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The Art of Dying Inside

(trigger warning: ED recovery)

I know, the title is a bit, harsh? Maybe harsh isn't the word, disturbing is more like it. Well, I am a gothic poet and today I wanted to talk about transformation and allowing aspects of yourself to "die". It's truly an art if you think about it. Are you the same person as you were last year? Ten years ago? Yesterday? I'd probably guess that is a huge NO.

The only truth of life is death. We are constantly learning about ourselves more and more every single day and when we are unhappy with certain aspects of ourselves, our lives and our surroundings we seek to change these circumstances. And how do we achieve change within? By transforming like a phoenix; dying to old habits and rebirthing new habits.

I want to introduce a not so new topic, but an important one of my journey. The Art of Dying Inside. I say art because after years of learning to let old habits go, old lifestyles, old friendships, and aspects of what I believed I was, who I believed I was and who I could be became a constant, daily ritual.

This isn't a pretty path either. I know for a fact most if not everyone who embarks on the path of self-improvement, self-love, self-empowerment and overall just the desire to reach their best selves knows that this process can be incredibly painful. You will have to face the darkest, shadowy aspects of yourself. You will have to face your fears and dissect them. You will have to ask yourself hard questions. The Why's. Why do you run away from love? Why do you feel less than? Why do you feel like you can't achieve your dream life? The questions can be the worst part. The questions will go on for years too, even after you've answered, dissected and found solutions. They never fully go away, BUT, that is where the Art comes in.

The Art of Dying Inside

The art of dying inside lays within the desire to move forward. It is within the deepest pain, the tears, the agony of self-defeat, of depression, of anxiety that light is found within and strength is built. There is no other way around becoming the best version of yourself other than through the worst versions of yourself and if anyone tries to sell you on a quick fix, they are lying. To die inside is to understand that you are just human. It is a deep surrender. It is understanding that you have faults, you are not perfect and that is okay. A lot of times there are perceived mistakes that have occurred in order to get someone to the point of dying inside.

I came about this realization when I found myself on the floor of my bedroom crying and wanting to physically die in my early twenties. I thought to myself as I got up to go to the restroom staring at myself in the mirror...looking at my red face, red puffy eyes, and disturbingly distraught facial expressions after another fail to my eating disorder recovery, "I can either kill myself, or I can change everything. Do I want to live?". And from that moment on, I embarked on a seven year recovery from multiple eating disorders that brought me to my knees a lot. I had to die to a ton of self-inhabiting beliefs that were destroying my self-image. I had to die to believing I wasn't good enough to be happy, to deserve love, to feel good. And I had to ask myself very difficult questions.

That is the Art of Dying Inside. Going deep in the shadows of your self. Understanding that fears are natural, but not fatal. They are often reflections of yourself protection and they are teachers. If you are interested in help with your self-empowerment journey, I wrote a self-help journal of 40 Questions (linked) that will kick start your transformation.

With love,

Malia Arrayah

All Photos in this article are by Katherine Chen (

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