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.