Hearing that word may have ignited a sense of anxiety in you. Maybe you got excited. But I’m gonna gamble that the majority of you got a gut-wrenching wave of nausea at the thought of going clothes shopping.
I know I used to. (And to a degree, still do, to this day, if I’m being really honest).
When I was in my disease, my Lie was that I wasn’t worthy of love unless I was perfect. In other words, I felt worthless — Like a burden. This mindset not only manifested itself in my anorexia, but also in other areas of my life. A big area in particular was shopping and how I presented myself.
You see, ever since I can remember, I’ve always loved clothes. I went through an Abercrombie-only phase in my younger years. I grew out of it (thank the Good Lord!). And in the beginning of high school, Anthropologie was my store. My mother and I used to go there all the time to find cute outfits. It was a bonding experience, and she always made me feel so special and beautiful, and worth wearing nice clothes. I took pride in my appearance and loved being feminine and beautiful. I even won “Best Dressed” in the middle school yearbook.
But once the anorexia took over, and ED was ruling my life – dictating my thoughts with his lies, I began to believe that I wasn’t worth nice clothes — That I didn’t deserve to even try and look beautiful, because I wasn’t. The blackness of my soul projected itself onto how I viewed my outer image. And so as I became more entrenched in my disease, and as my weight began to drop and drop, so did my self worth. And so did the effort I put into presenting myself. I still wore makeup and did my hair, but I never felt worthy of wearing nice clothes.
Because here’s the sad but true thing: when you’re in your disease and dropping weight, you need to buy new clothes pretty often, because your wardrobe no longer fits – it gets to be too big. So I would go to Goodwill and buy second-hand clothes – a far cry from my fashionista wardrobe of previous years. Not that there’s anything wrong with Goodwill, but it just speaks to the level of worthlessness that I saw myself as having. I didn’t feel that I deserved to buy nice, new clothes. I didn’t feel worthy of wearing lovely garments that made me feel beautiful. I thought, “I deserve to wear used, old, and worthless junk – because that’s what I’m worth.”
And to be completely honest, this mindset has been hard to shake. Most days it’s muffled, but I still to this day battle the Lie that I’m unworthy of buying nice things.
But here’s my invitation to you:
Go out and buy yourself something special. Go shopping.
And maybe you’re still weight-restoring and so you don’t want to buy anything nice yet because you’re going to bloom into a different (and lovely) figure soon. That’s okay. Buy yourself a nice necklace, or scarf, or pair of earrings — something that will “bloom with you.”
But just go shopping. Because you are worth something new. Something lovely. Something beautiful. You are worth it.
The work you are doing is hard. Weight restoration is tough. And it can be down right impossible to deal with poor body image. It can be painful to watch your body change. But that pain you feel is coming from ED, who is desperately trying to hold on to the eating disorder. He’s trying to manipulate your thoughts into believing that a skeletal, emaciated frame is beautiful. Don’t believe his lies! The best way to kick ED where it hurts, and combat those lies, is to go out and take pride in your blooming body. How? By going shopping.
Say to yourself, “You know what? I love myself enough to treat myself to something that makes me feel beautiful and lovely. Because I love myself enough to allow myself to feel special.”
And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that our worth is tied to our clothes. I’m not saying that outward appearance is the be-all-end-all. Not at all. I’m just saying that for me, personally, this has been an area that I had completely given up on due to feelings of worthlessness. So in shopping, I am claiming victory over ED’s lies, and claiming victory to loving myself.
Don’t be afraid of your blooming figure. It is lovely and feminine and beautiful. Think back in history about all the artwork and poetry that was written about the female form. Face it, ladies. We’ve got the goods. We’re beautiful. So celebrate the fact that you can now wear clothes the way they’re supposed to fit. Because, #RealTalk here: Clothes aren’t supposed to hang off of you. The butt of your jeans isn’t supposed to be concave and look as though there’s nothing in it. That’s tough to hear, but it’s the cold, hard, truth.
I remember my mom and I went shopping when I finally “bloomed” for good. We went to a little boutique and we picked out a few things to try on. I had such a hard time doing this. I walked around and around the little shop. I admired so many things, but I wouldn’t pick them up to try on because I didn’t think I deserved trying them on. “I caused my family too much suffering through my disease to merit owning such a beautiful piece of clothing. I’ve been the cause of so much agony, there’s no way I deserve to wear that. I’m not worth it.”
My mom helped me though that experience and gently encouraged me to try on some things. It was the first time I had tried on clothes since the onset of my anorexia several years earlier. We were in the changing room together, and I just remember breaking down and crying. I was sobbing because I was beautiful. I was deserving of wearing lovely things. Wearing a nice piece of clothing was a way for me to show myself love. It was a way for me to be gentle and loving and kind to myself. It was a way to prove that I had truly forgiven myself.
Believing you’re beautiful does not make you a vein person. It does not make you a stuck-up snob that carries an air of superiority. No. And here’s why:
I know that my beauty is not my own. It does not come from my own doing: It is from God. He made me. He formed me into the beautiful young woman that I am.
And my beauty also comes from my brokenness. My beauty comes from the fact that I have overcome such darkness. I have triumphed over ED. And the only way I can claim those things is because Jesus has been doing them in me.
Rejoice in the fact that you’ve chosen life. Rejoice in the fact that you’re blooming. Rejoice in your worth. Your beauty.
Celebrate it. Celebrate you.