The Challenge

vuong

In a earlier post I spoke of the importance of knowing why you are doing something, knowing the inspiration and the end game. It is not a question I think lightly of, and, as I am spending so much time and energy on Bike and Build, it is something I seek to answer myself.

Those who have given so much time, energy, and money for this cause deserve to know why too.

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There are a lot of obvious reasons that I chose to do this trip that are easy to talk about. I wanted to see the country, I wanted to find a way to give, I wanted to create change- for others and myself. There are harder reasons, like my conflict between being an artist- I juggle what that means as far as privileged and class relate, and the misgivings from where I come from- a family who has learned to survive through hard work.

I want to share with you a very personal fuel for my trip this summer.

I am overcoming an eating disorder.

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Social media kind of serves as a weird venue of confession, and I don’t entirely view it as a bad thing. It is semi anonymous, in the sense that you don’t have to face the people you confess to, and it reaches a mass amount of people.

It was not an eating disorder on its own.It was something that came out of depression and other forms of self-harm that I think a wide range of this audience is familiar with… intimately.

I created a lot of shame around what I viewed as my “weakness,” a lot of secrecy, dishonesty.

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The thing is, I hated to be gifted with so much, but to be addicted to abusing it so frequently, so offhandedly.

I wanted to learn to see my body as a tool, to use it to achieve great things, to love it for more than weight or appearance. I want to overcome physical challenges as set by the environment instead of perceived physical challenges set by my own mind.

This is not a discussion based on the legitimacy of eating disorders or depression, on the causes. This is not a cry for help and certainly not a cry for attention. There simply has been more than a few loved ones in my life that have wrestled with these internal conflicts (eating disorders, depression, substance abuse), and who remain silent and under the radar. I think honesty heals. I know all who reads this has read it before, but I hope that some how it helps to have a face to a vast, heavy illness.

There is not a lot I have to say on this matter, except that, along with all addictions, it takes deciding you want change to heal. It takes hard work, and a support group.

I got a whole lot of people routing for me out there.

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https://soundcloud.com/newyorker/listen-to-ocean-vuong-read-someday-ill-love-ocean-vuong

http://www.abeautifulbodyproject.com/

Please continue to support my journey:

http://bikeandbuild.org/rider/7980

Thank you everyone.

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