I am not feeling well.  My body feels sore, my muscles ache, and I am tired, lethargic. Not surprising considering the fact that I have been a passenger on every mode of transportation possible within the last eight weeks (including a helicopter), making four round trips from the west coast to the east coast and sleeping in at least six different beds, a new one every three nights. My self diagnosis is your standard fall-to-winter flu. But then my skin starts to tingle and burn, and not in the normal fever way, but rather in an “oh-crap-that-really-feels-like-I-am-on-fire” kind of way. I wake up in NYC with blisters all over my right arm and my chest. I note the bizarre event, but I have things to do!

“I must be detoxing,” I tell myself. “After all, I have been eating really poorly.”

My diet is my go-to scape goat. If anything is wrong in my life, it must be because I indulged last night. This is the standard form of punishment and blame I have used since I went on my first diet at age fourteen. Since then it has been a rather convenient way to explain anything irregular. “I have a headache = sugar detox; I’m so tired = too much wheat; I can’t sing = the brick of brie”

. . . and on and on . . .

I casually ignore the abnormal blisters all over the right side of my body, stick on a long sleeved shirt, and I am on my way. Scarf on neck, mascara on eye lashes, gloss on lips, and I am out the door. My audition cannot be put off simply because my body has decided to revolt.

I skip a doctor’s visit in favour of a delicious dinner just to affirm the fact that it is nothing serious: a delicious vegan feast on the upper west side with a side of denial. Yum.


I wake up the next morning in such excruciating pain I can barely breathe. Seriously? Blisters like third degree burns to get my own attention. How did I make this happen? What did I do to deserve this?!

I send a picture to my doctor and it turns out I have shingles. What the hell is that? Everything I read says it happens to people in their latter years, I’m 29! Seriously? I have actually come down with a virus that has a vaccination for people over the age of 50.


WTF!?!?!!?!?!? My whole body is burning off! I can’t move! I can’t breathe! I can’t cry! I can’t laugh!! This SUUUUUCKS!!! I am not willing to accept the fact that I am in pain. I do not want to see that I am a human being with limitations. My body is forcing me to find humility!!! NOOOOOOO!

I am not okay with my body. I don’t understand this mutiny. I want to do what I have always done: punish myself until I submit. I certainly refuse to do anything nice for myself. This body of mine will pay for what it is doing!

After years of constant neglect and vicious attacks of blame and dissatisfaction my body is fighting back. It has endured every diet imaginable, kick boxing, running, calorie counting and binging. This vehicle for life has been run through the gamut and has apparently decided it is done. “You’re not the boss of me!”

Then comes the bargaining. “I’ll give you a full night’s rest . . . is that what you want? Is that what this will take? Fine . . . if I stay in bed all day today, when I wake up tomorrow you will be totally better, right? Let’s just make that happen. Okay?”


Wow. All I can say is wow. All my creative convincing and “dictator”-esque commands have been for not. The evolution of the blisters has grown, worsened in fact. My arm and chest are covered in little pods of bubbling flesh. The body still revolts.

I haven’t showered in three days. I am sitting in my room, in the dark, playing Elliot Smith’s “Between the Bars.” Elliot laments “The potential you’ll be that you’ll never see, the promises you’ll never make,” and I feel like he “gets me”. I partner my dark emotional music with the reading of an article in the Globe and Mail about “Rape as a Weapon”. I see nothing good in the world. Only death, violence and destruction.  It feels like the only thing that soothes my pain is knowing there are others worse off than me. I know this is terrible, but in the moment, it is the best form of nurture I have. I am grasping at straws.

I feel no one understands. I feel so existentially isolated. I am a little lost girl covered in shingles with nowhere to go. All those years acting out the melodrama of life are paying off. I am living in my own soap opera. I have never felt so sorry for myself.

I reject myself. I look in the mirror and have nothing nice to say. The sad thing is this behaviour is not isolated to shingles. I started doing this the year I got my curves. My body became my enemy, the thing that thwarted my dreams and desires. At fourteen, my body started to expand to make room for the woman I was becoming. But that’s not how I saw it. In my mind my body was misbehaving, betraying my desires. And so it began. The discipline.

I am literally exploding. I can’t take the self imposed rejection for one more day. It is like the war I am fighting inside has come to a boiling point. A civil war and the battle ground? My skin. I finally have found the guts to stand against the oppressor that is me.


I go outside! Hallelujiah! I go outside into a beautiful fall day!

In that moment, the enemy becomes the vessel for joy. I feel the air on my skin and the warmth of the sun reminds me I am alive. The deprivation of UV rays and fresh air helps jog my memories and all the places I have seen and adventures I have had come rushing back. This “friend” and I have shared quite a ride thus far. I look at my hands, my legs, my blisters. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and I feel the privilege of having a healthy, strong, and beautiful body. I look at myself, swollen, unkempt, and healing. I am grateful. For the first time in over ten years I am grateful for this friend.

With this new appreciation I take my tired, worn, brave, abused body back inside for a bath and some pampering. I shave my legs, wash my hair, and soak my sores. It is divine.

When I get out of the tub my new favorite song is playing on my iTunes (Madeleine Peyroux’s “Back in Your Own Backyard.”) and I start dancing. Oh YES! I am back. Can only dance with one arm, and with very small moves, kind of like a half drawn Charlie Brown character, but I am dancing. I am coming back to life! Hooray!!


I put on a fresh, light, cotton t-shirt and rub aloe down my arm. I can’t remember the last time I actually looked at my skin in this way. I can’t remember the last time I stood in my bathroom and spent time focused on being sweet to myself. Rejection is so well practiced that accepting feels awkward. Like a drugged baby giraffe drunk and trying to walk.

I decide everything will change.

I throw away the boxing gloves sitting in my closet from my tae bo days. I toss the “fat burn” herbs into the garbage and I take down the pictures of women with six packs and size negative zero dresses that I have posted on my “dream board”.

Yes, everything will change.


The beginning of the end starts the next day. I go for a coffee. My blisters turning to scabs. My eyes glaze over the counter and I spot a beauty magazine sitting there. The hater comes back to haunt. Wow, how quickly I forget. As I reach into my bag to grab my wallet my sleeve catches the sores on my arm. I moved too quickly and this snaps me back to reality. Like a shock collar on a dog, it seems I need the constant reminder. This pattern runs so deep, not sure if the scars on my skin are going to be enough for me to stay grateful.

My dearest, closest friend that has carried me through China’s foothills, across the Brooklyn Bridge, and down elegant red carpets. My body that has both doubled in size to make room for wine and cheese and shrunken down to support what I thought I had to be. My body gracefully works with me, always offering more and more opportunities to have the richest experience possible.

Maybe now I can work with her.

Add yours Comments – 62

  • Alyssa

    on December 16, 2011 at 1:01 am

    Wow Allison you’ve been through a lot lately!
    What an amazing reminder to “love the skin we’re in!” So often we forget how much our bodies do for us, instead we punish, neglect, and look down on them, sometimes wishing for a better upgrade (I know I’ve been there). But then one thing goes wrong, and we realize just how much we need them.
    The human body: so strong, yet incredibly fragile.
    Take care of yourself, I hope you feel better soon!

  • Jack Colby

    on December 16, 2011 at 1:36 am

    Sounds like it’s been a rough couple of weeks. After reading that I wish I could give you a hug. 🙂 I hope you’re doing better.

  • Beth

    on December 16, 2011 at 2:20 am

    Wow Allison. That sounds horrible. I, too, wish I could give you a hug 🙂 I’m glad you got past that and hope you feel heaps better now 🙂

    Running yourself into the ground isn’t good at all for the mind or the body. Unfortunately, many of us learn that the hard way, as it sounds like you’ve just done. It’s almost as though we need constant reminders to be thankful for who we are and what we have. The part of us that insists on believing that this isn’t good enough or I’m not good enough is so easy to be consumed by. It feels good to remember that everyone is perfectly imperfect and to accept and be happy with what is.

    Take care 😀

  • mohamed ahmed

    on December 16, 2011 at 4:28 am

    It’s really terrible to know that you lived in so much pain for that long .. i wish it would be me not you .. to spare you all that pain .. seriously .. thank god that you are fine now and in good health ..and all i can say now is please Allison for me and for all your fans .. take care of your health and stay in good shape .. we care so much about you .. and we will always be there for you ..
    p.s i loved when you were dancing on Madeleine Peyroux’s “Back in Your Own Backyard” ..
    you are so cute i Love You .

  • Dnjones35

    on December 16, 2011 at 5:42 am

    My sister has had shingles three times now and she’s 23. It’s definitely a run down immune system thing although she’s more sensitive from her fibromyalgia and a life time of compressed immune function. It’s such a pain but hope you feel better and don’t run yourself down as much 🙁

    Good luck with the fight to love your body and the rejection of the size 0, magazine cover images.

  • Giovanna

    on December 16, 2011 at 7:09 am

    It must be terrible, I can’t imagine how much pain you had suffered. But I happy now that you are ok and fine with yourself!

    I wish you all the success in the world! 🙂


  • Williamrobida07

    on December 16, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Allison, a great and honest look into yourself..not so much about the shingles I think.
    It’s sad that pain is needed in our lives to feel alive and that scares no matter how Deep
    and how Large make us who we are as a person. I doubt very much that we would have
    the Allison Mack in front of us that we all see if I wasn’t for those things you have fought
    BTW… Don’t worry about your body image so much. Trust me,it’s looks Great…

  • Dana

    on December 16, 2011 at 8:46 am

    This must have taken a lot of courage to write. To admit ones insecurities so openly shows you already have more power over them than you think. Shame and denial have to give way to acceptance and openness, then the real healing can begin. You are a beautiful, soulful woman, and that has nothing to do with the size of your clothing, the weight on the scale or the number of calories you’ve eaten.

    Too often in life, we are taught to set low expectations for ourselves to ward off disappointment. We are taught to practice self-hate instead of self-love because it’s easier to find flaws than strengths. ‘You’ll be happily surprised if things turn out better than you thought,’ we are told. But if we repeatedly expect disappointment in our lives, if we are repeatedly choose to believe we are inferior and don’t think we are worthy or loveable, we create an environment ready to confirm our deepest fears.

    Seeking perfectionism (whether in appearance, your friendships, your career) ultimately deprives people of the ability to learn and grow. Making mistakes is often the first step to learning. Trudging through the trial and error of decision making, embarking down the wrong path and being forced to blaze a new, and picking the wrong door to walk through or curtain to look behind (I’ve clearly watched too many game shows in the 80s), all of these are necessary steps to gaining new insights. But a perfectionist does not like to make mistakes. A perfectionist does not like to be wrong or to admit error. Instead of joining in the race and risking the potential of taking a wrong turn or, goodness forbid, finishing last, the perfectionist would rather sit on the sidelines observing. I have all too often adopted the attitude of ‘if I can’t be the best I might as well not even try.’ This ultimately translates to, ‘my whole identity is wrapped up in how well I perform and if I’m not the best, I don’t know who I am.’ Missing out on the opportunities for growth that go along with making mistakes is unfortunately a price many pay when identity is on the line.

    I had lot of issues with food and weight growing up, and after many years in a good place with my body I made this short video about body acceptance. I watch it whenever my resolve starts to waiver. httpxxxx://morethanmediocrity.wordpress.com/2010/11/10/118/ (remove the 4 x after the http)

    • Aysha

      on December 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm

      Dana, you couldn’t have said it better if you tried! I relate to your thoughts so deeply because I myself have a Type A personality who strives for perfection when there really is no such thing. At times, I forget that I am only human, but what keeps me going and brings me back to the ground is knowing that my worth is independent of how well I think I perform in any area of my life. I find it’s “practice makes perfect” when it comes to reaffirming thoughts and allowing myself to take it easy.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      • Dana

        on December 21, 2011 at 9:19 am

        I read your comment and started thinking… so how does (or how should) we define one’s own worth? If it’s not about perfection or performance standards how should we define it? Or is this something so subjective and ever-changing and situationally dependent it’s better to not think about. Perhaps my worth should be defined by how many people I inspire, I help, I encourage, I show compassion or forgiveness to?? I think defining one’s worth by performance based standards is a very “American.”. I would be curious to hear from people who live in other parts of the world or have traveled elsewhere if this is the case everywhere. I feel like in other parts of the world where the collective/community is more important than the individual you’d find that one’s worth is defined by how they contribute to the whole, how they lift up and encourage the people around them, not by whether they are the best.

        I think being able to shift the way I think about my own value could do wonders for my self-esteem, and in turn make me a better person all around.

        Your comment just got me thinking. Now time to do some personal refection and journaling. 🙂

        • 3tesla

          on December 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm

          > how does (or how should) we define one’s own worth?

          An excellent question! As a utilitarian, I would be tempted to begin by considering the happiness/goodness that I bring to other people’s lives, but is that a trap? Is my value more intrinsic and related to my uniquness in all of the universe / creation? Is who I am more important than what I do, or are they intrinsically inter-connected?

          • Aysha

            on December 21, 2011 at 11:10 pm

            Very powerful question, indeed, Dana. I have recently found a much simpler way of looking at worth, but this is just after reading some self-esteem material. From my understanding and based my readings’ interpretations, worth is constant and unwavering regardless of what we do, who we interact with, and how we look at ourselves. We have worth by just being on this planet and existing. The real question is, are we expressing our worth and the most genuine way possible? For everyone it’s expressed in different, yet distinct ways. I can express my worth through various actions. Do we layer and mask our worth by not being our true selves?

            I don’t think anyone is less valuable than the next person, to answer Tabby’s question. We all have value. What we do to reveal our values to others defines how we see ourselves.

            Just a thought and some reflection 🙂

          • James Hall

            on December 23, 2011 at 3:40 am

            > how does (or how should) we define one’s own worth?

            “Value” and “worth” are indeed conceptual traps that have been imposed upon us by millennia of human culture. We have no paradigm to transcend it yet, thus we are left, when comparing ourselves to each other, as saying something like “no one is more valuable/worth more than anyone else”.

            Why do we want to impose this conception of ‘worth’ on ourselves? Well, for one thing (heh), culturally, whether we use the definition or not, it will be imposed upon us by many of those around us. The question now is do we want to follow this defining of each other by ‘worth’ or ‘productivity’? Maybe if we solve the problem of allocation of resources? Maybe when productivity and harmony become synonymous? I mean what would the world family culture be like if all we had to be concerned about is how well we handled our environment’s difficulties, rather than having to provide basic needs? When will it be when those who prefer to live in caves and provide for themselves from the land, can live just as tranquilly as those with bowling alleys and swimming pools in their homes (have the ability to)? I use the term “world family,” perhaps “world team” may be better understood? Can we all be team players as we distribute scarce resources?

            What about how we think about ourselves? Why does the scarce resource paradigm have to edge its way into how we define ourselves? Perhaps we can think of our own scarcity of tranquility instead?

          • 3tesla

            on December 24, 2011 at 7:04 am

            > I use the term “world family,” perhaps “world team” may be better understood?

            The end of that train of thought might be The Gaia Hypothesis – that every living thing on Planet Earth can be considered as a part of a single living meta-organism (in the way that all of the different cells in a human body are part of a bigger organism):


          • James Hall

            on December 24, 2011 at 11:39 am

            > can be considered as a part of a single living meta-organism

            I would consider the entire output of the ‘Big Bang’ event a single living meta-organism. I think the philosophical entertainer the late Alan Watts said it best in his manuscript, “The Art Of Contemplation,”

            –“…the individual is something which the whole is doing, and that the whole is something which the individual is doing simultaneously.” However, “This relationship is not ordinarily felt or recognized in human consciousness, fascinated as it is by the apparent independence of the individual from the whole…. The individual feels restricted to the area of his voluntary behavior….”

        • Anonymous

          on December 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm

          Dana, These are beautiful thoughts! Keep it up! Question… in this you almost link value and worth as equals. Are they? What gives people their value in general? Is any one human more or less valuable then another. If so, what’s different about them? What does it mean if a human IS less valuable than the rest? What does it mean if they are more valuable? What does it do to your view of the world if this is true. What about the opposite? No human is more or less valuable than the next? What does it mean if that is true. How do we determine value, in that case? What does that do to your view of the world?

          More for your journal 😉

          • 3tesla

            on December 24, 2011 at 7:13 am

            A dollar bill is only “worth” one dollar, but perhaps it’s “value” is linked to how I will enhance life – either mine or others’ – in spending it.

            I am also reminded of the wiricism that “a cynic is someone who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing” (which I have just found out is from Oscar Wilde).

          • James Hall

            on December 25, 2011 at 2:18 am

            > A dollar bill is only “worth” one dollar, but perhaps it’s “value”

            Seriously, you want to go there?
            The ‘value’ of one dollar strictly depends upon consumer confidence. Thus, a one dollar bill may be only ‘worth’ one dollar, its ‘value’ may be 10,000 pound sterling.

  • Jon Mills

    on December 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Sorry to hear you’ve been feeling shitty

    Interesting way how our body grabs our attention.

    It’s understandable though why you might feel drawn to look a certain way, as the type of career you have is very much about appearances . The whole entertainment industry is entrenched in the machine of ” how you look” as IF beauty is about size, shape, color and trends.

    Look at all the celebs who get face lifts, they don’t look younger, they look like they have been put in a wind tunnel.

    Crazy ass world!

    That’s why I applaud the women that don’t get all caught up idealistic ways of conformity.

    They let their talent be their voice.

    Adele, beautiful round figured women, yet guarantee she don’t fit into the standard “Look” that most in the industry want her to be.

    Kelly Clarkson: people are forever going on about her having gained weight. Crazy as she looks good either way.

    And others…

    I say ” Bring on the Cheese and Wine!”

    Like dang what a nightmare it must be to be in the spotlight, not only do you have to put up with all the B.S that people write about you but you have to endure pressure to look, speak and exist a certain way.

    There is one thing for a person to not give attention to their body…and another to get too obsessed with looking a certain way.

    It’s finding a middle ground in it all

    Like Bridget Jones…. ladies with a few “wobbly bits ” are fine!

  • James

    on December 16, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Wow. Just wow. I am glad that this experience has changed your perspective on this issue, and I realize that this is not really mine to comment on, but I feel compelled to say something nonetheless. Let me preface this by saying that I am a Christian and a gentleman, and would never purposefully say anything to disrespect a woman. I pray that you don’t take this the wrong way.

    I am a heterosexual man. In the eyes of modern society, that makes me something of an authority on the subject of feminine beauty (Wether I SHOULD be or not is certainly up for debate). I watched you on Smallville once a week for ten years. In those ten years, I’ve also seen you in many photographs and videos. I’ve seen you walking down red carpets in designer dresses, and walking down city streets in your sweatclothes. At no point in those ten years did I EVER think anything to the effect of “Good Lord, she’s gotten fat!” Quite the contrary. I have ALWAYS thought of you as one of the most beautiful women to whom I have ever borne witness, inside and out. Not because I’m biased. Not because I’m a “fan” (I hope to God what I’m writing doesn’t make me sound obsessed). But simply because I have eyes to see and ears to hear. This notion that you have seen yourself for so long as something less than you are immediately made me think of this:


    (everything but the “everyone in this room is now dumber…” part anyway)

    Again, I really mean no offense, but my God…If someone so beautiful can be made to think that they are otherwise by the damn media and “beauty” magazines…what is this world coming to? I applaud your courage for pouring your heart out like this, I really do. But…I’m just awed. Perplexed. Rendered slackjawed and dumb. I had to say something. I really hope you’re not offended (if you even read this) and want you to know that I really am glad to see that this misguided notion is starting to change in you. I hope what I’ve written can get you just a little bit further

  • Timmy Suckmeister

    on December 16, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Your writing is “superb”! I pray you don’t have a ghost blogger.

  • Cappy

    on December 16, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Ah, shingles. Chicken pox’s leftovers. I read up on it once, sounded like a bad dream wrapped in a bad hair day coated with a thin layer of Calamine lotion. Which totally didn’t help with chicken pox, incidently.

    A year ago my step father had a stroke and I’ve spent the last year dealing with the fallout. Gonna be at it for a while yet. I haven’t showered for some kinda time now. Not gonna happen today. Tomorrow’s not looking so good. People have commented on my new habit of popping sandals on over my socks. I don’t have time for fashion or decent hygiene! Then again, I’m male and my standards of cleanliness are . . . y’know what, I don’t have standards. Good thing, too. If I were female and/or had a minimum hygiene standard I’d have to stop sleeping, and I ain’t doing that. I like sleeping. Sleeping is my favorite.

  • Marie David

    on December 16, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Oh my god, Allison, take care of you !
    I’m happy to read you feel better. You don’t have to worry about your body, you’r so beautiful. A lots of women wants to be like you ! Trust me, i’m one of them 😉
    You’r a so beautiful woman, really, i hope you’ll win your fight. Our body never had to be our ennemy.
    Don’t forget, we love you Allison, and we will always love you, wathever you look like. And you looks great ! 😉

  • Aysha

    on December 16, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Hey Allison,

    Sorry you went through so much pain inside and out with the onset of shingles. I agree with everyone that it takes guts to admit your insecurities, even though everyone has them at some points in their lives.

    Even though I have never had the condition, I definitely empathize as a young woman trying to find her identity beyond her body and other externals. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best, but not at the cost of your self-regard.

    I have trouble at times trying to separate myself from my corporeal being. I know that one day my skin will fall, my stomach will get flabby, and I might not look as youthful as I once did, but accepting that is a different story. It’s quite a journey trying to find one’s inner peace and the value of one’s essence and then be comfortable with one’s own skin.

    Dana is right when she says “To admit ones insecurities so openly shows you already have more power over them than you think.” To recognize them is to start the process of the evolution of the soul. You went through a lot through these past few days, and it takes a strong woman to be able to cope with all the anxieties, sadness, and revelations and come out on top!

    Keep it up, Allison! You will find your solid ground! I have faith that you will!


  • jvt

    on December 17, 2011 at 12:41 am

    I wonder if it has dawned on you that your thoughts are to some of us what those of great writers and philosophers are to you.


  • Bouroux

    on December 17, 2011 at 12:51 am

    Hi Allison. I hope that the pain is less present.
    Your testimony to your health problem is very touching. I must say that your reaction to the first symptom is normal for a
    person who wants to enjoy life and not miss anything. A good night’s sleep and everything will be gone. But it was not the case and you realize that your body was not well, he told you is enough, we must redefine the rules.
    You talk about us you had already had to be careful with food that you exercise every day but I did not know there was such a tension between your body and you. As a boy and have no weight problem, to better understand your situation, I remembered that in my twenties I started losing my hair. I tried to find lotions that would delay the process, I consulted a hairs pecialist a few years by refusing to admit that genetics was not on my side. Over time I accepted the situation and quit bothering me with my new head.
    Now I said, “God made some beautiful heads of men and the other, he put hair.”
    Seriously Allison, you’re very beautiful and even if you think some parts of your body are not perfect, other features like your smile, your facial expressions make you a person whose charm has few equals.
    It’s wonderful that you become aware of the importance of living in harmony with your body.
    The search for a compromise between health and appearance should be considered seriously. We have one life to live and one body in the hope that the time is long.
    As many say, to change the world, we must first change yourself. It is brave and amazing what you write in your blog, you arrested many people who lived alone tensions between them and their bodies. You show them the way forward for a change.
    It would be a good movie script that could help many girls with you to approach us to get out of this situation.
    Takes care of yourself and listen to your body and your heart.
    Thank you.


  • James Hall

    on December 17, 2011 at 2:26 am

    We just sent my brother-in-law Home, may he Rest In Peace. With the troubles you’re having now, maybe you do need a hug too. Nonetheless, it seems that there is another dualism that you may be dealing with beside the mind/body, and that may be the mind vs. the Self. That is how come I like the meditation technique where I just stop and listen to my mind, and the thoughts that it generates. I can observe my thoughts as my mind thinks them, until my mind just quiets of itself, and there is just “me” observing the silence, then even the “me” becomes silent and there is only the Self. Then becomes no thought, no time or anything else but, Awareness. As all dualism becomes erased at those events of consciousness, what I need to do now is use some of that work ethic you teach us in order to unblock the Self and help make our world and world family better.

    • 3tesla

      on December 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm

      > We just sent my brother-in-law Home

      My condolences for your loss. I hope you gave him a good send off.

      • James Hall

        on December 17, 2011 at 7:08 pm

        > I hope you gave him a good send off.

        On the drive back home, it was amusing our conversation about the raising of the spirit, and congregation feedback..

        • James Hall

          on December 17, 2011 at 8:19 pm

          “On the drive back home”

          That is, back home to our own city.

          • 3tesla

            on December 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm


    • Aysha

      on December 18, 2011 at 7:57 pm

      I’m sorry for your loss as well. I wish you the utmost peace for your brother, you, and your family.

  • Ricardo Borges

    on December 17, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Allisson!!!! wake up!!! search the nice times… we have just this live we don’t have another..!!!! no reject yourself!!! You don’t have another body.. Wake!!! now!! because after is late to enjoy! enjoy yourself!!! enjoy because we don’t have another world with all of this pains..

    comes to Andorra, Spain…. visit this world, change your rules!

  • 3tesla

    on December 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Again a brave and open diary piece. Your reflections are keen and inspirational. What struck me most was “what I thought I had to be”; I hope that your true and positive inner voice will rise above any false and negative external chatter from the world around you as you work towards finding who – not what – you want – not have – to be.

  • Anonymous

    on December 17, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I hope you’re better Allison!!! I send you a warm and big hug from a distance!! Love you!

  • Lisa

    on December 17, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Hi Allison,

    You’re going to be okay! 🙂

    – Lisa

    (Escalator girl from Chapters on Robson St)

  • Neha Sangra

    on December 18, 2011 at 11:32 am

    hey brave little girl…keep it up… keep fighting all your wars like a warrior….
    thanks a lot once again for sharing ur experience …thanks for letting us learn from ur story and making us reflect on our own…

  • Kirill Chuchelin

    on December 18, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I am sorry for You had such terrible days. And glad that You are OK now. But i don’t understand one thing.
    > I decide everything will change.
    > I throw away the boxing gloves sitting in my closet from my tae bo days.
    Is that mean You decided to reject from keeping Yourself in fit? I hope that i’m wrong, but if it is true i think this is not the best idea in that situation (but, of course, i am not who have to decide). I think keeping ourselves in fit is the best way do not let different illnesses attack us. Maybe somebody explains me that i am wrong and just didn’t understand correctly. I’ll be very grateful for that.
    Nevertheless, take care Yourself, Allison, be friend with Your body)) And good luck.
    PS. Thanks for that personal piece of diary. And sorry for my English)

  • becky

    on December 18, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    This post spoke to me in so many ways I can’t even begin to describe them. As a young woman who struggled with an eating disorder for nearly two years during high school, I understand the loathing one can have for their body and how we as women look at ourselves in the mirror and dissect each and every flaw on our perfectly imperfect selves. Thank you so much for sharing your struggles (and triumphs!!) with us and for having the courage to do so. It puts a smile on my face:)

  • miriam

    on December 18, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    The most dependable way to recover quickly from any viral infection is rest, eating well and decompressing from stress.

    Also, you’ve always been gorgeous and don’t tell yourself any different.

  • Anonymous

    on December 18, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Wow, very powerful post. 

    The girl who could freeze a room with her eyes, uses those eyes to burn a hole in her heart. 

    As if it wasn’t bad enough to battle a painful physical illness, you had this secondary mental struggle as well… 

    The next time you find your heart and your head playing tug-of-war, know your smile will win that matchup every time.

  • Moiraeknittoo

    on December 19, 2011 at 12:57 am

    I hope you are healing swiftly and well. And thank you for sharing this. It is awfully easy to hop back on that hamster wheel of self-hate, isn’t it? Stay strong, and lovely, and intelligent and fabulous!

  • Guest

    on December 19, 2011 at 1:15 am

    Your a fine writer and a beautiful woman

  • Kendra

    on December 19, 2011 at 9:18 am

    You do put your thoughts into words beautifully.

  • JA fm NZ

    on December 20, 2011 at 1:52 am

    Our body seems to have its own rules – definitely impacted by what we encounter day to day. Sometimes it is just telling us to slow down even when we don’t want to [Hate going slow even made clay sculpture at Art School that reflected that]. I reckon the lows in life are good as it helps us notice the highs even more. Can’t imagine a so called perfect life it would be so boring, no challenge or as much growth if you don’t get to experience the ups and downs. Let it be! the next thing will come along and it will be a distant memory – we only feel the pain in the mo. Happy Holidays. JA

  • Jeremie

    on December 20, 2011 at 4:13 am

    Even if we do not know I hope that you gets better. You do not deserve that. I wish you good luck. You are really someone the good. Sorry for my mediocre English.Takes care of you

  • Patrick Xoheley

    on December 20, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Allie, my heart and soul (and my thoughts and prayers) go out to you this day! hope you’re getting better!- Patrick Coheley

  • Carlos Eduardo

    on December 21, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Hi Allison, thanks for writing your whole experience.

    Maybe it’s a coincidence, who knows, but recently I have had a similar experience. I had a little pain in my right leg. I know that it is due to the excesive amount of physical exercise that I do, I like to run faster and longer every day, do cycling and lifting weights. I don’t mind about the limits and I always want to overcome and build new ones. I think that during this month I have not also listened to my body and I’ve been demanding more than he can resist. I can’t believe it, but I have started to think about my body and tried to rest a bit of this raw exercises. Now I understand that I am not indestructible and I also have flesh and bones which I have to take care.

    I just want you to know that even if thousands of blisters burst in your body, you will always be precious, because you have something inside, something that goes beyond, something that the eyes can not see. Please take care, you are very, very important because you have a key role in this world.

    Carlos Eduardo

  • Kristin

    on December 22, 2011 at 1:40 am

    Oh dear. How familiar! 20 years of bulimia, in and out of facilities, always surviving another day while the little girls who’d only experimented with purging for 6 months die of cardiac arrest in their slumber. There is no sense to this disease of the mind that forces one to declare war on the body.

    In recovery today, I work in addiction treatment counseling. Someday, the inevitable will catch me and I’ll settle into my fated niche, working with eating disordered populations, but for now, addiction is where I am focusing my attention. So similar to disordered eating! Anyway, try not to feel that you have to find these amazing, life-changing lessons in every experience, Allison. I tell my Clients something that I learned along my own journey, which is that they should be careful not to make bold, sweeping promises to themselves as they are often unrealistic and unreasonable. Sometimes we have flashes of brilliance and beauty, and they are wondrous and insightful, but we don’t always have to blaze new trails based on some clever realization. It’s okay to just enjoy our musings sometimes and leave them to linger for what they are. And really, quite simply, when we make sweeping promises and set our sights on extreme goals, we risk setting ourselves up to fail–and sometimes, I think this is a learned behavior that is very difficult to change. We get accustomed to the feeling of letting ourselves down when we inevitably fail to attain unreachable goals, and crave the high that comes with the commitment to a new endeavor. The letdown is more than a momentary loss of a dream, or a promise–it can actually be quite damaging to the self, letting ourselves down again and again when we cannot meet unreasonable challenges, and over time this does a number to self-esteem and sense of our own human agency.

    This is not to say that we shouldn’t dream, or set goals! But as the saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. We don’t have to live and die by clever mantras or identify ourselves based on the tenets of some new-found faith that strikes us deeply in a particularly vulnerable moment. The best of life comes when the little pieces mix together, and all of those little moments, beliefs, struggles, and joys converge to comprise our experience. A little bit strict, a little bit indulgent, a little bit melancholy, a little bit delightful.

    One moment at a time, sister. Be well.

    • HomelyPoet

      on January 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      It makes absolute sense strategically.
      the body can’t fight off all interlopers,
      so it fights off Everything it can;

  • Iluvirish04

    on December 23, 2011 at 1:53 am

    I’m also one of those people who tends to put off going to the doctor and then wait until whatever the ailment is, has become a full blown problem. I’m glad you did get looked at though and I’m so sorry Shingles are no fun : ( Hope you feel better and have a wonderful holiday season

  • nata

    on December 23, 2011 at 4:53 am

    everything will be fine. I wish you health and all the best

  • Kozmikkroozer

    on December 23, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Allison so sorry to hear about your recent struggles.Being stricken with a medical issue has a way of simplifying things.No matter how you see yourself on the outside the people who really matter see you for who you are on the inside. Life is a journey of learning and the most important lessons are far from academic.
    “The glory that goes with wealth and beauty is fleeting and fragile; virtue is a possession glorious and eternal”.

  • Faxmax

    on December 23, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Hi Allison, I hope you are ok now, but your problem is a message from the body: my defense levels are very low ! Uses this days to rest and recharge (try with some session of tui-na, is excellent). Merry Christmas, dear girl.

    Massimo Decimo Meridio
    Rome’s General
    Chief of Northern Legions

  • Karla Nathaly

    on January 7, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    The more frequent your blog, the more I know about you, admire you more. There is no doubt that you are an amazing woman. You have a kind of beauty that time does not corrode: The Soul! (Sorry my english: D)

  • dissipate

    on January 27, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Allison, are you better from the shingles? Hope they’ve dried up by now. Kind of know how you feel as I have had them before around my neck, but probably not as severe as yours – they only gave me icepick headaches. Not sure what your doctor has prescribed, but topical Aciclovir has previously helped.

    Shingles or not, you’re beautiful Allison. Turn away from the mirror and look at the people who love you. You will be able to see your beauty in their eyes. Hugs.

  • KrystalBoggs

    on February 23, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    It always seems so familiar…these things that you open your soul up to share here. It somehow both startles and comforts me that your journey into life as a woman is so similar to mine, though our lives are very different. I feel like I’m looking into an honest reflection of myself. But it’s honesty that I am unwilling to give to myself. I really thought that in the year I celebrated 30 years on this planet, I would be stronger and wiser. Reading this, I feel I should focus more on self-acceptance. Thanks, Allison


  • Nihilius

    on June 19, 2012 at 3:26 am

    Dear Allison!

    First of all I hope you feel completely well
    and healthy now. Your account was very moving, sensible, and at the same time
    poetic. I was able to connect emphatically to the bodily and psychological
    suffering by the help of your descriptions. You are able to express yourself in
    writing as lively and authentic as in your roles, your talent is fascinating! In
    your description I was able to explore the archetypal motif of “death and
    rebirth” circle which can be understood on psychological and bodily level. I
    have immediately associated the mythological motif of “the hero’s (or heroin’s)
    journey” analyzed by Joseph Campbell. Another intriguing example is Stantan
    Marlan’s book: The Black Sun – The Alchemy and Art of Darkness. I highly recommend
    this new book for everyone, it is not just a bunch of symbol interpretation,
    rather it analyses serious existential situations on bodily and psychological levels

    Concerning the above mentioned questions about
    individuality and striving for success: I wrote form Central Europe, and I
    confess our daily problems seem to be very similar to the existential dilemmas
    in America.
    If I want to make a quick Jungian critique maybe I can assert that our “process
    of individuation” is came to stand still; man only striving for his own
    surviving in daily life and there is no time for meditate about the true
    meaning of life or other possibilities of lifestyles.

    Finally I would like to add a minimal
    contribution concerning the Alan Watts quotes and the Gaia hypothesis: Several thinkers
    attest that our individual psyche is just the superfluous layer of being. Jung
    or recently Robert Romanyshyn argued that the psyche, as collective unconscious,
    is essentially the manifestation of nature; let us consider the case that our
    body send messages to the ego in the form of symbolic dreams etc. To cut the
    long story short, the true purpose of life is to reestablish our “primordial
    way of life”; in which we can see and interpret the messages of our body and
    nature – this is the ultimate aim of the new eco movements too, if I understood
    it correctly… I really enjoy and highly appreciate the intricate social,
    psychological, philosophical questions, which are discussed by this blog!

  • Andrey

    on January 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    I hope you’re getting better and better.The world loves you!

  • A

    on January 6, 2014 at 3:36 am

    We all need to learn how to accept ourselves and our bodies. That is one of the most important things in life and I just learnt that recently, through a hard way, unfortunately.
    I wasn’t sleeping enough, wasn’t eating enougn, because I hated my stomach. I am not fat, everyone tells me I’m thin and I look good, yet I kept finding things I hated about me. Add to that, I was studying a lot to get my MA, writing, because that’s my passion and being creative, because that is what I always do. One night I got up and fainted, three times, from exhaustion. I lost two teeth. Fortunately, dentist fixed those, a doctor examined me and I am fine. It wasn’t anything serious, but then…. I thought what if I hit my head too hard? What if I seriously hurt myself and lost the only thing that defines me? The writing ability? The ability to create stories?
    Now I live healthy, I eat healthy, I take care of myself and I do everything I can to be happy about what I have and to love my body. And they were all right – I am not, nor I ever was – fat.

  • cole

    on March 27, 2015 at 6:50 am

    Allison, You sound like an amazing person. Someone i can only imagine knowing. I have been a fan of yours since i was stationed in Italy. Take good care of yourself. If you ever end up in AK I would offer to be your guide.