How Do I Know I’m Happy?

Recently, I found a bunch of my old CDs from high school. I’m talking A Day to Remember, Pierce the Veil, and Volbeat. I saw the first two in concert when I was in high school. During my junior year, I was friends with a large group of senior girls who were all obsessed with pop-punk music. We all went to concerts together every few months, and it was one of the most fun, carefree times of my life. I even wrote my Common App essay about how I learned body acceptance in a mosh pit.

Naturally, I got too cool to listen to the bands I was into in high school, which was pretty silly because the do go hard as hell. I’ve been having a blast blaring them in my car as I drive around town. I know all the words to ADTR’s album “What Separates Me from You,” and it’s one of my favorite albums of all time, right up there with “Dying Is Your Latest Fashion” by Escape the Fate.

I can tell that I’m feeling good when I don’t judge myself for yelling along to my old favorite bands in the car. I’m the best at belittling myself and putting myself down. It’s so easy to tell myself that my interests are stupid, that no one cares about what I have to say or the art I long to create.

Andrea Gibson once wrote,

The trauma said, “Don’t write this poem.
Nobody wants to hear you cry about the grief inside your bones.”

But my bones said, “Tyler Clementi dove into the Hudson River
convinced he was entirely alone.”

My bones said, “Write the poem.”

As I mentioned in my last post, my eating disorder has been giving me some trouble again. One of my biggest problems is the lie that I “don’t have time” to eat. I used this excuse when I was in an intensive outpatient program in high school. I was taking several advanced classes, filling out college applications, and drowning in misery. I was often up until 3:00 in the morning doing homework, and I was fueled by energy drinks and anxiety.

Still, I had a designated lunch period during the school day. My mom woke me up in time for breakfast five days a week, and my family made it a point to eat meals around the dining room table as often as possible. I had plenty of time to eat, I just wasn’t willing to see it.

I spent my day running around town doing various photography-related errands. I shot three rolls of film over the weekend (and managed to lose one of them, something I’m NOT happy about), and I dropped them off at the only place in town that still develops film yesterday. There’s a man named Chris who keeps the doors open and knows anything and everything about pretty much every camera known to man.

I shoot with my grandpa’s old Canon AE-1, a workhorse of a camera that has never let me down, despite a pretty substantial light leak (which is easily fixed with electrical tape). I noticed that my light meter, the little needle inside the viewfinder that tells me if my photo is getting enough light, has been acting up, so I took it to Chris. He informed me of the obvious: the camera has a battery, a battery that had died. He directed me to a battery and bulb store down the street, where I acquired the necessary battery.

I’ll spare you the rest of the boring details of how I labored to get the battery compartment open and whatnot. Suffice it to say, I was out doing all of this well past lunchtime, and I was starting to feel physically sick. My head was hurting, I felt nauseous, and I was a little shaky.

I tried to tell myself the old disordered lie, that I’d eat later, that I’d already eaten enough to hold me over, but I’ve been down this road enough times to know that’s BS.

It was the humble liverwurst and Swiss cheese sandwich that saved the day. It was practically manna; my headache evaporated, I immediately stopped shaking, and even more miraculous, my mood improved. I suddenly didn’t feel like I had to rush around to get everything done, or that I was “running out of time,” another lie I tell myself.

When I finally got my photos back, most of them were blurry and over-exposed. Chris gave me a few tips, and suggested the old classic–electrical tape.

As overused as the phrase is, food really is fuel. I can’t expect to be a good photographer if I don’t have the energy to chase that perfect shot. So today, I choose food, life, and victory over my eating disorder.

One thought on “How Do I Know I’m Happy?

  1. Another post that I was happy to read!  You’re coming along quite nicely, and quickly, too.  Keep it up!  Looking forward to the next post.  Love you! .


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