Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We Bite Back

Numbers have haunted me for several years: number of pounds, number of calories, number of fat grams, number of the size on my jeans, numbers.

Numbers don't haunt me anymore, they liberate me. I weigh more right now than I ever have in my entire life, 145 pounds. I'm 20 pounds "better" than I was a year ago. I will never again wear a size 4, weigh 110 pounds, or limit myself to 900 calories a day.

I'm happier than I've been in a long time, I dare say, ever. Not the kind of happiness that befriends you as a child because you live in ignorant bliss. I'm talking about genuine, content, realistic, yet balanced, joy.

When little girls step on the scale as children at maybe 40 pounds, we say, "Good job! You're getting big and strong." Where do we stop saying that? Ten? Fourteen? When do we stop congratulating and start criticizing? It was 14 for me. Where is that magic zone of perfection? I'm done looking for it.

A little over 6 months ago in Cambodia I was vomiting several times a week. But since landing in the States I have only done so twice. TWICE! Ha!

As Anne Lamott says, "I know where I was and I know where I am now and you just can't get here from there. So it was either a miracle- or maybe it was more of a gift, one that required assembly. But whatever it was, learning to eat was about learning to live- and deciding to live; and it is one of the most radical things I've ever done."

Yes, this has been a gift. No it wasn't going through it. Going through it, and sometimes living with it, has been hell. But I would never want this experience to be taken away from me. If I'd never had an eating disorder I would still be living a fake existence quite content with pretending I was better than I was and putting on whatever face people wanted that day.

But I'm content with beating this and moving on. No. I'm beating this sucker, kicking it around with what I've learned, showing it whose boss, and sharing my story with people who need to hear it. After all, what's the point in overcoming struggles if we don't share what we've learned? No this is not lost on me, in fact, I've gained too much. I refuse for this experience to be lost on me.

Recently I read, "Start a revolution. Stop hating your body!" Yeah, that really would be breaking the mold wouldn't it. I think I'm going to make some t-shirts... Check out webiteback.com for information about a community of people who are post-pro-ana (pro-ana is a group of people who teach pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia nervosa methods. Their websites are repeatedly shut down, but they continue popping up faster than they can be closed down. Sick.) So webiteback.com is a group who is recovering and moving on to battle an entire culture that tells us we just aren't good enough as we are.

Another reason I am so grateful for this journey is the incredible people I've met along the way. Our whole family has been forced to communicate better than we ever have. My sister is my best friend and Ben isn't such a bad sidekick either. I've been blessed with incredible counselors and dietitians.

By being completely honest about my own struggles, others have felt welcome to do the same. May it be alcoholism, depression, or porn, it's the same struggle. That same feeling that this can rule your life, you don't know how to get out, and you're terrified what would happen if someone found out. That makes sense to me and there fore I understand the struggling, honest people who dare say, "I'm struggling."

Now we are talking. Thank you Spirit. It's a beautiful thing. How will what I've learned matter? I'm dreaming in ideas.


Ashley said...

'Atta girl.

I've seen this in you all along and am more than happy to have a front row seat to seeing how what you've learned is mattering. Every. Day.

I'm busting my buttons with pride and happiness that I can call YOU my sister and best friend.

Love you. So. So. Much.