Personal

….That Thing I’ve Wanted To Talk About

Balance is something that I’ve always struggled with.

I’ve made a lot of promises to myself this year. Many of them I’ve failed miserably at keeping, okay probably most of them, but there’s one in particular I really feel the need to fulfill and it all comes down to a simple photo. Thank you Google photos for the little reminders (let’s be honest they’re kinda creepy) of “one year ago” because yesterday a photo popped up on my screen and reminded me that an entire year had passed and this date I’d mentally filed away for later was already here. You see, I promised myself at the beginning of this year that a year from this photo I’d be ready to share this post and so, I know I’m a day late, and despite my inner reservation I’m just doing it because sometimes that’s just what you have to do.


Okay, I know how cliché it is to say this but a picture really is worth a thousand words. That’s not to be confused with a picture being able to say everything though, don’t get me wrong. We as humans are very visual and with the modern age of technology making it easier and easier to find mediums of sharing photos and videos it’s very simple to forget the difference and take an image for only its face value. This photo above is a great example, it’s nothing too extreme or striking and maybe on first inspection you just see a girl. Maybe if you’re more appraising you can pick up a strong vibe of insecurity and not much more.

What that photo doesn’t say is how far gone this girl is from herself. It doesn’t tell you that her outside facade is taking every ounce of effort she can give it to hide this fact from the world and eventually even from herself because that’s become more important than anything else. It doesn’t tell you that she’s fallen into a pattern of self-destruction so deep she can’t see any hope of crawling out of it but she’s too ashamed to ask for help. It can’t say that she’s forgotten how to enjoy a simple moment, or how to relax and just live life. That’s what an eating disorder does, it strips away your sense of self.

Quick pause here, I’m the type of person to take the silliest things so serious and then start laughing at the most solemn moment just to try to break the tension. Because of that I’ll start writing a post like this and decide I’m being way too extreme so then I’ll just play it down or scratch the whole thing. It’s funny though because the more I’ve come to know myself this past year the more I’ve realized this tendency is because I don’t trust myself and I don’t stand up for my own beliefs. The flip side of this is that I’m learning to laugh at myself and know that that’s okay too. It’s in finding this balance that I’m seeing new ways to look at things.

I know, another cliche, typical white girl with food problems. However, that being said, I’ve never been able to openly admit it or even talk about it with my own family much. The thing is an eating disorder comes with so much denial and shame because you start to identify yourself a certain way and it tears at your self-worth like nothing else when you measure yourself in such materialistic ways. For so long I didn’t even think I had a problem. In fact, it took a close family friend asking my parents if I had anorexia to really shake me and force me to face it. I think something I was always afraid of most was that admitting to it would define me in some way. It wasn’t until recently that I started to realize that I was the only one who was letting it define me by continuing to let it control my life.

You’re probably wondering by now is how one becomes a food blogger when they have such a crap relationship with food? Well, it’s actually not that complicated. Since my earliest teenage years my relationship with food was unbalanced but I think I can say it worsened as I got older. Back in 2014 my family had just moved to a very remote town in South America and I had a ample amount of time on my hands. I was 17, the oldest kid in the house, and the only one with cooking experience. Plus, despite my lack of balance, I genuinely love the kitchen so I started playing in there to recreate some of the foods we couldn’t get there. That’s when I decided to start this blog because I’d always loved food blogs and I was spending like 90% of my time making new recipes so it made sense to make it a creative outlet.

I fell in love with food photography and at first being around food so much really was helping me find that balance. After a few years of working on it though, the line between food as nutrition and food as art got really blurred and somehow it was as if food became only my medium of art and my blog became a convenient way to hide the fact that I was eating less and less. I’d often get asked things like “You cook so much, how are you so thin?” and “How do you eat such delicious things and not get fat?” to which I’d respond with some bs response like “I just like to workout a lot” (which was somewhat true but left out the part where none of said food ever passed my lips.)

So at the beginning of this year I made the decision to change no matter what it took and it’s not easy, let me tell you. Trying to learn what I actually like to eat as opposed to what I eat because it’s “safe”. Tasting some pretty weird combinations.  Trying to unlearn rules and routines around food.  I’m honestly such a robot when it comes to food most days. Flexibility in food choices is so hard for me so being creative in what I eat doesn’t come naturally. After literally years of the same cycles of restricting, obsessing, and avoiding, you’re view of food and fitness is wack, not even kidding.

Then there’s the blog. After you go through an eating disorder all you can think is how much you never want someone else to have to experience the same thing and sadly there are so SO many that do and from the moment I started this journey to food freedom I realized what I wanted to do more than anything was help others find their balance. So yeah, moving forward with blogging is uncharted waters for me but I needed to be honest with you.

 

My hope in writing any of this is that you can take something of encouragement or inspiration from it because life really is a journey and it’s far too short to not live it to the fullest. If I can make it this far I know you can too. Happy October, my friends!

XOXO

12 Comments

  • Berh

    Tori, thank you for being vulnerable, raw, and not afraid to share glimpses of real life. I’ve learned that it isn’t our struggle that makes us stronger, it’s our vulnerability!

  • Hannah Elizabeth

    Tori, so much of this could’ve been written by me. My story is, as I’m sure you probably understand, so long and gradual that it’s hard to write it out in a comment. But suffice it to say that no one, not even most of my family, realized how far I’d gone until friends started asking about me, I had to go see a naturopath for other reasons and then my sister came across some articles that we started to realize my awful relationship with food. I thought I was fine…eating disorders were what other people had, not me. God used both my family and many other people in my life to help me through that darkness, depression and struggle (the cultural messages are LOUD and STRONG!), and I don’t know where I’d be without them. I look back on pictures of me back then and am shocked, but proud of how far I’ve come. Because aside from how my body looks, it’s the darkness and gripping depression in my eyes that is gone. Thank you for sharing your story…it’s a brave thing to do no matter how cliche you feel it is. Because when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter if it seems cliche to someone out there, it matters that its life-changing to someone out there.

    • Tori

      Thank you so much, Hannah. You’re comment means so much to me and just knowing my story can be helpful at all to even one person makes it worth sharing. I hope you’re having an awesome Autumn so far. Best wishes!

  • Alice

    As a long-term anorexia sufferer I’d like to congratulate you on the honest of this post.
    I admit that I had suspected for some time that you may be on the ED “spectrum”, especially after you took a break from blogging for a little while. It is so refreshing to have a blogger be so open about what’s going on with their relationship with food.

    Without wishing to sound rude, I’d like to point out that obsession and preoccupation with food is often a result of starvation/restriction (have you read the Minnesota starvation experiment? I highly recommend it, it does a good job of explaining some of the behaviours we experience when we’re in a calorie deficit). For this reason, it might be a good idea for you to consider that as you recover you may lose some of your interest in the food blogging. Of course, you’re obviously really talented at this – your blog is amazing! – but I’d hate to think of you stuck with a part of your eating disorder out of the fear of letting down your readers. Your health should always be a priority, and that might mean considering separating yourself from food blogging as your eating disorder becomes a less prominent part of you life.

    I truly hope I haven’t overstepped the mark with this comment. I truly admire your honesty and openness in this matter. I know just how hard it is to admit these difficulties to yourself. I can’t imagine how much more difficult it must be to be so open on a public platform.
    Best of luck

    • Tori

      Thank you so much Alice and no worries about overstepping a mark I appreciate everything you said. I actually am very familiar with the Minnesota starvation experiment and that’s very intuitive of you to suggest that about food blogging. It’s something that I have already been seeing in myself and something I’m considering writing about. As my relationship with food changes I’m facing whether or not I want to continue food blogging in particular and that’s why I’d like to branch out and blog about other things. Thanks again Alice!

  • Laura

    You are so brave to come forward with this & share it with the world! I too had wondered if you had an eating disorder & I think you will find many others who thought the same thing. For me, it was the obsession you had with perfectionism & how everything had to be just right, your reluctance to talk about your personal life & the sometimes odd (but delicious!) food combinations you came up with.
    Although I have not had an ED, I have had more than my share of demons that started with childhood sexual abuse and I know how hard it is to admit that you have a problem! And as with any addiction, until you are ready to admit it & accept help, nothing will work. But now that you have, rely on your family, friends & your faith to help you through this rocky journey. You can do this! Just look at those 2 photos-you look so much healthier in this years version! And your photography has grown in leaps & bounds. Perhaps that is where your future lies. Who knows?
    You should be very proud of yourself!!
    Laura xox

    • Tori

      Thank you so much, Laura. There aren’t words for how much your supportive words mean to me and thank you for the complement on my photography. I hope you’re doing the same and relying on friends and family at every opportunity. Best wishes, and thank you again!

  • JessMVK

    Hey Tori,
    I’m pretty sure I landed on your blog here via a few pb recipe clicks, and aside seeing the word ‘faith’ somewhere, I’m not certain as to what drew me in to keep reading..
    Regardless, as another ‘white girl with struggles,’ I found my heart warming and my soul comforted by your words. Your honesty and vulnerability are beautiful, just as your articulation of.
    Thank you for this. I am deeply entrenched in a battle of my own, and tho of entirely different sorts, you have reminded me that I am not the only one. I often feel that things are hopeless, that I’m not meant to endure, or that I’m just too ‘broken’ to engage in a way out. Reading this somehow is helping me feel less alone. I loved your sweet words regarding your picture of last year.. mentioning insecurity. What a burden insecurity is.. that seems to lay the groundwork for so many obstacles, huh? Perhaps it is my insecurity that is now telling me ‘no, it’s just you.. ‘
    ANYWAY, I first wanted to say THANK YOU. Secondly, I wanted to praise you. How graceful of a young woman you are.. to also receive comments from others (tho thankfully here at least they ARE well-meaning!), without lashing out, or ‘knowing all,’ etc.. I am in a place of desperately seeking help and read so many words not remotely as gracious.
    Thirdly, I wanted to encourage you. Just as another posed ‘who knows?..,’ I wanted to let you know that you DO have an oyster of a world in front of you.. with your own, personal battles to strengthen and humble you. Perhaps your blog will morph into a healing center for others, perhaps you will venture an entirely different direction, but know this… You are capable. You may find yourself retreating into parts of this battle that you thought you had overcome, or you may find yourself soaring into freedom. You are capable of facing it all, which you likely already know if faith is alongside you.
    Again, Tori, thank you.. and I will ‘use’ you as an opportunity to connect with Our Creator, asking that in this new year He reveal His glory through you in even greater ways.. that He fills you to overflow with His security.. and that He shows you in your own special way – how beautiful you are.. inside and out.

    • Tori

      Wow, Jess. I feel so overwhelmed by this reply. If you had been the only one to reply and tell me that this post resonated with you (and many others have) it would have been worth it. Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to read and comment. I hope you continue to find the help you need to fight your own battles and that 2018 is a bright and thriving year for you. God bless.

  • cookie

    Hi Tory,
    It is me again.(I just made comment on your cappuccino torte.)
    Your story is so realistic, raw and vulnerable. (to say at least)
    At this moment your cappuccino torte has a new meaning to me.
    It is not just the torte or the recipe, it is your fight with demon.
    The food! Reading this somehow is helping me to feel less alone.
    Because we all have problems. And we are looking for solution.
    Thank you for sharing your story.
    Your struggle is going to help many people. (even if you are not aware of it)
    The part that I really can relate to is: “What that photo doesn’t say is how far gone this girl is from herself. It doesn’t tell you that her outside facade is taking every ounce of effort she can give it to hide this fact from the world and eventually even from herself because that’s become more important than anything else. It doesn’t tell you that she’s fallen into a pattern of self-destruction so deep she can’t see any hope of crawling out of it but she’s too ashamed to ask for help.”
    Stay strong, believe in SECRET and trust the higher power.
    God will help.

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