I still take my jewelry off when I step on the scale. I cannot bear to see even the extra ounce that my bangles and earrings may reflect on the digital display. My sleepy, morning feet step on the glass platform. Surely it will break under the weight of my being. The number goes up, then down, then back up. My emotions run high as I wait for the result. It appears. I cringe at my sentence, and I begin my penance.
What should I eat today? Should I eat at all? When will I find time to run? Will I burn calories cleaning the bathtub? Will I ever fit into my skinny jeans-the ones I wore when I was perfectly small and perfectly loveable? These are the questions that churn madly in my mind. All the time. I am in recovery-recovering from both anorexia nervosa and bulimia and also the thoughts that promote the manifestation of those disorders.
There have been many truths that have come to light in my recovery. I have learned and realized that I don’t need the answers to the obsessive neurosis of my brain.
I have the answers:
I am divinely created, uniquely multi-faceted, creative, and I am a powerful life force capable of manifesting love, abundance, and self-acceptance in my life. My thoughts are valid, but they do not control me. They are the symptom of self-sabotaging conditioning, and I can reprogram them to my liking through awareness, compassion, and intention.
I remember the moment I said yes to bulimia. I was 12 years old, and I had just devoured two or three fajitas-way too much food for a little girl to consume if she wanted to stay little. I had developed an awkward and pudgy belly, and the fajitas filled this space. Just as easily as they went in, I was able to get rid of them. I stepped outside into the humid, nighttime air and into the woods behind my house, the sacred space where I played in my childhood, and I vomited. I purged not just the fajitas, but also the countless emotions that grew sour and contaminated my child-like innocence. In hindsight, I think I wanted those rotten feelings out of me as much as I wanted the fajitas out of me. I wiped my face, my tears, and I went inside.
It is funny how eating disorders and eating disordered thoughts, chronic dieting, and the like manifest their symptoms. A woman may never purge or starve herself, but if thoughts about weight and weight loss hinder her ultimate happiness and self-love, then she is being duped. For nearly 16 years, I have been struggling with bouts of bulimia and anorexia. I did it alone most of the time. My eating disorder was often dismissed as a display of vanity and narcissism. I never received medical help, and there were many nights I felt I may die from electrolyte imbalances, malnutrition, or loneliness. I developed great anxiety. Bulimia and anorexia were the only ways I knew how to manage the anxiety, so I was caught in a vicious cycle. I wanted out.
The survivor in me, the essence and divine spirit in me, wanted out.
I might easily say that I have wasted 16 years of my life-I hear this often from eating disorder victims, but time is never wasted. Time is simply opportunity, one day at a time, to be better than you were yesterday. Perfection is an illusion. Eating disorders are not glamorous. They are a hideous monster, and it’s going to take an army of wounded healers to rise up from the ashes to eradicate them. Through my suffering, a beautiful truth emerges. I am happy to be alive and in the NOW to experience the truth-that all beings are deserving of love and that each one of us possesses a strength far greater than we may have ever imagined.
My heart is with you in your pain. You are never, ever alone.
– Hannah Tangerine, May 2012
With Great Respect and Love,
Kelly McNelis Senegor
Women For One