In Which I Talk About Eating Disorders and Going Back to Zero

I am here in San Juan, Gilmore, Manila, Philippines. I don’t know if that’s the proper way to address my location. Things are different here in Asia, and after a year, I still haven’t fully acclimated. Maybe, I never will.

I’m finding it hard to “start”. Start this blog. Start a business. Start my life, the way I want it to. The life of transition (even though all life is a transition, and ultimately, an illusion) makes it hard for me to feel confident and I get these overwhelming senses of panic and anxiety frequently. My mind takes over and my ego-self starts to talk. The one full of insecurity and negativity. The one I thought I left behind when I looked for greener pastures after my 5 year relationship ended. That relationship still haunts me. I have dreams of my ex regularly…

I’m dating a local now. His name is Joemar. I love him with all my soul-light and being. I know for sure that we are supposed to be together now… Help eachother. Support eachother. Nurture eachother. Grow together. But I’m not sure how the future will play… Of course, one can never know. All we have is Now. But I wonder, and I’m uncertain, whether I will walk beside him in my lifetime or if one day, we’ll both realize that we’re meant to walk apart. Literally, he walks all over the Philippines, covering thousands of kilometers at a time. He saw a sign which said “you’ll never walk alone” and here I showed up in his life to walk 660 kilometers of Palawan like some angel (he called me his nurse) or a crazy woman. I guess we’ll find out… One can never know.

I’m currently staying at Epy’s house. He is apparently a famous actor/comedian in this country so Joemar knows high profile people even though he came from humble beginnings and a poor family. Joemar and I aren’t stable yet… We (or more accurately, I) put a down payment for two months’ rent at his local ghetto in Las Pinas. Two month’s rent in the ghetto looks like $40. That’s about how far destitute I am in my current situation.

I don’t know whether to call it the ghetto or the slums or if either would offend him but the bottom line is that it’s a poor community with less than ideal living conditions. Yes. I will live in the ghetto, but what’s amazing is that there’s low crime rate and everyone here is happy. There’s not much you can argue about that, to all you judgers (including myself) out there, and I’m sure I’ll have a lot to learn. I’ll be living in the ghetto but still, I’m in transition. And I’m here, waiting. Always waiting… for something.

I’m writing by myself in the living room while Joemar is upstairs to “process”. He just finished talking about his story for half an hour on my webcam, so he can write it in his book. The process was very emotional for him, especially talking, and hearing himself talk about his childhood, wrought with child abuse from a mom who battered him. It’s amazing what all he’s been through in only 28 years. He meditated with his eyes closed as I hugged him and held his hand while pressing my ear against his heart. He started crying, and then without realizing the emotion would affect me, I started to cry too. He told me to leave him alone so that he could process by himself. I know I can be a bit smothering sometimes. Physically holding on to him. Maybe too much. So I respected his request and quietly left the room with a soft whisper… “I love you”.

The whole incident came as kind of a shock for me… I didn’t expect this emotion and this moment would be strong enough to make me cry. Cry with the inner wounded child in all of us. A memory with my ex flashed through my mind. He told me that I’m the sweetest, most emphatic person he’s ever met and have so much love to offer someone. I just couldn’t offer it to him… As I’m thinking about this more I’m realizing the memory comes in the form of a break-up letter. Or, in our day and age, a break-up e-mail. That ultimately sweet rejection of giving me the most meaningful and sincere compliment someone else could give me and yet still REJECT me was one of the most heart-breaking dejections I have ever gone through. Talk about bittersweet… This memory flashed through my mind in an instant as I held him there… realizing just how much it must be true. The truth is, I am often left not knowing what I’m worth. In life and in business. I don’t know my value in a monetary sense and I don’t know my value in an emotional sense, and I can’t seem to assert myself in a confident way. After 28 years, I still have this low self-esteem and I can’t fathom why ANYONE would like me. Intellectually, I know I’m sweet, talented, caring, pretty… blahblahblah. But those words mean nothing to me and I can’t ever FEEL them emotionally. Emotionally, I am not there. I carry this fake confidence of these positive adjectives about “Who I Am”, but in reality, I don’t know why anyone could love someone so insecure. So unsure of herself. So unattached to anything.

One thing I realized today is that for the first time in my life, I WANT an eating disorder. This scares the shit out of me. I’ve studied eating disorders a great deal throughout my years as the topic and psychology has always fascinated me. I always knew I had the personality and characteristic tendencies for an eating disorder to occur. The perfectionism. The intelligence. Wanting to always be in control… I guess I figured all my self-study and fascination would help me avoid anorexia by becoming aware of my own tendencies and rising above it. I’m better than this shit. This disease couldn’t ever take me.

As my life becomes more and more chaotic and less and less orderly I’m realizing how fake my cocky confidence really is. I’m out of control and I want so much to be IN control that I can’t think of any other way but to starve myself. The idea sounds more and more appealing in my head and the idea of putting food in my mouth, and eating is starting to grow this incredible guilt within me. After eating, I feel guilty for how much I ate (which is, in reality, small morsels or “normal” portions) and how much of a fat pig I am, too.

Look. I am 5’1″ and 111 pounds. The scale says I am around 50 to 51 kilos and I never believe it, thinking I am still at least 53 kilos or 116 pounds because I don’t believe my body looks like it’s lost any weight. All I see is fat. My body image has been distorted all my life but I have managed to avoid eating disorders until now… It doesn’t help that most new people I meet around here either ask if I’m pregnant, or ask how many months I’m at… My American upbringing, and my wounded inner child and especially my bouts of insecurity tighten up and I wonder what the hell is wrong with me when I’m so fat that people think I’m pregnant.

I have no job. I’m trying desperately to start my start-up, but making real money is hard pickings and most my leads and attempts to market myself end up with nothing. I’m close to zero. Humbling. Heart-breaking. Scary. Scared shitless Zero. I am thisclose to joining forces with the infamous outsourcing world and work nights as a call (center) girl. I know this is all a process and this too shall pass. Nothing is permanent and this is all temporary. Blahblahblah. Words of Buddhist wisdom that hardly ever feel relevant when you’re so stuck on yourself. I could probably use more meditation because this shit is killing me. Sometimes you have to “empty” your cup before you can fill it again. To literally be ZERO is a humbling experience but I feel like a goddamn loser nobody ZERO on most days. Nothing. Useless. And my ego-self is trying desperately to win its war against me. To bring me down. To make me give up. To make me fail and say this never happened. To pack my bags and leave this place. Back to the U.S.

Wherever you go, there you are.

I got myself in this mess and I’m the only one who can bring me out. Going Back to the U.S. is not going to help. Surely, not in this shitty economy. Best to hole up in the slums for $20 a month. Slowly, the logic (or illogic) of coming to senses with all this by choosing to starve myself is starting to become more and more appealing and more and more a viable solution and I’ll say it again. That. Scares. The. SHIT. Out. Of. Me.

How can I kick ass and rule the world and be the remarkable person I KNOW I am (sans cocky confidence, since you all know it’s fake bullshit) if all I do is criticize and scowl at myself in the mirror, wondering why everyone I meet asks if I’m pregnant? So I have a little belly fat. But in America, that’s the norm. And I have a boyfriend who’s always around me. I get the jump, but it still hurts… I suck in my stomach and then relax my stomach and scowl at the profile I see in the mirror. Even at 100 pounds when my ribs where showing, I would scowl at this lower belly fat I couldn’t get rid of and wondered why I couldn’t ever have sexy abs no matter how much I exercised (2 hours a day). I’ve never had a GOOD body image and now my reality of ZERO is magnifying my unrest.

I WANT to change the world and transform communities. I want to start in the slums, where invariably, I will live. But how can I do this when I’m so full of myself and how Ugly I am or Fat I am or how goddamn Insecure I am? I never wear make-up and shun beauty products, and models and celebrity media and yet still, I am a product of vanity and just as self-centered as the next person. I know I choose these dramas, and this ego is messing with me. Trying to win. Trying to take its control… Trying to make me Starve.

A part of me wants to starve because a part of me loves the drama. Loves this story of insecurity and “Poor Me” and wanting to be thin. But how much more INTERESTING would the story be if I could effect change through this “ghetto” by starting a self-development and entrepreneurial program that helps empower youth in poor communities to think creatively and teach them arts and crafts as a valid trade and skill? How much more AMAZING would it be if I could spearhead a movement, a group, or my own start-up company (or two)? Starving myself would STARVE my self of the nurturing it needs to be a strong leader. Starving myself would be the end of my dreams and the beginning of consuming, ironically, my self-worth. I don’t need to nurture my insecurity and fear… I already have enough of that. What I need is to nurture my confidence. It’s there…somewhere. It’s there…in all of us. The choice is yours to starve yourself and consume your self-worth or feed your dreams and build your confidence.

It’s not easy. Nothing ever is. Every time I hear them whisper about me being pregnant within this poor community that I find myself in I freeze up. My ego tears me down. My wounded child responds and I wonder if I’m the right person to make these community projects happen. After all, how can I advocate for love and oneness when I can’t even seem to love myself, or feel “one” with the community, always feeling like the outsider. The foreigner. The fattie? No matter where I am or where I go, I’ve always had this alienating sense that I don’t belong. Maybe I knew from a young age that this human skin isn’t really me and surrounding myself within the spiritual circle makes it even more so. I am not “I”, “me”, or “mine” and still haven’t fully acclimated to this human condition. Maybe, I never will.

If I am not “I”, then I am not my thoughts. To know this greater awareness is enough to know that I am better than an eating disorder.

Emptying your cup propels you to think of solutions OR come up with problems. Half empty or half full? The choice is always ours.

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

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