Sometime last week, I almost deleted the blog posts that I keep on my desktop. I thought that I had internalized them enough, that I had the tools and strength to fight through when the blackness says:
You are getting fat
That bloated feeling you have right now, it is you putting on weight
Putting on weight is BAD
Do not sit down and do not rest, you must stay active, otherwise, you will get fat
No I am thinking, maybe not so much…
I feel bloated, possibly because I am sick and possibly because I stressed out my abs a lot working out. Regardless of whether or not I am putting on weight, I would not feel weight-gain happening in me. In fact, putting on some muscle would probably help the strength gains I am looking for with my grandfather’s workout. This is the self-talk that usually allows me to quiet the blackness long enough to sit and rest. The blackness is only this strong when I am beat down or worn down or just plain down. Sitting and resting are the two things that will revive my goodness, that will enable me to get stronger.
However, the blackness has convinced me otherwise. The blackness has convinced me to not sit down, because I will get fat. The ability to sit in peace, that is gone right now. I feel ashamed to sit down, I feel ashamed to rest. And the source of that shaming, very likely is weight gain.
I am tired, I am sick, I am not strong right now. It is part of that wisdom that allows me to have the self-awareness to say that, the respect of my limits. So I will turn to those blog posts, those words of strength and comfort from those who have experienced this self-shaming that leads to self-harming that leads to self-destruction, and I will thank each and every one of them for giving me the strength right now:
I’d forgotten what it was like to not care. To not care about arms that are bigger or cheeks that are fuller – albeit brighter. I’d forgotten the beauty of just sitting and being and existing and for that being enough.
I’d forgotten that there was a much happier version of myself that existed before now and that I liked that person very much, even if she wasn’t perfect, and that is who I want to be again.
Lastly, I’d forgotten that I deserved better. Better than an eating disorder, better than the same food day in and day out, better that overexercise and exhaustion and sadness and isolation. I’d forgotten that I deserved to be nourished and well. I’d forgotten that I deserved recovery.
I have so much to remind you of, sweet one. Of how far you’ve come. Of how much has changed. Yes indeed, there have been hard days. There are times when you still think you might have eaten too much that day or a particular outfit makes you look larger or when you’ve gone for an extra stroll around the block because you ate more than usual. Perhaps you’ve still been rigid about some things – eating regularly, or having safe foods or attempting to eat less than others. But look at you – thinking clearly, feeding your body because your body deserves to be fed and looked after because it is PRECIOUS and VALUABLE. As are you, and you know that.
And please, please, PLEASE do not forget how infinitely valuable you are.
Thank you Rebekah (http://risforrecovery.wordpress.com/)
My lingering moments of weakness are directly at odds with both of those missions [recovery and veganism], and make me particularly frustrated for that reason. But I think anyone who’s endeavored to lead a healthy life after disordered eating might be able to relate to the uneasy discord between a full embrace of good health, and the struggle to let go of the things that used to give one’s life a sense of identity and meaning-no matter how falsely.
As always, I treat these moments of struggle as an organic and inevitable part of the recovery process. Recovery is not a black and white before and after; it’s a journey, and the journey involves missteps and stumbles and occasional moments of looking back at the terrain you’ve covered, thoughtfully and with a touch of nostalgia. I never used to think it was possible to feel nostalgia or longing for any period of one’s life except the happy ones, but I realize that this isn’t the case. Even so, I’ve often been surprised this year by how far I’ve come in my relationship with food, my body, and my commitment to health. I’m so much further along than I used to be, and have made progress even through some stressful times that might have ordinarily triggered me. I am profoundly grateful for this, and can only accept and acknowledge the moments of struggle as they go by.
This disease is stubborn, burying itself so deeply inside of you that you forget how to think like a normal person…especially about food, but also about exercise and what you see in the mirror.
It’s much easier today. Today, I don’t worry about how much I weigh and think more about how I feel. Running is no longer done simply to burn calories, but to train for bigger and better races. I don’t revolve everything about what I’m going to eat that day, how I’ll be able to exercise, and what everyone will think when they see me. I can now concentrate on birds, ecology, school, friends, family… I have my life back. I finally have it back from my eating disorder.
Thank you Melissa (http://tryingtoheal.com/page/2/).