Beating Fear with a Stick, Eating Disorders/Healing, healing

Bitch Slap It.

March 4, 2013

Dear Jen, I am coming to you for some major support right now. I know it may seem really unimportant and lame, but it’s weighing on me right now. When I had my first weird symptom in the summer I gained 10 lbs. They say I am retaining fluid. As of this week I gained another 10lbs. I got on the scale this morning and it read 150. Just a number I know, but full blown panic has set in. I was 129 lbs this time last year. So many things come up for me. I can’t stand my body. I don’t want to be seen or wear clothes. I feel right now like I AM MY BODY. I feel ashamed that I teach yoga and I am this big. I feel sad that I can’t lose weight and be the way outside that I feel on the inside. I know this conversation feels so dumb. Our friend’s baby just died, my son has PWS, a man just got swallowed up in a sinkhole in Florida, and yet I can’t stand the sight of myself. That is sad. How do I get past this? I am soul searching. I am reading books, writing, doing all the spiritual journey I can find. How can I learn to love myself at any weight? I feel ashamed right now, of my body and how I feel about myself. I have never shared this with but a few people before. I truly need support right now. I am on a journey to be a spiritual being and I AM STUCK! I need your help. xo, Stuck.

Unimportant and lame. That’s what you think you know and what we think we know is usually miniscule compared to what we really don’t know at all. Compared to what we actually know, what we don’t know is a towering lion.

What you don’t know is more important.

You think you know that this feeling of being ashamed is a petty and silly, possibly even irrelevant. That compared to some of the troubles in the world (so many troubles! So much sadness and death and dying and potholes!) that this, this stupid little thing isn’t even worth a thought. You can’t quantify sadness or grief or upset. You can’t say this is worse just because it is a more obvious “worse.” Although we try and do that all the time. I should be more grateful because the guy who lives next door to me is in a wheelchair. Comparing our problems or lack of problems and making ourselves wrong for feeling what we are feeling is a recipe for misery.

How do I know? I spent many years of my life telling myself I had no reason to be depressed and yet there I was at three in the afternoon, laying in my bed with the covers over my head and an ugly pair of pajama bottoms on. What you don’t know is this: you are not stuck.

A stuck thing couldn’t write this email asking for help. What you don’t know is this: your sharing this will help more people than you will probably be able to process because guess how many of us feel this way? A lot. I don’t know the exact number but it is a lot.

I have some questions for you though. You say you want to be the way outside that you feel on the inside? How do you feel on the inside? It seems to me, based on this email that you feel sort of shitty on the inside so the first thing is ABTTT. As I said in my essay yesterday, Always Be Telling The Truth. I think perhaps the real issue is on the inside not the outside.

I get it, I do. I have struggled with severe anorexia and body dysmorphia and all the rest. I still do at times. I sit writing and feel my belly hanging over my waistline and think how do I call myself a yogi, let alone a yoga teacher? I am a fraud. I am a fatass. Then I start writing and I get out of my own way. When I actually get up and away from the compter and do my own yoga practice or walk or whatever it may be, I feel even better. Even though my belly/waistline ratio is exactly the same, I somehow feel lighter and more grounded. I believe it’s called endorphins. We need them and as much as I prefer sitting (gasp!) and writing or reading, I must get off my ass and move. Not for any reason except that it keeps me feeling what I want to be feeling on the inside. And that is alive.

The other thing? It does matter. How we look often indicates how we feel and how we feel is important even though life often tries to tell us differently. By life I mean our family, peers, Facebook.

The catch is this: most of the time we can’t see ourselves clearly. We think we look fat or ugly or bad or this or that, and again, I must point out two things. One, what you don’t know (or can’t see) is greater than what you know, and two, ABTTT. Always be tellin’ the truth.

Are you telling the truth to yourself? Oftentimes we don’t want to admit that we look good or feel good because that would be admitting our happiness and we don’t deserve to be happy, do we?

Can I get a Hell Yes? Hell yes, you deserve to be happy.

We all do.

A few more things I’d like to point out since you asked. Can you give yourself some time away from the scale? I have written a lot about the fact that I can’t get on the scale still. That’s my own personal demon that I intend to face but what I am wondering is how much getting on the scale and seeing the numbers keeps you feeling stuck? I am not suggesting to live in denial but rather to give yourself some space from it so you can appreciate how you look without getting made wrong by some awful numbers.

How do I get past this? Listen, you don’t get past this. You are in it. You may be in it for the rest of your life. Who knows? I know it still comes up for me more than I care to admit. You have to learn how to be with it and waltz with it and eventually how to own it. It’s owning you now. It has your attention and your focus and you can’t really get anything done until you come to terms with the fact that you are letting this dominate your life. Why are you letting this dominate your life? I have no idea but I know why I let it dominate my life. I literally spent at least 15 years being bitch slapped by an eating disorder and self hatred until I took it by the balls and said I own you bitch.

You absolutely have to get crass with it and tell it who is who. You think you know. What you don’t know is this: it will listen to you eventually. You must do the work though.

It sounds like you are with your writing and reading and asking for help. You just have to tell it who’s boss. You have to admit you don’t know what you don’t know and start from there. You have to admit that you deserve to be happy. (We all do!) You have to ABTTT.

And then you have to do what may be the easiest or hardest part depending on your personality. Exercise, stay away from the scale, get out of your own head (bad bad neighborhood) and my own personal favorite, stop looking in the mirror so much. You may not do that but I do and it’s like falling down the rabbit hole and landing in a shitstorm of disapproval.

Asking for help is just about the best thing any of us can do. Most people don’t know this secret (so please pass it on if you would). What we think we know is usually miniscule compared to what we really don’t know at all and what we don’t know is how the world will open up and show us that we are held.

So when you say I am on a journey to be a spiritual being and I AM STUCK! I need your help I’d like to point out that the help has been granted. It’s right here. And here. And there.

Oh, and one more thing, you are already a spiritual being. You may have just forgotten. It happens to the best of us. You made it. You’ve arrived.


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  • Reply Debbie March 4, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Jen- you are so awesome. I’m so stoked to meet you at Dhyana Yoga in Philly in April!!!

  • Reply barbarapotter March 4, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I love this so, so, so much. Any you both are beautiful. Yeah!!!

  • Reply rachyrachp March 4, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Heart you!

  • Reply Follow Me Films March 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Reblogged this on Follow Me Films.

  • Reply Rachel Petrimoulx Dombrowski March 4, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Love it! Yes, you can get a HELL YEAH! 🙂

  • Reply Christina Collett March 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Hey, I am 52 years old, and I haven’t owned a scale since I moved out of my parents house at 18. I only get weighed at the Dr.’s office, and I still think that I should be at 115, impossible! It’s all about you you feel, not how much you weigh, or what size your waist is… moving my body,as in yoga, running, cycling, or walking my dogs, has always been my lifesaver.

  • Reply Rikki March 5, 2013 at 3:22 am

    Sooooooo good! Saving this one to re-read on a shitstorm day! 🙂 xoxoxo!

  • Reply bewhereiam March 5, 2013 at 3:23 am

    I love this! Saving this sucker to re-read on a shitstorm day! xoxoxo!

  • Reply s March 5, 2013 at 3:38 am


  • Reply Nicole Markardt March 5, 2013 at 4:19 am

    I shared this yesterday. Everyone should read it. You have a gift, my friend. Your wisdom is attainable. It’s real. I just love your perspective and .

  • Reply justmeactually March 5, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    So much of this hit home for me. One of the main things I continue telling myself and others is that I/We deserve to be happy! And it’s okay to admit it if you are. We won’t hold you to some higher level and then be disappointed when you fall.

    Hell Ya!

  • Reply Diana March 6, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Jen – thank you for giving a voice to that awful task master inside of what seems, many of us. Bitch slap it? Never thought of doing that and HELL YES I am going to do it today? Let the beatings begin until morale changes! Lol. Thank you!

  • Reply ‘Help’ Might Be the Best Four-Letter Word Out There | The OCD Diaries March 7, 2013 at 6:10 am

    […] leader and yogi with a popular blog called The Manifest-Station. Monday, at the very end of “Bitch Slap It,” she captured the power of getting help with a simplicity and directness that hit me where I […]

  • Reply Cheryl Taylor March 8, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Jen, you are the best!!!! It’s really awesome how much time you take to speak to people who feel a kindredness to you because you’ve shared so much of yourself….You’re like the “Oprah” of Yoga!!! You just put it all out there and let the pieces fall where they may. People can either embrace the truth or continue to live a lie and never find their happy or be content. Love you and your thoughtfulness!!!! xoxo

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