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. 

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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

free slurpees :D

Dear Bee,

The honeymoon phase of a relationship is so much fun. It’s just like nonstop sex, nonstop conversation, nonstop cute little sayings and dates. I really couldn’t be happier. Even though I’m excellent at finding the good in absolutely anyone, I’m also good at picking flaws. So far, I’ve come up with nothing though. No complaints. It’s so effortless; so euphoric. We go out and have fun and then talk until sunrise with really great sex in between. What more could I ask for? I loved being single and learning about myself, but I’m also so glad to have intimacy back in my life. Someone to sleep with, someone to hold, someone to kiss and hug whenever I want…that all just feels so good. Everything about this is finally healthy.

My appetite is still somewhat whack. For the past few days, I’ve struggled to stomach more than two meals a day. I’m not actively restricting; I just haven’t been very hungry. And when I do feel hungry, it seems like I get full with barely any food. My stomach feels sensitive lately. I don’t know. I just recognize that this suppressed appetite is definitely a slippery slope. I’ve also been experiencing some fatigue, but I think that’s a side effect of the medication. I’m not sure. I know that my body is just adjusting. I can sense that I’m losing weight, but because I’m still very much in the normal range for my height, I’m not as concerned as maybe I need to be. I return to the psychiatrist for a follow-up appointment in a week and a half, so I’ll check in with everything there. 

Life is good right now. Finishing up school next week. FINALLY. Europe at the beginning of August. Beyond stoked. Still have to figure out my roommate and living situation, but I’m not going to worry about that until I return home. Oh yeah, and I love being in love. It’s the most amazing feeling in the world. 

Well, today is July 11, so if you live in America, go get your free slurpee at 711. I sure will!

PS: I kinda wanna write a memoir….? A few people have suggested the idea, and I think I may go for it in a few years. I’ll combine my experiences as a therapy student and then as a therapist and explore all that I’ve learned about recovery, myself, and so forth. We’ll see.

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
 
 
   

Having a relationship with an eating disorder.

Dear Bee,

So there is a very real possibility that things are going to be moving quickly with this guy. I just have a feeling. And normally, this is not how I roll. Because this isn’t part of some “plan.” Because this isn’t on some kind of safe timeline. I’m not that kind of girl who falls all over a guy she just met. Like at all. But, who am I to fight this conquering beast we call life?

Having always believed my emotions were wrong or inferior, I followed the all-knowing logic that existed in my head. Who cared what my heart felt? Feelings didn’t matter, but practicality and convenience did. This explains why I stayed in relationships with men I didn’t love. This is why I followed those dating rules almost religiously. Play the nice girl, dumb myself down if needed, give him what he wants, don’t fall too hard, etc.

But, I am also not native. Dating and relationships represent dangerous territories in early stages of recovery. Professionals typically advise recovering addicts to maintain sobriety for at least a year before considering a relationship. What about individuals with eating disorders? There does not seem to be a general rule of thumb for this. Do we need one? Obviously, the dynamic of a recovering drug addict may be different than someone recovering from an eating disorder, but is it? In fact, with an eating disorder, the recovery is less black-and-white. Individuals with codependency issues may find themselves prioritizing the other person’s needs over their own. I am aware that I am still fragile and vulnerable; while i have been making remarkable progress, I need to continue pushing forward. 

At this point, my recovery is the most sacred part of my life. I will sacrifice and change virtually anything to accommodate those needs. And yet, it seems like he can fit into this equation. For one, he already knows what I’m going through (because this what two aspiring therapists talk about all day). And for two, I didn’t feel any sense of shame in telling him. I didn’t plan on disclosing something so personal so soon, but our conversation somehow led us in a direction that opened the door for me to talk about it.  He was genuinely curious and said he admired my strength and willingness. So, there you go. 

You triangulated yourself in my past relationships, and it was extremely painful. You let me be in love, but never with myself. You let me be close to someone, but never to the point where I was fully able to let go and fall into my primal emotions. You always, always kept me grounded and orderly; structured and controlled. Because that’s where you liked me. That’s where you thrived the most. You needed to be the first priority in my life, and you did everything in your seductive powers to make that happen. When I think of past anniversaries, do I remember the feelings i experienced or the food I ate? When I think of vacations, do I remember all the laughs we shared or do I remember feeling self-conscious in my skin? When I think of holding someone in my arms, was I thinking about how much I loved him or how much I weighed that morning? It didn’t matter how many times he told me I was beautiful. It didn’t matter how much I knew that number on the scale didn’t really matter or the food I ate wasn’t really going to make me incredibly fat.

The eating disorder pathology isn’t about logic and reason. If it was, it wouldn’t exist. 

I would never wish for that history to repeat itself, but I just don’t think it will. You may still linger from time to time, but I no longer need you for protection. I no longer need you to keep me safe or in control. I can trust myself and the universe now. I know a world that is so much more beautiful than your reality. 

best first date EVER.

Um

I’m in love.

Nah, but seriously, I just had the best date of my entire life. With a guy I’ve known for literally less than a week. We had like a FREAKING 8-hour conversation. Sometime during that, we were walking along the beach, eating lunch, in a coffeehouse, running for our lives across a busy street, dangling our feet barefoot off a marina dock, sharing a first kiss under the full moon and still water. But, we didn’t stop talking. Okay, maybe during the few minutes we kissed. But, there wasn’t a shred of awkwardness. No weird how’s the weather or, what’s your favorite color? No, we talked about everything you don’t talk about on a first date: the meaning of religion, political imbalance, thoughts and feelings, past relationships and the meaning of love, radical honesty. We talked about our childhoods and our families and the meaning of life. 

He may just be the male replica of me. True story.

He said I’ve been exactly what he’s looking for. Serendipitous. That was the word he used. That he’s been looking for someone he can connect with intellectually. That he’s been looking for someone with depth and perspective. That he wants happy energy and optimism.

Came home to the sweetest text message that basically read, you’re amazing. Hope you were okay with me kissing you. It just felt right 🙂 I’m sure you felt that too. I would love to see you again this coming week, let’s make it happen. 

Um yeah, I’m going to make it happen. 

Tonight, I’ll be falling asleep with a big, goofy smile on my face 😀

Oh, and today is the anniversary of the day my dad first met my mom! If that’s not good karma, I don’t know what is.