It dawned on me the other day when I got sight of my nakedness when I was climbing into the shower that I am everything that young me feared I would turn out to be. Pretty frightening actually.
Quite the opening sentence, huh. I can be harsh, especially when I talk about myself and my weight. But hang with me for a few minutes and let me explain, because as always there is more to the story then what first meets the eye.
When I was a teen I suffered horribly from Anorexia and Bulimia. I spent a full year, like a revolving door, in and out of the hospital/treatment center/psych ward. How I passed the 10th grade is a mystery to me, and I am convinced that my guidance counselor must have had much to do with it. I struggled horribly that year and continued to relapse, each time it was worse, and each time it was harder to go back to treatment, the place where everyone knew my name.
At this point, now more than 15 years later, I am not sure why I starved myself. I don’t know if I was trying to reach a certain number, or a size in clothes. I think it was more of a control thing and a competition. I wanted to be the best, I know that, and I wanted to show everyone that I could be the best at something, and I nearly killed myself trying to prove to everyone how good I was at destroying my body.
Through the recovery process I was so incredibly scared of getting to the point of gaining weight and not being able to stop. This fear has never gone away. I still deal with this fear every day. I still weigh myself daily, solely to make sure that I weigh no more than I did the day prior. And should I gain weight, I throw a conniption fit and beat myself up and I claim that I hate the world and my life sucks and all sorts of evil rains down upon me.
But, that morning, when I say myself in the mirror, and saw that I no longer look like I did 3 years and 30 pounds ago, I realized that I actually have nearly everything I want in life, minus that perfect figure that I always wanted, but never thought (key word) I ever had.
- I have a family. A family with children (something that 12 years ago I was told would only happen via act of God).
- I have a spouse who has stuck by my side through thick and thin, sickness and health, the good times and the BAD times.
- I have a job that is accommodating to my needs. It is a job that I enjoy, that helps me feel needed and wanted. I have a wonderful relationship with my boss, and he supports me and works with me, so I am able to get the care that I need to maintain my mental health.
- I am educated. Although I have yet to finish my bachelor’s degree (a mere five classes left) I have learned an abundance as I have worked hard to balance life, work and school as I have been working towards obtaining my degree.
- I am safe. I have a roof over my head. I have money in my checking account. I have food in my refrigerator. There is clean water flowing from my sinks and I have power to my appliances and electric to light my home and heat and a/c to heat and cool my home.
Since I was 15, I have not been satisfied with the way that I look. It’s really quite sad and I hope that my daughter never goes through the body image dissatisfaction that I have suffered with because it has left me with a big void deep within my innerness.
But, this week, I am working to focus on what I do have, not what I do not have. Focus on what I’ve gained, literally and metaphorically speaking. I have learned that my value is not defined by my size, or weight. I am learning that it is important to be in good health, but that does not necessarily mean a specific weight or size, and getting there is something that takes proper time, energy and work.
It’s really quite interesting when we sit back and realize that we are living the life that we dreamed we would have as a child. What a rewarding moment, it may be slightly* different than we imagined but when we compare what we aspired to have as a youth to what we have now, there are far more similarities than differences. And it is at that moment, that we, or shall I say I, thank my stars that I have the life that I do.