anorexia, i thank you.

maybe you see the beautiful instagram posts of vibrant forests, yummy food, and videos of original music. maybe it looks like i have everything put together. (or maybe not). this is a story I want to share to expose a hidden aspect of my life that has ultimately been my greatest teacher and source of transformation.

last year, right around this time, I was getting ready to move from michigan to colorado. a place i had only visited once, but had a deep knowing that i had to be there. if I were to embark on every twist and turn of last summer, this would be a novel. but i want to go back to just around the time the semester at Naropa began (a small college in Boulder, CO). 

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i had been kidding myself for the last year or so that my health (both mental and physical) was in good shape. on the outside, i posted about recipes, bike rides, hikes, and the occasional exposure into dealing with anorexia and exercise addiction/bulimia. (exercise bulimia is a form of purging calories through overexercise). but slowly, in a very sneaky way, i was deteriorating. 

a point was reached in december of last year where I had managed to get stress fractures in both of my feet from overexercise. when i woke up in the early morning hours after a night of anxious, flurry thoughts, and every bone in my body was begging me to lay the fuck down, i would drag myself outside for a run. a ride. for a self abusive "yoga" session on my "rest" days. 

i became involved in the "high carb low fat" community in the summer of 2015 which is/was rampant on Youtube. in short, lots of dogma and pseudoscience that promotes extremely low fat diets. even in the times when I wasn't underweight, my hair was falling out, my skin was dry, and my hormones were so out of whack that i couldn't fall asleep without boatloads of melatonin. zero sex drive. i was without a period (ammenhorea) for close to a year and a half. i am still coming back to a state of equilibrium hormonally due to nutritional deprivation and high amounts of stress. 

last december, i had no choice but to return to my body. to listen to her. to honour her cries. and that week when i literally couldn't walk, much less go for runs, i took a hint. i started to slow down, as much as it scared me. there was this growing vacancy. a daily feeling that i was wasting away. i had no motivation to write music, make art, because all of my interest was in looking at food and being a slave to exercise. where was this child that i once knew so well, who would draw for 6 hours a day and laugh and play for the pure expression of JOY? 

at this point, it was up to me to save my life. all addicts reach this point of knowing that unless you actually give enough of a shit about your own life, there is no recovery. no one can do it for you. and, i was fucking fed up. at this disorder, for sucking my life force away. for turning away connection and love because i was so trapped in this mess.

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the beginning of holiday was greeted with a blessing of an opportunity to go to Sedona, Arizona with a good friend of mine. this immersion to the open sky, the beauty of the red rocks and stark, shocking elements around us, woke me up to something so much bigger than myself. 

this was truly the beginning of the physical recovery. that could be an entire other blog post, but in short, while back in michigan i was committed to healing. bodies have a LOT of catching up to do when you starve and abuse them. i had results from a blood test that confirmed I had bone loss, liver damage, anaemia, not to mention a fucked metabolism and general inability to digest most food. some of these symptoms were ugly. uneasy. life was stripped of the excess at this time, and i dedicated most of my time to listening to health podcasts and eating...a lot. also, i wrote. and wrote. outside. in my room. in coffee shops. about the anxiety. how uncomfortable it was to feel food in my stomach and not exercise it off. i am eternally grateful for the thousands of words that have come through my small hands during these past few months. they sit, in a proud little stack, displayed in my bedroom.

the body is incredible in the way it can restore when you give it what it needs. I am continually amazed at the warrior, the fighter, that this body is. and over the course of the last five months, I have not only gained weight, but i have gained life. friends. so many beautiful humans. music. MUSIC!! an open heart. a relationship with the spunky, fiery, messy, weird child inside. i sing again. paint any surface i can get my hands on. 

to say its all "gone" would be a straight lie. i have days. sometimes i struggle to eat enough, sometimes i eat too much, sometimes i exercise too much, and freak out about the whole mess. but then i wake up the next day. i give deep gratitude for this skin, everything i have put her through. and with the intention of loving myself, i am reaching some strange state of balance. 

 i am living a life i never could have dreamt of. i look back at the child, the teenager just a few years ago, and she is so proud of the liv that stands today. there wouldn't be the singing, the writing, the searching, without this monster. i am centered. and messy. and sometimes silent for hours and hours, craving the intimacy with trees and the deep mountain air. aLIVe. a creatress

Liv Phoenix