Alright guys – this post has been a long time coming for me.
I actually have been going back and forth with this one for a while now. I always get nervous that I’ll offend or upset someone with these in depth posts of mine – I have issues at times getting across exactly what it is that I want to say, which can lead to misunderstandings and misconstruded thoughts.
I hope that this one comes across loud and clear though, because it really means a lot to me.
Here goes nothing…
So today is National Eat What You Want Day, which when I first saw it come up on my food holiday calendar [yes, that’s a thing], I didn’t really think much about. But then I started thinking of all the foods that I would eat on that day to “celebrate” – pancakes, nachos, cake, smoothies, oatmeal, cookies – and it made me realize how far I’ve really come in terms of recovering from my ED.
Because National Eat What You Want Day would have looked a heck of a lot different a few years ago. Or even if I did allow myself to eat what I really wanted, it would then be followed by a night of purging those calories on the treadmill which would then be followed by an evening of self-hate, harsh words and tears.
And so because of where I am today and how far I’ve come from that broken girl who fell asleep nightly to a wet pillow and salt on her cheeks, I’m writing a Thank You note to my ED.
A Thank You to my ED
Thank you ED…
For showing me the kind of woman I want to be.
I was once a very different person. I was sad and depressed, angry and frustrated, bitter and withdrawn. I wasn’t someone that I would ever want to be friends with, that’s for dang sure.
Looking back at the young woman I used to be is like night and day for me. I remember being hollow, broken and so empty inside. I remember having one focus – to be someone else. Every morning that I opened my eyes I stood in front of my mirror, critiquing and criticizing everything that I saw. No matter how little I ate or how much I worked out – that person staring back at me in the mirror was never beautiful to me.
Maybe it’s the simple wisdom that comes with age and being able to reflect on your past choices, but I never want to be anything like that woman I used to be. She was selfish and cold, empty and broken – I am strong and capable, open and whole. She was focused on nothing but her outward appearance – I am fighting everyday to be a person worthy of God’s grace with a heart full of love, compassion and hope.
Who I want to be now and who I was then can’t even exist on the same plane – they are so completely and utterly different with opposite goals and outlooks that existing together is impossible.
My ED is who I once was – who I am now is everything my ED told me that I could never be.
For teaching me how to love myself.
That might sound weird – how does an eating disorder help you learn to love yourself? Well basically, it showed me all the wrong ways to do it. It showed me how to hate, loathe and wish away every part of myself. It showed me how to degrade, tear down and belittle myself. It showed me how to make myself feel worthless, unworthy and unloveable.
But in the end? In the end it showed me how wrong all of that was.
I now know the true meaning of self love. I now recognize the difference between loving oneself and punishing oneself. And I can now can say, with 100% certainty, that I love who I am – from my tree trunk legs to the tiny freckles on the tip of my nose.
For teaching me how to forgive myself
An ED thrives on your “screw ups”. You “screwed up” and ate too many fries. You “screwed up” and skipped your workout. You “screwed up” and ate too many carbs. With an ED, the list of screw ups is never ending.
The trick to beating an ED and to succeeding in recovery [in my opinion] is finding it within yourself to forgive yourself for these “screw ups” that you have for so long seen as horrible, awful things. Forgive yourself for that extra serving of french fries. Forgive yourself for that missed workout. Pretty soon your ED will know longer be able to convince you that these “screw ups” are a big deal and you’ll simply see them as another aspect of everyday life.
For allowing me to be a part of something bigger than myself.
Though I may be considered a “food blogger”, I can’t even tell you how much pride I take in being even a small part of all of your recovery stories, battles, victories and accomplishments. Being in this community is so inspiring – you all inspire me and motivate me each and every day, did you know that? And without my ED I would never have “met” a lot of you or had the blessing of getting to know your story, your passions and your heart. For that I am truly grateful.
Thanks to Amanda for letting me Think Out Loud today!