We walk through most of our lives with a pretty clear idea of who we are, even if we feel lost an uncertain. We may not know what we like or what we want to do but we have a sense of who we are at the core.
Recovering from my eating disorder has turned everything I thought I knew about myself on its head. I used to be the girl who could wear anything anywhere, who wore a bikini on the beach and complained about the fat in between her protruding ribs, I was the girl who only ate certain foods at parties and had anxiety attacks on the porch. I was the girl who could curl up into a tiny ball on any chair, who weighed less than a friend’s dog, who could wear a roll of tape on her upper arm, who was blown over in a wind storm. I was also the girl who had to sit down because I would shake so hard, who’s muscles cramped up from lack of potassium, who spent hours in therapy and treatment, who was constantly worried about her heart beat for fear of another heart attack, who lived between doctors’ appointments and weigh in days, the girl who was a repeater at treatment and forced my life and my loved one’s lives into a strange and dangerous limbo.
That was who I was, that was all I was.
Recovery has helped me find myself but it has also caused a lot of pain because first I had to loose myself. It felt like tearing soul from the lining of my gut and pulling it out through my nose.
Through recovery I lost all of the health problems first; my heart healed, my muscles started working properly, my hair started to thicken and my nails got stronger. Then, I slowly started losing everything else I thought was me as my weight started creeping up. All the things my body could do, the ways I could sit, being able to cross my legs, how I fit in the seat of a car, even how I walk has had to change based on my ever changing body.
I started losing more and more of my identity the more weight I gained but I also started gaining a better sense of a new identity.
I started gaining emotions, sadness and real happiness. Suddenly there was space in my mind and less anxiety, there was more room for spontaneity and friends. I didn’t need to bring my own food to parties and stopped having panic attacks over food. I started gaining life and vitality. The best part was that I started to discover who I was apart from how my body looked, what clothes it fit into or what it could do.
I am no longer the girl I described above but I am a woman that I admire so much more than whoever that girl was. I am now a wife who loves my husband and tries to create a happy life for the two of us. I am a future parent, daydreaming about my one-day children and all they will mean to me. I am a descant singer with an amazing choir. I am a good friend who would do anything for someone she loves. I am an advocate for eating disorders and recovery, someone who strives to bring understanding and strength to those who are effected by eating disorders. I am striving to be a yoga teacher and help others heal the way that yoga has helped me to heal myself.
Yes, I have a body but I am not my body. I am SO much more and I can define myself by so many more things than the house my soul lives in.
Persevere, keep going through the loss, heartache and pain – the loss stops, the gains grow exponentially and the worth of it all is beyond worth the struggle. <3 Claire