My Journey with Anorexia Nervosa

My Journey with Anorexia Nervosa

Over the past semester I took the opportunity afforded by assignments for my Abnormal Psychology class to reflect on my recovery from Anorexia Nervosa. Here I is a response essay I wrote at the beginning of the semester:   My Journey with Anorexia Nervosa Zoe Vlastos (for Dr. Dimos’ Abnormal Psychology Class, Fall 2015) The Beginning I can recall the exact moment when my relationship with mirrors changed. I was in the steamy tiled bathroom of a twelfth-floor apartment in Sevilla, Spain near the end of my three and a half week trip to the beautiful Spanish city full of rapid Spanish, panaderias, cobbled streets, and walking everywhere. With the sweat from my run along the Guadalquivir river in the noon-day heat (over 100 F) rinsed from my body, I stood in a towel in front of the sink…and my oval reflection above it. Before that moment when I gazed or glanced in a mirror I focused on my smile or my eyes, maybe I would look at my hair or my clothes. However, on this day I had not even chosen to look in the mirror. My gaze had been arrested as I moved past my reflection. Something was different. I froze. Oh! I could see the ribs of my chest. I was momentarily shocked. Had my skin always stretched over the bones that way? Had I just not noticed or was this a change? Then I was pleased as I realized my chest looked like that of the beautiful woman who had played the sultry Carmen in the play I had seen that week. I twisted my body...
I know I’ll Never be Skinny…And I’m Glad!

I know I’ll Never be Skinny…And I’m Glad!

Running up a mountain slope on one of my longer joy-filled trail runs this past summer a realization of recovery shocked a laugh out of me: I will never be skinny again. I knew the truth of the statement the moment it floated into my mind. However, the reasoning behind it has developed over the past months as the thought marinated in the back of my mind. There are two reasons why I—as a woman recovered from anorexia—will never be skinny again.   First, I will never believe that I am skinny. Even in the middle of my eating disorder when I had slipped out of the healthy weight range for my age and height I never thought that I was skinny enough. The disorder trained my brain to never be satisfied with the shape of my malnourished body, with air between my thighs, with the flatness of my stomach, or the ever-shrinking diameter of my arms. Those solidly etched filters tainted the way I saw my weakened body…and now, also, my new healthy one. The screen I unconsciously but willingly placed before my eyes was created with permanent ink that fades slowly. Though I scrub away at the film passionately, the work is hard and the stains—while softer—remain in strands. When I look in a mirror I must remind myself to take my perception into account with a grain of salt. Through recovery I have both decreased the strength of the filter and increased my awareness of it so that I may see my body for the unique beauty that it is. However, whether I am fit or...
Live Community: My Last Concert for a Cause

Live Community: My Last Concert for a Cause

I cannot believe my last Concert for a Cause was last night. Although I got to say a few words at the end of the concert, I felt too overwhelmed by the love and beauty around me to be able to articulate all that I felt adequately. Below is my attempt at something slightly more put together.   Live Community: My Last Concert for a Cause Zoe Vlastos  As I stood in front of the audience in the glow of the concert lights, the joy of 90 minutes of artistic expression, and the love of a community I was thrown back to a similar moment almost four years prior. I recall the shaky nervous excitement bubbling in my stomach as I stood in front of a somewhat smaller audience in Regis University’s Walker’s Pub to open the first Concert for a Cause. I explained my vision to bring the talent of Regis students and the Denver community together not only to showcase their music, poetry, and dance but also to give them an opportunity to express themselves in a safe space and in doing so support a local charity or non-profit organization. The idea for the concert had been born only a few months previously when I woke one sophomore morning with the phrase “Concert for a Cause” stuck in my head. I folded it around on my tongue, scribbled it down on a sticky note, and ran off to class. The idea was a culmination of my past experiences, my present drive, and my exploration of the Jesuit Values. During the summer before coming to Regis and during...
Summer Musings 2

Summer Musings 2

This summer I have experienced random spurts of writing inspiration. Now as summer draws to a close and I collect all these scraps of insight, silliness, and thoughts I find myself wanting to share but with little time. I haven’t posted in so long because I often wait for the time to write a “perfect” blog post. Of course, there are no perfect blog posts. It is an excuse. Therefore, I’ll be doing a couple posts of random writing snippets from my summer. They are rough. They are raw. But…they are here. Enjoy.   Growing   6/23/15 Joy Bubbles There are moments, days sometimes, when contentment swells up inside me. It bubbles to the surface and I wonder if people can see it on my face. The happiness swells inside me like the hot gas rising in the mudpits of Yellowstone National Park pushing through the earth’s crust to distort the muddy surface in a giggle of release. I feel the rising within myself although of what I do not know. Joy perhaps. Or a quieter satisfaction. Or a more deep rooted sense of harmony. Whatever it is, it pulls my shoulder blades away from my ears, bringing together the rise there, in my chest ready to accept experience, to hold smiles, and sing.   7-17-15 The Beauty of Possibility There are moments in life when you can look down the future trail of your existence and see the different paths manifest in your imagination. You can visualize yourself existing in either future, feel the hazy story unfolding around you as you see abstract shapes of your possible life...