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Beyond Sweetness

Beyond Sweetness


'He called me white sugar,' the blog post I wrote back in 2020, told the story of my candy-themed drawings. It's been a long time since I drew any candy (but not long since I ate one, haha) up until recently. This time, the candy in my drawing was used differently and represented the process I went through in the last years.


Since drawing the first "Eye-Candy" drawing, I knew I would draw a new version at some point. But in my imagination, I thought I would draw one similar to the old one and do it better. I had no idea that when the moment comes, I will create something completely different.


The first eye candy drawing was born out of a place that indulged in external validation. Honestly, I sometimes find it hard to admit how strongly my self-worth depended on how I was seen by others, primarily men, and especially men I was sexually intimate with. I thought not following certain societal rules meant I didn't care about my appearance or how others saw me, but I was only living in denial.


woman candy goggles lollipop pencil graphite drawing color pencils
Eye-Candy; still a compliment, but slightly different. "Eye-Candy," Graphite and Color Pencils on Paper, 2019

Being seen as candy for the eyes was more than a compliment for me; it was a declaration of my worth/value. So when I, myself, was saying that to someone, I also thought of it as a huge compliment (I even called my previous boyfriend eye candy, and that drawing was related to how I felt about him). I don't think it's not a compliment anymore, but my way of looking through goggles of sugar has changed; It's no longer a definition of worth, as today I rely on a deeper connection to myself and find new ways to value myself.


After years of sniffing around the topic of addiction and twelve steps programs, I finally found the one that fits best on October 2021. I am a member of EDA, Eating Disorders Anonymous, and I can't tell you enough about what that program gave to my life. So today, I will only focus on denial.


You can't tell you are in denial until you wake up from it. Or, you don't know how deep in denial you are until you wake up from it. Unfortunately, I was buried very deep in it. On the surface, I was sure that by saying I have eating disorders, admitting I have "emotional eating," etc... meant I was aware of my condition and I was dealing with it. But I was basically procrastinating and repeating the same patterns that kept me stuck.


For example, when I wrote the 'He Called Me Withe Sugar' blog post in 2020, I was sure the days of dependency on my body and appearance were behind me. Well, lo and behold, they were not. My sense of self-worth was still relying on my physical performance and fitting into an ideal I had built in my mind. I didn't see it back then since, at that moment, I rose to the standard I had set up for myself.


yoga ashtanga berlin tempodrom
It's easy to be in denial when you fit in the standard you see as perfection. Pic: Dante Busquets

Waking up from the illusion of normal and being slapped in the face by reality was painful. Trust me, I've been through some painful experiences, but this one was one of the hardest to swallow. HOW CAN YOU ESCAPE THE THING THAT IS YOUR ESCAPE?


The lollipop goggles were the sugar screen I was looking at life through. It was a big part of living in denial. It was the tendency to sugarcoat uncomfortable truths and harsh reality. And hey, I'm not writing this right now as a fully enlightened being that knows it all, sees it all, and recovered from it all - Far from it. Recovery taught me I become aware of what I am ready to become aware of and move forward at my own pace.

Not all can be seen at once.


woman lollipop drawing sketch graphite color pencils
Seeing beyond the sweet screen is not a comfortable experience. Work in Progress, Mixed Media on Paper, 2023

It's just like drawing. When wanting to draw what your eyes see, you must cultivate the patience to sit and look; reality will unfold itself slowly and never give you more than you can chew. If you try to rush it, there's a 99% chance it won't work. You'll suffocate, pass out and forget your moment of awakening.

Also, in addition to patience, trust and faith in yourself are a big part of the process. Because the real can sometimes feel so surreal, it's easy to get lost and give up.


Now back to the new eye-candy/Lollipop drawing; This time, the woman holding the lollipops is willing to expose one eye to what is beyond the sugar screen. By lifting a part of the veil, a sense of awakening takes over and floods her with emotions; pain, joy, sorrow, shame, guilt, gratitude, ambition, hate, and love. She will not cover her eyes again, but she's not ready to see all there is to see; that's just the way it is. Recovery is not an event, it's a process.


Seeing beyond, step by step, taking the time to process, trusting all we need is here, and all we need to see will appear when the time is right.


Give yourself the time and space to see.

Give yourself the time and space to heal.



-----


To all out there who feel that their occupation with body image and thoughts and behaviors around food are taking more energy than they wish, feel free to reach out.

Also, Starting next Tuesday, we'll be having in-person EDA support meetings in Berlin (also, there are many meetings online).


Dear friends, you are not alone!


Love,


Shiran




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