One of the things I take great pride in is that I am so ambitious. I try to excel at everything I do and I certainly expect no less of myself: getting straight As at university, blogging every other day on my Dutch blog, and writing weekly on Beauty Is Not a Number.
Turning the page
I used to have a Silly Book of Things I Can or Cannot Do. It only existed in my mind and was created by no one but me, forcing rules upon myself like having to exercise for at least thirty minutes every single day, and not being allowed to eat anything that contained fat, carbs or what I considered as being unhealthy. I am past this stage right now. I have turned the page and I can skip a day’s exercise and enjoy a pizza or whatever thing I once considered as “scary food.”
Rewritten but not erased
I thought I had disposed of the Silly Book of Things I Can or Cannot Do, but I realise I have not. Yes, my rules do not focus on my exercising or eating pattern any more, but instead of letting go of this compulsive behaviour, I have transferred it to different areas. More than ever am I being ridiculously strict for myself, setting high expectations. I expect that I excel at university, that I deliver a quality blog post every other day on my Dutch blog and every week here. I cannot skip a post and I cannot compensate in quality. This will only leave me feeling guilty and makes me believe myself a failure.
Yet I feel that I do compensate for the quality. With my graduation nearing and me doing a fast track for my thesis because I will start a full-time internship in May, I have less time and energy for my blogs. My blog posts for Beauty Is Not a Number are often written last-minute and tend to sound more negative than I’d like these days. This is not only due to lack of time, but also because I lack inspiration. I have been doing really well when it comes to my eating disorder and I am stable, which means that these issues play a far less prominent role in my life. This is absolutely fantastic — I’m really happy about it — but it’s inconvenient when it comes to writing these articles. They are best when they are written with passion, and this passion, in my case, comes whenever I encounter something that infuriates me or that evokes a lot of emotion, which does not happen every week. Therefore I have to be creative which I certainly don’t mind, but it does result in articles that are about the past — often having a negative tone — rather than having a positive outlook on the future.
I regret this because this is not how I envisioned Beauty Is Not a Number. Right now the website seems to be all about me, and everything is written from my perspective as an anorexic. However, Beauty Is Not a Number is supposed to be about all kinds of women. Women of different sizes, shapes and backgrounds, with different stories, opinions and perspectives. And not just women — even men, as it surely also plays a part in their lives. The past few months I have struggled to find guest contributors and instead wrote almost all posts myself because I had to post something every single week. Or at least, this is what The Silly Book of Things I Can or Cannot Do said: I couldn’t skip a blog post.
Right now though, I have come to realise that this Silly Book is just that: silly. I should not post something on Beauty Is Not a Number just so that there is something to read. I should post articles that are of a certain quality, because this is my main priority: quality over quantity. Along these lines, I have come to the difficult decision to take a step back with both of my blogs, because I want to ensure the quality of my master’s thesis and my internship. Instead of forcing myself to post something every single week, I want to put something online whenever I have a topic to write about with that particular passion I just mentioned.
In the meantime, I still welcome all contributions because one of the reasons for this decision is that I do not want Beauty Is Not a Number to be all about me. I want it to be about you, too.