July 2010 Archive
Nothing but History
Middle school is where I met the enemy. I was tall and lengthy. And the only thing I liked about myself was that I was skinny. That was exciting. Friends were complimenting me. (Pretty soon I wouldn’t have any.)
By the age of 15 I started modeling. Despite the fact that I was shy and withdrawn, some inner confident self kept leading me onto that runway. It was the one time I felt like I could really be seen. But this was just a modeling class, mere schooling. They taught me how to be feminine and pretty, how to stand up straight, use my girlish figure to get me anything. Anything but a mature understanding of the power invested in all women naturally.
And then I turned 16. Sickly. Starving. Hips and breasts were sprouting. Disgusting. Age 17. Hiding. Running. Binging. Purging. 18 years old. Dating. He will love me more if I lose more weight so I can fit into these jeans. You stupid idiot! Keep Quiet. Inner Conflict.
(Fast forward to college.) I am 19. I work in a restaurant. My favorite shift is closing. I cannot let them throw so much food away. I am taking it. I am sneaking it into my apron. I am actually stealing it. And I feel bad about it. I am stopping this. (Tomorrow, I think.)
Tomorrow is today. And I know that I am dying. I am not okay. I am driving around wrecklessly. I am drinking. I am driving. And I am binging on fast food, sweets, delicate cheeses, anything, and everything that I could get my hands on. My driving is dangerous. There are other people on the road and my beast is consuming everything, including me.
The rest is kind of like death, over and over again, if I had continued this: Purging. Purging my feelings. Purging my instinctive need to eat, and my every desire to be somebody. Purging love and interconnectedness with other beings. Purging my past and my family. Most of all purging me, one self-destructive act at a time, slowly disappearing. “Just kill Yourself now, get it over with,” the Voice keeps telling me.
2o years old. My birthday. Treatment. The greatest gift anybody ever gave to me. The greatest gift I ever gave to myself: Recovery.
I had survived the Storm, the temptation to fall back down the slippery slope into misery. No, I was beyond that. In fact, I was climbing very quickly up, up, and away from all that. And not only was I learning to climb, but I was remembering how to reach, how to really reach for what I was wanting. And there was no stopping me. If I stopped for just one second, I would have fallen back down, tumbling hard, making it harder to reach for the next time. The hardest fall in my life was the one that almost killed me, and I wasn’t about to do that again. This time around, I knew what I wanted.
I wanted a life of beauty and significance. I wanted to go back to riding horses. I wanted to teach. I wanted to inspire others. I wanted my creativity and my passion to be unleashed. I wanted to travel. I wanted to love, and be loved. I wanted friendships, and maybe even a relationship. I wanted to tell my family how much I appreciated them now that I could see the incredible sacrifice they gave for me. And they would do it again in a heartbeat. I want to know what that feels like, to Love and to care so deeply for another human being that they would give their life for me to know that I am okay. And, indeed, I know now that I am okay.
Recovery is a long story. But for me, it was simply a return to everything that made me happy. Slowly, over the course of many years I would reopen dark corners inside of me and free up whatever pain was still harboring. An eating disorder is a really strange thing, because for most of us that have ever experienced the wreckage of it, we know that it is also the longest relationship we have allowed ourselves to have. Thus, it’s very hard to let go of. There has to be a moment where you decide with every ounce of your being that you don’t want it any more. Eventually, I demanded that it leave completely. The choice was easy. I fell in love. And I knew that I couldn’t hold onto her anymore because I watched as she tried to sabotage me into scaring him away so that I could be lonely. The thought of losing this man forced me to summon all my power into forcing her to leave. So you see, an eating disorder is a really strange thing. I am glad it’s over with.
I am 25 years old now, and I have my whole life ahead of me. Oh, and I also eat as many brownies or sweets as I want to and I let myself enjoy it. Life is just too short not to!
Thank you to Chelsea for sharing her story! Please submit your story of recovery to email@example.com to be featured in the Mindfullness Recovery Spotlight.
People today live and breathe by Blackberries, e-mail, iPhones– all of the gadgets designed to organize and sync their lives. Alerts that tell us where to be and what to do next. Yet living on autopilot rarely leaves time for savoring the moment. It also leaves us feeling pretty unprepared when life’s plan takes us off the scheduled course.Remember the saying, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans?” Therefore, the real question becomes how do you deal? What do you do when the unexpected or just the plain old unplanned for occurs? For many, this is when anxiety takes hold!
It is important to be mindful and aware. Think things through. Remind yourself you have the ability to deal with whatever may come your way, no matter how large or difficult. Remember the things that relax you. Savor in the things that define you. Most of all, remember you do have the power and ability to handle what comes your way. Just make sure to enjoy the journey!