I came to a tough, honest reality this morning. One I’ve been hiding from for a long time.
One of my friends in recovery made a social media post, and when I read it, and began composing a comment for it, I started writing words and truths that I’ve been ignoring and evading for over a year now.
I’m still so insecure in my body, and I still hate it. I act like I don’t, but I do.
The way my clothes fit, how uncomfortable jeans are going over an actual butt and hugging my thighs. Shirts riding up over the slight bulge my side and belly makes over the top of my jeans. I hate it.
And yes, I know all of the powerful retorts and mantras…I know what all of the recovery positive people would say, and what the Instagram posts of recovered men and women want me to believe.
They want me to believe I’m beautiful and strong and uncrushable. That this extra fat on my body changes me for the better, not the worst. How having my period come back is a blessing and means I’m healthy and getting better. That clothes actually fitting me and accentuating my slight curves are wonderful and to be celebrated.
But what if deep down, that’s not how I feel? What if I don’t believe I can feel it? What if I don’t want to feel it?
It’s easy for me to get angry at the people who tout health and recovery. For many reasons, but some that are near the top are the facts that feeling so much sucks. And trying to feel beautiful sucks. No one knows, truly, what someone else has been through/is going through. They can’t tell you things will get better and that eating will make things a bit easier eventually.
I’m here to tell you that I am still “in recovery” and that this is by no means a post to diss recovery or anyone who believes that being recovered is the only way, etc. I do believe there are people who recover fully, and live an abundant, resilient life. I don’t believe that I am one of those people. Sometimes I think that truly feeling so wonderful and sparkly about oneself is a load of bs. And maybe we only think we have to feel positive and beautiful in our bodies because someone told us to. Because the media praises glamorous, confident women and says “be sexy, or else.”
I’m just writing my truth and what it looks like for me right now.
My truth is, that my life will never go back to the way it was before this. Before anorexia. I was never a confident person, and anorexia made that confidence level drop to zero. I never believed I was beautiful, and no one ever told me I was, though I heard others being called beautiful my whole life (oh, how I longed to be called pretty). Now, if someone complimented my looks, I wouldn’t believe a word they were saying. This has nothing to do with the person who is doing the complimenting. Nope, it’s all on me.
I learned to starve and hurt myself to cope with how I was feeling and how I viewed life. I learned to push my thoughts and feelings about how wrong things are in this world and in me down and feel hunger instead. Feel hunger until I couldn’t feel anything else.
Sometimes hunger is easier to feel than the true feelings. Okay, often hunger is easier to feel than the true feelings.
I was told my way wasn’t healthy, my way wasn’t good. So I was forced to stop. I was forced to begin nourishing myself and feeling my feelings. To show up and put on a mask and say that everything is OK, when it is definitely not.
And no matter what your support around you says and does…they don’t have to go through what you are going through. They could hold my hand and tell me to eat, but that wasn’t curing my mind and heart, not in the way I needed.
Is it obvious that I’m a little bitter about this? That I feel so strongly that my pain and depression and past matters and so now I just want to do what I want, for once in my adult life?
At many points in my life so far, I have been trying to destroy myself. Trying to break myself down into enough tiny pieces that eventually I disappear.
How does one come back from that? How do I go about living a bigger life, when I know at one point my only desire was to cease to exist?
And some people might say that the only reason I wanted to destroy my body and stop existing was because it’s a symptom of depression and an eating disorder. To that I say, true. However, I’ve never felt at home in my body or on this earth. Only I know how deeply these feelings flow. Only I know how uncomfortable I feel. Who are you to try to change me?
The truth is, I want to keep to myself. I’ve opened up and been hurt enough times that I just stopped being vulnerable. It’s too hard. I don’t want to hear that it’s selfish to try to disappear-my pain is real. I don’t want to tell someone how I feel, and then feel belittled by their reply.
I lost my “best” coping tool. And yes, I still dabble in hunger just to reassure myself it’s still there.
So this is for the strong ones. The ones that have come so far, only to realize that their best wasn’t “enough”.
It’s for those who have been through hell, and are going back in. Because this world has broken them and they can’t stand that kind of hurt.
It’s for the ones who have made it in recovery, and yet still feel lost and empty. The ones who see no way out, not even through.
I see you, and I feel those feelings too. Instead of starving, I bow my head and eat creamy peanut butter ice cream, and pizza that has more cheese than I ever thought I’d feel comfortable with. I keep my routine, because earlier, when I was at a scary weight and didn’t know what might happen to me, my biggest fear was eating these foods and just ballooning into a monster.
And now I know that I can eat these foods daily (seriously, I eat pizza and ice cream daily.) and stay at a stable body size. I’ve numbed out, become complacent. I’ve got to prove to myself day in and day out that eating these foods that I still fear just a bit is OK. Because I know how easy it would be to slip back.
And some days, I want to.