Why I’m not writing a recovery blog

Note: This isn’t just relevant if you if you have struggled/are struggling with an eating disorder – you might find this applicable to your own blog, too.

Reading the title, some of you might wonder: ‘But isn’t that what she started out as??’.  And well, I figure you could say I was leaning towards it more in sharing recovery-focused topics and struggles in many of my first posts, yes.

Am I recovered? Not struggling with food anymore? Unfortunately no.. Yet I do not want to go into this topic all the time anymore, not let this be me as a whole. Sharing bits here and there because I don’t want to pretend to be something I’m not . It’s an unfortunate part of me, one that has shaped my life, there’s no denying this. Centering my whole blog around recovery and my strained relationship with food and my appearance, though, is not what I’m trying and wouldn’t recommend for anybody. Here’s why:

Not letting go

If I was to write about EDs and food anxiety all day every day, immersing myself into the recovery blogosphere only, I’d allow these things to manifest. I’d allow them to have more power over me and my life than they should. I’d allow them to keep me stuck. And this exactly has always been my worry and criticism regarding full-on recovery accounts. At some point in life – and given the length of my own struggles I’m not putting any number of months or years of recovery here – you should [be able to] let go of being ‘in recovery’, ‘fighting your way back to happiness’ or whatever else recovery Instagram bios read like these days and just live.

Fall collage

Who am I without my ED? or: Losing your identity [for the better]

If you feel you can post your every meal, the accompanying feelings of guilt and worry while eventually eating more and more and identifying with your ED less and less – awesome, keep going. But if you feel tied to your recovery title and scared of who you’ll be once you’re weight-restored [mental recovery, as most of us will know, takes a lot longer] and not as intensely afraid of eating anymore – reconsider. I think this “identity crisis” is something most if not all of us in recovery will experience at some point. A lot of blog posts out there address this struggle and I won’t pretend I had it all figured out myself yet. Just being honest here.

This exact point – clinging to an identity created or held up by an ED – is what Kaila Prins talked about on the Food Psych podcast. The topic and a past draft of this post had been on my mind more than a year ago already but her words brought it back to the forefront of my mind. Kaila specifically talks about a certain blogger [anonymously] she wanted to help recover but couldn’t. A girl tied to her identity as a health blogger, athlete and creator of low-calorie recipes. So yes, I can absolutely understand how hard deciding to fully recover is when your identity, you brand essentially depends on you being trapped in your ED. What if recovering for you meant – temporary or longer term – a lack of interest in cooking, a preference for rich desserts rather than healtified versions and you no longer enjoyed the intense workouts you did before – but feel that your readers expect you to? Are you going to hold up an image that is no longer you or take the scary step of diving into the unknown?

Not writing a recovery blog? It still applies 

Even if the focus of your blog is a completely different one, the same might happen. Maybe you’re writing a running blog. What if you suddenly get injured and need to take months off to recover? Or discover that you enjoy yoga more or even take a break from formal exercise altogether  (it happens!). Maybe you’re writing a vegan/paleo/macrobiotic/whatever diet blog, strongly recommending the diet to everybody around but then find you need to include animal products in your diet again[we’ve seen what happened to other bloggers in this case before; the Balanced Blonde being the best known example]. Or you happen to discover intuitive eating and as such suddenly find that you want to let go of labels altogether. Or a fashion blog but you fall out of love with fashion or question the ethics behind it at some point. I could go on with examples here but I think you got my point. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with choosing a specific niche for your blog. And if you’re lucky, you have an awesome community cool with a change of focus in your blog. If you’re not – and I’ve heard/read bloggers talk about their struggles with this – you might feel torn: Continue to write about something you’re not feeling anymore because you feel you owe it to your readers or you built a business on it. Or daring the metaphorical leap into the dark in changing topics. Even if you enjoy the topic you chose immensely, why not share the occasional post about some other interests of yours [this might just be me in keeping those doors open for a potential change of mind after all …]? We’re all way too diverse characters to eternally specify on just one niche and – speaking as  a reader here – your readers might be curious to see more facets of you, too.

The things I’d consider are: Can I imagine myself writing about this overall topic in, say, five years still or will I have nothing new to say anymore/outgrown it?  And (the most important one for me): Do I want to be identified as this (i.e. the athlete, the recovering person, the health nut never touching any sugar, …). We all change. That’s what life is about. Growth. Developing into different directions. Finding ourselves. And – to end this long post here – that’s what I want my blog to reflect. I’m not who I was when I started this blogging journey and I don’t know the person I will be in five years yet. What I do know is that I’m curious about what’s to come and sharing it through my writing. Unless I decide I hate writing – which is very unlikely to happen because yes, that’s one identity I’ve had since my childhood and am happy to own: being a writer [and reader].

Enough from me: I’m genuinely interested to hear your thoughts on the above!

Happiness-inducing today: Taking a walk – no matter how short – when the weather cleared up a little. Oh, and the memories of yesterday’s cooking date with a friend. These always make my soul happy.

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Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Week in review: Up. And down. And … up?

If I wasn’t against playing favourites I’d say that the past week was up on top there looking back at, say, a six-month period. High praises for a week. The truth is it started well, leaving me feel good on Friday and then all of a sudden took a turn for the worse on Saturday. In other words: It’s an up and down that’s hopefully Not to digress too much but I guess this is another test of destiny to see if I can maintain a newfound positive outlook when suddenly faced with struggles again. It’s difficult to say the least but we’ve got Monday for a fresh start so here’s to keeping the ball in the game and rolling. At least the metaphorical because I’m actually not good at any kind of game involving balls … Unless we’re talking chocolate balls/bites – then I’m all game. Sheesh. I shouldn’t write my intros late at night.

Before I get lost in metaphorical mind wanderings I’ll get to the point of this post and follow Meg’s invitation to look back and what was rather than what might be.

 

Week in review

Without further ado here are some of my accomplishments/happenings: In the past week I …

Worked five days in my regular job. It’s getting better in terms of feeling more “at home” or part of the team. Learning your way around things, not having to ask a many questions, feeling appreciated by the other staff members.

Taught German two times. Truth be told this isn’t going as well as it started out anymore and I’m glad not to depend on it though that never was my initial reason to start this job. I was hoping to help the kids but not seeing any real progress is a little chastening.

Had a nice conversation with my grandma – the other one this time – who stopped by our house very shortly on Friday.

Grandma_knitting

  • Went on another walk with my dad. Yes, I’m aware it’s probably odd for somebody my age to stress these things so much. Not wanting to spread family issues for the whole world to see I will only say in Facebook-esque manner that: Relationship status: it’s very complicated.
  • Once again I published three posts on the blog again and unfortunately didn’t get to reply to all comments yet. My laptop has decided to act up again and it’s frustrating to say the least when it collapses in the middle of replying or putting together a certain post. I somehow suspect my laptop doesn’t like this kind of post because it has been crashing during the compilation of the latter a million times in past weeks.
  • Relaxed at night listening to the Harry Potter audio books again. My sister and I used to listen to them all the time when we were younger – so many childhood memories. The German speaker, Rufus Beck, is a magician himself in the way he lends every of the many characters a unique voice.

Harry Potter_audiobook

  • Got rid of other memories by deleting old pictures from my laptop. You know you’re a blogger when … you have about ten times as many pictures as the average Joe. Granted, that’s a guess but I honestly think photos are what slows my little handy blogging device down. Oops.
  • Lend an ear to several friends. We’re all facing our struggles but sometimes it’s merely somebody else looking at the situation from an outsider’s view to put us back into perspective.
  • Sent off mail replies long overdue. This is something I have to continually work on because I really enjoy getting and yes, also writing mails. Only I need to remember that a mail drafted in my head still has to be typed. Is there anybody who can relate??
  • Picked my mum up from the station in a town a bit further away after her well-deserved short albeit stay in Berlin. Am I the only one who finds longer drives oddly distressing? Just what I needed after Saturday morning’s kerfuffle.*

** oh, you just have to like the British for their lovely expressions.

  • Successfully tried a new recipe for the blog. Followed by an equally as successful photo shoot. Fast forward to uploading the pictures and … finding that my camera ate all of them. If it wasn’t for my age I’d have thrown a fit. Okay, maybe I did after all.

Nut clusters

  • Re-shot said recipe so here’s a preview though I’m still not sure how I like the pictures from that shoot. Nevertheless, it will be up on the blog on hopefully – fingers crossed for no more laptop troubles – Thursday.
  • De-stressed by taking walks – no dangerous geese this week. I’ve been feeling anxious a lot lately and as my preferred “treatment” (running) isn’t in the cards walks have been my saving grace. That and my daily pilates/yoga/what-have-you practice. The latter pairs very well with Harry Potter, too. What can I say? I’m an odd one.
  • Put my phone aside for the most part during dinner times and opted for the new book I mentioned last week. It’s one I will definitely talk about in more detail once I’m finished – as of now it’s a lot of information to progress. If you enjoy non-fiction this one might be one for you. I’m happy I’ve been able to focus on reading more again as I – embarrassing to admit for somebody known as a book worm – had abandoned it a bit [too much] in past months.

Finishing this post on Sunday night it’s getting late again so I’ll bid you farewell and hope you’re having a great start to the new week.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Having lots of time to read.

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Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!

Are you a Harry Potter fan? Alternatively: what are some audio books you enjoyed?

 

 

Why you should blog for yourself and how to do so.

Ebb and flow, ebb and flow. Like I said that’s how my mind works in terms of blogging topics. Some weeks I can hardly come up with a single post and others inspiration almost jumps at me on every corner. The latter has been the case for this post which you’ll notice so let’s not wait any longer but think out loud.

Let's talk

We hear it all of the time as bloggers: first and foremost you have to blog for yourself. And most likely we rolled our eyes a little at least one of those thinking “tell me another story – everybody wants clicks and readers!” It’s one of the big [and hard to process at the beginning] lessons every blogger has to learn. Those frustration-filled first months of blogging when nobody will read and much less comment. Or only your mum, friends and relatives. I’d be lying if I said quitting hadn’t sounded intriguing at times back then. What ultimately kept me going was my passion to write and too many thoughts in my mind needing an outlet.

Now I’m not one of the “big” bloggers so can in most cases only talk from my perspective as an observing reader. But then again it’s for readers’ pleasure we write and even as bloggers we’re part of somebody else’s audience every day, too, so it’s a topic everyone can chime in on. Here are my [obviously subjective] ideas on how to fuse writing for yourself while also for readers:

Time and blog post frequency: Writing when you’re not feeling it doesn’t work. Plants, animals and humans all need water to grow and flourish. A blog requires its author’s brain to be a source of inspiration. If the latter doesn’t flow [good, enjoyable] posts don’t happen.

If you’re a mum, busy working in a full-time + job or lead a stressful life due to any other reasons post as often as works and feels good to you. Unless jobbing is indeed your job it should add joy not stress to your life.

Easter_flowers on the table

 

Product Reviews and sponsored posts: That’s something that occasionally gets me annoyed when visiting other blogs, at worst it makes me quit reading a blog for good. Let me stress that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with these posts to begin with . Integrity’s the keyword again.
I get that a) it’s exciting when a brand reaches out to you for a collaboration or b) you’re a full-time blogger and depend on making money from your blog. However, there should be a limit to how many and which offers you accept. At least for myself I can say I’ll visit your blog less and less the more inauthentic product reviews I see. If your readers know you as a recipe blogger how in line with this image is promoting ladies’ hygiene products [aside from the fact you might be lady but never talked about these things before]? Or if you’re into healthy living but all of a sudden declare your life-long fondness of a popular brand’s sugar-laden cereals? #sponsoredpost

Recipes

Confession time again. This specifically has been on my mind for a while and was one of the reasons to write this post. It’s no secret recipes are what draws us to blogs. We all like to talk about and [I don’t like using this word myself but will replicate it due to popularity] drool over food. Knowing what’s popular in the healthy living blog world I was tempted to let others’ preferences lead my recipe creations and – for a second or two – considered if to get into that no-bake ball bite game. However, that wouldn’t be true to myself. I’m simply not rolling – literally – that way. As nutritious as they are I simply don’t fancy these and luckily there’s no lack of other delicious foods to create and share.

Cauliflower Nuggets_vegan

Blogging niches

Then there’s the other side: Let’s say you’re – like many of us – a healthy living blogger. Naturally, you deliver dozens of delicious recipes for flourless cookies, oil-free fries and green smoothies containing every superfood known to man**. But maybe you still enjoy a good cheese-filled enchilada casserole with – the horrors! – white flour tortillas once in a while. To post or not to post said recipe? Yes, yes and yes! Because while some people might be surprised to see this kind of dish on your blog there will likely be just as many [or more?] readers who are all up for it. Seeing that hey, that girl/guy has balance down to a pat, doesn’t let a label define her and is likely very fun to hang around.

The same would go if you’re usually a [insert niche] blogger but feel the urge to get your thoughts on a topic dear to your heart but not conforming with your niche out there. I’d say go for it because these posts are what truly shape our blogs to be a representation of who we are.

**please note I’m not actually hating on any of these foods. Mmmh, cookies.

In the end, blogging for yourself is blogging for your readers. Because they come back to find out what you think, create, like, dislike, your quirks and funny stories. Not for you pretending to fit into a certain mold of paleo/clean eating/smoothie drinking/running/lifting bloggers. What all of this comes down to is one statute will always lead any choices I make related to my blog – be it in terms of topics, recipes, sponsored posts or reviews:

Writing the blog I want to read. And I hope it’s one you enjoy reading, too.

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: Another spontaneous after-work walk with my dad and winning another game of yathzee. Hello, lucky strike [not of the smoking variety].

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No specific questions.  Let me know any of your  thoughts on the topic!

 

Week in review: Walking, working, blogging.

… and just like that the first week of February is in the books. That one went down fast. No? Just me. Either way, it’s Monday and time to take a leaf from Meg’s book and be at least a smidgen proud of not drowning completely in the hurdles of everyday life

[Also: did anybody catch the song reference in th title?]

Week in review

 

Starting with one of the last things checked off my to-do list and then going on in no particular order I …

  • Called my grandma. We had a good strike of talking about bi-weekly the past months of 2015 but it somehow fizzled out with the start of the new year. Our conversation included me trying to explain what exactly I do when I mention blogging [the umpteenth attempt but we have to forgive our grandparents for being confused, no?]. Despite my efforts to rectify this belief she still thinks that a) every one of you commenting is some sort of pen pal of mine [hiiii!] and b) suggested that I should move in with one of you to live overseas for a few months. I won’t deny I think she’s onto something with that last idea 😉 …
  • Published three posts again. I will admit this was a bit of a struggle for a few reasons but I’m happy I kept up with this kind-of-schedule from past weeks. A regular posting schedule is one of my unwritten goals of 2016 after I was inconsistent during the past months and I’m happy it worked so far.

current view_writing

  • Worked in my regular job and taught German three times**. Two of those lessons went down pretty well, the third … not so much. Being the over thinker I am it’s hard to combat considering a failed lesson or children not making much progress as my fault. The brief consideration of becoming a teacher is an issue of the past now for sure.

**these two jobs do not amount to as many hours as a full-time job – I wouldn’t want to make my working life sound as stressful as some other people’s. I have huge respect for people working 40+ hour-weeks and still getting a lot done on the side.

  • Replied to comments on the past week’s posts. Aside from a more regular blogging schedule I’m trying to improve my replying game because I want to show you how much I appreciate your comments – because I really do. If only I didn’t get distracted so easily online. Repeat after me: multi-tasking is not the way to go.
  • Did a second photo shoot for these vegan and paleo Chocolate Coconut Caramel Cups. I wasn’t pleased with the outcome of the first picture  – I promise they taste better than they look –  but stressed myself about getting the post up on Friday still. Otherwise it’d have resulted in me posting three days in a row – Saturday, Sunday and today – and that messes with my OCD traits.

2_Chocolate Caramel Cups

  • Worked on two (three?) blog post drafts. Inspiration is an ebb and flow varying weekly. I’d prefer a consistent stream of inspiration but we’ve got to work with what your brains churn out, right? Though maybe those more regular walks again will help …?
  • Cleaned my apartment. Oh, those spider webs. Pesky, pesky spider webs. They’re everywhere. And did I mention I have slight arachnophobia? Fun times. Only not.
  • Washed my dad’s car. Questions coming up: 1. Who buys a silver-coloured car i.e. one that ? It’ll look dirty again in no time. 2. How many nooks and crannies attracting and collecting dirt does a car have? 1. Answer: people who prefer function over appearance. 2. Too many. Way too many. I’d like to think I did a pretty good job in making the car look more presentable again which – not quite altruistic, are we? – will benefit me, too, when I use it.
  • Painted my nails. For some reason I’d been putting this off because it seemed to take too much time (yes, I know: really??) but I’m happy I did. Colourful nails brighten my days.

Nails_Essie

  • Went on several walks. The past weeks’ nasty weather kept me mostly inside but recent almost spring-like days have provided excellent conditions for getting my daily dose of fresh air in. Mood change for the better? Check.
  • Survived an almost-attack of three geese on one of said walks yesterday. No, it’s not as funny as it sounds. They can be aggressive when they feel threatened and trying to walk past them in a few metres distance is enough. My legs felt like jello for a few minutes and I hope no neighbor heard my high-pitched scream. Actually, I wouldn’t have minded the geese’s owner to hear it so he’d finally fix his fence for good.
  • Kept up my “workout” routine which honestly is just a 25-minute-circuit without any jumps [does anybody else avoid those in at-home workouts?] but did take break from it on Monday. If you’re feeling unwell there’s no sense in pushing yourself and working out. Not at all. Mental progress is progress still.

And with that It’s a wrap as they say though having worked at Subway I should probably say: it’s a sub! No charge for extra tomatoes and cucumbers today.

Have a great start to your fresh new week!

 

Happiness-inducing today: Reading in an amazing new book I just started.

 

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Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!

How do you combat feeling stressed about keeping a blogging routine up? Or is it just me worrying unnecccessarily?

Random question: what colour is your car?

 

 

 

Honest blogging [what it means to me]

I’m not feeling it today. It being … everything. Creativity isn’t flowing. Drafts are drafts are drafts but I can’t work up the genuine drive and creativity it would take to finish them. That’s why today’s Thinking out loud will really be exactly that: a not-quite stream of consciousness post but a little all over the place spilage of thoughts. Writing is therapeutic after all.

Thinking-Out-Loud

Honest blogging – what is that exactly? I assume everybody’s ideas on this differ. For me, genuine blogging means taking a day off if I really honestly absolutely don’t feel it. There have been days back at the beginning of my blogging journey when I would post simply to post. Feeling low? Blogging in anyway because …

… if I take a break on a day I usually post everybody will believe I stopped blogging and never come back.

… I will mix [insert name of link-up].

… everybody else would be able to pick themselves up and blog through a meh period of life, too.

Like I said, though, posting through a funk used to be me in my early blogging days. I’ve since taken many breaks because forced posts are never honest. A not insignificant part of my discomfort when taking a day off [aside from those I usually don’t post on in anyway] is disappointment in myself. Why and how does every other blogger do it? Get over bad days and still churn out a happy post that makes others smile or inspire them?

If blogging was my full-time job I would likely post even if I didn’t feel it. I guess I’d have posts lined up for those cases already!? However, blogging [unfortunately] isn’t my job [yet]. That’s why I’m writing this post as a reminder not only for myself but – maybe? – everybody else who gets caught up in the comparison trap of perfect blogging every now and then, too.

We’re not robots. Things happen in life and influence us in good and bad ways. Sometimes they throw us off and out of balance , confuse us and we need time to settle back into our normal routines. It’s okay [note to self] and everything will be okay again. Hopefully soon.

Lindt chocolate

Just in case I sound overly dramatic: Nothing extremely awful happened but a slight cold mixed with receiving some bad news when I was expecting better ones threw me off. A little sensitive? I might be. We luckily have guest over for the weekend so I’ll engage in a little cleaning and baking therapy to cheer myself up. Chocolate always helps, too.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Teaching German as usual and the sudden surprise when my student’s grandpa called from the US and we procrastinated learning by chatting with him. Hi, grandpa K.!

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How do you deal with days where of feeling blah? Blog? Don’t blog? Share your honest feelings?

What does honest blogging mean for you?

And as always: feel free to share some happiness-inducing tidbits from your day. (:

The Power of Writing

One advantage of being a blogger? You’re legitimated to celebrate not one but two birthday [week]s a year. Because – laugh at it if you’re blogging yourself [yet!] – but looking back at how long your outlet in the online space has been around is worth mentioning. I obviously mention this because today marks Spoon’s third birthday – congratulations to Amanda! It also collides with the fact that my thoughts this week led me to reminisce about why I write. Not just blog-wise but in general so there we go – out loud.

Thinking-Out-Loud

Ever since I was a wee little one I had the reputation of being drawn in by every piece lf writing I could get my hands on. I was eager to start school because I finally wanted to find out the sense behind the letters on the pages of newspapers, books and random leaflets. And once I knew how I couldn’t stop reading everything in sight. Occasionally to the annoyance of my parents who tried their best to get me away from the books when we had guests. Or sighing in relief libraries existed as else the amount I read would have resulted in huge bills.

Putting pen to paper to create my own stories fascinated me, too. While the content has changed throughout the years what hasn’t is that I still write. Sometimes I – and I assume that’s true for other twenty-somethings, too – feel a little lost. And unless this colides with being lost for words, too, I start writing. To clear my mind and find hold again.

Occasionally I hear [read] others describe themselves as broken human being made whole again through their relationships with their significant other. Not to say writing was equal to these people’s relationship with other people. Yet I will say it is healing, therapeutical for me. I’m broken – not only but obviously through my history – and writing, little by little – helps me become whole again.

current view_writing(My current view whenever writing – be it on my laptop or pen-to-paper.]

What I write on here and possibly even more in almost daily posts on Instagram is ## nicht zuletzt ## a reassurance for myself. Like I mentioned I’m not trying to  compete for the most followers but write first and foremost for myself. Though yes, I’m hoping to help others, too. I want to hear from them; from you. I believe that by sharing our stories we can support each other. Lead by example. Two people might be on a similar road in life with one ahead of the other being able to offer hope and help. And next time it might be the other way around. If we wrote for ourselves exclusively and never shared our thoughts with anybody we’d still be lost. It’s about the community.

At the same time putting my feelings into words – often only reflecting on an event the very moment I start typing and letting my thoughts run wild to be surprised by the outcome. In a good way: More often than not writing things out offers me more clarity. Shows me the lessons  I can learn from certain events in life in hindsight. It’s also about commitment and accountability. Funnily enough it’s – like mentioned above – again only now that I’m reflecting on my reasons to write that I see how many and diverse ones there are.

Yes, I write light-hearted posts, too. Actually, though, these are usuallya bit harder to write for me than the deeper ones because I’m an overthinker and apparently that doesn’t match well with [written] humor?*

* For some reason I feel the need to clarify that I can still crack my friends up in person – it just doesn’t translate that well in my writing ;).

I’m writing to discover who I am.

I’m also writing to kick my perfectionism in the curb. If you want to post at all you have to hit publish at some point – and trust me that can be hard when they never feel ‘perfect’ to you  … Good training.

As cheesy as it sounds – but I have an inkling a lot of what I wrote so far will come across like that already – I’m writing my own life story.

I write so I am? Why, yes, I’d like to think so. Take away the ability to write and express my feelings through words and I’ll once again be broken. Working my way to ‘wholeness’. Word by word. And I’m happy to share my journey with you and take part in yours. Let’s build each other up.

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: A little gardening work While working with words/writing is nice for the brain it’s good to get a little physical action on, too.

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Enough talk about me [as a blogger I probably shouldn’t say it but I don’t really enjoy talking about myself :)]: Tell me why you write. Don’t hesitate to get wordy or even write a post of your own on the topic. I’m honestly curious!