Are You What You Eat?

Are You What You Eat?

You may not be what you eat, but is what you eat a part of you?
Jake VP.
Jake VP.
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I, and this may come as quite a shock, but I am not a banana. I am also going to make the wild assumption that you are also not a banana. I have known for quite some time now that I am not a banana, but it all came to a head this morning as I was eating a banana, and wondered, although I am not a banana, could a banana possibly be me?

If you find this absolutely ridiculous, let me explain. Imagine you holding a banana; you and the banana are clearly two distinct items. Now your mouth is clearly yours, full of your teeth, your tongue, and your saliva, it is a part of you. You take a bite of the banana, chewing, it gets smashed in your teeth, stuck in your gums, and mixes with your saliva. Gross? Definitely. But also it makes distinguishing between you and that banana just a bit more difficult; are you and the banana still two distinct entities? If you still think so, let's go on.

After taking a bite of the banana, you swallow it, it falls into your stomach, goes through your digestive tract, and somewhere in here all the nutrients your body can take from it are pumped into you to make you strong, and yada yada yada. So, the question is, is the banana part of you? If so when did that happen? If not, how can what sustains your body, not be a part of you? Like a car your body needs fuel, without that fuel the body can’t do what it’s intrinsically meant to do, just like a car may not be the gas, but a car unable turn that gas into an explosion to propel it forward isn’t a car, its a lawn ornament, and that explosion is only possible with a tank of gas.

So in this light, that banana becomes a part of you, because of the function it serves your body. Which begs the question, are you your body? Well, I think the answer lies in our speech. After someone passes away we talk about them in the past tense “James Dean was an actor.” We do this because they no longer are. So from here, I began to wonder about living parts of us that we don’t really appreciate.

Take your appendix, or if you want, think of a tumor. It grows inside of you, it lives, can be benign, may not hurt you at all, it’s just there. You are not an appendix, nor are you a tumor, but these seem to be parts of you. On the other hand, you can cut them out and feel just like you did before, you didn’t lose anything that is fuelling you like you would if you lost the banana after you swallowed it. Nor did you lose anything that would kill you, or anything that even did anything for you, as if you lost your heart or your big toe. So is this tumor or your appendix a part of you? Or are they just attached to you.

To end this off I’m not sure I have any answers, but I think the next step is to wonder if you were to lose a part of you, assuming it didn’t kill you, would you still be you. Maybe even other loses seem to change you more, like losing a friend or a loved one. In the end I’m not sure we can know for sure where exactly you or I end, but I know one thing, I am not a banana.

Cover Image Credit: Toni Cuenca

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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I Don't Have To Wear Makeup To Be Beautiful

You don't have to, either.

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For about as long as modern makeup/cosmetics/skincare brands have been around, the notion that women have to use any of these cosmetic products to be considered "beautiful" has also been around.

(If you've read my earlier article about red lipstick giving me my confidence back, you would know that I absolutely adore certain skincare/makeup products.)

However, I personally don't believe that I need to wear any kind of makeup to be considered "beautiful." And you don't, either.

I think that we, as a society, have seriously overvalued aesthetic beauty and undervalued the beauty that comes from being a decent, honest, genuine, and kind person. I believe that while makeup has an incredible and transformation-giving effect on women, (and men too, just for the record), that none of us honestly should depend on x, y, and z products to make us feel that we are beautiful, or that our self worth and sense of self should be tied up in how many likes a selfie of us in a full face of makeup get.

And quite frankly, there is so much to love about our makeup free, naturally glowing skin that so many of us hide, simply because society would love to tell us that we're not beautiful, or pretty, or worth very much at all if we don't use [insert new trendy skincare product here].

Well, excuse my French, but I'm calling bull.

It's not okay for any of us to think of ourselves as less than, simply because we're not following those crazy and crappy societal trends. In a culture where "Instagram perfect" pictures are the ideal that every woman, or man, is expected to look up to, I'd say it's pretty revolutionary to dare to bare a fresh-faced look.

No one has to ever feel the need to compulsively put on makeup to be considered "beautiful."

Because, in all reality, makeup can't measure the kind of person you are.

Makeup/skincare products can't measure your kindness, your generosity, your bravery in the face of adversity, or any other kickass quality that you might have. Makeup can't do that; only what's inside of you, if brought out for the world to see, can do that. And yes, I'm well aware of how cliché and "junior high preachy" that sounds.

So, I hope this article will possibly spark some introspective thoughts on what beauty means to you. I hope you start to think about the fact that who you are as a person is not defined by how "attractive" or "beautiful" someone else might tell you you are.

You define who you are as a person, nobody else has that power.

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