Cages or wings?
There are many things I was “supposed to be”... An athlete; an actress; a dancer; a singer; an entrepreneur even...
A wife... mother... (tick-tock--tick-tock... will someone stop that pissing clock?) or how about a happy, bubbly, mentally sound young lady... lady... a woman... who is delicate. STABLE; a good girl; a good example; a good role model... "my children, they look up to you..."
Healthy; recovered; a success story; a miracle perhaps…?
(It is a miracle I made it this far if I am honest.)
Nothing fucks you up more in life than what you were "supposed to be". It leaves you with a constant resentment of something or someone, usually yourself, as there has to be blame to disperse the shame... and shame is a seriously isolating emotion.
Recovery isn’t linear. It doesn’t just show up one day like “Hey!! Here is your life back! Go have fun now...”
It is more like “Hey you have to face me every mouthful and every moment of everyday, for the rest of your life”.
Disorders and problems around food hit differently than (for example) issues with drugs & alcohol... there is space away from drugs & alcohol... you CAN live without them... 3 weeks without any food and you die. It has to be faced a minimum of 3 times a day.
"At least in death I can have quiet" - says the bully in my brain.
As you try to heal, you have to try and let go of what you think other people think of you.
"She's the ripped one" "She's the really athletic one" "She's the one who must be so motivated in the gym and so dedicated..."
She is. But she is also those things to the detriment of everything else she could ever be... most of all...
I make this day the day I choose recovery.
I choose to heal.
The projected vision that I continue to forge of what I assume others make of me is truly suffocating.
The strict labels and premonitions we place on ourselves are awkward and clunky.
Should we face turbulence, we feel the full force of that weight… as we bounce around this tight corridor of expectation, we gather bruises.
I feel shame.
Shame to my family who fought so hard for me the first time round, tube in my nose and needles in my arms, begging me to fight to survive... but also shame to my eating disorder, who became my best friend.
She (Ana) made me feel I had full power of my actions - total control. Control over the one thing I could control... myself. It is dangerously empowering and dangerously addictive.
Wanting recovery feels like I have betrayed the bond we (Ana and I) had and she shames me by saying things like "you only want recovery cause you are greedy and want to eat all the food... perhaps you were faking it all along weren't you... you're such a failure, you can't even be good at having an eating disorder."
It burns inside my head that thought. And so I make it burn in my skin instead.
Shame holds you still. Don’t move - stay small - don’t come out again. Stay low. By its very nature it makes you not reach for help, as you are ashamed, so don't want to draw attention to it. Exhausting.
I feel ashamed I slipped.
I feel ashamed I let it happen again.
I feel ashamed that I like the way my smaller body looks; feels; bahaves; takes up less space.
I feel ashamed I knew it was happening and that opened my arms to
her (Ana) like an old friend. Comfortable.
I feel ashamed I welcomed her in to my life, to my boyfriend's life, to my family's lives, again.
I feel ashamed that I can't say the things above without just wanting to stay sick. Sick is safe.
“A self fulfilled prophecy of relapse.”
So, as I place tourniquets around the wounded limbs of my ego, I brace myself.
Seeking REAL recovery blows holes wide open in your soul. It opens you up to a lot of proverbial shit.
As I enter into a process of getting better - please be patient with me. Please don’t comment on my body. Please don't comment on my food. Please try to open your mind over what really goes on inside the brain of someone who has a disordered relationship with food.
I don’t want your pity - I just want share in real joy again.
Today I choose joy; I choose recovery; I choose to unshackle myself and live my life again… and while this choice might look a lot like quitting to her (Ana)… to me, it is winning.
You have to be willing to walk away from anything that is breaking your spirit.
To leave is to live.