I just want to say that I understand why you do what you do and why you exist in my life. I understand why you entered my life when you did and why you will leave it when you will. I understand how you work, and I understand WHY you work.
As much as I may loathe and resent your presence, I appreciate how my recovery from your toxicity is turning me into a more genuine and wholesome person than I could ever imagine.
For about a third of my life, you have been the caretaker of my unmet needs. You have been the mother filling these voids with your distorted version of nourishment and love. You took me under your wing, provided for me, and wrapped your secure blanket over my young body. What vulnerable girl, living in this world of heightened anxiety and fear, wouldn’t want that comfort? What vulnerable girl wouldn’t let you take her in?
Before my eating disorder, I never thought I could have an eating disorder. Now, I realize that I practically embody a textbook example for developing one.
I didn’t know any better. I thought you were just my inner critic dictating my food. I didn’t understand how you trickled into every aspect of my life, from my family dynamics to my interpersonal relationships to my professional and academic pursuits. I didn’t understand how recovering from you entailed literally healing and changing my perceptions and actions on ALL these aspects.
I want to thank you for all that you provided for me. Sincerely. I don’t know how many times I have stepped on a scale in my life. Maybe a million. I wish that was an exaggeration. I don’t know how many times I have turned down food out of fear of what it would do to me. I don’t know how many times I have emotionally eaten or binged. Hundreds? Thousands? I don’t know how many events or activities I declined because I had to work out. I don’t know how many minutes I have spent dwelling over what you do to me. Those may be minutes I never get back, but they are not among the moments I regret or would change.
With you, I remain a child trapped in a young adult’s body. With you, I am still dependent on your logic, rules, and decisions. With you, I am unable to fend for myself and live life on unrestricted terms. With you, I remain afraid, insecure, and skeptical.
I can outgrow you. I AM outgrowing you.
What if I could live in recovery under the premise that you were one of my most precious gifts? That you were one of my greatest teachers? What if I could channel all my hatred towards how you make me act, believe, and think into unadulterated, uncompromising love?
My recovery is teaching me the most amazing lessons about myself. My recovery is absolutely, overwhelmingly beautiful. Because of my recovery, I cannot regret my eating disorder. Because of my recovery, I have realized just how SPECIAL this life can be.
I sat on the floor today with my therapist and strung bracelets with plastic beads. After spending all this time learning play therapy techniques for my own clients, I wanted to play myself. So, that’s what we did. We talked about my life sagas, sure, but I also realized something fundamental in this session: It’s okay to have problems. It really is. It’s not so much about how my life will be once that problem is eliminated, but, rather, how my life CURRENTLY IS as I work through and cope with that problem.
And it’s okay to get down on the ground and spontaneously take a breather and play. It’s okay to make pretty bracelets designed for ages 6+. Life doesn’t have to be serious. It doesn’t have to hurt. It doesn’t have to feel heavy.
Last week was necessary. Last week reminded me of the LIFE I once lived: the life you dominated, the life riddled with compulsion and control, the life labeled by my own sense of worthlessness and powerlessness. Last week hurt. It hurt a lot. But I needed it. I needed a reminder of who I want to be and who I absolutely CANNOT be.
Sometimes, we need to brave the most treacherous storms to see the brightest rainbows. Sometimes, we need to dance in the rain before we can see the sunshine again.
My world right now, the breath I am breathing right now, is rocking those rainbows and sunshine.