What I have learned through recovery from an eating disorder…
I have learned, that it was never about food.
It was never about my body. The (lack of) food was the drug to numb the overwhelming emotions, to punish a little girl that never felt good enough. To keep her in line. To not let her live within the wiggly lines of real life.
Recovery has taught me:
How to be messy. How to live in the grey areas of uncertainty and not knowing.
How to allow myself to be human. To make mistakes. To forgive myself and others.
Recovery has brought me not only a softness around my skin (which I like), but a softness around my heart. A compassion for others, because when I was in the rigid rules of the eating disorder, I could not see anything beyond my own fear.
The more I take care of myself, and nourish my soul, the more I am able to love and care for others.
The more I am attuned to the world around me and the needs of those in my life.
Whereas, when I was in the eating disorder, my life was about protection, about people not getting too close, about keeping secrets and hiding.
It is lonely inside the cage of an eating disorder.
Recovery is a grand colorful room where friends and people who I let into my life are standing right beside me, walking with me, holding my hand.
But don’t be fooled, recovery is not a free fall into the whimsy of life. I have learned how to set clear boundaries and to have a voice in my world.
To love when it is appropriate and to use my voice and the word “No” when I need protection.
My voice. My life. My choices.
Recovery has brought me an ability to love deep and hard, without fear of being known. Because being known and loved despite myself is exactly how God loves me.
And how He loves you.
The world taught me otherwise and I had to re-learn love. Love, being loved and being able to love is one of the greatest gifts recovery has brought to me, and will bring to you.
And we can’t forget the body. The body that was my whipping tool, the form of my anger, sorrow, and shame.
This body in recovery offers me life and breath.
It birthed three amazing boys and tells me what it needs. As I grow older it needs more rest, and it doesn’t seem to bounce back like it used to, but I listen to it. I take care of it and we are friends. Finally, after so much loathing, we hold hands and walk through life together, me and my body.
I celebrate it.
I hold it.
I thank it.
And finally, what recovery has brought me more than anything is a passion and zest for life.
For living and being in the fullness of every day.
Once I lived in the darkness of my pit. Where I hung curtains, put a couch and some chairs and made a home there.
But life isn’t meant to be lived in the pit.
Life is meant to be lived in the fullness of everyday. Where there is great and horrible pain and ecstatic and soul filling joy. It is risky, to live in recovery because I can guarantee you…it is not a straight line of perfection or control. It is glorious. It is challenging. It is beautiful.
With God holding me and guiding me, life on the other side of an eating disorder is absolutey 100% worth it.