Sorry, this one is a bit of a rough one but I believe it is a significant issue within the world we live.
I believe in embracing all shapes and sizes. I believe in acceptance, tolerance, compassion, understanding, and 'being'.
This strikes quite a personal chord as I had devastating experiences with anorexia and bulimia in my teens until early twenties. It resulted in losing all muscle, function, imbalances, and almost heart failure. I was a varsity track and field sprinter all through high school as well as dancing after school until midnight, as well as living in Tokyo where you walk everywhere, with high academic standards meant hauling a huge backpack weighing as much as me, in crowded subways, up and down stairs; gosh,the daily commute to school... I was also involved in other academic commitments as student council, social services, boosters, manager for cross country team, etc.
I am not sure how I did it. I am not sure how I survived. I came to Toronto to go to York University to major in Psychology which then I decided to audition spontaneously for the Dance program at York (which I got accepted into second year), and decided to double major in Psych and Dance.
Throughout this time I was deathly sick. Actively anorexic and bulimic. I was in and out of hospitals weekly and visiting the ER on a regular basis. My world was the hospital system with nurses, doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, physical therapists, and the likes. I have been in Toronto for about 8 years now but I have not made any friends my age only close connections or acquaintances with professionals.
In 2001 I was admitted to an inpatient eating disorders treatment in a psychiatric hospital in Guelph. I was there for 4 months. From active and athletic since I was born to bed rest on doctors orders had more of a jolt than taking over 30 Correctol (laxatives) pills a night, not sleeping and exercising like a maniac throughout the night, eating, not eating, throwing up, being obsessive compulsive with everything, as well as suicidal.
It was living a slow motion nightmare. I was the living dead.
While in treatment for the eating disorder I stopped my bulimic behaviors and have never relapsed. Also in treatment I came to an earth shaking discovery that the eating disorder was only a symptom red-flagging a deeper seated issue of chronic depression and major anxiety disorders which I have lived with since I could remember.
So with the eating disorder treatment done, I went back to University doing my double major. I loved dance more than anything, the studio is the only 'home' I've had my whole life (of moving and traveling), I was damn good at it and it felt good, I felt at peace, I felt like myself, it was mine! But living a functional life with chronic depression and anxiety disorders are not humanly possible.
I made two huge decisions at the time;
Stop dancing. Take a medical leave of absence from University.
I knew the repercussions this would have on me; I quote myself "I will become very seriously depressed deciding to stop dancing and not pursuing it as a career". This is exactly what happened.
I attempted to take my life a few times more after that.
Little by little I started relearning how to live healthy again. Baby steps. I had to relearn and teach myself everything; even how to go to the grocery store, to being assertive, that I have worth and of value, to listen to myself and turn off auto pilot negative broken records and much more. Gosh, I couldn't even use a spoon properly!!! This was very very very disturbing stuff.
So last week stepping into that studio to take hip hop class means more to me than I can express. On Saturday I went to class again but got there earlier and sat on the floor; my old friend, my stability, my home, my peace of belonging.
A question goes through my mind; studio is a studio but which studio was meant for me, as I feel more at home in a ballet/dance studio than my art studio. Maybe there is enough space and time for both, I think, I feel fortunate to be able to embrace both art forms (although I still think dancing will have more of a special place in my heart). Dance moves me more than painting. Only if I can combine the two, now that will be my masterpiece.
So I do not believe in prejudice. I despise discrimination. I hate judgment. I do not like labels nor stereotypes.
Compassion, love, kindness, care, fun, laughter, giving, honesty, truth, curiosity, acceptance, exuberance for life, interest, enthusiasm, and 'being' are aspects more suited to consider and embrace.
Life is difficult, but not impossible, an adventure to say the least!