NOTES from AL | May 8, 2000
This is the first installment of AL notes, thoughts, diary entries, and words.
As I've mentioned before, I have been writing in some form or another since childhood.
I want to preface by saying that sharing this part of me is almost as excruciating as sharing my battle with Anorexia. But, the point of all that I do at UF is to encourage others to see the lesson in every story.
My upbringing forced me to be a curious soul. I always questioned everything + lived in wonderment of others who didn't do the same. I found it peculiar that people didn't use the resources around them to try to answer the questions in their mind. Especially now, when we have access to almost anything via the internet, I consider it close to personal treason, not to take the time to research and learn.
I never went to college. I wanted to BADLY. I will speak about this in due time. I tell you this so that you understand that I'm almost grateful that I didn't go because it only multiplied my hunger to learn. I had always been fearful of looking like the fool in the room. Seen as a fake and fraud. What I've learned over time is that it's not possible to know everything. In fact, oftentimes there's more wisdom in the silence than in our words.
My words were always felt silenced in the outside world, yet they were loud in my notebooks. As I'm moving through my Recovery and painting My Story for you, I have realized that there is much wisdom and insight to those very words. They are helping me heal myself and my broken relationships with others. They are providing perspective and compassion - something that is imperative in acquiring self-love. I FEEL for myself as a young girl and a young woman. I see her pain, her overwhelming sadness and paralyzing fear of love. That is why I'm choosing to share this with you.
What I hope is that you take away from my sharing is a deeper look into what it means to be an immigrant, a young girl, a teenager with a changing body, a prime candidate for an eating disorder, parent-child relationships, sexuality, self-esteem, depression, substance abuse, and mental health. It's not easy being the child or the parent. There's no guidebook. But I hope this allows you to SEE yourself and those around you.
I wish I had perspective into people's ups and downs - maybe that's why I gravitate towards memoirs, biographies and documentaries. In a way it allows me a front-row seat in the person's mind. I take some, I leave some. I try it on, I take it off. I shape and mold what fits me best. Learning from others' mistakes in hopes to minimize my own.
My Mother recently said to me: 'i wish there was a guidebook'. That got me thinking. Sure, my words may not be professional suggestions + advice, but they are insights. They are TRUTHS. They are things that happened. Tangible. Real. They are what have shaped me and have brought me to where I am today. They can serve as lessons, as takeaways, as information.
I know that by reading myself through the decades it has provided much clarity and understanding. It has provided forgiveness towards myself and others. It's another: I SEE YOU moment. I hope they will do the same for you.
I am 13 years old. In sixth grade in Detroit, Michigan. This year, I am home-schooled. I am not happy about this - as you will see in time. My days are filled with activities. Schooling, french classes, Math tutoring, singing lessons, dance lessons, acting classes, tennis lessons, and the very occasional sometimes permissible internet access. At this time, I find myself chatting on AIM with a boy in Los Angeles. I like him although I'm not sure why. On this particular day, the Detroit Red Wings season is closely coming to a close. That means a couple of things. We will leave for the summer. My father might be traded. My father will be around. I don't particularly like any of these possibilities. I just want to have friends - which I don't.
What is important about this entry is that up until this moment, I hadn't really noticed my body. I had always been lanky, skinny, long-legged. My tennis friends and coach actually made fun of my long, lanky legs. People wondered how they held me up and kept me strong. I find it interesting that I am contemplating X's idea- entertaining whether or not it suits me. Always the obedient child, I don't want to disappoint, but this doesn't truly align with my being. What's wrong with the body I have now? Do I need to worry about it? What do you mean I won't be able to recognize myself? What are the changes? ARE there changes? Who can I talk to about this? No one. I am not at school. I am not at sex ed. and I am not around adults who would or could understand.
The loneliness sets in. I am a freak of nature.
This video is around the same time. I show this to you in order for my words to not seem dramatic. I am the oldest of three and as it so often happens with the oldest child, each subsequent birth, leaves me feeling more and more forgotten. I don't think I realized it at the time, but as you see here, there is a sort of melancholy. An inner-battle happening. Wanting to be seen, yet not wanting to ask for the attention. Selfish, Alyonka. There are two younger siblings who need it more! How dare you ask for love. How dare you ask for attention. Right now, I feel sad for this girl. I wish I could hug her. I wish I could tell her that her one-piece bathing suit is rad. That her yet braced-up teeth are perfectly crooked. And that it will get better. Everyone is simply doing the best that they can.