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Thinking Out Loud: Taking a Look Back

Gah. This truly is going to be some thinking out loud.  Spontaneous vulnerability makes my fingers shake.

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The other day I began thinking of my upcoming summer and how I should spend it. You see, I actually have what one would consider a “summer,” as my theatre conservatory gets put on hold until September.  So although I could be involved in other acting projects, I do not have a main job keeping me in place.

As I got thinking, I began to have these heavy clouds of guilt creep in.  Guilt, and quite possibly shame.

They were really strong, and were dragging me into a dark place of self-depreciation.  So I had to sit down with a pen and ask myself clearly, “where is this guilt coming from?”

I began to take a look back – a clear look back at how I have spent the last, oh, seven summers… heck, years… of my life (ever since moving away from home).

2008 – In college
2009 – In college
2010 – Worked making money as an actor
2011 – Travelled to Asia and spent time at home before moving away to University
2012 – Lived at home with parents. Tried to return to auditioning.
2013 – In hospital in-patient program
2014 – Out of hospital. Worked as an actor in a film and TV series and began training
2015 – Outpatient appointments / Worked joe jobs (Starbucks)

The same list could go as such:

2008 – Training for career
2009 – Training for career
2010 – Worked as an actor. ED beginning to take over.
2011 – ED. Travel and go to University. No acting
2012 – ED. Health Scare. At Home. No acting.
2013 – ED. In hospital. No acting. 
2014 – New found freedom. Passion resurgence. Acting / Career ^^
2015 – ED. Relapse. Outpatient work. No acting.

When I look back at this, I see how three, nearly four complete years were taken over by my eating disorder. Three years were spent away from my passion and building my career as an actor.

How does one not feel heart broken at this thought? How does one not feel a heavy, deep sense of guilt? Loss? I’m not even sure how to word the feeling. 

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When I look back at this, I also see a clear connection.  2014  (“out of hospital/worked in film and TV/returned to training”) was possibly the most successful year of my life.  It was the year where my passion and career grew more than it ever had. This was the year where I was most successful as an actor and turn down film opportunities to join my theatre conservatory. This was also the year where I was at my highest weight. 

The following pictures are from 2014 – the year after getting weight restored – when I was in Los Angeles. These are some of my favorite pictures I have of myself.

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(my bestie Karen stealing the spot light…. sorry girl)

2010… 2012… both years where I was semi attempting to continue my career… I saw very little success. I was not getting auditions, I was not getting jobs, and my passion was dying.  These were the years where I weighed the least.

Hello!? Can there be any clearer whack in the face? I was getting attention and people wanted to work with me (and even see me on film) when I was my highest weight.  Yes, I did not like my body. But the rest of the world was screaming at me that I looked better than ever.

If nothing else pushes me to get back there, it is this. 

I do not want this post to be a swamp of self pity.  No.  Because you simply cannot go back and change the past. Staying in the past will only keep you stuck… and “stuck” is what lead me to spend those years as I did.  Looking back can hurt.  It can really hurt.  We’ve all made mistakes and spent time, perhaps even years, of our lives doing things we wish we hadn’t. But the only thing we can do… our only option... is to see it cleary, grasp it, stick it in our pocket, and move forward. 

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Last summer, I did not take the opportunity to go home and save money and be with family. Nor did I find acting jobs. It was spent trying to stop my relapse and getting myself back on track.  Once again, a summer was spent giving attention over to my eating disorder. Much needed attention, I grant you, but attention that I do not want to give over anymore.

This is why I felt that guilt. 

I fear using the word – for I truly believe no time is ever wasted – but I do not want to waste any more time away from my life. Not to this.

I don’t know guys. I’m kinda feeling… some things…. these days. Some new, good, scary, weird things. I think things may be shifting. I have a feeling my next Thinking Out Loud post may have more to do with this.

So, although my plans are not set for where I will be this summer, I know this is my last chance to spend time at home with family and save money before my time with this conservatory is up. I know spending time at home would be good for my health, where I can focus on relaxation, my passions and really get myself set up – physically and mentally – for the next step in my career. It was actually one of you lovely people who put the suggestion into my head that, in order to heal the relationship I have with being at home, I may need to consider spending more time there. I think this could very well be true.

If you find yourself sinking into a darkness when you think about time spent or time lost… sigh. I know its hard.  Its so hard. But just keep reminding yourself, as I am now, that you only have two options.  To continue.  Or to change it.  There’s still so much time.  The world is still out there for us.  Waiting ever so patiently for our red carpet re-entrance.

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Thanks to Amanda, for giving a more eloquent name to my in the moment thoughts.

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30 COMMENTS

  1. SuzLyfe | 28th Jan 16

    Thank you for sharing this, Cora. I agree with you that looking back can hurt, but I also think that it can be a moment of pride for you as well–you have fought back. Wars are rarely clean sweeps. You keep fighting, and you learn better strategy. And that makes for an even better tomorrow, or next summer.

    • mylittletablespoon | 29th Jan 16

      It can be a moment of pride if you choose to see it this way. Its hard some days to do so, but I do know I have fought back, and will continue to. Thanks Suz.

  2. Kate Bennett | 28th Jan 16

    You are so insightful and wise.This whole post resonated with me.
    I remember I would talk my therapist how about what % of my thoughts/actions I felt like was directed me vs. my eating disorder. The higher that % became of me, the happier I was. I feel like you being able to recognize that life was better at a healthier weight is a significant sign of growth! Now you just have to decide (as you have been) that a better life is far more important than the things your ED wants to convince you are valuable.
    I have a good feeling you are going to be a famous actress one day!!

    • mylittletablespoon | 29th Jan 16

      Deciphering between those two “head spaces” is such important, but hard work. I think we always “know” which voice is directing the decision, but it can be really scary to admit it. When I make a decision that is 100% me, the feeling is unexplainable. Its so wonderful.
      Ah geez. Thanks Kate. I’m really just a little lady living her life – like all of us (but if I make it to the red carpet I’ll score you a ticket) <3

  3. Stephanie Leduc | 28th Jan 16

    Wow, I think it is awesome that you are starting to feel things shift and change. Change can be SO scary, but it is what makes us better, so I say embrace it as hard and openly as you can! You really seem to be on the right track, and I think your post is telling me you are wanting to look ahead instead of being dragged down by your past, which is great :)!

    • mylittletablespoon | 29th Jan 16

      I also think it is awesome! Change is so scary. I feel butterflies. But that’s when you know good things are to come right?
      I most absolutely do not want to be dragged down by my past. No way will it take me down. Thanks Steph – you are always such a gentle, wise, honest support.

  4. bucketlisttummy | 28th Jan 16

    I love your words, Cora, and true vulnerability! While I didn’t know your blog during your ED, I can say from an outsider perspective that you look so incredibly happy and at ease in those photos. They are beautiful. That’s great to hear that you are starting to experience some new thoughts, or change in your mindset, for the better. I know however you choose to spend the summer will be the right choice for you! <3

    • mylittletablespoon | 29th Jan 16

      Thanks Sarah. I do think I look pretty free in those pictures :). So they are inspiration.

  5. Amanda @ .running with spoons. | 28th Jan 16

    It’s definitely hard not to feel guilty when you start to think about all the time that an ED stole from your life, but when I find myself going down that road, I try to think about all the things that my ED taught me. And how I’m actually a better person coming out of it than I was going in. There’s no sense feeling guilty about something that you can’t go back and change… all you can do is mind the lessons and make the best of where you are now.

  6. Lyss | 28th Jan 16

    Wow, such a great post Cora. True vulnerability here, and I am so happy that you are getting in a better mindset and changing your thoughts for the better. I really do think you are going to be a famous actress one day. Proud of you and how far you have come!

  7. hungryforbalance | 28th Jan 16

    Such a beautiful post Cora! And the truth in it is heart wrenching. I know that I have given too much of my life to dark thoughts and the damn ‘what ifs’.
    I so appreciate your vulnerability here. I hope whatever decision you come to, it brings you some peace. ??

  8. Beauty in Christ (@Emily11949309) | 28th Jan 16

    Wow. I have been thinking of this so much and regret and guilt, and I’ve been realizing more and more that there truly is no more condemnation now that I’m in Christ Jesus. This post made me think about these verses. Philippians 3:13-15,’Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’

    Thank you for sharing your heart… Don’t dwell on the past. Move on. <3 You are recovering, healing. You aren't your ED. Being at home is such a gift to just learning to relax, rest, and be at peace.

  9. katalysthealth | 28th Jan 16

    First off, your beautiful. I want a nose ring so bad, but I dont have a cute nose like yours. If you dont have a cute nose its best not to bring attention to it 😉
    Second, thank you for once again sharing your heart and being open and honest with us. Unfortunetly we cannot get back any time that we might have missed, but we do have the NOW to go out there and do something. I try not to spend too much time on looking back right now. I’ll have plenty of time to do that when I’m old and no longer looking to achieve things for myself. RIght now I just want to push, go, dream, fight – and not look back for one second.

    • mylittletablespoon | 29th Jan 16

      You would totally rock a nose ring!
      I love this insight. When I’m old I can think back on things as I knit. Push Go Dream Fight. I want this on a T shirt. Thanks Kat. You are fierce.

  10. Ellie | 29th Jan 16

    This is so deep Cora. You have the power to make the next summer of your life amazing. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s what YOU want and not what ED wants. I know for me, seeing family too often is not good for my health, however it seems you have a positive environment in which to thrive. Take advantage of it! (or don’t, you do you) 🙂 <3

    • mylittletablespoon | 29th Jan 16

      That’s the balance question alright – what is truly good for my health. I have time to decide, so I’m just seeing it a day at a time.

  11. Jacklyn @ Jack's Balancing Act | 29th Jan 16

    Oh Cora, you beautiful beautiful soul <3 I can't imagine how many girls your journey has and WILL resonate with. And your ability to put feelings into words is just something else. It's inspiring to be able to follow along on your triumphant path and I can't wait to read your next "Thinking Out Loud" 🙂

  12. Jen @ Chase the Red Grape | 29th Jan 16

    I wish I could say ‘please do not feel this way’ but there is nothing I can say apart from you are doing the right thing! Rather than ignore these emotions you are facing them head on, working out why you feel this way and what you can do to turn it around. Awesome stuff Cora!
    As for what you should do with your summer, well that’s up to you, but I think healing that wound you have with home sounds like an amazing idea. Do whatever feels right down in your gut 🙂

    • mylittletablespoon | 29th Jan 16

      Its hard work but I have to face the feelings and ask myself the hard questions. I also think it sounds like it may be the right decision… so we will see. Thank you 🙂

  13. Joyce | 29th Jan 16

    What beautiful photos! Where were they taken?
    And, yes, I can so relate to being motivated by guilt and finding the future super-scary for that very reason. I feel like I should be “adulting” and the fact that I’m in grad school studying creative writing of all unemployable things makes me feel pretty inadequate sometimes. Keep us posted on what you decide for the summer–those decisions can be so hard to make!

  14. cookiesnchem | 29th Jan 16

    What a beautiful post and lovely photos. You are really a talented and wonderful person 🙂 Keep doing everything you are doing and moving forward! You inspire me so much.

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    […] I just had a lot of writing fire last week and wanted to get it all down. This included some vulnerability, which – to be honest – I think played into my low zone by the end of the week. […]

  16. Loved and Worthy of Love | 5th Feb 16

    Looking back can be painful, but it can be a great opportunity to reflect as well. It sounds like you’ve used it as a chance to learn about yourself and push forward. Great job!

    • mylittletablespoon | 6th Feb 16

      It can be painful, and can even be painful to learn about yourself through these ways. But that’s the only way you really grow right? Thank you <3

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