A few years back, posting notes on Facebook was the big thing… like poking was the big thing.. having those boards that you put ‘pins’ on was a big thing.. a Facebook fad. The last message I got reminded me of that.
Well during the list fad, I wrote the following on 1/18/09 and it’s all still pretty accurate.
25 Somewhat random and brutally honest things about me
1. Firstly, I love the Lord Jesus Christ; yet I’m a terrible servant. 2. If I could be like any Biblical character, it would be Barnabas (try not to laugh). 3. I’m struggling with discontentment; a fact recently revealed to me. So pray for me, I’m working on it 4. I still think my husband is *really* cute. 5. Coffee, to me, is one of the major food groups. I adore coffee, seriously. 6. One of my favorite foods is mushrooms. 7. I hate myself for being fat, in fact it depresses me so much, I’m gunna go have another cookie. 8. I’m afraid of those giant windmills. I don’t have a problem with them environmentally or anything like that, I’m just literally afraid of them. They freak me out. 9. I spent 8 days on the psych ward of CMC for severe clinical depression, OCD and a borderline personality disorder. I was liberated from all that by Christ. 10. I have a pretty sordid past (hence the mental disorders). But again, I was set free from all that bondage. 11. I hope and pray that all my kids go into some sort of full time ministry. 12. I want to lead one friend and one family member to the Lord this year. Maybe one of you! 13. I have a mystery brother. He’s a half brother I’ve never met, fathered by the father I’ve never met. It’s really weird. 14. I absolutely love to laugh. In fact, if I have to poke fun at myself to encourage those around me to laugh, I’ll do it in a heartbeat. 15. I love going to the movies. I enjoy the whole movie theater experience. 16. I’m the quintessential what you see is what you get kinda gal. I don’t put on any type of airs to “fit in”. You don’t like what you see, you can always walk away. 17. I tend to shoot from the hip far too often. Gets me into a lot of trouble. I’m getting better at it though. Or is it my aim is just getting better. 18. I hate living up to someone else’s preconceived ideas of who I should be and how I should act. 19. I don’t believe simply having a familial title (father, grandfather, aunt etc) should entitle you to anything; even respect. It should be earned. 20. I adore rock n roll music. But I know it’s not the right thing for me, so I reject it. Can’t sing praise to God from the same mouth your singing, “My Humps”. 21. I can’t stand a messy house. It makes my brain feel messy. 22. I can play the tin whistle, somewhat decently. 23. Some of the most interesting folks to be around are youth. Their potential is so inspiring. 24. Sandwiches are the world’s most perfect food. I could eat em breakfast, lunch and dinner. 25. I would prefer to have a few close good friends than 100’s of acquaintances.
Hello :) I just wanted to tell you what a lovely blog you have here. I do agree there is not enough help and support for boys out there in relation to mental illness. I will always be here to talk to your son if he needs someone. Have a lovely weekend and God bless ❤❤ xx
You are so incredibly kind. Thank you for reaching out to us. We always enjoy hearing from people. And thank you for recognizing that boys are pretty disenfranchised. We’re working on changing that!
So I’m on this little mission to encourage more openness and transparency in Vale. Believe it or not the kid is rather shy. People are drawn to him, in fact it’s kinda crazy sometimes, but he gets tongue tied and so he can struggle.
However, he’s insanely good looking. I know, I know I’m his mom, but seriously he is. We have been told, from probably 20 independent sources, that he should model.. Yeah… the anorexic boy should be thrust into that industry. I think not. He gets told he’s cutehothandsome no.. sexy. Can you believe that? It thrills me that peers at school refer to him as Sexy Vale (well, his real name which makes an alliteration, but you understand), my 16 year old. Yeah totes luvs.
My husband came home from work and reported that someone wrote on the equipment at his job (where Vale works) that “Vale is so sexxy”. I mean really? And the icing on the cake (and then yeah, I’ll get off this diatribe) his immediate superior told Vale that he should model for Calvin Klein, calls him Calvin and says, “you just have that appeal”. Sexual harassment anyone?
So back to the transparency. So you have all these good looks, people are naturally drawn to you… what are you going to do with it Vale? Open up, share your story.. bits of it, sure, slowly… one day at a time. People will listen. You can do more for your peers who are struggling, suffering and longing than perhaps their parents, teachers, doctors, shrinks, etc. Moreover, chronicling how God has worked in you, helping you heal, can do more good than we can even imagine. Makes me think of the televised debates of the Kennedy vs Nixon presidency. Kennedy, although not nearly as articulate or bright swept those debates because he was far better looking. There’s so much opportunity to whisper change into people’s lives. Resounding hope.
I’ll let you know if he bites. I dare say, for the first time, he’s really thinking about it.
You were broken, abandoned
And crying all alone
We were waiting and praying
And longing to bring you home
And then we saw your face
In a moment you were wrapped up in our hearts
We took a step of faith
And now here we are
Will you let me hold you in my arms tonight
I have come so far to find you
So far to find you
Will you take my love and give up the fight
I have come so far to find you
So far to find you
From a world away, I journeyed
Just to hold your hand
You will never be alone again
I’ve come so far to find you
So far to find you
You were fighting and fearful
You were hiding your heart away
But I was trying so hard to show you
‘Cause there were no words that I could say
If you could see my heart
You would know that all I want to do
Is care for you
Here in your eyes I see
Reflections of myself
How I’m the child that’s really running
But I can hear a voice (of God) that’s whispering my name
Saying come to me, don’t run from me
I’m all you need and I am calling
From Heaven’s throne
Down to a rugged cross I came
It was My love for you that brought Me all the way
So far to find you
So far to find you
You were broken, abandoned
And crying on your own.
Written by John Mark Hall, Stephen Curtis Chapman
When I heard it I thought of Vale… of how after 8 years later he still has distrust. I wonder, how long until he stops fighting and enjoys being safe.
Profound title is it not? Per Vale’s request WalkingThroughWithVale has been deleted. I apologize if that causes any inconvenience, he just felt he didn’t do enough on the blog and wanted it down for the time being. Perhaps one day, he’ll pick up a keyboard and start blogging again.
Yesterday is one of the first days that I’ve been able to open my eyes to progress. I am so thankful to our Heavenly Father for all his gifts, His goodness and His fingerprints all over Vale.
“Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul And sings the tune without the words And never stops at all.” ― Emily Dickinson
Never knew that fried chicken could change your outlook and inspire hope did you? Vale, out of the blue, told the family that for some reason he was craving fried chicken. If you know anything about anorexic behavior, you know that they don’t crave *anything*.
Needless to say that the moment the family got home from church, Payne hopped on that computer to find the closest KFC. A nearly mad scramble was made to obtain these nearly holy grail-esque poultry pieces.
“The problem is that you don’t just choose recovery. You have to keep choosing recovery, over and over and over again. You have to make that choice 5-6 times each day. You have to make that choice even when you really don’t want to. It’s not a single choice, and it’s not easy.”—
Hi, I found this a few blog a few minutes ago and I just wanted to say that I think your amazing for what your doing. I wish that my mother would help me as much as you do with your son. Anyway I figured you would like to hear a thank you, and honestly you deserve one. :)
Thank you so much for your kind words. I usually shy away form the word “deserve” because anything that I do is because God is so good to me, and that goes through me to others… at least most of the time.
I don’t know your mom, but often times I find moms just don’t know what to do. But if your mom isn’t there for you, find support somewhere because our God created you for a special and unique purpose. Don’t you want to find out what that is? <3
Everything is really confusing and overwhelming, and I'd like to burn myself some more, but I wont.
I’m glad you won’t… hurting yourself won’t make anything less confusing or overwhelming. It may help it disappear in the immediate, but it is still there on the horizon. Reach out, there is support to be found, often in the least likely of places. <3
“Yesterday, (Saturday), wasn’t a bad day. I woke up to the “Bug song” on the alarm on my phone. I forgot to turn it off the night before, maybe forgetting that the following day was saturday. We went out to Ollies, to get thank-you cards, and chapstick. (Winter in the Northeast really kills your lips) Then we went to Zumos (A coffee shop in the green ridge section of Scranton). I ordered cheese cake, with a cinnamon steamer. When we came home, I asked mom if I could go up to the park (Nay Aug) to take some more pictures for my Fall Shooting Assignment in my photography class in school. I did get some decent pictures, but mother nature decided to give the wyoming valley a crappy year for fall foliage. The park has beautiful trees,a nifty (maybe twenty feet high?) tree house, an awesome gorge, inspiring trails, and I don’t know how else to describe it, it’s beautiful. The only problem with the park is that it has a deserted zoo. A few years ago it had a cougar, but kids loved to bang on the (was it a cage, or glass?) and it annoyed the crap out of the poor thing. It kept pacing back and forth, back and forth, staring at the kids, like it wanted to claw them all up. To take a break about this thing, I’m sorry I have to write about this. My mom is pretty annoyed about the whole “Cougar” thing, where it is considered more acceptable for an older woman to date or have sex with a younger man, or boy, than it is for an older man to have sex with a younger women, or girl. I’m watching this episode of Numb3rs, and it’s about how this older 30 year old woman is using this 17 year old boy. There going around, killing people, stealing money, cars, etc. I’m not quite sure what the end game is, but it’s still upsetting. Why is it more acceptable for an older woman to have sex with boys, but not men to have sex with girls? I’m not saying I want men to have sex with girls, but it’s still upsetting. Seeing who society twists roles, and everything. My mom typed up on the internet yesterday something like “women sexually using boys” or whatever, and it came up with the top ten cougar movies. That’s celebrating statuotory rape. But when she looked up “men sexually using girls” (again, something like that) all it came up with was porn! People say, “oh that’s disgusting for men to have sex with girls!” but….it’s…ok for women to do that with boys? Sorry, THAT doesn’t make any sense. And people say and think that boys have dirtier minds than girls, (dirtier? Why?) I asked my mom about that and she because boys start thinking about sex and having it, and more, than girls do. And that’s true, but that doesn’t mean that boys are dirty. Sorry, I was kind of jumping around there. So, we were just fooling around on the rocks in Nay Aug park, pretending to fight like soldiers, like most boys do. And, there’s this cool little ridge near the path above the gorge, that has two eye holes, and they’re big enough, you can crawl in them. Anyways, they tried to charge me, but I took this really long branch and pretended to set it on fire, and threw it at them. So, one of my brothers blocked it and it bloodied up my finger. Like, pretty bad. Dark, royal, red blood covering my finger, and pouring onto the rock. I think it’s healing all right, but it still looks pretty red, and maybe a little swollen, I’m not sure. I’m going to stop talking so I can go back with my brothers, maybe even to see my blood is still there.
Also, in my last post I said that it’s een two weeks since I last cut, that was an error. What I meant to say was: I threw up a few weeks ago.
Also, I just wanted to add that, I believe Paterno should’ve been fired (like he has), but at the end of the season. Why not let him just finish the season. Yes, he does deserve to e fired, obviously, because he didn’t follow through like he should’ve, but I still believe that he should’ve been allowed to finish the couple of games that he hasleft. Love, Vale”—Walking Through With Vale: Blood Stains on a Rock
“My posts are few and far between, evidently! Maybe I should stop apologizing, maybe im jinxing myself.
I look at my old posts and feel like a different person. I mean, intellectually, I know, “that’s me”. But, I feel like I’ve come so far. And it’s hard to believe.
I’m having a little difficulty blogging right now. So much has happened recently. Maybe some basic updates:
This may be a little frightening to some people, as I have an eating disorder, but I joined track&field. Since I’ve been doing rather well with my eating, I have sort of gained more endurance, and strength. (I did 300 calf-raises with ten lb’s in each hand. And, NO, I’m not bragging about it :p )
I have private art lessons. Which is exciting, as i vastly enjoy art.
I rejoined Choral Society. Not as exciting, but still, important.
I joined Civil Air Patrol. It’s an Air Force Auxiliary. Honestly, the only reason I’m going is because it looks good on college and job applications. The weekly meetings are boring, but the events they hold are (im hoping) exciting, like encampment. Encampment sounds excruciatingly thrilling.
I have promised before hand that I would try and post more, but this time I mean it! If I don’t post within (at least) the next two weeks, you have permission to ask my mom to slap me. If this weren’t the internet, I would’ve given you permission to slap me. This is the internet. Ohhh well … :D
I’ll give more daily things like how track went, or how the “hottest girl in the tenth grade” wants my number. :P Again, so much has happened, and I have to think a bit in order to find out what to post. Our house looks gorgeous all redone and all. The floor is amazing. If I showed a picture of the floor before the flood and after, you would probably spit your coffee on your screen.
The walls are painted attractive colors, and we have refreshingly new furniture. However, the rest of town looks like a dump. I swear every block there is a house that has been torn down, or needs to be. Every third house is for sale. Every other house abandoned.
Okay, those statistics may not add up, but my point is proven. If a person had not been here previously, the whole town would look like white trash.
Oh, I guess this is important. A couple weeks ago was my second birthday. aka, the day I showed my arms (last year) to my mom, the day after valentines. We celebrated by eating Mexican. Just kidding. We celebrated by making those Pandora Project “I am —-” posters. And I also submitted something to speak for RAINN. We did have Mexican though. So, that was a successful, progressive day. Again, I will try and post as much as possible Love Vale”—Walking Through With Vale: My Apologies
“I did a rather difficult thing today. I did an interview. I was extremely nervous about it before-hand. I was worried I wouldn’t know how to answer questions, if they were going to be uncomfortable, or if I didn’t straight out know how to answer them. Thankfully, the interviewer and camera guy calmed me down by acting very friendly, and calm. They told me If I felt uncomfortable answering any questions I could just signal that I didn’t want to. God blessed my tongue, because I answered all of them fine, I think!
Now, the aftermath has been a little strange. It reminds me of my speech last year, I felt drained. Physically tired, but mostly emotionally tired. I’m still coming off my high, and I think it’s going to take a while. I actually went outside the window, and sat down. Looked at the mountains, or big hills.. whatever they are, and the trees, and the sun dying down. Just to try and get in control, or find some kind of peace or calming feeling.
(By the way, mom, don’t kill me when you read this) Guys, I might not technically be allowed to go out on the roof XD
Anyways, my hips are doing okay. I fractured them before during track, just in case nobody knows. The process is apparently taking longer than it would with most people because of my eating. Since my body isn’t getting enough nutrients, it is pulling calcium and energy from other bones to heal the hip. “So, if you don’t eat, and your hips don’t get enough nutrients (calcium, vitamin c, protein) you won’t heal, and then you won’t be able to compete in track anymore”—Walking Through With Vale: Interview
I am not a boy. I am a girl. I'm seventeen, and I have three of Vale's diagnosis's. I am also a cutter, and suffer from Dermatillomania. I don't want to overstep any boundaries. I don't want to say I understand anything your son is going through. But my oldest older brother is Paranoid Schizophrenic. My sister has PTSD and can't eat sometimes. And I'm destroying my mother ever day, I know, when she sees my arms. So I'm reading your words, to understand you as a woman, as a mother, like mine.
I hope that you find my blog helpful? As a parent is is extremely painful to watch your child suffer so much. On the other hand, being there for him now gives me hope that he’ll have a full life later. It’s a small price to pay.
I was 13 when I started cutting. No one had a clue till I was 15, and my dad found me passed out with my arm over the toilet. And chose to ignore it. I'm almost 21 now, and was cut free for almost 3 yrs until a week and 1 day ago. I have no idea who you are, or your family. But your son is extremely lucky to have you. You have a beautiful soul, and by the way you speak about vale and your love for him, he is a spectacular boy. I hope things get easier. And they eventually will. Just stay strong
Thank you so much for your letter. It’s a little hard for me to comprehend seeing your child in that state and deciding to walk away. I appreciate your kind words but please know it’s I who am the lucky one.
“Last week I had another interview with a local newspaper. It was much longer than the very first interview. The first interview was maybe about five minutes long, this interview was more along the lines of fifty minutes long. It was much more personal, and I was asked a lot about my own life. It was a little difficult at times, but I made it out alive. ( or did i? :O) This week I am a counselor at Marley’s Mission camp. It hasn’t been all that rough, but actually enjoyable. It can be difficult at times trying to keep some kids under control, especially since you are not allowed to touch any of them. Not that I would strangle any of them into submission, but you get me.
I met another guy there who’s nice, he helps me keep all the ducks counted. Some kids are harder than others (which is to be expected) For example, there is a younger guy in his early teens who is in our group who is slower mentally. He is constantly ‘tired’, but I’ve been told ‘tired’ actually means he has a case of L-A-Z-Y. So, during some activities, actually… most of them I have to constantly check him to make sure he’s involved. Either that or that he hasn’t wandered off somewhere on the farm which scares the crap out of me. I don’t know him, but I feel responsible for him. Another kid the first couple days didn’t want to be there. I was concerned he was even going to come back. But, today he came back, and quite shockingly wanted to help with the boys who were younger than him.
Besides that, some flirting between kids, and minor misbehaving. And on another note I got a job for the summer (and, hopefully, a few years into the school year) I will be working a farm stand.. selling vegetables on courthouse square. The guy I’m working for is building a restaurant, and maybe this will lead me into being a waiter. (that is a rather big maybe)
Have a good week, love you!”—Walking Through With Vale: Another
“It’s me again. Its been what…three four months since I last posted. That was when I was at PPI. But, Im way past that. Im eating fine, and I haven’t cut in, Im not going to say a long time, but maybe a couple weeks. Someone might think, well that’s not very long at all to go, but I had gone months before that relapse. So shut up. Everyone probably knows that my family got displaced by the flood. Which is crazy… One day I was just walking around aimlessly (like i usually do) and firefighters were walking around my small town banging on people’s doors telling them theres a recommended evactuation. My mom called my dad and I think thats when he started coming home, either that or when BANG BANG BANG “its a mandatory evacuation”
This is kind of off topic, but if you think of the name firefighter it sounds so noble..and they’re jobs are nobel but I am feeling pretty weird right now. I have a cold, and I feel like my mind is floating above my head.
I remember the day when we came back to our small nothing-happens-here town, and feeling crazy. This kind of stuff doesn’t happen to me. This only happens to people you don’t know, where it doen’t hit you. This only happens to people that you feel sorry for for five seconds, maybe even pray for, and then move on with the rest of your life.
This flood has made me appreciate those people more. Even think about them more, and pray for them. There’s nothing else much I can do, really. The only money I have I’m trying to save up for a car, and for college (maybe i wont need money for college because im considering the ROTC) and some money for travelling in those years. Anyways, we came back, and the military were on the streets, controlling traffic, and possibly even stopping low-lives from stealing our garbage.
You might think “why would you call them low lives? maybe they’re just poor” No, i don’t care even if they were poor, if they were that desperate, they still need to ask. We’re not mean people, well help you, just ask. That doesn’t even count the fact that ITS ILLEFGAL.
Scroungers going around looking for valueable objects here and there in people’s waste piles. Have you any decency? this is a crises, people’s lives are changed completely, our lives are upside-down..
….now that im done ranting. It’s so surreal, as my mom says. As I said before, you never think that that kind of stuff will ever happen to you. Ever. Maybe if you’re a caring person, you’ll give money, but besides that, honestly, you can’t really do anything.
Imagine everything in your basement.
Imagine everything on your first floor.
Now imagine not having any of it. One day you come back to your house, and it’s all gone. That’s not even thinking about the fact that you have to clean all the crap up. That you have to rebuild your life, and live like a nomad. That first day we came back, us kids didn’t even see the basement. Maybe because it was too much in shambles, my mom didnt want us seeing it. Or maybe because it smelled so horrible I could puke. It still smelled like that weeks after. Besides the huge mess everywhere, filthy lackawanna river (old-coal poisoned water) all over your floor, t-v smashed, furniture flipped, all your expensive electronics waterboarded. It’s amazing what water can do. Something you see everyday. Yeah, that stuff that comes out of the showerhead is water. That liquid that comes out of your sink faucet, is water. Whenever you go to the pool, run around in the summer rain, go to the ocean, even drink. That’s all water. So, besides the huge massive mess, there are just random things everywhere. Some kids toys from down the street on our front porch. A box filled with miscellaneous supplies all the way down the road, two three blocks. What’s up with that?
Three milk jubs lined up in an artistic fashion, all filled at the same exact height. That’s so weird.
Some guys lawn table just sitting in the back alley, as if someone set it up to have lunch there……???
TV remotes standing up on their bottoms on the side table in the living room. YOU CAN FLIP FURNITURE AND RUIN MY PRECIOUS HOME, BUT YOU CAN’T FLIP OVER A FREAKING REMOTE?
We got this half-a-double cleaned up nice so we can live in it. My mom’s friend let us stay in here. I don’t know if the exchange deal was that we can stay here if we clean it up? Whatever..
So, out of the house.
1. into my mom’s sister in laws house for a couple days
2. into the church..which was weird
3. into a hotel up on montage mountain
4. into this half-a-double in scranton. Living in Scranton i guess softened the blow to us moving again, because it’s one of my favorite cities. Lengthy, rich history, nice decent sized downtown, beautiful architecture, gorgeous parks, nice coffee shops. Plus, it’s my birthplace, and I lived there for some few years when I was still with my birth “parents”.
I know my mom is thinking about me in the matter of us moving around so much. It does bother me because it might bring back memories of my old life when I was still in foster care. Moving around from house to house, no one wanting you. But we’re all cool here; Im all right.
Im talking a lot cause i haven’t posted in a while; which I apologize for, because I know some people enjoy reading. I will try to keep posted.
Any questions, just ask. I’m pretty available, when I’m not doing school, or working on rebuilding on my home.
School is going well, I like my art and music class alot. (of course) I could post some of my work i’ve done so far on here. But I also have a school blog, maybe I can just give the website, I don’t know how that would work out.
I’m pretty upset about what went on in PennState with that perv sandosky, or whatever, I don’t care about spelling his name right, because if he doesn’t care if he effs up kids i dont care if I dont say his name right.
Before all this happened, psu was one of my choices i wanted to go to for college, Im not so sure anymore. I’m still going for architecture no matter what school I’m going to.
I know, just because a handful of creeps do wrong, doesn’t mean their education system is any worse. Still, it makes my want to go to pennstate weaken.
I feel bad #1 mostly for the boys who were raped, obviously. Secondly, for the innocent people who are having their reputations tainted because of the perv. (It’s amazing how one persons wrongdoings can spread out to hurt so many other people) #2, I feel bad for the football players. On the radio the other day a guy was saying how the football players shouldn’t play in the last games. I hope you realize that doesn’t make any sense. You are going to take away the honor of these other young men, because they’re an easy target, even though they did nothing wrong? These guys who have worked and dreamed of being on that team, are going to have hallowed out honor in these games. How can they say with complete assurance and pride “We are PennState”? That’s not fair at all. Now, about Jo Paterno. Should he quit? I don’t know, I can’t judge that. What I find completely offbalance though is that this man, Paterno, who has had a great, honorable, respected career for over six decades is being pounced on for this one time. Six decades, seriously? Yes, I know, these are the lives of young boys, and they count, but I still find that pretty high up on the crazy scale.
And this other guy, WHO SAW A BOY BEING RAPED, ran away like a girl, and took over a day to report it. So, Paterno, who has been a good guy for his whole career is being fired, when he did the lesser of two evils, but this guy who saw the whole freaking thing still has his job….
Maybe they fired Paterno because he’s an easy target, I don’t know. Im all up in arm about the whole thing. Of course im angriest with this perv, sandusky, or whatever his “name” is. He doesn’t deserve a name.
Those kind of guys, pedophiles, rapists, all of them, I just want to take a dull knife and castrate them all.
But, to express my anger in a good way my mom and I are talking about trying to pass a law. The whole idea isn’t completely fleshed out, but the basic idea is that these people should get time because they were state-funded. My mom could probably explain it better. Again, any questions, comments, concerns, whatever..Im here.”—Walking Through With Vale: Me Again
“Hey, I’ve been reading your tumblr for a while and I have come to the conclusion that you are a beautiful, inspirational person. I have a cutting problem as well, but when I read your blog I’m inspired to stay strong and keep soldiering on. You’re a great person and I admire you so much. :)”—Walking Through With Vale: You’re inspirational
It got to be too much… I really loved having my own domain name, to strike out against male sexual assault and the fallout from it. But we’re just a small little thing and paying $170 for the page just got to costly, so …I had to let it go. Really. Discouraged.
So how to move all my posts back to Tumblr? Over 300 posts!!! Part of the reason I don’t blog as much is that Vale’s care demands so much time. How in the world was I going to move all those post from my Wordpress.com blog back to Tumblr?
I found the solution!! Import2. Awesome service, awesome people! I had a little snafu of my own making and their support helped me work it out before paying a cent! You even get to demo the service by importing 10 posts for free.
If you have a Wordpress blog and need to/want to move to Tumblr, seriously, check them out!
Thank you so much Import2 for helping me move back home!!
Have you seen the Tumblr blog, Project Unbreakable? It is an amazing photo memoir approach to sexual assault activism. Survivors have themselves photographed with a poster that has the words of their rapist written on them. So incredibly powerful! I’m awed by what they are doing. But enough of listening to me. Please go check it out yourself.
Project Unbreakable was created in October of 2011 by Grace Brown. Grace works with survivors of sexual assault, photographing them holding a poster with a quote from their attacker. Grace has photographed over four hundred people and has received over a thousand submissions.
TIME magazine has also named it one of the top 30 Tumblr blogs to follow.
If you are interested in participating by submitting in your own image, you may send an email to projectunbreakablesubmissions @gmail.com.
Note: Grace, or anyone else associated with this project, is not qualified to give certified advice on this subject.
If you are struggling, RAINN has a free, confidential, 24/7 sexual assault hotline: 1.800.656.HOPE(4673). RAINN also has an online hotline: https://ohl.rainn.org/online/
Do you recall that friend of mine, the one who I had the unmitigated joy of informing her that her daughter has an eating disorder? She recently commented in a group on Facebook that another friend of hers told her that the daughter’s eating disorder is a sin problem. If I had a quarter for every time I had wrestled with that thought or told something very similar I would be really wealthy. I think calling this or any other mental illness a sin like that is an abusive oversimplification. Is it really how God wants us to live? No. But I think there is a lot more going on in a human brain that we possibly know about that to dismiss something so horrific as an eating disorder as a sin to simply ‘stop and get over it’ is a sin.
Let me mention here that 1) I believe God can give and enable complete recovery over an eating disorder, which doesn’t mean that it won’t be part of a suffers life. It just doesn’t have to consume it. 2) The Bible truly does have the answer to every hardship. With that in mind, I’d like to share an article I’ve recently read on the question of Eating Disorders and sin.
Answer: Eating disorders can be a difficult topic to discuss. Sufferers and their families often experience great shame, and the disorders are not easily treated. Sadly, eating disorders are not uncommon in Western culture. Psychologists and other professionals now recognize three distinct eating disorders, as well as disordered eating, which does not fit into one of the three categories.
Anorexia nervosa is a disorder in which a person will not maintain a normal weight (85 percent or less of the weight that would be considered normal for a person of the same age and height), is fearful of weight gain, and has a distorted image of his or her body (often believing he or she is fat or not admitting the seriousness of his or her low body weight). People with anorexia nervosa maintain their low body weights either through restricting food or, at times, through developing bingeing/purging behavior. Bulimia nervosa is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating (eating more than would be considered normal in a particular amount of time and doing so with a sense of lack of control) and recurrent purging (through vomiting, laxative use, or even excessive exercise). Self-evaluation for people with bulimia nervosa depends on body shape and weight more so than for others, though most people with bulimia nervosa are within a normal weight range (perhaps a little below or above normal weight). Binge eating disorder has been newly classified. It is essentially a disorder in which a person engages in binge eating without compensatory or purging behaviors. Compulsive overeating or food addiction is not specifically classified as an eating disorder, though it certainly is disordered eating and often includes obsessive thoughts about food. (Some people consider gluttony an eating disorder, but for the purposes of this article, we will not address it. Please see our article on gluttony.)
Polls report differing numbers, but at least 1 out of every 10 women will have experienced an eating disorder at some time in her life, and some polls suggest that as many as 1 out of 4 will. Eating disorders do not only affect women, either: approximately 10 percent of those with an eating disorder are men.
Eating disorders have many reported causes: stress, anxiety, inability to express emotions productively, control, personality traits (obsessive compulsive, perfectionistic), media, and unhealthy relationships. However, eating disorders seem to have at the root an over-emphasis on self. Generally, people with eating disorders have a negative (or at least extremely low) view of self. This self-hatred, demand for self to be perfect by one’s own willpower, or sense that one must and can control his own environment can be very destructive to the health and well-being of an individual, not only to the body but to the spirit as well. It also can have profound effects on the sufferer’s family.
For the Christian, eating disordered behavior is contrary to God’s ways. First Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us, “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (NLT). Add to this passage such verses as Romans 14:7-8, “For we are not our own masters when we live or when we die. While we live, we live to please the Lord. And when we die, we go to be with the Lord. So in life and in death, we belong to the Lord” (NLT). If our bodies belong to the Lord, then He is the master of them, and the way we treat them either honors or dishonors God. Eating disordered behavior does not fall into line with Scripture. The thoughts behind eating disordered behavior also do not fall into line with Scripture. The Bible reassures us of God’s great love for us, which results in self-acceptance and an out flowing of love to others (1 John 4:16-19; John 13:34-35). The Bible speaks to God’s sovereignty and control; a person who develops an eating disorder in order to gain control needs to give his or her trust to God and learn to rest in His capable hands.
Eating disorders are not physically, psychologically, or spiritually healthy. They result from a fallen world and a hurt human being. It is incumbent upon a Christian suffering from an eating disorder—and his/her family as well—to seek as much medical, psychological, and spiritual help as necessary to treat the problem. The journey to health and wholeness may be long, but Jesus has set Christians free (Galatians 5:1). The Holy Spirit has the power to break the bondage of eating disorders. If we are His in Christ, He makes that power available to us (Romans 8:9-11; Ephesians 3:20-21).
1. It’s an illness, not a choice. You don’t have anorexia because you’re a vain control freak on a mega-diet—anorexia is a biologically based mental illness. 2. Food is medicine. You have to eat in order to get well. You don’t have to like this, and eating may make you feel worse at first. That’s okay. Keep eating. 3. Anorexia often brings “friends” in the form of co-existing conditions such as depression and anxiety. Although it makes recovery more complicated, it doesn’t make recovery impossible. Staying healthy means managing both anorexia and any other mental illness you might have. 4. Weight isn’t the measure of how sick you are. Not that weight and health have nothing to do with each other, but you can be very ill with anorexia and be at a “normal” weight. Remember, you can drown just as easily in six inches of water as you can in six feet or six miles. 5. Anorexia is deadly serious. Eating disorders have the highest death rate of any psychiatric illness. The “best” anorexic is the dead one. 6. There is hope for recovery. Many people with anorexia recover and go on to live happy, fulfilling lives…and you can be one of them. 7. You will never be totally “ready” to recover. That’s okay. Most people aren’t- even those who have made a full recovery. Let someone else do the wanting for you until you can take over that job yourself. 8. Keep your recovery in the present tense. By all means, put your illness behind you, but remember to stay vigilant about your recovery. This takes a lot of effort, but eventually it does get easier. 9. There are no shortcuts. Recovering from anorexia means eating and gaining weight and being uncomfortable in your new body and new habits. There is no getting around this, the only thing is to get through it. 10. Anorexia is your illness, not your identity.
Just letting you have a peek in on a conversation I’m having with one of Vale’s teachers:
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Me [04:31 PM]: Mrs. Health Teacher,
I’m going to do a preemptive strike here… during health, the 3rd Unit on Nutrition. I’m guessing there are lessons about ED and calories, portion sizes.. am I right?
Mrs. Health Teacher [05:59 PM]: Yes, we do talk about all of that.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Me [12:53 PM]: That’s what I thought. Could we be proactive and think of an acceptable work around? Him ‘learning’ about various forms of ED or how portions are so much bigger, or how many calories are in an average McD meal is super unproductive. What could he do instead. What about him doing a power point on ED that perhaps you could share with your students in the future. LIke a look at ED from the inside. Vale is an activist, and this just might be helpful. What do you think?
Mrs. Health Teacher [01:08 PM]: Mrs. Vale’s Mom, what specific information is not helpful? In the lessons we talked about the importance of nutrition, nutrients, how to choose good/bad foods based on labels, how to eat healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, obesity, and fad diets/eating disorders.
Me [03:55 PM]: Well, all of that. May I ask, what is your experience with people with eating disorders? =)
Wow, that’s a loaded question. As anyone knows the trauma from sexual abuse doesn’t just go away. Vale is far and away better than he was when we started this blog, but we are no where close to “all better”. The good news: Vale is a “retired cutter”. He hasn’t cut (with the exception of one slight, half-hearted relapse) in well over a year. The bad news is that the eating disorder is still a major player in his life. Vale is under a strict regime of refeeding right now. It has it’s ups and downs. Overall, Vale is showing progress towards healing. He does activism that encourages him and others. And at this point, nearly two years since disclosure, that’s all a mom can ask for. =)
I’m sitting in a local bookstore waiting to tell a dear family friend that I’m pretty sure her daughter has anorexia. I don’t know if there is any way to describe how I’m feeling right now. Let me start at the beginning…
A couple of weeks ago my husband commented that one of his crew people, my friend’s daughter, recently came back from college and looked incredibly thin. Of course, living the life that we live we always tend to suspect ED. But knowing that, we try to second guess ourselves from jumping to unwarranted conclusions. So my husband observed this young woman for a couple of days. We’re pretty intimately involved with ED so when my husband saw this young woman take a salad (no chicken no dressing) and a water for lunch his suspicions grew worse. When he saw that said salad was later tossed away half eaten, well, 2 +2 = uh oh. He related all this to me and I told him I would talk with her.
I invited this young woman out for some coffee and had a little chat. To say that I sent to the chat a bit apprehensive would not be inaccurate. What if we were wrong and now we offended this girl? What if we were right and she lied…I have to say, praise to my merciful God that neither of these scenarios played out that way. She was very honest. She’s also in a lot of trouble. Of course I have no medical degree, so I can’t exactly diagnosis her, but at the very least she has some seriously eating disordered behavior and thoughts. Knowing the medical criteria for anorexia, however, I strongly suspect she is anorexic. She no longer has her period, has dropped 40+ pounds, consumes approximately 500 calories a day and fears her hair may be thinning. I didn’t think to check for lanugo hair, but I did look for a messed up forefinger indicating purging (didn’t really see any indication and she says that she’s not). And she is so so thin.
Two things have been haunting me since our meeting. 1) I know more than her mother does. I hate that. Its far too big a burden for someone else to carry without the parent knowing. But the young woman asked if I would help her talk to her mom, so I needed to carry on for a couple of days. And 2) I’m about to turn this family’s world upside down with the news that Eating Disorders have now invaded their lives. I don’t want to be the one telling them that! Moreover, I’m not a doctor! What if I’m completely wrong and way off base? What if I’m just paranoid because of what our family has been living with? But I’m not. At the very least, this beautiful girl has some seriously disordered thinking about food. *sigh*
Update: Well I talked with the mom. The daughter went to the doctor and advised her that it would be okay to go back to college and for her to visit a nutrition. I find that rather frightening. The one positive thing is that the mom and I are still friends. I guess that’s a selfish thing to consider huh?