when two halves don’t make one whole

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. 

Advertisements

Dear Boyfriend

Dear Amazing and Loving Boyfriend of Mine,

SOOOOOOOOOOO! This is it. The website/blog I was telling you about! Fancy, huh? I’ve had it for about seven months now. You can look around all you want. I have nothing to hide from you:) It’s very extensive, but that won’t surprise you. After all, you know how methodical and analytical we are when it comes to our lives. Nothing about us is simple. Ever. I prefer it that way.

As you can see, I’ve written about you at length since we met. I probably drive my readers nuts. They come here to relate to my eating disorder recovery, and I end up gushing about how GREAT our relationship is and HOW MUCH you mean to me. I almost sicken myself. The bottom line is that we are both incredibly lucky. You light up my world. This is nothing new. I tell you that everyday!

I started this blog as a way to document my eating disorder recovery process. A few months after starting therapy with my current therapist, I decided to make my journal public, and it just escalated from there. I love hearing from all my followers, responding to email, etc. I didn’t go into this intending to help anyone, but I feel so fortunate to be able to reach out to so many people on a daily basis. We both know how isolating and scary mental illness can feel, so I write with the most raw and authentic perspective. Most of these pieces come from a place of hope. By nature, I am an optimistic person. But, naturally, some pieces come from an evident place of despair and fear.

With that being said, some of the content may be difficult or upsetting to read. There have been some tough times. Some difficult choices. Some incredible pain. All growth transforms us. We, more than most, understand how the therapeutic process surfaces one’s deeply-rooted issues. For me, they’ve all been surfaced over the past few months. I put in hard work, and, at the same time, I have learned how and when to take it easy. I listen to those who are there to support me. I seek help when needed. Everyday, I strive to heal myself. After all, my homeostasis, for so long, was to torment and punish myself because I had not recognized that I deserved better. I no longer believe that. I realize I don’t deserve to starve. Or binge. Or over-exercise. Or obsess over how much I weigh or don’t weigh. Instead, I aim to love myself in the best ways I know how. I chose against letting a diagnosis define me. I chose against defeat.

Thank you for walking through this journey with me. We talked about this last night: the socially-constructed idea people hold that baggage is unforgivable, that pasts make us feel broken, and that shame creates such deep vulnerability. You and I share such a healthy relationship: we are exactly where we need and want to be. Trusting, honest, passionate, and willing to listen and be heard. You said yesterday that you want to know and will accept every single thing about me, and this is why I choose to share this exposure. I trust you with my past, present, and future, and I am so overjoyed that I have found someone who can give me such unconditional love and support. You give me more than I anticipated I could ever receive, and I will always be grateful for all of it.

I leave for Europe tomorrow. 18 days. Considering you and I have become all but literally inseparable, I know we will insanely miss each other. But, it’s okay. There is a sense of thankfulness in knowing that I have someone to miss this much! I’m so fortunate you give me such a reason to LIVE and CHERISH every moment. You make me want to be the best version of myself all the time. You really are the sprinkles…which reminds me, I still need to do the dishes. 🙂

This is me. All of it captured in here. I rant. I complain. I beg. I express. I ramble. I talk to myself. I coach myself. I ask for guidance. I seek direction. I talk about school. Therapy. Support groups. Quotes. Ex-boyfriends. Dating. Friendships. Family. Medication. You know how we are with emotional vomit: whatever is on my mind comes out. Right then and there. No filter. No second-guessing.

Writing has been one of my most powerful tools in my recovery process. It makes my feelings tangible, and it helps me sort out the clusterfucks inside my head. The very act of it is healing for me, and it always has been. Being able to inspire others on their own journeys is simply just a wonderful by-product of this experience! I feel so very lucky.

Anyways, I’m going to wrap it up now.

I absolutely and wholeheartedly love you for all you are, all you do, and all you embody ❤

XO

I think I’m going to show this blog to my boyfriend…?

Dear Bee,

It is very interesting how these letters have evolved in content since the beginning stages. Sometimes I reread the previous entries just for reference: my gratitude is overwhelming. I put in so much hard work, and it’s wonderful to reap the limitless benefits that come from choosing recovery every single day. 

I remember when I used to be afraid of eating. Just in general. I hated it. I couldn’t trust myself around food. I couldn’t trust how much I would or wouldn’t eat. Newborns and infants have this ability, and yet, as we mature and grow, we lose sight of our intuition. I couldn’t do a biological and inherent act necessary to survive. I couldn’t eat just to eat. It was terrible. Dark, dark days. After such a long journey, it feels feels relieving to gain some of that inner trust back. 

My life is so colorful now. So exciting. I am just SO happy. 

But, looking back: I was afraid. Definitely afraid. Comfortable only with the black-and-white. Desperately trying to achieve perfectionism and be the very best at anything and everything I did. 

I was so convinced that my body determined my worth. Sadly, we live in a society that cherishes physique. We do determine people’s credibility and attractiveness by the sizes and shapes of their bodies. In the past, when people complimented my size, I would either thank them (while silently disagreeing and wondering why they were lying to me) or thank them (while feeling more of an urge to keep doing what I was doing). In other words, not eat, over-exercise, and binge to make up for feeling so deprived. A chaotic cycle- it became second-nature. Chaos was more familiar than simplicity, and I thrived on my own internal drama. 

I had to learn how to re-feed myself. With everything. Not just with food, but with LIFE. Nourishing the body is one thing. Nourishing the soul is what counts. Nourishing the soul is where the healing and growth comes. At one point, I just stopped caring about what felt good and only did what I thought I needed to do. I let my compulsions drive me. And, it worked. I was numbed by to-do lists, diet plans, growling stomachs, and ridiculous schedules. On the outside, I was this calm and collected young woman, always with many friends and support. Inside, I was killing myself. 

I wasn’t taking care of myself. With an eating disorder, you’re, in fact, doing the exact opposite. Learning how to actually take care of yourself, physically and mentally, is one of the most rewarding journeys any of us can take. Because we simply cannot take care of others until we are able to extend that same love and kindness to ourselves. In recovery, I love who I am. In recovery, I can chase what feels good. In recovery, I am free.

I leave for Europe on Monday. I think I am going to show my boyfriend this blog. He knows I maintain it, and he thinks it’s great that I give so much support to the eating disorder community. I tell him that I have to give back what I have been given.

It’s scary- breaking down the walls. There have been some really ugly days captured in here. He knows about my past. Knows about the starving and bingeing, the weirdness with food and exercise, the complications of recovery. therapy and therapy groups, the challenges, the fears. He sees me in such a healthy place. And it’s true. I met him when things were finally coming full-circle in recovery. And I mean, really full-circle. 

But, to have him peak at the raw emotions lined out on the pages so many of you have read…to read about the heartache and fear and vulnerability, that’s a huge risk. Even though I may be afraid to take it, I’m going to do it, because I know he’s there to catch me. Already, I’m thinking about all the things I’ve written: the slips, the anger, the ridiculous pleas to just stop feeling triggered…some of it seems so crazy, but it was real. It was so real. It was so painful. 

But, I pushed. I keep pushing. I am a fucking warrior. 

He loves and accepts me unconditionally, and in showing him this true piece of me, he will get to see a part of the authentic journey of recovery. This is who I am. I can’t change my past. But I sure have grown from it. I don’t regret a single second spent in my disorder because without it, I would never know how amazing recovery could feel! And as for the boyfriend, he will get to fall in love with me over and over again. No barriers, no hang-ups. The fear comes from the shame, and the shame is what I am trying everyday to dismantle. Radical honesty, it’s the glue that makes our relationship so strong and beautiful.

I deserve his love, and I am finally at a place in my life where I can happily say I deserve what feels good. 

❤ 

Traveling with the boy

Dear Bee,

Well. Life has been good! I spent the entire weekend with my lovely and amazing boyfriend on a mini vacation, and it was all I could have hoped for and more. 🙂 I was told to eliminate the word perfection from my vocabulary, but I just can’t think of a more fitting word to describe this relationship right now. Serendipitous. He likes that word. We can use that one instead of perfection.

This was the first vacation in quite some time that you weren’t in my head. Two months ago, I spent a weekend with one of my good friends. I recapped the experience related to the food here:  http://loveletterstobee.com/2013/05/27/when-normal-eaters-are-triggering-and-other-rants-thoughts-and-musings/.

My boyfriend is a very conscious eater because he is on a specific fitness plan to acquire muscle mass. In other words, he follows a relatively strict regimen concerning macronutrients (protein and carbohydrates). The cool thing is: it doesn’t trigger me in the least. He eats what he has to eat; I eat what I have to eat. We cook with each other. He makes what I like to eat! However, we simply indulged this weekend. Like ordinary people do on vacation. We went out to eat a few times, and it was wonderful. I ate good food: pizza, pancakes, and ice cream…yep. Fear foods, say what? We also worked out together and ate salads and veggie omelets. Moderation, moderation, moderation. No desire to binge or restrict. Very little eating disordered talk. And I was in shorts, my bikini, or just naked for most of the trip. So there you go. Confidence is sexy. I’m so happy with myself and with my life.

I had therapy this afternoon. It was our last session for about a month because I’ll be on a plane to Germany this time next week! We kind of talked about my eating disorder while I’m abroad and explored how I think it will go. To be honest, I don’t have any concerns. And I know that may sound pretentious or arrogant, but I fully believe that I need to choose a positive mentality! After all, I choose how food does or does not affect me. I choose what I want to obsess over. I choose whether I let the eating disordered voice influence my decisions.

I’m not scared of you. Not even halfway across the globe. Six months ago? I would have been terrified. Today, I’m ready to conquer! I’m ready for a challenge! I’m ready for approximately eighteen days of NO planning food, NO predetermined safe meals, NO set exercise, NO weighing myself, NO counting numbers in my head, and NO body hangups holding me back! 

This is the trip of a lifetime, and there is so much to see and experience. I want to revel in ALL of it. Saying yes to recovery is saying yes to living, yes to joy, and yes to the sweetest freedom. And that tastes better than anything in the entire world. Recovery is the greatest gift in the world, and I am so lucky to get to open that gift everyday. 

The first time I told someone my secret

Dear Bee, 

Life is so amazing right now. I know I’m lucky, and I don’t take one SECOND of it for granted. The boyfriend and I are doing so well, and everything between us is just incredible. I could spend every waking and sleeping moment with him. We connect on a level I never knew existed, and it astounds us both. Yesterday, I dropped most of my dinner in the parking lot outside of my workplace. This isn’t unusual for me, as I am a ridiculous klutz, but how does he respond? Goes to the grocery store to buy vegetable broth (because he only had chicken in his place), makes us quinoa, roasts a bunch of vegetables, buys my favorite iced tea, and brings us some fresh blueberries for dessert….then drives the half hour to forty-five minutes in rush-hour traffic to my work just to see me and give me dinner. And I’m not one to blast my sex life on the Internet (yeah, right), but NOTHING has been lacking in that department. It’s like I literally can’t get enough. So our relationship compromises of a healthy balance of insanely deep conversation, playfulness and goofiness, random and crazy adventures, mushy and gushy love babble, crazy hot sex, and therapeutic jargon. Like, what more could I possibly want? I’m ridiculously happy. 

Summer is winding down quickly. August is just around the corner, and in two weeks, I’ll be prancing around Europe!! Just got my grade for my most recent summer class…98.5% on my 3-hour and 10-page final. Still maintaining that shiny 4.0 🙂 Stoked. 

Yesterday, I had therapy. It’s been slow and mellow in sessions lately. I’ll be seeing clients soon, so we’ve been talking and processing that. I’m really excited, of course, but part of me is definitely nervous. I think this anxiety comes from a genuine place of caring, but I have to be mindful of my perfectionistic tendencies. If I go into this field expecting to save the world, I won’t even be able to save myself from burnout. I know I struggle with a core belief of incompetency, in that I won’t be good enough. I am certainly no expert, but I also realize we tend to put mental health professionals on a pedestal.  recognize that my clients may perceive me to be some all-knowing source of power…when really, I’m just a human being who is trained to understand patterns of behavior and offer uncompromising support and guidance to those in distress. Ah well. Everyone has to start out somewhere!!!

I also had a follow-up with the psychiatrist yesterday. Ten minutes. Ugh. I guess I’m biased, but I really DO NOT like him. He fits the perfect “psychiatrist” stereotype. Lack of empathy, no attempt to join or connect with me, only focusing on symptoms. For a career that is designed to dole out medication, you would think there would be more in-depth analysis with patients. I guess not. Anyways, I’m staying on the lowest dose of Prozac (20 mg) for the time being. My emotions have definitely stabilized, but it’s obviously hard to tell whether it is from the medication or simply my life circumstances. One thing I have noticed: I experience significantly less urges to binge and stronger hunger satiety signals. This is one of the reason antidepressants are actually prescribed for bulimia and binge-eating disorder; in conjunction with psychotherapy, this evidence-based treatment reduces the insane and nearly intolerable cravings to frantically binge. 

Interestingly, I was searching for an old email yesterday, and I stumbled upon an email I had sent my ex-boyfriend in April 2012. He was the first person I ever told about my eating disorder. At the time, I couldn’t do it in person. I was too scared. Too insecure. I didn’t even know how to approach the subject, but my condition was worsening, and like most secrets, it just kept getting bigger and bigger, until it began controlling my every thought. I attached the email (with some edits for privacy) here.


 I’ve never been able to tell you this, and mostly it’s because it’s the one part about me that makes me want to hate myself, the one part that makes me feel like a complete hypocrite and failure. And believe me, I feel ridiculous writing this all out in a stupid email, but I also know that I owe it to both you and myself, and I don’t have the same bravery you do to say it to your face. 

I clinically have an eating disorder. If I went to a doctor or therapist, I would be immediately diagnosed, given that I match every single criteria. It’s not mild or temporary, and it’s something that is seriously compromising my quality of life. To be specific, I have bulimia nervosa-nonpurging type disorder. I know that’s quite a term, but that’s what I have. You can read over the criteria if you’re not familiar with it (basically: eating a lot of food in a discrete period of time, a sense of lack of control over eating during this binge episode, using compensatory behavior to prevent the weight gain). It is nonpurging type, because instead of vomiting, I abuse other “compensatory” behaviors, like excessive exercising or severely restricting my food intake. 

I know I told you that I suffered from this during a dark phase in high school. I suppose that was lie. I’m still in the middle of it, and I struggle privately everyday. It’s never gotten easier. I’ve just gotten better at not disclosing it.

Explaining all the psychological disturbances is just exhaustive and upsetting. Just assume I’ve done it all. Count calories, weigh myself fifteen times a day, look in the mirror and cry, etc. I have the world fooled in thinking I eat so healthy and rationally. And, 90% of the time, I do because I care so much about my health. And, it makes me so amazing when I’m eating the proper nutrients for my body. But there are those times, those scary and sad times, when I fall into a mood and devour incessant amounts of food. Amounts of  food that I’m sure you don’t think I’m capable of eating. Last night, for example, I was really upset about what happened between us. I couldn’t concentrate on anything, and I just needed to numb the pain. That’s when people turn to alcohol. Or drugs. You once turned to painkillers. And not to sound like a bitter, forty-five year-old divorced woman, I use food.  I ate a bowl of ice cream, a piece of pie, three cookies, four waffles with butter, a chocolate bunny, and two spoonfuls of Nutella in less than an hour. Was I hungry? Nope. Not really. My mind just goes on auto-pilot, and all I want to do is grab whatever I’ve restricted myself from eating and stuff it into my mouth before I can feel guilty about it.

Invariably, I end up feeling physically sick to my stomach. I can handle that. It’s the mental consequences that hurt. The dread, the guilt, the disgust at the person I am, the shame at my lack of willpower, the confusion as to why I’m like this, the promise to never, ever let it happen again. It’s a control issue. You know all about my control issues. Nevertheless, it’s just not normal, and it’s just not something I can easily talk about.

The main problem is that I truly know I have nothing to worry about. I’m healthy. I know I’m beautiful. I take such good care of myself. So why do I feel this need to sabotage my body? Why do I feel so anxious around “bad” foods or “good” foods?

I suppose the worst part about having this disorder is that I FUCKING know all the biological and social reasons for my behavior. I FUCKING know the appropriate treatment, what medications are prescribed, what kinds of therapies help people recover from it. I FUCKING want to do this for a living. But, I can’t even help myself. I can’t even talk about it. Ugh. Who am I kidding?

I’m telling you all this because I love you, and because, I honestly need your help. I’m not sure how you can help me, but maybe, I just need you as my sort of sponsor for when I’m feeling anxious or scared. Because, right now, I feel so discouraged. I feel like I’ve tried everything to fix myself, but maybe I need professional help. Either way, I have to open up to you the way you open up to me. And that’s no easy task either. I love that you find me so strong and powerful. But, I don’t feel like I am, and I’m scared after reading this, you will think I’m just a coward. Of course, that’s not really true. I know you would never think that of me, but honestly, this monster inside of me makes me feel so weak and powerless. I’ve been fighting it since high school, for probably (X) years. I just want it to end. I just want to be at peace with myself.

Writing this all out is probably one of the most difficult things I’ve done in awhile. Admitting weakness hurts, especially when it’s over something I feel isn’t as important as other problems. For example, I always thought drug addiction was WAY worse than an eating disorder. But, I’m starting to realize that I’m not overreacting over a “first-world” problem.  

Yesterday, I promised myself that I would tell you this. I’m sorry I haven’t found the courage to talk about in person yet. I hope you understand. Thank you for loving me and already believing me. I love you.

I could process this all right now, but for anyone who has followed me on this blog…you can see how much I’ve grown. That was probably the first time I recognized that I needed help. That I needed to do something, and that the problem was just going to go away on its own, like I had spent years hoping.

In that letter, I just see a terrified and isolated little girl. I see someone who has no idea if she will ever get better. I see someone who is so sick, so afraid, and so lost. I am not that girl anymore, but I still relate to her everyday. I remember what it is like to be in that position. I can feel the agony, cry those same tears, experience that same horror. Words cannot describe my gratitude for recovery, but the memories of such hell will never be lost upon me.

I have come a damn long way.  

Love.

I am so lucky. I will never lose sight of the gratitude for the miracle that has been happening in my life over the past few weeks. I don’t care if it’s fast. I don’t care if it’s intense. It’s the realest thing I’ve ever felt, and I have to pinch myself that this is my life. 

 
Lol it’s ok! I know babe I’ve been having a hard time focusing also because you are always on my mind too. I want you every moment of the day and when I’m not with you I take comfort in the fact that I know I will see you soon, that one day it literally will be just you, me, and OUR future. I am the one that’s blessed. I’m the one that is thankful. I want and love every single part of you. You make me a better person. If people could only be so lucky as to feel an ounce of the love I feel for and from you they would know the meaning of true ecstasy. I’m completely yours. And I’m going to marry you one day. I love you with everything I am and every inch of my body. It’s how I feel. And ill say it a million times over. I mean every word of it. You are so important to me, ____ I love you. And it’s not going to go away. Hearing you say those things means so much to me. Your love and support just gives me so much peace and motivation. Talking like this makes me miss you so much babe I just want you in your arms right now. Like seriously babe ill always be there for you.
 
Today 10:34 PM
 
 
   

Talking sex, sugar, and raising kids

Dear Bee,

Finally got laid. I know I put it in such romantic terms, but, really, that’s just the best way of putting it. I feel insanely horny these days. Oh well. We spent the day hanging out, meeting family, eating dinner, grocery shopping (okay, married couple), and then once the sex happened, it just kept happening throughout the night. I was just consumed with hormones and was just like, I need you inside me. I’m actually pretty sore. It’s been awhile. He’s very good in bed, and all I will say is that my vahjay needs awhile to recuperate.

I’ve done my fair share of kissing and hooking up with dudes, but I’ve never been one of those girls who has sex to have it. My number is three. I’m content with that. I don’t plan on having a high number. Quality over quantity, yes. And sex is a healthy and enjoyable part of any relationship, but it’s just a piece of the puzzle. 

This guy is going to marry me. He has no doubt. We’re going to also rule the therapy world together. Maybe open a private practice. We’ll be graduating the same time next year. We’re literally in the exact same places in our lives. Crazy. It’s only been a few weeks. What if we just know? I love spending time with him. Every day gets better and better and our connection grows deeper and deeper. I’m gagging at the cheesy sentiment of all this, but it adores me nonetheless.

I didn’t sleep at his place, although I did a few times this week. I came home exhausted. I’m still up, but I’m going to go to bed soon. I had some sugar just now, and I feel slightly ambivalent about eating it. I say slightly because I really want to take it easy on myself. I recognize that I have been eating much less than normal lately. I think the antidepressants suppress my appetite. Even when I feel ravenous, it does not take much food to satisfy me. Moreover, I hardly think about food. But then, the hunger sometimes creeps on suddenly…it’s almost as if you are reminding me that you are still there, waiting for me to run back into your arms. Even though you recognize you don’t carry the same strength you once did, you still have some slight hold over me.

A handful of cookies, chunks of fudge, and some ice cream cake. Not a normal-sized snack by any means, but not an outrageous gorge either. I’m not thrilled by my actions, but I absolutely recognize my triggers: sleepiness, heightened emotions, and cockiness (in recovery and in life). 

Still, I haven’t lost sight of any of my progress, and I know that this tiny bump in the road hardly detours me on my path of recovery. I am already back driving with clear focus and intent. I know what I need to do. I love myself too much to continue hurting myself, and so, I brushed my teeth, and I am now in bed, relaxing.

A few weeks ago, I posted a link about the paper chain project. I have thirty-five colorful links. Two of them are white, which indicate intentional restrictions or binges. This is numerical progress. I plan to keep that chain going for at least six months. I don’t know how many more white links will be on there, but, even though I am hoping for zero, I will never discount how many OTHER VIBRANT colors are being used. Two days are outliers. Two days are abnormalities. Two days are hardly anything. 

Insane restricting or bingeing doesn’t appeal to me, and maybe that’s because I don’t feel like I have any forbidden foods much anymore. My guy is a very healthy eater, and tonight, we went to the grocery store because he needed to pick up some things. He asked me to grab some vegetarian-friendly food to have at his place for when we are together and want to cook at home. Of course, this was somewhat of a difficult task. Ever notice how abnormal grocery shopping can be for the eating-disordered mindset?

On our drive back to his place, he asked me about nutrition and how I would teach healthy eating to children. Obviously, this is a challenge. My primary concern lies in eating disorder prevention and management. These diagnoses run in families; I would NEVER want to pass this down to my own child. Although I do not know how or when I would tell them, I believe I will disclose my own eating disorder in some fashion to my children. Awareness is key, and what better teacher than a survivor? While raising kids, I do not believe in ANY negative body-talk whatsoever. I think balance, like everything else, is key. If I have children, I would like them to play active roles in grocery shopping and food preparation and just promote an overall active lifestyle. Children model after their parents. If I can teach them to love their bodies and treat themselves with kindness, that will be enough for me. Of course, I say this now…as just a hypothetical young, childless adult, and my perspective may easily change with time and experience.