Why I blog (sorta)...

In an excerpt from his book? long read? something like that? Paul Carr writes:

When I decided to quit drinking, and when I realized that AA wasn’t for me, I knew I’d have to find a route to sobriety that was as public as possible. I knew that the only way I’d be able to reverse my reputation as a boozer would be to tell the whole world—or at least the part of the world I lived in—that I was quitting. 

Fortunately, we live in a time when it’s easier than ever to share our secrets with friends and strangers alike. Thanks to Facebook and Twitter and blogging and video sharing and all that good stuff, a decision to give up drinking can easily be publicized for all to see. Which is precisely what I did. I fired up my laptop and wrote an open letter on my blog, explaining that I had a serious problem with alcohol and asking for the support of those around me. 

My aim wasn’t to encourage all my friends to congratulate me on my decision or rally to my side clutching six-packs of Diet Coke (although many did). Rather, I wanted to create a situation in which, no matter where I was—a cocktail party in San Francisco or a dive bar in Madrid—there was always a chance that someone had read my blog post and was waiting to catch me with a drink in my hand.

Okay, so ironically enough, lots of my real-life friends don't know about my eating disorder. Some do, but plenty don't. For me, the accountability of a blog is a little more existential.

My thinking goes something like this: I want my blog to be real. I don't want to sugar coat things, I don't want to make them look better than they are, and I also don't want to make anyone else's eating disorder worse through what I write. It's not that I've never relapsed while blogging (I have) or that I share every tiny detail of what's going on in my life or in my head (I don't), but I don't want to be a hypocrite. I can't really bring myself to write that things are great! and wonderful! when they're not. I feel I owe that to my readers.

At the same time, I worried that if I joined a questionable ED website, one of my readers would "recognize" me. I worried that someone I wouldn't know would catch me buying pills at the store. I felt like I was breaking my end of the blogging "contract" that I had with all of you. I swore to myself that I would be honest. I might gloss over some of the details for privacy reasons, I might choose not to mention some things, but I also didn't feel that I could run a recovery-oriented blog if I was neck-deep in the eating disorder. I also would never really turn my blog into anything but pro-recovery, even if I was measuring the "pro" in nanograms at the moment.

People have asked me if this blog is keeping me tethered to my disorder. Hell, twelve years of ED did that for me. I see their point. I think many people have recovery blogs that keep them obsessed with food and weight and keep them forever stuck in the eating disorder world. And yet...I also value the accountability of my blog. I value that it was one of the first things that gave me an identity outside of anorexia. I know, right? A blog about eating disorders giving me an identity that wasn't anorexia? But this identity was as someone trying to recover from anorexia. The "trying" might have been half-assed at times (okay, more like quarter-assed, or even tenth-assed, if I'm really being honest), but it was there.

Yes, ED stuff is still a big part of my life, both professionally and personally. I volunteer with ED advocacy groups. I blog here. I write magazine articles about eating disorders (though it's really just a teensy fraction of my overall wordcount...honestly, I find lots of other things even more interesting). But my identity within the ED world isn't as "Carrie the ex-anorexic." It's as a writer and advocate and lots of other things.

In the end, I keep blogging for any number of reasons, but a big one is that it keeps me accountable. It keeps me on the right path. 

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ohgina said...

Totally dude. I relate to so much of this. I certainly haven't sugar coated things on my blog (hell, I went into treatment again!), but since I've started blogging, I've forced myself to be 100% honest. I find that writing, even when things aren't super keeps me looking in the right direction. I do a lot in my life that has nothing to do with the eating disorder, but I do like being an advocate. As I progress in recovery, I really aspire to speak and write and let people know it's possible. My blog has also reminded me that I love writing. It reminds me to take time out of my day to write for myself too.

Anyway, this turned into "why Gina blogs," which is neat but not the point of your post, haha. Cheers, Carrie. Have a good weekend =]

Abby said...

And it keeps many of us on the right path, or at least reminds us that we can get back on that path if we start to stray (I say hypocritically.)

I also blog because a) I like to entertain people with my humor at times b) I like to share my "issues" and foster conversation with some incredible people who can relate and c) it helps me to get out of my head. Depression/OCD is so rigid and it's easy to completely stay internal. Blogging--even if I don't focus it on those "issues" all the time--is a way for me to put myself out there.

Thank you for what you do, for whatever reasons you do it.

hm said...

Love to you, Carrie. Seems like you are growing into yourself in so many ways lately. I like seeing your person show up with confidence and wholeness.

I am glad that your blog has served such purpose for you- accountability and motivation- and glad that it allowed me to discover your person. :)

extralongtail said...

Haha, you blog for 'better' reasons than me...

TBH, I'm not sure why I blog about Anorexia Nervosa because the very last thing I want is to be identified as 'anorexic' or 'ex-anorexic'. I spent many years trying to hide my AN from people and although my close friends know of my history, I don't want others to know. I shouldn't be embarrassed, or ashamed of the AN, but I am :(

Katie (giantfossilizedarmadillo) asked me this question a while back - for an '11 things about me' series, and I wrote: "I had the urge to ramble about things I consider to be of importance in this world. I communicate far better in writing than face-to-face (I’m sort of shy..), so blogging seemed like a good outlet. Oh, and I can upload lots of photos of my adorable cats..."

I am glad that you blog, Carrie, because like me you're a science geek. I feel I have something of a kindred spirit!

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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