Eating Disorder Hope: Portraits of An Eating Disorder

Shifting the Focus From Weight to Feelings

Australian-based photographer Jennifer Blau decided to take the focus off of appearance with eating disorder sufferers. She purposefully shot those who were at a societally acceptable “normal weight [1].”

Because eating disorders affect people at all shapes and sizes, Blau had a desire to tilt more on the message that it’s what’s on the inside that matters, as well as our feelings; society needs to be aware, educated, and sensitive to this message. Her exhibition is appropriately entitled “Just Ask Me How I Feel,” on display at Manly-Library [1].

Read the full blog at Eating Disorder Hope.

Creating New Memories

Some weekend inspiration for you ⭐️
#Repost @enjoythej0urney (@get_repost)
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Do you attach meaning to certain objects and places? My whole life, I’ve
shoved away and hidden the things that bring up bad memories for me. I never throw them away (just in case, as my OCD says) but I try to keep things out of plain view that bring me pain. ⤵️
How do you do this with something as large as an apartment? How do you cover up every wall that reminds you of the people who hurt to remember? How do you stay recovered in a space where it feels like the ghost of your sick self is lingering?⤵️
I moved my room around. 3 times. I’ve changed the furniture in my living room. I’ve painted over my bedroom walls. I reorganized my kitchen. And in the midst of that, I started to understand that we can’t cover up every physical thing that reminds us of pain. When it’s just a stuffed animal in the closet, or a bed switched to a different side of the room, it’s one thing. When it’s desperately trying to find a way to remove every single thing that brings back the hurt, it’s unrealistic and unattainable. Once you can accept that, you can search for another solution.⤵️
My solution? Create new memories. It’ll feel wrong for awhile. You won’t want to laugh in the room that reminds you of betrayal & judgment, but if you try, you will. You’ll feel like staying in a room that does not make you feel anything at all, but you’ll push yourself to be uncomfortable instead. Slowly, you’ll accept the pain. You’ll notice your feelings and you’ll let them go. And then you’ll realize that it’s okay to release what once hurt so badly, because it does not negate the fact that it happened. You came, you saw, you felt. Now, you move on.

 

Nature is God’s Artwork

Nature is God’s artwork. Sometimes when I’m having a stressful day, I take a walk outside, breathe in the fresh air, and take photos of the beautiful nature that I’m so blessed to be surrounded by.

Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, I was exposed to all kinds of plants and wildlife, from alligators to pelicans, Crepe myrtles to the hanging Spanish moss trees.

On the west coast, the nature is quite different, but absolutely lovely. Did you know that you can find art anywhere? Those exposed branches on the side of the road, the dying flower, and dried leaves are all beautiful, it just takes a bit
of mindfulness to appreciate their beauty.
It’s just like us, sometimes when we don’t feel at our best, we can’t see what’s beautiful about ourselves. But God sees us perfectly and complete. We are never washed up or too dull for Him. We are all part of a larger masterpiece, a divine art that spans for all eternity.


Pops of Color

#Repost @leenahlovesherself (@get_repost)
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I love how this photo is mostly black & white with a splash of color. When you’re struggling with mental
illness (or even just life in general) everything can seem like a blur and like every thing is very one-note – like there isn’t any color or light.
However, even in the worst times, there are some pops of color. It can be SO challenging to see them, but they are there.
One way that we can find these moments is by choosing to practice mindfulness. When we anchor ourselves to the present moment instead of being in the past or future, we are able to see the little pops of color that life has to offer, even when times are tough ✨
(Photo by @cmrfx, wearing an @aerie bralette and a @capezio tutu)
#MyFlawsAreFierce
#BopoBallerina
#MentalHealthMonth

Eating Disorder Hope: Creating Art to Recover from Eating Disorders

I was naturally a shy, introverted child. Add in an abusive environment, a mother with severe mental illness, substance abuse, and an early battle with eating disorders, and my shyness was lit on fire.

Turning inward to the extreme and developing depression, playdates in my room with stencils, colored pencils and drawing pads were my everything. This was my way to connect to life and imaginary people.

Read the full blog post at Eating Disorder Hope.

Workshop: A Day of Education and Healing through Art for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse and Eating Disorders

Join Nikki, Peaceful Hearts Foundation, The Bella Vita and Project HEAL SoCal Chapter at UCLA for a healing art therapy workshop focusing on child sexual abuse and eating disorders.

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Los Angeles NEDA Walk, Captured In Time

March 7, 2015 was an inspiring day in sunny Santa Monica! I am so proud of my team, the LA Artist Initiative, and each and every person that came out and supported the National Eating Disorders Association’s cause! Every step taken is a move in the right direction!

To find out how you can get in involved in one of NEDA’s many walks around the nation, please visit their walk website.

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God Bless,
Nikki DuBose
Captain of the LA Artist Initiative Team

 

Love Song

We went swimming

on those distant shores

azure waves

carried our love

to the birds

Every morning

we returned to the birds

a love song birthed

captured in time.

Now you are in the sky

with the birds

still I return to the

distant shores

azure waves

carry my heart

to your soul

as we play

in a kingdom come

mother and daughter

a love song birthed.

©2015 Nikki DuBose

Happy 48th Birthday to our beautiful mommy in Heaven, Sandy Cargile. This poem is dedicated to you. We love and miss you more than you can ever know. We take comfort in the times we had together, and knowing that one day we will all be together again. Thank you for all of the memories.

Artwork by my mother, Sandy Cargile.

 

Never Let Them Stop You

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Emma believes that “you shouldn’t kill because of art. People should be allowed to make any art they want. (Creating art) doesn’t mean (individuals) should purposely make something for no (reason), offend… and hurt (people). But by
no means should people kill becuse of art even if it is disrespectful.”

Have a B.E.A.U.T.Y submission of your own?

Email me nikki@nikkidubose.com

 

It All Starts With Love

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Sapan Karecha is an artist, photographer and musician living in New York City. He has personally seen the harmful effects that eating disorders can have, as a couple of people in his family have been affected. Sapan is a proud supporter of our Artist Initiative Team for the Los Angeles NEDA Walk, and has even created a special art piece to be printed on T-shirts for the walk! We are honored to share his story and find out what his artwork represents.

The art piece I created for (The LA Artist Initiative Team) features four words written on the iris and pupil of an eye: hope, healing, happiness, and central to it all, love. Finding harmony in our personal lives and contributing to harmony as members of a greater community comes from non-judgmental love and compassion. We must always look at ourselves and others with loving, compassionate eyes, because this is how the seeds of hope, healing, and happiness are sown. It all begins with love.

I decided to become involved with (The National Eating Disorders Association) because the two women whom I love most are survivors of eating disorders. Having seen first-hand what eating disorders can do—the physical and emotional ravages they wreak—this is an issue close to my heart. NEDA provides valuable resources and education to those who seek help, and is a beacon of positivity, awareness, and prevention. I support NEDA, and I thank NEDA.”

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

 

 

Be*YOU*tiful by Susana Fernandez

Be*YOU*tiful by Susana Fernandez
Be*YOU*tiful by Susana Fernandez

I am honored to share this kid’s art diorama by fellow teammate and recovery warrior, Susana Fernandez. Susana uses her artistic talents every day in her personal life and in her profession as a teacher. She inspires countless young people to hone their energy into pieces that can change the world for the better, and Susana continues to motivate me, too! I had the pleasure of meeting her and her wonderful family last year at the NEDA walk, and I was touched by their passion for recovery and helping others heal as well. Susana believes that art is an incredible tool to bring about social change, and that is what she hopes to achieve with the LA Artist Initiative Team.

“Gifts Come With a Struggle” by Emma K.

What do you see? by Emma Klein
“Gifts Come With a Struggle” by Emma K.

This piece is by a regular contributor thirteen year old Emma K. from Los Angeles. Emma is a talented young artist who understands the beauty of the pain behind her creations. She has struggled with obsessive compulsive disorder but has overcome so much of it through channeling her energy into her incredible artwork.

Emma normally draws in anime style, but her teacher encouraged her to paint something figurative. Emma agreed to step outside of her comfort zone and through the depiction of the Mona Lisa she and her teacher not only formed a stronger bond, but she was able to open up about her OCD.

When I observe this painting, I sense a raw wisdom and emotions that reflect Emma’s remarkable inner beauty and strength. As Emma’s mother remarked, “It’s a true gift that comes with a struggle.”

Thank you Emma for sharing a part of your soul with us today.

B.E.A.U.T.Y hopes to redefine our understanding of beauty. Have a painting or artistic representation of inner beauty you would like to share? Please email me nikki@nikkidubose.com to submit your poem, drawing, painting, recovery story, photograph, song, or any creation that represents your inner self…which is simply beautiful!

Secret Islands and Misty Heavens of the Pacific Northwest

My journey continued as I made my way through the Pacific Northwest, where the air transpired into a deep, icy chill but the overwhelming beauty of the nature warmed my soul. I was surrounded by trees of all flavors; cranberry, amber, and evergreens resembled the make-believe winter villages I had come to adore as a child. My family liked to collect bits and pieces of a running train set every year, and it was set in an imaginary place, similar to the picturesque countrysides of Oregon and Washington.

I ended my exploration at the magical islands just south of Victoria, and here I feel at peace. When I look around, and gaze at the glorious spendlor that envelopes me, I can’t ever question that God exists. How wonderful He is, and how Blessed I am to be in the midst of serenity, here in my special place.

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B.E.A.U.T.Y Project Art by Orlando

Beauty Project by OrlandoOrlando drew a peace sign, an angel heart with wings, and a happy/sad mask for the Beauty Project!

Orlando’s artwork is a fine example of the emotions in life we all go through.  Emotions should be welcomed and felt, as they help us experience life in a greater way! 🙂

Thank you, Orlando, for your positive drawing on inner beauty!

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

B.E.A.U.T.Y Project Art by Saunvvia

Saunvvia drew a big, happy heart surrounded by a rainbow and colorful dots!

Inside of the heart were positive words such as “love” and “harmony.” I suppose Saunvvia was trying to tell us that inner beauty is a reflection of all of the wonderful emotions we should focus on, right? 🙂 BeautyProject_Saunvvia

It’s not that we don’t experience the negative feelings, it’s just that the more we magnify the positive, the more the positive emotions will grow, and that makes us stronger!

Thank you Saunvvia for your deep insight and excellent addition to our Beauty Project!

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

B.E.A.U.T.Y Art by Damien

Damien believes that “Beauty” is Without Words! I have to agree! What do you think? Perhaps the most meaningful things in life are only felt, and not seen?

Thank you, Damien, for your insight and creativity!

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

B.E.A.U.T.Y Project Art by Elijah

Elijah lent his creative eye to the Beauty Project and drew Sonic the Hedgehog!BEAUTYPROJECT_ART_Elijah

Beauty can be expressed through art and however we choose to see it. Thank you Elijah for this incredible drawing of Sonic the Hedgehog, it’s fantastic!

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

B.E.A.U.T.Y Project Art in Honor of My Mom

"Each tiny leaf upon this tree will tell my message: I love thee"
“Each tiny leaf upon this tree will tell my message: I love thee.”

My mom was a deep person who loved nature and art, among many other things. She always tried to spread her love to me and my brother in her artwork, and I am happy to share that with you. We all express our love in different ways, and I think it’s important to accept that love for what it is, instead of trying to change that love to fit our desires. We are all here on Earth trying to do the best we can.

We love and miss you mom.

How do you see love and beauty?

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose