Today is Halloween. And as I sit here dressed as something closely resembling a pioneer or Amish person, I’m thinking about all the weird holidays we celebrate. I mean, come on, how weird of a holiday is Halloween? We pay money to scare each other and gross people out while going door-to-door in costumes getting candy from strangers. Although tonight I am taking Buzz Lightyear and Mario, those are my nephews’ costumes not their names, trick-or-treating. That is only acceptable one day a year. After doing a little unproductive and time wasting Googling, I have found a list of weird holidays and found ways we, in the ED community, can celebrate them.
1/10-National Peculiar People Day= This is an obvious one. Everyone is peculiar. Whether it is your collection of mint condition Wheaties boxes or your habit of doing everything in even numbers (that would be me)…embrace it. Everyone is an individual and can be viewed as peculiar by another person. I propose that we attach a positive connotation to the word peculiar and embrace and parade our peculiarities. God made all of us unique for a reason; don’t try to be everyone else. As John Mason said, “You were born an original; don’t die a copy.”
February- Each year, the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) sets aside one week in the month of February to draw national attention to the education, awareness, treatment and challenges facing eating disordered people, their family and their friends. By participating in NEDAwareness week, you can help lower the stigma attached to EDs and educate people what they are really about (instead of the false and clichéd stereotypes most people cling to). Each year has its own theme and past themes include “Everybody Knows Somebody” and “Be Comfortable in your Genes”.
3/30-I am in Control Day= Although ED will try to convince you that he is in control…this day is a wonderful reminder that YOU are in control. You are stronger than ED, and health is way better than sickness. You always have the choice to pick health over ED behaviors, to eat, to keep it down, to exercise a healthy amount, to throw away the laxatives. YOU. ARE. IN. CONTROL. You, yes you, are stronger than ED and you CAN RECOVER. It takes an immense amount of hard work and commitment to recover from an ED, but if you remember that you are in control you will find yourself much stronger when working towards recovery. “Nobody controls me, I am uncontrollable, the only one who can control me is me” John Lennon
4/14-Look at the Sky Day= Ok, so it may seem a little silly, but I think this day is actually a good idea. How often do we just go day to day fighting ED and not paying a lot of attention to what goes on around us? We get stuck in a rut, not noticing the beauty that surrounds us each and every day. Take time to just look at the sky, take in its splendor, pay attention to your body and what it does for you; take time to just be, to just breathe and just relax in the magnificence of the day. Each day is a gift from God and we should take time to appreciate each new day, as each new day is one more day we’ve conquered ED. “Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books” John Lubbock
5/11-Eat What You Want Day= “One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating” Luciano Pavarotti. Ok, this holiday is pretty self-explanatory. Tell ED to give it a rest, you will be making the food decisions for today. Disregard whatever he tells you to do, not just today, but every day. I know it is hard, but it only takes one day, one choice, one thought to put ED on the train to splitsville.
6/11 or 6/29 depending on what you read-Hug Holiday= So, I’m not one to hug. I actually don’t like people touching me at all, let alone get close enough to actually hug me. BUT today is a great day to get out of your comfort zone and hug someone or be hugged. Show some compassion, help someone who looks like they could use it, show empathy, and be a friend. As Marya Hornbacher says in Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, “Contact with another person reminds you that you are also a person, and implies that someone cares about you as such…Contact with another body reminds you that you have a body.”
7/3-Compliment Your Mirror Day= All too often I find myself critiquing and condemning what I see in the mirror. The only problem? Those are EDs thoughts, not Rhea’s. So, today, compliment what you see in the mirror. Look at your body and think about what each part does for you. Be thankful that it exists despite everything that has happened to it. Take time to appreciate its intricacies and strength. Your body is amazing; take the time to show it gratitude. “The thing that is really hard & really amazing, is giving up on being perfect & beginning the work of becoming yourself” Anna Quindlen
8/15-Relaxation Day= Sometimes it is hard for me to relax and just be. Take time today to just relax. Take a break from your schedule. Unplug your computer. Turn off the phone. Take time for you. You are important, if not more so, than anything else that could happen today. “Next time you’re stressed: take a step back, inhale and laugh. Remember who you are and why you’re here. You’re never given anything in this world that you cannot handle. Be strong. Be flexible. Love yourself and love others. Always remember, just keep moving forward” unknown
9/21-World Peace Day= ““The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions.” Thich Nhat Hanh. This holiday was established by United Nations, so it is actually a real holiday. A wonderful way to celebrate peace day would be to find peace with and within you; although I think the UN meant it as a no more war kinda thing. It would be a great day to create a peace treaty with your body; write down what you are thankful for, terms of agreement on how you will treat it and all the wonderful things I can do for you in return. Hang the peace treaty somewhere you can access it frequently.
10/5-Do Something Nice Day= “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” Plato. It is just a great reminder to be kind to everyone you meet and those you’ve never met but interact with on a daily basis. No act of kindness is ever futile. Don’t forget, though, that do something nice day doesn’t just apply to doing nice things for others. Do something nice day also applies to you. Do something nice for yourself too; anything that makes you happy or feels good.
11/20-Beautiful Day= Although you should feel that you are beautiful EVERY day, take some time to think about how beautiful you are today. Not just in the physical sense, but in others as well. Beauty can come in all different types. There is beauty in being able to do art. There’s beauty in the way you interact and care about people. There is beauty in your heart. There is beauty in your mind. There is beauty in serving others. There is beauty in the unspoken moments. Take time to appreciate that beauty. “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” Anne Frank
12/15-Bill of Rights Day= “Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside of you that is greater than any obstacle” Christian Larson. The Bill of Rights was written to set a standard for the rights and liberties of the people of the United States. And, while that is all well and good, I suggest creating your own Bill of Rights. What are your rights and liberties as a person free of ED? Examples include: I have the right to love myself and all that I am. I have the right to make my own food choices not based on ED’s rules. I have the right to eat with friends. And so on and so on. You will know what “bills” are right for you. Have fun with it. Display your “Bill of Rights” somewhere you can see it when ED tries to challenge you.