Wholeness- before you truly and fully experience its virtues- is a nearly impossible feeling to describe. When I reflect on my past, something always felt missing. There always seemed to be some kind of deep void taking precedence over my mood, sanity, and, ultimately, road to happiness. Being whole didn’t even seem like a viable goal: I always thought I would be in a constant state of anxiety, running on this never-ending treadmill to find some miraculous pot of gold at the end of the infinite rainbow.
Through working recovery, I have taken the journey to achieving wholeness. Maslow used the term self-actualization to describe the state of discovering inner peace. Self-nirvana in a hypothetical sense. One must have his or her primary needs met before reaching the top of this hierarchy of needs. I like the word wholeness. It makes me think of a puzzle without any missing pieces. A beautiful picture that may have taken years to create.
And just like a puzzle, wholeness is precious and can be destroyed by careless fingers or a fit of rage. Wholeness is delicate. Wholeness is a gift.
I find my sense of being whole means actively seeking balance while maintaining a sense of consistent gratitude for what you have. Being whole entails being alive rather than just existing, being present with the moment, being joyous and passionate about life. Being whole means feeling like you have everything you need, even if you do not have necessarily everything you want. Being whole is not synonymous with being happy or rich or in love or healthy. Being whole ultimately comes down to finding an inner place of acceptance- acceptance for everything, what is in your control, what is not in your control. Acceptance of your past, present, and future. When you are a whole with yourself, you are safe with yourself. You enjoy yourself. You enjoy life, because you can fully and completely live it.
I met my boyfriend at a very fortunate crossroads in both of our lives, at a time where we were individually delving deep into self-discovery and learning about the importance of compassion, genuine communication, and honesty. Had he met me when I did not feel “whole,” I may have become overly dependent on the relationship (in order to fill that insatiable void I once felt) or I may have been completely afraid to jump into the risky and unpredictable game we call love. This goes both ways. He had his own obstacles to overcome. Everyone has growing up to do.
Contrary to the cliche, he is not my other half. He is my other whole. And two wholes make for a whole and radical love, not a spotty or inconsistent or incomplete sense of love.
When I was sick and riding an existence of utter compulsion and self-loathing, I was not whole. The eating disorder stole some of my most valuable assets: my confidence, mood, and body. Most of all, it stole my ability to accept life and all its spontaneity and craziness.
My eating disorder kept me incomplete. Not broken, not destroyed, not even damaged…but I sure wasn’t whole. If one is as sick as her secrets, I was walking with a chronic fever…but always with a smile plastered on my face and a convincing, I’m fine whenever asked how I felt. I was lying to the entire world, and we say we hate liars. Most consider lying a deal-breaker in an intimate relationship. Well, I spent every past relationship entrenched in my own fallacies and struggles. Fortunately, at the time, I was just a good actress who kept my mouth shut.
I didn’t love myself. The rigidity of my eating disorder and its toxic mentality kept me selfish with my needs, but because I could not properly express myself, I resorted to passive-aggression, control, manipulation, and deceit. When I was hurting inside, I had to hide it. Thus, my life became a malady of inner conflicts. Deep down, I must have feared I was unlovable, but now I realize I was never unlovable. People always loved me. People always cared about me. Being unlovable wasn’t the problem: being able to give love back was.
I am not perfect. My body is not perfect. My recovery is not perfect. Life is not perfect. My imperfections make me different from the other seven billion people sharing this home with me. My imperfections are my trademarks and quirks, and none of them make me any less whole and any less amazing.
. Earlier this year, I vowed to trust in the universe, to throw all my blind faith into whatever the good karma of the world could offer me…and you know what? The universe has treated me well. Unbelievably well.
When you choose recovery, you choose life. You choose freedom from self-harm and inner bondage. You choose a second chance and you choose the ability to truly and genuinely and intimately connect.
I can freely love now. Fully, deeply, passionately, and without hesitation. And when you love yourself and your partner loves him or herself, and you bring both of that love into one dynamic love for each other…well, life just vibrates with ecstasy.