Friday, 29 May 2009

Me, My Blog and I

Thank you for your feedback on yesterday's post about finding balance- seems to be a general consensus that 1) this is something most of us struggle/have struggled with at some point, and 2) how essential it is to prioritise and set aside time for things that ARE important. Putting my health as a priority is not something that comes easily to me which is what I am struggling with- because right now, it IS a priority that I am not willing to compromise. Identifying the things that help me feel good physically and mentally is one of the main things I am figuring out right now and that's pretty much what my blog is all about.

Yesterday Caitlin posted about food blogs and the responses she has had to her blog/lifestyle- it prompted an interesting discussion and made me think about a few things which I wanted to address. It was very interesting to read the responses- quite a mix of opinions from both people with eating disorders, and people without. Worth checking out.

First of all, I want to apologise to anyone who has been triggered by anything I have said in my blog. I try to keep it as 'safe' as possible, but am also aware that I share a lot of the same struggles that you guys do and my blog is my outlet to talk about the ups and downs. I want to keep it 'trigger free' but I also want to keep it honest and open. I can only speak from my own experiences and share my thoughts/views, and I truly value each and every comment and word of advice/feedback I receive in return.

I can't tell you how much blogging has helped me over the past few months and I am finding that as time goes on, I am drawn more and more to blogs about healthy and balanced lifestyles rather than ones that focus solely on eating disorders/recovery. I still relate very much to the eating disorder discussions/struggles, but I am finding that as my own recovery grows stronger, these are getting harder for me to read. I don't know if this is a positive sign of growth/change, or a sign that I have merely become heartless? I feel very much in transition right now between the 'old' blog about my daily struggles and my 'new' blog which hopefully reflects the changes that have happened (and continue to happen). There are a LOT of blogs out there- some I follow because they demonstrate the balanced lifestyle I am striving for or because they interest me, and some I have had to stop reading because I find them frustrating or upsetting. There are a lot of great blogs out there and I have nothing but respect for people who take the time and energy to post and share as much as they do. I have never judged ANYONE based on what they eat or the things they write- if it's not healthy for me to read for whatever reason, I don't read it. Simple as that. I imagine many do the same with my blog! If I think I can offer some support or advice, I'll throw it out there for consideration but it's up to the individual to use/discard what I say. I am in NO way perfect or a 'role model'- I put my own story into words and am finding what makes my life more in tune with the goals I have.

I don't compare myself to other bloggers the way I used to and that has been the biggest change for me over the last few months- discovering what works for ME. Which is different for everyone. I DO NOT post entire day's worth of food so please don't think that my photos are an entire day's worth of food. I am also trying to avoid focusing on eating disorders and talk in what I hope is a much broader/general outlook on "life" rather than "anorexia".

My blog is not a 'food blog' in the same way that some are. It's about an ever-evolving relationship with myself, food and life itself. I don't want my blog to be associated with eating disorders because whilst I am in 'recovery', my biggest struggle right now is NOT about 'symptoms', but finding a manageable, healthy and meaningful way of life.

I LOVE reading your comments and thoughts, whether positive or negative, I DO want to hear it. All are gratefully received and I learn a lot from hearing your views and opinions. Some of the negativity can hurt or seems a little inappropriate, but some people have openly challenged me or disagreed with me and it has led to some great discussions. I don't want anyone to feel like they have to agree with the things I say or approve of what I do- and I hope that people do feel able to say, "hey- wait a minute...I don't like that".

Caitlin's post made me think a lot about the responsibilities bloggers have to their readers- my personal opinion of this is that bloggers have no responsibility beyond being respectful of others whilst sharing their views, and accepting that not everybody is going to like/agree with what they say. Sharing your life in a blog does open up doors to criticism and negativity- it seems a lot of us have experienced this at some point. For me, the support and positive feedback I receive far outweighs the negative. I think we all need to take responsibility for ourselves- whether writing or reading, if something is triggering or upsetting, there are choices beyond writing negative anonymous comments. You can ask for clarification or challenge (I have yet to come across a blogger who is not willing to discuss things further if asked) or you can simply close the window and walk away. We all make our own choices, sometimes influences by other people, but's us who has to decide what is right for us. If somebody chooses to take another blogger's lifestyle and copy it as their own, that's their decision and not the blogger's responsibility.

I hope I haven't stepped on anyone's toes by talking about this more, but Caitlin's post really made me question my blog/the direction it is going versus the original intention, and a lot of the comments made me wonder how my blog is perceived by readers.

Whew. That was long. Anyone still with me? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this...


Today is the first day in Edinburgh that I can honestly say feels like summer! It is GLORIOUS sunshine and actually...t-shirt weather? Okay, maybe not quite but definitely not hot oatmeal weather.

Pumpkin, cinnamon, plain fromage frais, honey nut shredded wheat and peanut butter. I swear those are honey nut- they always land face down in my yogurt! There is all kind of honey nut goodness on the other side!

Snack was a heated up Clif-z smores bar:

Sometimes a little chocolate therapy is needed :) I don't like these cold, but slightly warming them takes them to a whole new level!

Lunch included a repeat of my Coronation chicken wrap from a couple days ago but for some reason tasted SO much better. I swear summer weather just makes life...sweeter.

Thank you for the hummus suggestions- I have big plans for tomorrow's wrap!

Random question: I found THIS STUFF today in the health food store and it looks great- anyone got a recommended use for it before I buy a jar? Sounds delicious!


Olga said...

I also found Caitlin's post extremely interesting and followed the evolving discussion throughout the day.

I've learned a lot from reading blogs of those who are recovering from EDs and am amazed to see the support and connection between the bloggers. I never put much thought to what my blog might trigger in someone because I try to keep it light hearted but now I'm definitely going to be more conscious of it.

And that Clif bar looks heavenly! Haven't had it in a while.

Leah @ Simply Fabulous said...

I truly feel that blogs are all individual and we all lead different lives. Some are similar to others, some are VERY different. I think trying to "censor" what you say on your blog, or my blog, or anyones blog for that matter really takes the blogging out of the blog. Does that make sense?

We all started our own blogs for one reason or another. Whether it was to help find balance in our lives, share recipes with people, reconnect with old friends, etc we each have different reasons to write. I don't believe that ANYONE should be held responsible to what they post on their OWN blog and how it affects other people. It's like what my Grandma always says: "You don't like it, you don't look at it!" It's as simple as that.

Never EVER apologize for potentially triggering people. This is, after all, YOUR blog - people can choose to read it, or they can choose not to. You are not responsible for triggering people who CHOOSE in their own free will to read YOUR blog.

I hope this doesn't come across as too negative.. i'm just tired of bloggers having to apologize for what is on their own blogs. It's pathetic and if people don't like it, well that's too bad.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I've never been triggered by your blog. More than anything, what you write makes me think.

I am well aware that some of my posts could be potentially triggering, and I apologize for that - if I've ever, ever triggered anyone. But the fact is that you just can't avoid triggers. They are EVERYWHERE in our society. In our families. I think it's more important to learn to DEAL with them rather than turn a blind eye...because that's nearly impossible.

I am so sorry if my blog has ever triggered you, though. Even though right now I am going through a rough time emotionally, I do feel like lately my blog has become more about ME rather than my eating disorder...and I plan to keep it that way.

We are not our eating disorders.

itsawrapteacher said...

Thanks for this post. I believe I upset a reader yesterday by posting something that she mentioned might be a trigger for some. I had no idea and hope I didn't offend anyone. I want to be as honest as possible but don't want to hurt anyone.
I have found a good balance of food and exercise through these blogs. I do exercise now to gain strength and appreciate my body instead of to "lose weight".
Where did you find Smores Zbars?!!?!?!?

Sheena said...

Hey sweetie~

I think it's great that you are evaluating your blog, it's direction and its connection to the readers. My blog has evolved over time as well and i think that's very important as it shows that we are evolving.

I hope you are doing well. Take Care!

K from ksgoodeats said...

I liked reading your thoughts about blogging. There are SO many that cater to different readers, I feel that everyone has a niche. "Bloggers have no responsibility beyond being respectful of others whilst sharing their views, and accepting that not everybody is going to like/agree with what they say." So true!

You still have a smores bar? I wish I still had one! They need to sell them year round! Your breakfast looks fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, that stuff looks VERY interesting! i have no idea what you could eat with it, but just go for it...try it out! :)

I think it's great that you express your struggles and revelations on the blog, but also try and keep it "safe." Don't apologize for mentioning some possible triggering information, since any one person can be triggered by almost anything! You definitely have a positive attitude and I think your blog is great! :)

ElleMigliore said...

I'm still with you!!! And I agree with a lot about what you said. Sometimes I feel guilty because there are some blogs that I can't read because of triggering reasons even though they read and comment on mine. We all want recovery though and it's about taking care of ourselves first. Reading what you said regarding that helped.

I buy the cliff bars but i ALWAYS forget to heat them up until after i've already devoured them. dangit!!

To answer your question, i'm going to NYC for a week vacation with my dad and my brother on June 13!! Super excited!! The last time I was out there was 5 years ago when I was training with Alvin Ailey. Are you still planning to return there?

Happy TGIF!!!

eatingRD said...

wow, what great insight into the world of blogs and the new direction for yours. I have never heard of that stuff before, I would definitely make something like a trifle or parfait with it, with fruit and cinnamon! I didn't see its nutritional profile? Very interesting stuff. I think you should experiment. That's so neat you live in edinburgh. I went there in 7th grade for a group trip and it was amazing, all the castles and green stuff growing on buildings! We don't get that here in Las Vegas.

Syd said...

I write for myself. I can't help that I might trigger something in someone. How would I know that? I can't be responsible for what others think. I'm at peace with that.

Gina said...

That product sounds interesting. So it tastes like sake but it's sweeter and more like a spread? I of course would put it on ice cream...depending on the taste! Who comes up with these things?!
As for your aspartame question, I think sugar and aspartame are both good and bad. I try to eat as little sweeteners as possible, and since I add splenda to my cereal in the morning, I don't want anymore sweeteners already in my cereal! When it comes down to it, I tend to recommend the real stuff (sugar, honey, etc) to most people, unless they are diabetic, which means they are probably better off with the aspartame! :) OF course, I would still tell them to watch their intake.

Anonymous said...

your food = amazing.

Like most other bloggers, Caitlins post was really interesting to me too. I have never had an ED but I can only image that some sites might be triggereing. You seem to do a fabulous job though of promoting health :)

Pammy said...

First, I have never been triggered by your blog. I enjoy reading your posts so much. I can understand not reading certain blogs because they are triggering. I try to avoid those that are triggering because I dont want to compare myself to others. That smores bar looks delish!

Nutritious is Delicious said...

I have never heard of "that stuff"...looks cool though!

Heating up a Clif Zbar?! Sweet Action!

I agree...blogs are to share your thoughts (and recipes if a food blog!) with others! If you don't like it, you dont have to read it. right?! I like you blog and think your doing great! :D

Anonymous said...

I totally agree that you have the right to post whatever you want on your blog, so long as it stays within reasonable boundaries. Readers have the option to close the window whenever they want, so they need to take responsibility for what they read. Bloggers themselves have no obligations to their readers. We as readers aren't paying to read people's blogs, so why should we expect to be catered to? I use my blog to journal, sort my thoughts, record and keep track of things, and to get support, advice, and feedback from others with whom I have certain things in common. Blogging is yet another form of social networking and a way of forming relationships with people you wouldn't otherwise know even existed. I think it's great because it can bring together a community of people regardless of geographical barriers. Just as you would in a circle of friends in your area, if you don't like something, you leave the group. We can't control what others do, but we can change our behavior to avoid it.

But in short...I agree with you, lol

Rachel said...

I love your thoughts on this. When I started my blog, it wasn't really meant to be a "recovery" blog, but I have mentioned my eating disorders several times on it. The true reason I write my blog is because I love food, and because I love meeting people who share the same interests as me. Not many people are excited by some good, fresh produce or a particularly delicious blend of oats!

In regards to negativity, I've never experienced anything but positivity and friendliness on my blog. I definitely keep "trigger" topics or controversial issues to a minimum, not for my readers, but because I don't want my blog associated with it. Like you, I enjoy reading blogs more about healthy living rather than living with anorexia.

I don't think it's necessary to apologize to anyone for possibly being triggered. If you are uncomfortable reading a blog, you stop, as you said. They can do the same. The blog is yours for any and all of your thoughts! But personally I've never found any of your words triggering.

Oh and that's crazy about the tattoo on your stomach! I always think I want one, but I doubt I ever could.

Much love,

Anonymous said...

girl, yet another amazing post. I loved reading your point of view and you insights to this.
I, too, thank blogging for helping me so much. In fact, I doubt I would even have gone half the way I did without blogging. people like you have given me so much precious support and encouragement!
I probably do write something triggering too...but you know what? it's our blog...we can write whatever we want. this blog is a representation of US, and I refuse to give a false impression of myself. So I agree with you that you shouldn't "censor" your blog or anything. Write what you want. In fact, I always find your honesty and straightfoward style of writing so refreshing. If ppl can't handle it, they don't need to read the blog.
I don't post ALL my eats either. That is a little bit obsessive for me. I just post any interesting new dish I make or ate!

Anonymous said...

all I have to say to this post is Bravo. I think that everything you had to say was brilliant and thruthful. Blogs are their owner's. They are places for expression and thought and friendship and learning. People have all the power in the world to either read them or not. This is YOUR place. YOUR outlet. YOUR blog. I think this post was wonderful and I'm glad you shared it with everyone.
Hope you had an amazing day and I'm glad to hear your positive outlook on your life and the dedication you have to taking babysteps and finding balance in your life.

Anonymous said...

that wrap looks so good :)

i found caitlins post so interesting too and i agree with a lot of your points...i think readers do need to realize if they dont feel comfortable reading a blog then they shouldnt read it...the writer is allowed to publish what they want...but in saying that i do also feel there is a degree of responsability that needs to be taken when publishing a blog to make sure its not offensive to someone esle. Its definetly a hot topic...

have a great friday girlie :)

Anonymous said...

LOVE your, your thoughts, and your food (and food pictures)!


Thinspired said...

This is a great post, Ellie. I agree so much with what Leah has not apologize for yourself or your blog.
I also got a lot out of that discussion on Caitlin's blog. I think it's interesting to see what people think about bloggers responsibility. I am of similar school of thought to you in that, I don't think there is one. I think there is a responsibility to ourselves, and not to hurt other people or mislead them, but that's about it. Personallly, my blog has evolved tremendously since I just started posting photos of what I eat. I find myself wanting to delete posts that I don't like or days when I ate a lot or something, but you know what? It's my blog and it's been my journey, and I'm not going to feel bad or apologize for it.
If people don't like your blog or mine for whatever reason, no one is forcing them to read it. That's how I feel anyway ;)