I found this amazing typography via galadarling, who has a totally different but not conflicting take on this topic. Today we are talking about the dark side of virtuous perfection. And, in this case, eating disorders, a problem that, she also quotes quite correctly, plagues up to 75% of women today.
When I was a kid, I happened to want to disappear.
Perfect wasn’t my game.
I wanted to disappear and reappear in a world that looked like my dreams, not like the hell of incessant crying (my mom), screaming (her boyfriend), lying and disappointment (my father) and general instability that was my whole environment.
I just wanted out. I was clearly a mistake that I had this type of life with all the talent I felt bubbling inside of me that had no way to be expressed in Secaucus, New Jersey.
It was the weirdest type of feeling- the strangest alien sensation- being a child in this situation.
If you were in a similar place- vastly misunderstood by the people around you, even your parents, surrounded by people who made you feel uneasy, living without any sense of stability- you may have, similarly wanted to disappear.
You may actually want to disappear now- check out just for a little while into a comfortably numb space.
Perfectionism can be the mask you hide behind to check out of life and swim into your own safe prison of no-feelings.
But… instead.. you can redesign your life if you dare to try it….
There are so many ways to disappear from life these days it is just tremendous.
Some people become addicts. Its a way of disappearing that seems expedient, especially when you are a kid.
I chose to use my body as a battleground… or rather, it seemingly chose me.
There was a seductive greatness to slipping into my world of running the high school track behind my house for miles, eating a very prescribed way that was very “healthy”- vegan, properly food-combined, tons of water, no sugar… Taking cutting-edge vitamins… I was so clever about all of this that it seemed like I had really mastered wellness at age 13, setting myself up for a spectacular future.
Unlike the lore of body image pressure, I wasn’t doing all of this to myself to “fit in” or “be beautiful.”
I wanted to vanish.
I wanted my world of faux-perfection to carry me far away from how I was living. In this semi-spaced out world where I displayed great virtue and discipline, I could be numb as I slid from 120 to 110 to 105 to 100 to 83lbs…
I still shake when I remember seeing the bouncy arm on the squeaky bathroom scale resting between 82 and 83 lbs.
If you, too, feel the need to slip away from the present, you might also hide it some way in the socially acceptable, high-achieving guise of perfection.
Instead of letting it seduce you away from life and into destruction, you may want to take a break from whatever you are doing and let yourself be.
There was a point where I was sliding into my own decade-long thrill ride of anorexia that I could have saved myself. In fact, there were many doors, many chances I had to exit. Each time I stepped out into the world around me I saw things I didn’t want to see, felt things I didn’t want to feel and recognized that there was no one really there for me to help me find my way.
Therapy didn’t help me. Threats couldn’t save me. Nothing could help me. But me.
It wasn’t until I found a life that I wanted to live in— a life that looked and felt like me, where I could be myself– that I was really able to be free. I was the kind of climb back to creating a life that felt so good, so truly good, that somehow it doesn’t surprise me that I have devoted my own life to helping people create these same, safe and empowering spaces for themselves.
If you seem on the outside like you want to be perfect and you strive extremely hard for that perfection, I know you probably don’t really want to be perfect.
You likely want to disappear.
To be outwardly “perfect” in whatever way you choose- at work in obsessive ways, socially striving, at eating or not eating, torturing yourself with regimes and routines- is the best way to be numb and lose yourself in a contemplative isolation that looks quite noble.
Instead… you might want to try finding even the smallest space you can feel like yourself.
The museums of New York helped me get my soul back, because there I felt totally understood by the walls of art. The Frida Kahlo’s and the Jackson Pollocks and the crazy installations and brilliant Fauvists at the MET gave me hope that I could have a life where the walls understood my thoughts.
Now, I design those homes for other people. Homes where the walls reflect the hopes and dreams of the people who live there, where you feel understood, alive and strong in your talent and your life’s mission.
When you find a place that plugs you in to who you are… give that place to yourself. Allow yourself to make that connection, even if it means moving, making a dramatic life change or taking a huge risk.
Move toward the places that make your feel strong.
That’s actually feng shui, my way.
It can – and will- reset your life.
You may find your solace in a movie theater, the woods, the beach or even another country.
Having lost almost a decade of my sanity and joy to a very big, seductive and virtuous pull toward vanishing from life in starvation, I really don’t think there are any lengths too great to go to create a safe space that reflects your talent, your joy and the urges of your soul.
There’s no price you can put on having room to breathe or a place that makes you feel like you… maybe even for the first time.
I really hope you start- even in small ways- to create a life that looks a lot more like you.
I made a little video that can help you get started on your own space and life re-design. It is simple, but it will change your world to apply this one concept.
The Catalyst Camp Feng Shui Home & Life De-Cluttering is on the way to open up your life to the new like never before!
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