Hi.

My name is Alyonka Larionov. 

I am a Host, Producer, Speaker, Writer, Podcaster + the Founder of

Wo/Men Workshop.

I believe in Empowering Emotional Intelligence, emphasizing Curiosity of the Human Condition, and deepening personal growth in the Discomforts of The Unknown.

LIVE.IN.LOVE

November 2, 2015 | The Croissant

November 2, 2015 | The Croissant


The letter you're about to read was written on November 2, 2015. 

I've got to tell you - this thing is personal, raw, vulnerable. There are very few people who've read this. It comes straight out of my personal journals. I know I keep saying this but it is excruciatingly personal. I've left it untouched. Unedited - except for a name.

At the time, this was my attempt at making those around me - my beloved ones - understand me and my complicated brain.  As I read it now I am floored by my own consumption of the illness. It's almost staggering that I can no longer relate to this way of thinking. Of course, I am still new at this Recovery thing, so there is the opportunity that it might change. But maybe it won't. It begs the question: do others feel this way once they step into Recovery? If so, what is this called? How come I was able to shut it off so quickly? Or did it take too long?

It's something I plan on speaking about with my Therapist. Potentially I'll come back to you with some of the answers.

I ask that you not judge - although I can't control you - as there are moments where even I start to cringe at my own desperation to keep my illness alive. I share this with you, Dear Reader, so that it provides insight and perspective into a human beings mind as they battle through a mental illness. If you are suffering too, know that it gets better. If you are around those who suffer, please use this as a starting point to better understand them - there's nothing wrong with them. It's the disease.

I'd also like to add that each illness is different in it's own way. This piece of writing is from my point of view - as it was - while in the thick of my illness.

I believe it's important I share it with you.


  Courtesy: Alyonka Larionov

Courtesy: Alyonka Larionov

Let me set the stage for you.

Nov. 2015 | I remember it like it was yesterday.

This was Strike Two. And I'm right in the thick of it. I'm just entering Month 5 of my new Life. Freshly moved to Venice, California. Working as a Cashier at a retail store. First days into a new gig at VICE Media. I'm a part-time researcher, for now. My retail job keeps promising me an opportunity to crack into sales but 'not yet. you don't have enough experience'. At VICE i'm sitting in the back room, by the kitchen bar. It's cold but what office isn't. there aren't enough women to complain. 

My apartment is finally feeling lived in. At first reluctant at the idea of permanence, I sort of bed hopped for awhile. You know, roughing it. I wanted to be normal. Shed my name, my career. Independent. Freedom. My back hurts. Come to think of it so do my hips - my bones protruding. I wrap my hand around my edges. I'm perpetually cold and hazy. I was seeing someone for some time but that thing fizzled out, too. Just like my body.

I'm little but as per usual- I'm too much.

I thought, I must get smaller.


NOVEMBER 2, 2015 | THE CROISSANT

As i’m eating this croissant, i can’t seem to enjoy it.

i’m mad at myself. what a way to start my morning. i think that alcohol ruins a lot of things. i had a glass of wine last night and after i had wine i was hungry, or maybe i wasn’t, but either way, i made food and i ate it and i knew then that i would wake up angry at myself since i had dedicated my monday to myself and just a day where i could eat whatever i wanted but while tipsy nothing really matters and i thought, who cares what’s done is done. i’m not feeling that way right now. right now i feel my body bloated and my day escaping and this croissant shameful, a disgrace that i would even allow myself to eat it. i stopped eating at 10 pm, it’s 730 am right now, not enough time has passed for me to even be hungry.

am i ever hungry?

i probably was last night. i barely ate. especially saturday.

i ate nothing and then slept over X's, almost proud of myself for not consuming anything and when i woke up sunday, i felt hungover because i drank even though it’s nothing compared to what everyone else would consider drinking but i didn’t eat all day and as much as i wanted to eat certain foods to keep me floating, i didn’t, because i knew that there was the potential of seeing him sunday night but more importantly because i had dedicated my monday off-day to enjoying myself.

hah, what a concept. i can’t enjoy anything. clearly.

this croissant feels more like an unpleasant task, a job that i signed up for and now i don’t want to participate in. i wanted it yesterday but yesterday wasn’t the day to have it so i didn’t. now i have it and i can’t enjoy it because i ate last night. if only i was really hungry this morning, whatever that means, then maybe i’d actually want this.

the funny thing is that i probably do want it but because my mind is trained in forgoing what i want when i want and setting aside specific moments, because i didn’t stay true to my plan and caved in to food last night (seaweed and popcorn) i feel like a failure and i’m mad at myself, truly disappointed and even more so because i had wine, knowing that if i had wine it would help me eat, so why would i do such a stupid thing to sabotage what should have been a pleasant croissant this morning.

god dammit. all of this over a fucking croissant.

they’re not even that many calories. and it’s not even the croissant. it’s the seaweed and popcorn. which isn’t a lot either but the problem is that i’m not sure that i even wanted it last night. i did the seaweed that i know but i’m not sure about the popcorn because it’s not really that good. it’s just filling. it tastes like cardboard. and it’s usually fine but for some reason today it feels like i had too much. my thighs feel fat and now i don’t want to go to yoga which is sad because it’s my favorite class but i don’t want to feel fat in class and i also don’t want to go to yoga because if i go then i’ll feel like i worked out so i shouldn’t allow myself anything else for the rest of the day which doesn’t go according to my original plan which was to enjoy the day, which again, i don’t even know what that fucking means. i probably won’t enjoy much of anything because it’s a monday and tomorrow’s tuesday and then my social schedule begins and i just won’t have enough time to shed this croissant and the stupid seaweed and the stupid fucking popcorn.

god i hate this stupid fucking disease. this stupid voice.

i hate you, voice.

but i kind of love you. because at my utter most controlled situation, i feel like i’m pretty and skinny and that i’ve won, but i’ve actually won nothing because i’m usually alone in my room, probably feeling some deep sense of hunger and usually feeling my sharp hip bones, because they’re sharp when i’m winning. when they’re dull. i’m losing. and let’s not even talk about my thighs . disgusting. my knees too. they’re not bad when i work out but i haven’t been doing much of that lately. i haven’t been running, which i love, because i can’t run like i used to, meaning, i can’t run long distances and then not eat. i now have to eat for fear of losing my eye sight or getting paralyzed or having a migraine. so i’d rather just not run. i’d rather just not eat and keep my exertion to a minimum.

you know what’s funny? the things i eat aren’t even that bad when i do eat.

i eat pretty much the same thing all of the time when i do eat.

seaweed. small batches of oatmeal. juices. lots of chlorophyll and e3 and coconut water and nuts, handfuls of nuts, always. those are like my guilty pleasure but it’s tricky because you never want to have too many. i eat a lot of candy but not as much as i used to because i feel fat right now although everyone keeps commenting on how skinny i am. i got two ‘are you a model’ this past weekend. and ‘look at you! you’re like a ballerina’. all i want to say is that ballerina’s are actually strong in their bodies and yes, most of the europeans don’t eat but the american ones do. they have strength in their bodies. i don’t. occasionally i do. after yoga but then i’m hungry and i hate eating, you know. i wonder how this affects my sex life. i have had 2, maybe 3 periods in the last two years?

what if i’m not able to be a mother. i can’t believe that doesn’t scare me.

it truly doesn’t scare me that there is always the possibility of my not being able to be a mother. it’s absurd! all i’ve been doing recently is gravitating towards children. i have a fear of actually holding a child because i think it might set off some sped up clock to wanting to reverse the experience because the need for one might be too strong. oh my god. what a horrible concept. i’m afraid and ashamed of my own desires. my cheeks feel fat. maybe if i drink more water but water makes me bloated. you know in a sick way it sometimes actually makes me feel better, like it empties out my stomach and then i really feel hollow and that drives me to eat even less than i have before. winning.

a lot of my happiness stems from that too. my mood swings, always based on food and whether or not i’m winning. when i’m not eating, i’m feeling great probably until, unbeknownst to me, my body starts to feel hunger and then everything gets sad, that’s when i’ll turn to alcohol to brighten my mood but recently that hasn’t been working either because i know that it leads me to eat so i’ve started to avoid that too. i drink tea, lots of it, to fill my stomach. but it doesn’t fix my mood.

my mood is terrible especially when it comes to social engagements.

i get anxiety,

especially on a week like this where i know i have a lot of things planned.

how am i going to be able to attend all of these things and get away with not eating??

i’m going to have to do it at some point, but when and where? and what if something happens out of the blue, like a random dinner that i didn’t account for, or a fucking croissant, then what? how will i be able to balance the damage i’ve done with the unexpected. most of the times i just cancel plans because i’d rather be alone and not eat then have to deal with the anxiety of being in a social sphere where i’ll be forced to eat.

there isn’t really a moral to this story and the worst part is that i’ve written this instead of writing in my morning gratitude journal.

by the way, it’s only 7:57 am and this has plagued my mind since the moment i opened my eyes. how terrible.

i’m exhausted. but i can’t sleep. especially not when i ended my night with seaweed and popcorn and there was a looming croissant in the distance. it’s finished now and it was probably great, it’s been that way once before when I had it after actually being good all week and limiting my eating, then it was really delicious. right now it’s gone and i’m not sure how i feel about it. bloated. and like i’ve royally fucked up.

poor croissant. it wasn’t its fault. it deserved a better experience.

i think most people in my life do too. i just bring everything down.


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