i'm gonna let you in on a little secret about those green pants...
the morning of those pictures i made my glitter sign (tracking sparkle all through the house), donned my green pants, set the camera to self-timer, and clicked away.
and what i got were the photos you saw: green pants, sparkle sign, and me looking...happy, i think.
but upon first seeing the images i thought, oh, my legs look fat.
and so i took a breath.
and then allowed another, more rational (read: healthier) part of me to say, doesn't matter.
and i made the choice--and yes, it was a choice--to let the doesn't matter trump the oh, my legs look fat.
now i know some of you might be thinking, isn't the oh, my legs look great an even better choice--an even more powerful statement? to which i say, maybe. but, i think that choosing to give no value to what they look like is the ultimate goal. because then, whether they look good or bad or blue or long, it really doesn't matter--it doesn't change my day, it doesn't affect how i'm feeling. it has no power to undo me.
there are still days i am undone. still days i feel like i've lost six years of my life to this thing. still days i feel i'll never be as thin as i need to be.
i've been thinking a lot about what it is the eating disorder gave me. because anyone worth their salt will tell you there's a reason you keep it around. i fought against this idea as much and as hard as i could (for as long as i could). if there was one thing i was clear on, it was this: i hated the eating disorder. i wanted it gone. i wanted nothing to do with it.
and then, just the other day, it came to me. it was not the binge i needed. it was the moment after. those brief, fleeting moments when after yet another rock-bottom, the only direction i could look was up. those brief, fleeting moments when the binge was done and a blank-slate was before me and i hadn't yet screwed up and anything was possible and maybe just this one time i. would be. perfect. and so i made lists and rules and nearly impossible-to-keep regulations because yes, indeed, this time i would be perfect. this time i would be different. this time i would be...someone else.
i think there's this idea that the thin version of ourselves is actually a different person. and oh what a dangerous, little idea this is! because let's say you become thin, you reach that goal weight, and yet you're still the same. and you still have the same fears and anxieties and chronic frustrations. and that dissonance--that disconnect between who you thought you'd be and who you actually are...that's the first crack. the first fissure in the foundation--the very thing with the potential to undo it all.
i remember thinking as my first year of college ended...i'd like nothing more than a vacation from myself. i'm the one person i need a break from. and so i went home, worked at a job i hated, and lost somewhere between 15 and 19 pounds. and then returned to school in august.
and, turns out, i hadn't gotten that much needed vacation. so i attempted to vacate myself, and where i made space, an eating disorder rushed in.
there is still an underlying frustration and anger that countless medical professionals, educators, friends were unable to help me. but at the end of the day the eating disorder took root because...
well, because, i didn't love myself. (i don't think i even liked myself).
i thought i did. or, at least, i didn't realize that i did not.
i've never admitted that before. but there you have it.
the process of getting better--of recovering--has really been the process of falling in love with myself. and let me be clear, it was not a process of learning to love myself, but of actually falling head over heals for myself. for my dark brown hair and caustic sense of humor. for my big feet and ostensibly gracious demeanor (i've got you all hoodwinked!).
there is a joy that follows. that comes from learning to look on yourself as God or the Holy Spirit or your inner divinity looks on you. it's the closest thing to Heaven i've ever known.
it's still a day by day thing. good days and bad days and heavenly days. but day by day, nonetheless.