July 2019 Happenings!

Hi everyone!

I turned 24 this past week, and I can’t believe I already made another 365-day trip around the sun. This was the first time I was home for my birthday in two years, and it was amazing to be home with my family and close friends. I share the same birthday as my mom, so to be able to be home and celebrate with her, my grandma, my siblings, and my father meant a lot to me!

A lot has happened since I last posted! Remember in my last post how I mentioned I was going on an audition? Well, your girl was invited to join the company she auditioned for, and tomorrow will mark our third rehearsal together for the summer! It’s very exciting to think I am starting with a new performance group (based out of NYC), who has such an important mission that is near and dear to my heart.

Related: May 2019 Life Update

This specific company is dedicated to raising awareness about eating disorders, and de-stigmatizing mental health. As someone who considers herself a recovered anorexic, and someone who struggled with anxiety her whole life, joining this team of artists means THE WORLD to me. I am so excited for our season. We have so many amazing projects lined up for the summer and fall!

Related: How Dance Helped Me Survive Anorexia and Literally Everything Else

I leave for Joffrey Italy in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!! I literally CANNOT BELIEVE I AM GOING! I prayed for a year for an opportunity to dance and travel, and last minute went to the Joffrey audition, and then was accepted into the Italy location! Life is so funny with the way it works! I can’t wait to travel, train, and experience Italian culture right on the Mediterranean.

Related: Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive

Another cool thing I did recently was get another piercing! I wanted my septum pierced for a while and decided to pull the trigger and go get it done a week and a half before my birthday. This way, it would have a whole month to heal before I leave for Italy. I LOVE how it came out! The piercing is a titanum horseshoe because I can flip it into my nose to hide it. I had it anodized rose gold to match my nipple rings 🙂 Haha. I adore it, and it’s been healing well. I can’t wait for it to heal completely so I can wear cute clickers and other jewelry.

Related: Julia – You Got WHAT Pierced?!

I’m feeling really optimistic about the future, and my coming adventures in Italy and NYC. I’ve been working and trying to enjoy my time home before I jet set off for four weeks to train. 24 is already giving me great energy, and I can’t wait to see where I am next year when I turn 25 (that is a SCARY number oh my gosh).

I hope I can write more, and at least make a post or two while I am in Italy! If not, I will definitely be posting when I get back to the states and after my NYC intensive. I hope you all are enjoying your summer vacations, travels, and adventures!

Xoxo

How Dance Helped Me Survive Anorexia (and Literally Everything Else)

My body has been through A LOT. I’m not just talking about injuries due to accidents that happen in life. I mean, my body and I have survived significant damage and abuse as a result of the actions of other people, and as a result of my four year battle with anorexia nervosa. I was 12 years old when I first noticed there was a disconnect between my body and my mind, and it later manifested into a full-blown eating disorder by the time I was 16. The only constant throughout my entire life is dance, and due to some unfortunate recent events, I feel it is important I share with my followers why dance has saved my life throughout my eating disorder, and the abuse I’ve suffered at the hands of others.

I am a professional dancer, and I have been involved with dance since I was 10 years old. Currently I am 22 years old, and I was 16 when I was admitted inpatient for anorexia. The program I attended was super strict, and I couldn’t even stand up for longer than 10 seconds before a nurse or tech would tell me to sit down. The two weeks I was inpatient, I grew increasingly antsy and upset that my E.D. had interfered with my passion for dance. I was prepping for senior year of high school, and auditioning for college programs, and I was alarmed that my summer potentially would not be spent being able to dance or work toward my goals. Dance was always the one constant in my life, and even with my eating disorder, exercise and dance were always positive places of solace for me, instead of outlets for negative behaviors.

“Dance gives me something to live for, a fulfillment I can’t find anywhere else”

For my whole treatment plan, I set my goal to be able to dance again, and to devote my positive energy and focus into dance as motivation to get better and stay healthy. I even was able to get special permission to attend my dance classes so I could finish my recital that year. With the help of my treatment team, I was able to keep my intake levels accurate and my weight gain on track while I finished my studio season. That summer, my outpatient team even helped me meal plan and prepare me for a dance intensive at a college I was interested in attending after graduating high school. I went to that dance intensive, and the experience changed my life. I had never been so motivated to live my life for myself and for my art which is dance.

I later auditioned for that college, was admitted into the school and dance program on a merit and dance performance scholarship. Four years later, I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in dance performance, a B.A. in psychology, and a minor in dance/movement therapy. I am now performing professionally, teaching dance, and looking into dance/movement therapy graduate school. Dance truly helped save my life, and I am forever grateful that dance was a part of my experience with my eating disorder. Dance gives me something to live for, and a fulfillment I can’t find anywhere else.

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I’ve FOUGHT for years to have a healthy relationship with my body. I treasure and value my body, and try to practice body compassion every day of my life. When someone or something happens that puts my body in a vulnerable, compromised, or damaging position, I must remove myself from whatever negative stimulus is causing me and my body harm. Toxic people, situations, and stress only lead to that mind/body disconnect I suffered for so many years as a kid and young adolescent. I have come too far into my recovery and my life to allow myself to tolerate any sort of abuse or direct harm to my body and mind. I’ve come too far in my dance career to allow an eating disorder or other people to abuse my body.

Dance gives me a purpose and a reason to rise out of bed every morning. Life is truly so much better when I can dance through it, and I am blessed and very lucky to have discovered my love for dance at such a young age.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, the link below will direct you to the National Eating Disorder Association’s confidential Helpline

NEDA Eating Disorder Helpline

Until next time,

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One Lovely Blog Award

I am so thrilled and honored by all of the love and support JLoF has been receiving over the last few months. Thank you to all of my readers for supporting me and my writing! ❤ You warm my heart!

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I think the original badge is pink, but I like the colors of this one!

I was recently nominated by Dating Through the Distance for the“One Lovely Blog Award”! Thank you for recognizing my blog and for nominating me 🙂 It means so much to me that you enjoy my writing and my blog. For all of you readers, you should definitely check her blog out, she’s a great writer!

The rules for award acceptance are:

  1. Each nominee must thank the person who nominated them (including a link to their blog). They must list the rules and post the blog award badge in the post.
  2. They must add 7 facts about themself.
  3. They must nominate 15 other bloggers and notify them that they have been nominated

Here we go everyone! 7 new facts about me!

  1. I was a vegetarian for seven years. I started eating chicken again during my sophomore year of college because the school had no substantial vegetarian options. I’ve felt a lot better and more energized since I’ve started eating white meat.
  2. I really enjoy playing my ukulele, but college, work, and dance obligations limit the amount of time I can practice, so usually I practice a lot in the summer months.
  3. I want to write a book when I’m older about my struggle with an eating disorder and how I overcame anorexia.
  4. I’ve never had brand new furniture in my bedroom at home – it has always been hand-me-downs. A few months ago I discarded all of my old mis-matching furniture, and took a matching bedroom set from my grandma’s house. It’s from the 80s, but I like it because it’s natural wood.
  5. I can’t decide on one career. I want to get a master’s degree in dance therapy, own my own dance studio, dance with the Rockettes, be a professional writer with my blog and expand my blog, and become an author with that book I told y’all I want to write. And I want to do all of this before I’m too old to do it! Look out world, here I come!
  6.  My favorite season is fall, but I live for the summer time because it is usually always sunny and warm, and the sun makes me very happy!! I’m not a big fan of snow.
  7. I love animals, and when my boyfriend and I move in with each other, I want to rescue at least two dogs!

Here are the names and links to the 15 blogs I nominate 🙂

  1. The Dreams of a Dancer
  2. Polaroid Kisses
  3. Half Agony Half Hope
  4. Life of Lawry
  5. Lipstick Dreams
  6. Letters Lovely
  7. Lauren’s Lip Glossary
  8. Need that Makeup
  9. Sparkle and Spice Makeup
  10. Oorah Ever After
  11. Written in the Cosmets
  12. Paige Alicia Beauty
  13. Elenarasbear
  14. The Disney Freak with a Bit of Mascara
  15. Just Your Average Chick

Thank you again to Dating Through the Distance for my nomination, and thank you to all of my lovely readers! ❤ Have a wonderful day everyone!

xoxo

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My Manager Body-Shamed Me at Work – Here’s What I Learned

I’ve worked in retail the past four consecutive years. Recently this summer, I switched my retail job from a popular retail chain to a new retail store that just opened in the mall I work at. I like this new job, it pays better than what I was previously making, and I’ve met a bunch of wonderful young women who I enjoy working with. The only bad experience I’ve had, however, was a time when my manager made a remark to me about my body and compared my body to hers.

The day this happened, I had just worked a four hour shift as the fitting room attendant (I was actually covering for someone who called out and wasn’t supposed to work that day). After my shift, I decided to try on a few cute tops and rompers we have because I was in need of a cute outfit for a trip to Georgia I am taking later this month. My manager on duty (or MOD) was helping me find sizes and she said,

“One rule: You have to show me everything you try on!”

I was thankful for her help and I was also excited to get a second opinion on how things fit.

I didn’t know what size I was in our clothes, and the store I work at has a full run of sizes ranging from XXS to XXL. We don’t carry many XL or XXL sizes in store, but there are some available on the sales floor. The funny thing about women’s clothes that all of us women can relate to, is that no matter what brand, store, or size of garment you are trying on, it is going to fit differently than when you tried the same garment on at another store. In some cases, even the same size of the same garment can fit differently in the same store. This happens to be the case for the store I work in. I wasn’t sure if I was a small, medium, or large in rompers or tops, so I grabbed a few sizes, and whatever else I needed, my MOD grabbed for me.

I tried on a few different tops, and I came to one top that was a peplum fit and a size medium. It was loose in the chest area, and my MOD was in the fitting room waiting for me to show her what I tried on. She saw that the chest area was loose, and ran to grab me a size small. The romper I tried on earlier was a size medium and fit perfectly, but as I said before different garments fit my body differently, so I was hopeful the small would fit better.

My MOD came back into the fitting room with a size small in the top and I proceeded to go into my dressing room and try it on. As I came out, I noticed another fellow employee was in the fitting room to see how the top looked (and to open rooms for customers since my shift had ended 20 minutes earlier). The small top fit a lot better than the medium in the chest area, but I didn’t like the way the peplum fit cut my torso. I am 5’8” and have a long torso and long legs – peplum is not meant for my body. I ask my MOD what she thought of the blouse and she said something so incredibly ignorant I still can’t wrap my head around it five days later.

She said, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…”

I assumed what she was about to say. A lot of the time I work with this MOD, she always made comments about her weight or how small she is.

“This is why I can’t shop in our store.”

I wasn’t expecting this response and gave her a puzzled look, not understanding. So she elaborated –

“Well Julia, that’s a small. Look at me.”

This MOD is 5’3” and probably weighs around 105 lbs.

Now my MOD said this not only in front of me and my fellow employee, but also in front of the mothers waiting in the hallway of the fitting rooms for their daughters. I not only felt embarrassed for a moment, but also shocked she would have the audacity to say this to me in front of customers and fellow employees while she was working.

My MOD is not only 27 years old (she is a grown-ass woman), but she also has a college degree and is looking into graduate work. She lives in an apartment and pays her own bills. She is by no means an un-educated woman. She loves to read and always has her nose in a book. I actually admired this MOD until she made this comment to me.

Fortunately for me, I have really thick skin. I’ve dealt with body-image issues for basically most of my pre-pubescent and teenage life. I’ve shared this with this MOD in private conversation previous to the day she made her comment. I shared with her that at 16 years old, I was hospitalized for anorexia nervosa, and had suffered eating issues since I was a kid. Not only was this MOD’s lack of professionalism, empathy, or decency appalling, but her crass and insensitive approach to her comment and comparison of her body size to mine brought me to a couple of realizations.

Realization #1: This woman clearly didn’t think about the power of her words before she spoke. In retrospect, when I think back to all the conversations her and I have shared thus far, I realize every single conversation involved her making one or more comments about her weight, her size, or how small her body’s proportions are.

Realization #2: This comment was intended to hurt my feelings and make me feel bad. I am not saying this woman is a bad person, or even a mean woman for saying this to me. What I will say, though, is that her disclaimer, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but..” really didn’t do anything to soften the blow of her words. How was I supposed to take that comment? Is there any “right” way to take a comment like that? I believe the answer is no. The comment she made was pointless and was not needed in the discussion of clothes I am buying for my vacation. Additionally, as I mentioned before, our clothes fit differently depending on the garment. There are definitely clothes she could fit into in the store. Yes she is tiny, but she isn’t too small for any of the clothes in our store. Thus, her comment was totally uncalled for and unnecessary.

Realization #3: This woman might have some unresolved body-image issues and I feel awful that she is in that position. I used to be in a position where I felt so badly about my body, I made sure I was skinny enough so people made comments about how small I was. In my eating-disordered state of mind at the time, my disease needed that recognition in order to fuel itself. I needed people’s approval of my size. I’m not saying this woman has an eating-disorder and I am not trying to diagnose anyone, but I know when women body-shame each other, it is so they feel better about themselves – it’s as simple as that. Nonetheless, although I felt bad for her because she seems like she is self-conscious about her own weight (as many women are), I became extremely grateful I have been strong enough to fight through my illness and become the healthy, able-bodied woman I am today. Not only have I fought to be healthy and strong enough to maintain my perfectly-normal-sized body through college (I’m entering my junior year and am a dance major on a performance track), I have fought to be able to filter my own thoughts on my body-image and push through negative emotional obstacles.

What I learned through this experience is that no matter how hard you fight through your own issues, there is always going to someone going through their own issues. Sometimes people take their own insecurities and self-aggressions out on others because they don’t know how to handle what they are going through. I always try to look at the positives when I come face-to-face with challenges to my recovery such as this, and this is going to sound strange, but I am grateful this MOD said those words to me. It could have been another employee of ours who was trying on clothes who isn’t in a stable or self-loving state-of-mind, and the harsh and ignorant words of this MOD could have cut her to the core. It could have even been the last straw to throw another girl over the edge and push her to try to drastically change the way she looks. I also think this experience was a big stepping-stone for me in my own recovery – I was strong enough to take the MOD’s words with a grain of salt and not let them disrupt my own happiness or thoughts about my own body.

As women, I am a firm-believer we should be lifting each other up instead of tearing each other down. We need to be each other’s cheerleaders if we want to see progress in women’s issues, and also to have a stronger identity as women. There is power in numbers. If women stopped shaming each other and started appreciating each other for all of their similarities and differences, there could be some awesome progress in the advocacies that effect women today. Gender issues aside, I think we also should remember the golden rule our parents used to tell us as kids – If you don’t have anything nice to say, refrain from saying it at all. You never know how your words will effect someone.