Recently, I’ve put on a little bit of weight, almost 10 pounds in the past 2 weeks, and you know what? I’m doing great. My body is soft and full; I have to give my leggings one last extra tug to get them to hug around my hips softly. I noticed for the first time yesterday the gentle beginnings of soft stretch marks around my hips. And while at times I feel a quite visceral resistance to my lovely little love handles, mostly I feel grateful. Grateful for the chance to eat late night snacks and giggle with my boyfriend, grateful to cook lavish meals and share them with my family, grateful to be alive in this beautiful body no matter what shape or size it may be.
Our bodies are meant to do so much more for us than to be “perfect”. We use our bodies to adventure through this world, to laugh with friends, to kiss the people we love. But, for so long I could only see my body for its imperfections. My body was defined by and despised because of a number. The lifeless digits a scale that let me believe for so long my body was a failure taking up ever too much space in this world. I walked through life acutely aware of the circumference of my thighs and the size of my hips. Constantly calculating how many calories I had to eliminate to remove the weight from myself. I did so with such fierce passion fueled by hatred it was as if shedding my very own skin still would not be enough to make me feel beautiful. I was going to the gym twice a day, but I have never been weaker. I couldn’t sleep without the assistance of a heavy handed dose of Unisom. I had heart scares, where I thought surely “this is it”, and would text my family through hazy vision to tell them I loved them.
But now, I can see things a little bit more clearly. I can see my body for what it truly is. My body is strong, resilient, and god damn beautiful. I deprived it and beat it down, I loathed it and tried to push it beyond its limits. But still, here I am. Bold, beautiful and a little unsure of how to navigate in this world. I’m going to be honest at times it’s not so easy; when you look into a closet of pants that no longer zip and shirts that suffocate. Sometimes I curse the version of myself that chose health and healing over thigh gaps and small waists. Mostly though, I’m thankful. I am thankful that I can get through the day without fainting, thankful that chopping up lettuce for a salad no longer makes me cry, thankful that by some miracle I am still alive. I have been given a second chance at my life, a chance to truly live and exist beyond how much the scale said I was worth today. Recovery is hard, and I am a long way from perfect. But I am trying, I am learning to celebrate the little victories and learn from my mistakes. I am learning to be gentle with my body, to love it unconditionally.
Eating Disorders are insidious monsters. They rip away every part of you until you find yourself shriveled and crying to the corner begging for it to stop. What started as skipping one meal, can quickly spiral into missing them all. If you or someone you know is struggling, get help as soon as you can. Asking for help isn’t selfish, it isn’t vain, and there is no such thing as “not being sick enough”.
To learn more visit: http://nedawareness.org/
Take the 3-minute screening: http://nedawareness.org/screening
Or call for confidential support: 1(800)931-2237