|| MEET ME ||
I truly believed I would never recover.
If you would've known me three years ago, you wouldn't even be able to recognize the girl smiling above. I woke with the Sun determined to eat fewer calories, move more, and take up less space in this world, and I went to be every night the same: feeling as though I had 'failed' that day and would never be perfect. My eating disorder began when I was 12 years old and rode my back for an entire decade of my life. I made plans to attend or not based on the meals that would be provided at the events. I cried overeating too many crackers at lunch that day. I've never heard someone say worse things about myself to myself other than myself. *That's a bit of a tongue twist.* Suffice it to say, I was the girl that on the outside seemed 'fine' and on the inside, I was losing my light and I was losing it quickly.
I was an overachiever, perfectionist, people pleaser, and 'mom' of the group. I spent every waking moment that I wasn't thinking about food thinking about what other people thought about me. I was obsessed with being the best, being the most beautiful. I remember missing holiday dinners because there was going to be buttered bread and perfect people with perfect bodies didn't eat buttered bread. I was a straight-A student, sorority President. I was the first girl to offer help and the last girl to receive it from anyone else. I was obsessive. I yearned for control in all areas of my life. If I was going to be worthy enough if I was going to be loved enough if I was ever going to feel like 'enough' I had to be perfect.
And perfection I chased.
I placed all that I was and ever would be on my weight. I thought if I can 'perfect' this one thing about myself regardless of if I feel anxious or sad or lonely, if I can just be supermodel thin and beautiful, life will be the fairytale I always hoped that it would be. I dieted, binged, threw up, tracked, counted, measured, threw away. I went vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto. I tried intermittent fasting, only eating fruit, chugging water every time I felt hungry, and every action I took was taken out of pure self-hatred and self-loathing.
I couldn't imagine loving myself.
Not in this body.
Not at this weight.
Not eating buttered bread.
People who deserve love don't eat carbs or sugars or soda or miss a workout or enjoy birthday cake.
So, I wasn't going to do those things either. Unless it consisted of me binging on cake, cookies, and chocolate late at night vowing to NEVER do this ever again and promising myself, the world, the gods that tomorrow I would start a "new, clean, perfect" diet and I would finally be happy.
When I say I've done it all, thought it all, experienced it all when it comes to food and body struggles: I mean it.
I almost missed prom because we were going to dinner and I couldn't find a 'healthy' option on the menu. I graduated early from college because instead of dealing with my internal environment being off, I thought well maybe if I just move I can run away from my insecurities. I lied to my loved ones for almost eight years that I ever had an eating disorder in the first place.
Because I truly believed that one day it would make me happy.
That no matter the pain or stress or struggle it brought me presently, it was all going to be worth it once I lost 5 more pounds.
Let me ask you something, how many 'pounds' of your life have you lost for 5 more pounds off your body? How many 'pounds' of memories have passed you by because you wanted to wait until you weighed the 'perfect' amount to have the 'perfect' life?
I lost a decade of memories for a measly 15 pounds.
And typing that sentence to you brings tears to my eyes because this is where our story takes a turn. This is what I finally had to accept; the truth I finally had to look in the eye:
"My problem was never with food nor my weight. Because if it was, I wouldn't have still had a problem. No, my problem ran deeper. My problem was with myself."
I was given a choice on August 18, 2019. I ran smack dab into a fork in my road. Choose right or left.
The left looked dark and dim. It looked ancient and worn down. It seemed many times I had chosen left over right that I was sure of. The road was a straight shot into the darkness. It appeared to carry a sort of heaviness in the air. Yet, I felt an odd sense of familiarity and comfort wash over me when I looked down the left side of my street. I felt safer there, secluded, in control on the left path. The right path was illuminated with light, love, flowers, and sunshine. It smelled like springtime and fresh-cut grass. I don't remember ever going down this way! The path was twisted and hilly. It was hard to see where it would even lead to and that scared me. As someone who loves certainty, I didn't love the idea that I had never walked this road and that I couldn't see where the final destination even was. Regardless, this path carried excitable energy in the air. I felt invigorated, slightly unsettled, but... free. I felt free and light in this right way. I felt fearful to leave the comfort of my old shoe prints but sure that I had to make a choice: continue down the same road that had led me to the place I now was or choose to live a better life for myself even if I wasn't sure how to do that.
Can you guess which one the old Emily would have chosen and which one I actually walked down?
I know the voice that whispers, "Yeah, but you're different. She doesn't know you. She doesn't understand. You'll never be happier without restricting your food and 'perfecting' your frame. Sure, that right road sounds nice, but it's not possible for you!"
I would like to take a slight pause and tell your mean girl to shut the f*** up.
Your mean girl is the voice in your head telling you to starve, to diet, to restrict, to hate your body, to hate your acne, to cry because you don't wear size 2 jeans, to not eat because you only worked out for 45-minutes. Your mean girl is not you, but damn can she sometimes feel like she is!
If you desire to live your life without her in your ear-> you can
If you desire to live your life without stressing over food -> you will
If you desire to gain a sense of self-worth as a being and not a body -> let's do it!
Because here's the thing: Happiness is yours. Confidence is yours. Self-love is yours.
Or it's not if you spend your life searching for a key to an already unlocked door instead of just walking into your freedom in the first place.
I beg you, stop trying to manipulate the wrong variables in the first place and please, please take my hand and let's walk into the sunshine.
Sincerely, XO Emily