are pinned up and fall stylishly around a face painted with new make-up and a fake smile. With a toothpick skinny arm propped on a bony hip she poses delicately. In her hazel eyes I see a constant striving, an insatiable hunger to be better, and a cold inside of her that she barely keeps from breaking through. She is pretending she can face the world but she has no idea who she is. Both photos depict me. Myself. Zoe. I. Zoe Vlastos. However, a wide gap lies between these two girls. They are separated by a question that seeks to explain the difference in their eyes and smiles: how did my eating disorder begin? How did that defiantly confident girl who was opposed to conforming to social norms become obsessed with appearance, body weight, and eating? How did she go from a happy little girl to an anorexic young woman? How did the eating disorder develop? That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? It’s the question that haunts my parents....
Zoe Vlastos: My Year in Review

Zoe Vlastos: My Year in Review

Despite irrationally disliking odd numbers, being twenty-three was really good to me! My year has been chockfull of adventure, exploration, learning, and growth. Sitting at my favorite coffee shop in Boulder, Colorado (the Trident Café) I am stealing the idea of writing a “year in review” from my friend Blake Boles to give you a run down of what I’ve been up to!   January 2016 Fraser, Colorado, USA   National Sports Center for the Disabled I spent a month living with my amazing great aunt and uncle in Fraser, Colorado. During this time I volunteered 10 days with the National Sports Center for the Disabled, an organization that provides adaptive sports (kayaking, climbing, horseback riding, skiing, snowboarding, and more) to individuals with a variety of disabilities. I had the pleasure of teaching sit skiing to some absolutely mind-blowing kids and adults as well as working with the jolly staff at NSCD. I learned to not take being able-bodied for granted and grew immensely as a skier. Plus, I got to ski tons when I wasn’t volunteering!   Falling in Love In Dec. 2015 the stars aligned and I met the love of my life. Much of January was spent driving back and forth from Fraser to Boulder as we fell head over heels in love! And…I’m still falling!   RAW I started a blog on my recovery process from anorexia nervosa called RAW for Recovery from Anorexia Wholeheartedly. Check it out here. More to come in the next year!       February – Early April 2016 Patagonia, Argentina and Chile   El Chalten I spent a month...
Memories of Murder and Meaning

Memories of Murder and Meaning

  Nov. 16th, 1989: Murder.  27 years ago today, Nov. 16th, six jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her daughter were murdered at the Universidad Centroamericana in El Salvador. This was only one of many horrific acts seen during the tragic civil war that raged from 1981 to 1992. Massacres, assassinations, and disappearings…a lot of which was carried out by the military that received funding and training from the United States.  The martyring of these peaceful university employees and a 15 year old girl in 1989 helped to wake the world up to the horrors going on in El Salvador.   Nov. 16th, 2014: Meaning. 2 years ago I had the life changing opportunity to accompany Regis University’s president to El Salvador for the 25th anniversary of the Jesuit Martyrs. The 48 hours I spent experientially learning about El Savador’s history, people, pain, and love deeply impacted me and taught me a lot about meaning in our world.   Nov. 16th, 2016: Memories.  Soon after returning from my trip to El Salvador two years ago I wrote an essay addressing the question, What is meaning? Much of the content came from the raw experiences I had while in El Salvador and directly afterwards. From time to time I pull out this essay to read over it again because it reminds me of who I am and what I stand for. I have included the full essay below. Also, check out this essay about the insight I found about my values after my experience (shorter piece!).   Note: Sorry about the weird fonts. Working on getting that sorted out. ~~~~~~~ Sacraments,...
Starving: Unhealthy & Healthy

Starving: Unhealthy & Healthy

I have been starving twice in my life. Once unhealthily. Once healthily.   This may sound strange and backward so allow me to explain.   Unhealthy: t – 5 ½ yrs The first time I starved, I did not know it. Even though many signs pointed to the fact that I was slowly wasting away, the power of denial was strong enough to keep me blissfully ignorant. Even though I was constantly cold and my clothes no longer fit. Even though I dreamed of food almost nightly but would not eat. Even though my muscles atrophied, I was so weak I almost fainted if I stood up for too long, and my legs screamed in protest going up short flights of stairs. Even though I got sick easily and frequently. And even though I embodied the phrase “skin and bones.” I did not realize I was starving.   Not only was I starving. I was starving myself. Unknowingly. Unconsciously. Unintentionally. I had let an eating disorder take hold of my life. Unbeknownst to me anorexia nervosa had begun to govern my actions. In order to cope I made up excuses for my behaviors, weaving a veil of denial over my own eyes and the eyes of others. I slowly quit eating – first sugar and fat, then grains, and then proteins until I was barely nourishing my body at all. I would slice bread so fine that by the time I pulled out my half sandwich between classes at community college the tomato and mayonnaise would have soaked through the thin layer of scary carbohydrate fibers to make a...