I’ve been waiting for this one…
Day 21: Be You. Being our true selves is our life’s greatest work. How did you work to find the true you this year? What did you find out?
I’ve been working on a post for CTF for a long time. I think it might be perfect for this…
I’ve been pretty open in this blog about my issues with food and body image. It is clearly a struggle for me and I find writing about it cathartic.
I have avoided the term eating disorder because I felt it might be alienating and/or put my blog in the “that’s not me” category for many people. I thought, if I go there, if I say this out loud, I will be labeled and the things I write that have resonated with others will be tainted. I thought, people will stop reading.
But by avoiding the full truth, I’ve trapped myself. I’ve backed myself into a corner with a secret and secrets are shitty. I feel like a fraud when I write about body image and fitness and nutrition. My healthy mind knows that’s not true. I have a very valid take on these topics with ten years of experience in the fitness field. But my unhealthy mind…all the negative self talk and obsession over a recent weight gain…that mind says, “Who the hell do you think you are talking about this stuff? You can’t get yourself together and you’re trying to give advice? You’re trying to get people to stand behind Changing the Tape and you can’t even change your own!”
I feel like I’ve been lying.
That’s not to say I need to share every detail of my life here (somewhere, my very private husband just thought, “Wait, that’s not what you’ve been doing here?”) but I realized that through my avoidance, I was perpetuating the shame game. I was undermining the legitimacy of my thoughts, feelings and opinions. If I’m keeping a secret and it’s not about a surprise birthday party, that secret is usually accompanied by shame – real or perceived.
So here it is. I have an eating disorder. I have had disordered eating as long as I can remember, but I have had a diagnosed eating disorder for over 10 years. I didn’t always understand it to be so specific, but it has been part of my battle with my body for what seems like a life time.
I don’t talk about it openly because it’s my business but also for these two reasons:
- It makes people uncormfortable.
- The shame I feel is immeasurable.
I understand why it makes people uncomfortable. Anything different makes people uncomfortable, but this…this seems like, even to me, to be something someone should be able to control.
I feel a massive amount of shame for not being able to control my weight and maybe even more for taking such varied and extreme measures trying to control my weight. I feel shame for, at first, not recognizing those extreme measures were about the lack of control I felt over other (all?) parts of my life, and then, for being able to recognize it, but doing it anyway because I have equated an empty stomach with “being and feeling good.”
I feel shame for not committing to recovery until very recently and again every time I regress or misstep. It is a rocky road.
I share this with you so I can stop lying. I share this with you so I can present the most authentic me (thank you KayShay).
So this year, right now, I am working harder on being who I really am than I ever have before. I spent most of my life being too scared to deal with how I felt about everything and I’m not even sure I realized it. In 2015, I started testing the waters of the truth about me. It’s been exhausting. It’s been heartbreaking.
It’s been breathtakingly freeing.
Here’s to continuing the work to find the real me and the courage to accept what I find. It might just be great.