This is my lovely friend Rachel Maria Cox. They're a brilliant musician and founder of a fabulous project called Sad Grrrls club, which was originally a collective of female identifying musicians, but has since grown to encompass artists and writers as well. We had an impromptu photo shoot the other day, and decided that it's about time they do a guest post! Rachel is one of the most wisest and passionate people I know. Thank you so much for your wonderful wise words <3
I look at these photos, and there’s a lot that runs through my head. The first thing I notice is that I hate my teeth. They are yellow, which I know is a result of a combination of factors. I notice that I look skinny, and also that I do not look as skinny as I would like. I notice how bland my outfit this day was, mainly because my outfit choices are currently narrowed down by three criteria: can I wear it to work? Will it keep me kind of warm? Does it still fit?
My name is Rachel Maria Cox and in three days I will embark on the first annual Sad Grrrls Tour. I am excited that something I have worked so hard for has actually come to fruition. I am also, perhaps appropriately or perhaps ironically, the saddest I have ever been. I have lost ten kilos in three months, 18 since the start of the year, through a combination of anorexic and bulimic behaviours that have made me isolated, physically sick, depressed and exhausted. I am constantly anxious, sad or both. Yesterday I cried for an hour straight on a train by myself, unable to stop myself. I am addicted to laxatives. And I am telling you all about this, not for attention or sympathy, but to let everyone know that THIS IS ALL OKAY.
Last week it was R U OK Day. This is a great concept but a lot of people seem to miss the point and it becomes a constant reminder of how little most people know about mental illness. While I don’t want to go on a massive rant about how it’s not that hard to educate yourself on what to do/say (heck, the RUOK website had a really useful and simple guide to that), I will say simply this – it is no use to post a #ruok to your social media feeds and expect that to do anything. You have to A) care every goddamn day of your life and B) be prepared for those closest to you to say at any time in their life “I’m not okay”. This year I have gotten a lot better at saying to the people I am closest to “I’m not okay. I need your help, here is what you can do”. It has taken me years of psychotherapy, five separate hospitalizations and ongoing support from my close friends and family to get me to this point. It is still a difficult thing to say. But I can say it. And no matter how far I still have to go in my recovery, I am proud of that.
On R U OK Day this year, I realized it is liberating to admit that you are not okay. It means other people who are not okay approach you and say “I’m not okay either”. It means people who you rarely speak to say “I admire you for being so open about your struggles, because they are my struggles too”. It is okay to say you’re not okay, and by saying I wasn’t okay, I gave a few other people a voice to say “same here”. This, to me, is what sad grrrls club is all about. This is why I started a movement for people who want to sing about how they feel. This is why I want to tell everyone it’s okay to be angry, sad, scared, anxious, mentally ill, physically ill, be yourself and be honest about that because it can, and often does, work out well for you. This has not really been about my clothes that much. I think Jenny won’t mind (I don't - Jen). RMC.