With the new year having arrived, I am hearing a lot of chatter about contentment. Hannah Brencher is probably one of the first I was aware of. Hannah is amazing. She was depressed, and wrote love letters to strangers to help quell her homesickness. She puts together lovely bundles of letters for people who need them. And apparently, she is addicted to Target, like me. It seems like every year, things keep popping up that we humans need. And not only things, but we need the right body, and the best diet, and the perfect job. We are always trying to better ourselves. But what if we’re fixing something that was never broken in the first place?
I have struggled with mending broken things. A lot. I’m not very good at it, but really…who is? It’s easy to look back and see where we went wrong. Where we could have taken a different route and never run into trouble. The “what ifs” can be crippling. Somewhere along the line we have to accept the hand were dealt, right? But there are some things that can be fixed…or at least put back together, with glue holding the pieces back together. I am one of those things. I didn’t see it for a long time. It took me years. Most of the time, what kept me from moving forward was my fears. Fear of failure. Fear of who I might be (or become). Fear of what it would take. Every second I waited, I moved further away from the true me.
But recovery wasn’t even a choice for me, at some points. I wasn’t strong enough to fight ed, even though every day I didn’t fight, his grip got stronger. “Oh well” I thought. “I’m happy this way. I don’t want anything to change”. Yeah. Uh-huh. Because not being able to go out to eat at lunch and enjoy myself is being happy. Because eating a tortilla with low fat cream cheese for supper makes me happy. Because not drinking milk makes ed happy. Because not eating meat makes ed happy. Because low fat, low calorie, MAKES ED HAPPY. At some point, I stopped making choices for myself, based on what I knew was good for me, and started letting ed make the decisions for me. Scary stuff.
Now that I am climbing my way out of my pit of despair, I see things so much more clearly. It feels so good to put myself before ed. I get down sometimes when I feel like I have ruined myself, that I will never be normal, that if I ever want to eat healthier or exercise for my health, everyone will think it’s ed. That I will think it’s ed. These things come with time, I just have to keep reminding myself of that. I struggle with material contentment, but I also struggle with physical contentment. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be gorgeous and hailed as the beauty queen. I don’t really care about outward beauty and how I look. Not in that way. Ed does. He says I care too. But I don’t. I just want to feel content in this body that I have. I want to feel at home, in a way I haven’t since I was ten. I’m working towards that. It’s all about listening and feeling and being present. It’s about knowing it’s ok to relax, and if your feet ache, reveling in the relief of sitting down. It’s being tired and taking a nap, and putting on comfy clothes because those jeans are too stiff. It’s lip balm when my lips are sexy and moisturizer when my face feels like it might crack. Being content is hard, and I don’t think I quite know the true meaning of it. Not yet anyway. It is fleeting, dashing around the corner…there, I see it! I have it in my sights. I’m not tracking it down, but I am studying it. I am a student of contentment and love. Life is a journey. Embrace it.