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Guest Posts

Me, The Rebel

April 24, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Denise Barry

When I was very young I wanted to be special. I didn’t really know what special meant, but I wanted it to mean that I would be different than my parents. I loved my parents, it’s just that I didn’t want their life. I didn’t want to get married young and have a bunch of kids and work my fingers to the bone at a low paying job just so I could make ends meet. Yet, I didn’t know what I wanted.

I talked to my older sister about this one day, while we were doing our homework in the room we shared. I said, “Dar, I don’t want to be like mom and dad when I grow up.”

Offended, she told me that there’s nothing wrong with them and maybe I’m just being ungrateful. I felt very ungrateful then, and very guilty for feeling so ungrateful, so I kept my big mouth shut from then on.

I didn’t like my first boyfriend. I only went out with him because I was eighteen and he was the first person who had asked me out. I thought he was gross, quite frankly, and I didn’t want to kiss him. But I did, because I thought I was supposed to. My mother told me I would marry him, that he was “the one”.  I was terrified, but I sat on my bed one night and cried because I knew if he asked me, I would say yes. My mother thought I should marry him, and mom always knows best. Better than me at least, who didn’t know what she wanted.

I was working at a job I hated at nineteen. I had quit college because I had landed a full time job already, and isn’t that why you go to school; so you can get a good-paying job with vacation days and great benefits? My father was so proud of me! What did I need school for? Continue Reading…

Abuse, Anonymous, courage, Guest Posts, healing

There Are The Things I Remember.

February 26, 2015

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TRIGGER WARNING This article or section, or pages it links to, contain information about sexual assault and/or rape which may be triggering to survivors.

 

By Anonymous.

“I felt as if I were already redefining it, already dropping (ahead? behind?) into a state of retrospection.  I was worried that my memory wouldn’t do me any favours; that it would only make things worse… A constant tug of war: wanting to remember, wanting to forget… How was this journey, this movement to be mapped?”

– Emily Rapp, The Still Point of the Turning World                                    

 

Memory can be a tricky thing.  Our genetic makeup is clever; if something happens to us and we aren’t strong enough to remember, our mind and body has mechanisms to make that memory go away or to minimize the damage of the memory’s daily impact.

I never forgot being raped.  I had memories of it, but I pushed them away until they didn’t bother coming around anymore.  But my secrets were impacting my insides deeply, and then the memories came back daily on their own, knocking, seeking acknowledgement.

Continue Reading…

Anonymous, Eating Disorders/Healing, Guest Posts

The Turning Point.

January 24, 2015

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By Anonymous.

I’ll never forget the first time someone called me “little” during my teenage years. It was my sophomore year of high school, during our One Act Play festival. I had just won an award for best director and my opponent’s mother fondly referred to me as “that little Erin girl”. She did not say this to my face, of course. But my mother informed me that she’d overheard it. When my mother repeated it, she said it with a hint of bitterness. But I romanticized the idea, the thought that I was this tiny force to be reckoned with, a warrior in bows and ballet flats.

Shortly after this, I developed my eating disorder. Since my reputation as tiny was solidified, my obsession with keeping it began. I shed invisible tears over the size of my stomach, the slowly growing pile of white that barely puckered over my jeans. “You’re tiny.” I’d tell myself this as I ate increasingly smaller portions, to the point where I sometimes ate nothing at all.

My boyfriend called me little too. “You’re so tiny,” he’d tell me, wrapping his hand around my wrist to illustrate his point. I confided in him that I thought I might have an eating disordeI confided in him that I thought I might have an eating disorder while on the phone with him one night during my freshman year of college.

“I’ll tell your parents if it gets bad,” he said. I wondered what bad had to be, if the ritual of purposely not eating for days whenever I got stressed didn’t apply.

When that boyfriend walked out of my life, I told myself that I’d stop starving myself. If ever there were a trigger to that habit, this was it. But, not again, I promised myself. The boy who gave up on me was not worth it.

Flash forward to a few weeks later, post-breakup. I’ve left to study abroad in the Netherlands. I’m living in a castle and making fast friends. And yet, the self-loathing that I’ve struggled with since high school sets it, tainting everything around me. All I can see is the stick legs and thigh gaps of other girls.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being.

Continue Reading…

Abuse, Dear Life., Guest Posts, healing

Dear Life: I Don’t Feel Worthy of Love.

January 6, 2015

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Welcome to Dear Life: An Unconventional Advice Column.

Your questions get sent to various authors from around the world to answer (and please keep sending because I have like 567 writers that want to answer your burning questions. Click here to submit a letter or email dearlife@jenniferpastiloff.com.) Different writers offer their input when it comes to navigating through life’s messiness. We are “making messy okay.” Today’s letter is answered by Angela Marchesani, who wrote this stunning piece on rape here on the site. Her essay was anonymous until a few weeks ago. She is also the awesome soul who made me the “Don’t Be An Asshole” wine/coffee cup. Order one by emailing her at angela.marchesani@gmail.com. Say Jen sent you. And remember, don’t be an asshole. 🙂

10906250_382188381942065_3259713207549686863_nSend us your questions for Dear Life because there loads of crazy authors waiting to answer ‘em. Just kidding, they aren’t crazy.

Well okay, maybe a little. Aren’t we all? xo, Jen Pastiloff, Crazy Beauty Hunter. ps, I will see you in Vancouver in a couple weeks! My first workshop there! 

VANCOUVER! The Manifestation Workshop in Vancouver. Jan 17th. Book here. No yoga experience required. Only requirement is to be a human being.

VANCOUVER! The Manifestation Workshop in Vancouver. Jan 23rd. Book here. No yoga experience required. Only requirement is to be a human being.

Dear Life,

I don’t even know where to begin – I have so many thoughts running through my mind right now, so I am just going to write.

As a young child, I endured sexual and physical abuse, I observed my parents go through a horrible divorce, and I was put in adult situations no child should ever be in. To sum it up: I had a dysfunctional childhood.

My teenage years were not any better – my family life was chaos, I had a broken/unhealthy relationship with my father, mother and siblings. I longed for my parents’ love, affection and attention. I unknowingly sacrificed my innocence by offering my body to men/boys as a means to feel loved. Yet, deep down in my soul, I knew all the suffering I had experienced in my short lifetime was not my future.

Since my early 20s, my determination helped me move mountains to heal from my past, so I could live a life I know I deserve. I never let my past be my crutch, so I put myself through college while working a successful full-time job. Throughout the years, I sought out different therapist to help guide me on my journey. I have tried to form a consistent spiritual relationship with God, I have read end-less self-help books, I am constantly on social media reading inspirational quotes and self-discovery blogs (Oprah is my new best friend) – you name it, I’ve tried it. Yet, I still feel empty. I still struggle with depression, weight gain (self-sabotage), and I lack self-love, self-worth, and self-acceptance. I often find myself pondering why I am still so broken, if I am a “survivor”?

So, let’s fast forward to the past few years — I have been hit with one crisis after another, and as a result, my mind, body and soul finally shut-down. The stress I was under triggered my past, and I became that fearful five year old girl, immobilized. I became severely depressed and by the summer of 2014 I was suicidal. On the outside in, I appear well put together, the one everyone calls for advice, the person who will lift your spirits, the reliable one – yet, on the inside I was dying. I was in a black hole that I could not get out of alone, so I cried for help, and for the first time, I shared my dark secret with my loved ones. Unfortunately, the stigma around depression made it hard for my loved ones to truly understand what was happening to me mentally. At the end of the day, I still suffered in silence and alone. I fear my depression because I can feel the illness lurking in the background ready to pounce on me when I least expect it. I never want to go back to that dark place, ever!

Now I am going to jump into my relationship. For the past six months, I have put my relationship on the back burner to focus on myself while I was severely depressed. I live with my boyfriend of nine years (it’s more like we are roommates) – we share the daily hugs, kisses and “I love you”, but there is no true intimacy: physically or emotionally. We don’t really share the same interest anymore. I spend more “alone” time with my girlfriends than I do with him – I go to family functions by myself because he would rather sit at home drinking a beer and watching sports. I feel depleted – I don’t feel in love with him anymore, and I often fantasize about being in a relationship with a man that has lots of passion. Our lease is up in a few months and I am torn between working on the relationship or saying goodbye.

For the first time in my life, I feel like I don’t have the mental capacity or the tools do handle this all alone!

Sincerely,

Am I Worthy of Love?
Continue Reading…

And So It Is, healing, Video, Vulnerability

Video: Are You Willing To Surrender When Necessary?

July 22, 2014

Are You Willing To Surrender When Necessary?

Surrender!

I finally made a video again! Today’s vlog is on Surrender. Such a beautiful word, isn’t it?

Where can you surrender in your life? Where can you stop fighting or pushing?

I missed doing my videos. Feel free to share and post below your thoughts on surrender. Pants by Nina.B.Roze Active Apparel.and the “Write Like a Motherfucker Mug” by The Rumpus (Cheryl Strayed’s line from “Dear Sugar.”)  See you next weekend Seattle!

Continue Reading…

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

The Irrelevants.

January 16, 2013

By Jen Pastiloff

I have often felt as restless as the earth, as afflicted. As inconsolable.

This is to all the I am irrelevants: You’re not.

Some irrelevant things might be: getting into a perfect crow pose in a yoga class, finding a grey hair, your jeans, what kind of car you have, whether you like to have sex with men or women (or both.)

This is to all the people who howl at the moon how lost they are, how bad they suck, how little they have to offer. This is to the voices that speak in a languages that love doesn’t understand. A language that sounds like this: I am nothing, I do not matter, I don’t fit in. This is a language that often can’t be translated and when it is, it is found out to be gibberish. Bullshit. Untruths.

This is to you all.

I drove across country when I was 18 years old with my mother and her boyfriend at that time, as well as his two kids. We had a minivan and I sat in the back reading books and eating dried peaches. I read Love in The Time of Cholera twice on that trip. I prayed that somehow I would get left back on the trip and not have to start NYU in the fall. That I could stay back in the Rockies somewhere and get fat and let myself sink into oblivion. I prayed and prayed in the back of the minivan in my little cut-off red shorts as I bit my nails off. Please let me not me found.

I was starving myself to such a degree that I hadn’t menstruated in years. I remember being in Cody, at this steak house with everyone. I had asked the waitress to take a can of vegetarian chili into the back and open it for me while everyone ordered off the steakhouse menu like polite people. I dreamt of a knife through the fat of a nice juicy sirloin, some well done barbecued ribs, mashed potatoes pats and pats and pats of butter streaming off the plate as I ate my canned chili cold.

I thought about sending a postcard to my boyfriend who had already left for Boston saying: I am laughing with bear trappers who eat bear meat and wear bear coats. I am in the Black Hills of South Dakota trying to catch a big fat trout hook right through it’s mouth, cleaning it. Digging into it and cooking on an open fire, singing songs of the land and the Dakotas. I am in the Rockies high up, high at the top- summer and still snow caps the very top walking stick guiding me through the crooked trails around each bend.

You’ll never never find me in a motel room in Toronto on the water above a German restaurant, eating beets marinated in sugar and knockwurst. Teeth and lips stained red. You’ll never find me, licking the sides of an ice cream cone. You’ll never find me at the fish and tackle store in Yellowstone.

I had finished my chili that night and gone to bed in a tent as was the protocol on our trip. I never did send that postcard but I wrote it out and kept it as a bookmark in case I did want to send it, eventually.

Years later I found the postcard in between some pages of Love in The Time of Cholera.  I thought I had wanted to get lost but it was the opposite. I wanted to be understood. I wanted to be left alone with my books and my words and I wanted to understand why I hated myself so much. I wanted someone to look at me and say You are not irrelevant. You are not bad. You do not need to disappear.

I was trying to do a disappearing act, as it were. If I starved myself enough I would eventually evaporate. I would turn into ether. I would become the moon.

This is for you, Dear Hopeless Ones. I am you. Don’t you see it? I was there. I was one of the: I am nothings, I am hopeless, I am bads.

What a crappy club to be part of.

It’s a mean club, full of liars and storytellers and petty thiefs.

Its like this. You have caught glimpses of your life. You, who think you are irrelevant, you have reached out for love, and on occasion, been able to grab fistfuls of its beauty. If you look closely, you can see your life all mapped out. Irreversible veins raised and ready for puncture. The geometry of your life: blue, ingrained, vainglorious.

It’s like how your eyes adjust to things- the inside of an apartment after an eyeful of sunlight. How you can see part of the moon when it isn’t really there anymore: hanging sliver white as pearl on black, it’s fullness still faintly visible, an illusion. A palsied arc, the fingernail piece of moon that hangs like it’s missing something of itself, waiting out it’s own cycles. It’s like that. You have to wait out your own cycles.

The moon is never missing any of itself. We just can’t see it. You are like that too.

I can see it. You are all there. You are not irrelevant, you are not nothing, you do matter, you do fit in. I can see all of it.

You may have to wait out your own cycles too. You may think you want to get lost among the bear trappers, but even then, I will be able to see you. You can never disappear. You can never become ether.

You are as relevant as the moon. And beyond.

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Ring in New Years 2016 with Jen Pastiloff at her annual Ojai retreat. It's magic! It sells out quickly so book early. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being. With a sense of humor. Email barbara@jenniferpastiloff.com with questions or click photo to book. NO yoga experience needed. Just be a human being.

Ring in New Years 2016 with Jen Pastiloff at her annual Ojai retreat. It’s magic! It sells out quickly so book early. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being. With a sense of humor. Email barbara@jenniferpastiloff.com with questions or click photo to book. NO yoga experience needed. Just be a human being.

 

The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now for the next cleanse on November 30th. Space is limited. This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the holiday season. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation.

The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now for the next cleanse on November 30th. Space is limited. This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the holiday season. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation.

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