Seven Words

“Little Girl, I say to you, arise!”

On my day off today, I was able to go to church. And the reading was from Mark Chapter 5, and it really spoke to me.

In this story, a father frantically searches for Jesus to come heal his 12-year-old daughter, who had fallen ill. By the time he reaches Jesus, she has already died.

So Jesus goes to see the little girl, and that’s where we’ll pick up the story.

Jesus says, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead, but asleep.”… He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” [And she] arose immediately and walked around…They were astounded…And Jesus said that she should be given something to eat.”

“Little girl, I say to you, arise.”

With that one short sentence, Jesus was able to bring this girl back from the dead.

I love this story. I think part of the reason is that it is about a little girl, so I can really see myself in the story. Especially given my ED past.

But here’s what I love about the story. It’s not that Jesus brought her back from the dead, or that He performed a miracle, or that she was able to reunite with her distraught parents. Those things are all lovely and good. But they’re not what really speak to me.

“Little girl, I say to you, arise.”

That’s all it took.

Seven words. And this little girl’s life was completely restored.

It was that simple.

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Maybe it’s the actor in me, but whenever I read a story – particularly in the bible – I always imagine it in my head as the scene of a movie. You know what I’m talking about…the deep, cavernous narrator’s voice; ruggedly handsome actors; and yours truly playing the leading lady 🙂

But I digress.

So I picture the scene: Jesus and the girl’s parents and the bystanders, all hovering over this little girl’s bed. There’s commotion and talking and murmuring going on and Jesus takes her hands and says those seven words. Nothing grand. Nothing spectacular or showman-like. Just a small little phrase. I mean, if you weren’t really listening for it, you’d miss it.

And with that small command, the girl awoke and was restored. She walked around.

And then the kicker? Jesus goes, Oh yeah — give her something to eat.

Like, hello, could this be anymore about anorexia recovery?!

I’m kidding…sort of.

But here’s the thing: the majority of the time, Jesus doesn’t speak to us in burning bushes. There aren’t skywriters on stand by, waiting to transcribe the word of God to us. He speaks to us in gentle whispers.

“Little girl, I say to you, arise.”

This girl was dead. Period. Her parents knew it. The community knew it. Everybody knew it. But Jesus was able to revive her. He took her by the hands, and brought her back to life, with that one little phrase.

I don’t know about you, but I can definitely relate. During the depths of my anorexia, I was just like that little girl – lifeless and without hope.

And for a long time, I was so wrapped up in the day-to-day battles waging in my mind from the disease that I wasn’t listening for Jesus’ seven word command for me. I felt as though I was caught in the midst of a hurricane, and there was no way that I could hear His gentle voice that would revive me and bring me back to life.

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I invite you to just press pause. Take a minute and catch your breath. Maybe Jesus is speaking to you, and you just haven’t been able to hear Him over ED’s incessant commotion in your mind.

All it took for that little girl was to hear that one, short, phrase, and she was brought back from the dead.

From the dead.

That was all it took. Jesus took her hands. She listened to His voice, and then she ate food.

It’s that simple. That’s recovery in a nutshell. Literally, people. That’s it.

And I know that it seems impossible. I know that things can be so dark that you don’t believe there’s hope to be found. But that is a lie.

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Just let Jesus be your guide. He will take your hands and lead you. Just take it one baby step at a time. He’ll tell you what to do. Just like He did that little girl.

Arise.

And eat.

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WAKE UP CALL

Warning: This may be hard to read.

Something happened to me today that made me catch my breath.

I was talking with a guy this afternoon, and we were talking about our former high school sweethearts. I pleasantly reminisced about my past, and “edited it” to not include my eating disorder, as I always do. I’m still not at a place yet where I can talk about my ED past openly.

But that’s not the point of this post.

In the next sentence that came out of this guy’s mouth, I literally felt like I got punched in the gut.

He said, “My girlfriend died from anorexia.”

My girlfriend died from anorexia.

My heart dropped. The wind was literally knocked out of me.

He said he got a phone call while he was away at college from her mom, asking him to come to her funeral.

You guys, this post isn’t going to have any flowers or rainbows or sunshine. I know I post witty #RecoverySass on Instagram (@beauty.beyond.bones) that are funny and take a jab at ED. But here’s the truth:

People die from anorexia.

This guy I was talking to, he knew first hand that this eating disorder is deadly.

That conversation was a reminder. A blunt, cold, strike-to-the-chest reminder of that fact.

And maybe, just maybe, you need to hear this. Maybe you need to be reminded of that. A reality check. I know when I was in my disease, I definitely did.

I didn’t think I was going to write about this conversation – it was too “doom and gloom” or “hellfire and brimstone” to post on here. But here’s why I did:

When I was in my disease, I was so preoccupied and absorbed in the little things — in the minuscule details that controlled my life, that I forgot that I was playing with fire. And if I did remember, I didn’t care. I didn’t care that my body was sending me sign after sign after sign that it was in distress: hair falling out, the constant coldness, the purple lips and fingernails, mental fog, brittle nails, thinning bones, an emaciated frame — those were all SOS cries from my body telling me that it was literally shutting down – decaying – slowly dying.

Engaging in your eating disorder is playing with fire. Seriously. Ask this guy. He will tell you.

And you know what else he will tell you? That EDs don’t just affect you.

Sure, right now, all you may be thinking about is the scale and your next meal, and how to get out of it. But hear me when I say this: those actions do not just affect you. His girlfriend’s death affected him. Her mom. Her dad. Her siblings. Her friends. Her community. Her teachers. Her puppy. They have all been left, absolutely shattered – devastated – to go on without this vibrant young woman who was battling the very same disease that I did.

There are people out there that love you, that would be completely wrecked if anorexia took you from them. Because it can.

Anorexia kills.

It is not some game to tinker with in order to fit into short-shorts and crop tops.

It is not some crash diet.

It is a deadly disease.

But here the thing: YOU CAN BEAT IT.

YOU CAN OVERCOME IT.

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You have the strength and the courage and the heart to reclaim your life from ED, whose only goal is to have you end up just like this girl. That is a very very hard pill to swallow and is incredibly difficult to hear, but guys, it is the truth.

If you need a wake up call, THIS IS IT.

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You might be asking how people actually die from anorexia. Well, your body is in a state of starvation. And in order to keep itself alive, it has begun to eat its own muscles for fuel. That’s why your arms and legs become so skeletal: because your muscles are literally deteriorating in an effort to keep you alive. But here’s where the deadliness part kicks in: your organs are muscles too. And so they also deteriorate to make up for the fact that you’re not consuming calories to be used as fuel. And lastly, your heart is a muscle and so it deteriorates and eventually becomes so weak that it just gives out.

Guys, I think you know by now that I am an encourager. An uplifting, positive person. But this is something that is the honest-to-God truth and needs to be heard. And it’s not flowers and rainbows.

I often forget this life-or-death-ness about the disease. But boy, when he told me that, I knew that I just had to share it. I’ll be back with the positivity tomorrow. But right now, I need to share this reality check.

There is hope though: You do not have to do it alone. You may not know how to get out of the ED prison that you find yourself in. You may not know how to shut ED up and focus on the truth.

There is a simple solution: Jesus.

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He will come into your heart and help give you the strength and the courage to stand up to ED and make the decision to nourish your body and face fear foods and increases.

And when you let Him into your heart, He will slowly begin to chip away at the walls you’ve built around your heart, and begin to heal the brokenness.

He was the only way that I was able to beat my anorexia.

In all honesty, I could have been the girl in that story. My anorexia was so severe that my story could have ended quite differently. But praise God it didn’t. He saved me. And He will save you, too.

Jesus will get you through this.

You are so precious and so loved. Don’t ever forget that anorexia snatches beautiful young lives that have so much ahead of them. Don’t be one of them. Cling to Jesus. He will be your strength.

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Everyone Has A Story

As you may know, I’m not in NYC right now. I’m filming a project out of the city, and am so grateful to be able to pursue my dreams. (I’m an actor)

The show I’m working on has a good sized cast. And if you haven’t worked in the entertainment industry, people get close — fast. You bond. Become fast friends. You literally spend 12+ hours on set together every day: working, rehearsing, hanging out when you’re not on, eating together, getting ready together – they’re not kidding when they say you become a family.

So you get to know everyone.

And here’s what I’ve come to find:

Everyone has a story.

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Every single person has had some event in their past that has shaped their life: Cancer. The death of a sibling or parent. Being adopted. Homelessness. Abuse. A life altering diagnosis. An eating disorder.

Every single person that you meet, no matter how “put together” they may seem, has something in their past that has greatly impacted who they are today. And I’m not talking about winning the lottery. It is usually something that has been painful.

This is your story. You are living it. You are going through it. And you will come out the other side braver, and wiser, and with an assurance and depth to you that can only be achieved by overcoming this adversity.

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This is your story. And you need to claim it. Own it.

Because your overcoming this disease — that victory will inspire others. It will offer hope and encouragement. So don’t ever be ashamed of it. Was it a painful period? Yes. But your triumph over an eating disorder that could have taken your life is something that should truly be celebrated.

Let me be one-hundred-and-fifty-percent clear: I am not saying that the eating disorder itself should be celebrated. No. Not at all. I’m saying that the fact that you’ve chosen life — that you’ve chosen recovery and have overcome the darkness — that should be celebrated.

And here’s the final thing I’ve learned recently:

Everyone’s story includes brokenness.

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We are all broken.

We all have things in our past that have left scars, or holes in our hearts that we’ve tried to fill unsuccessfully with different things — money, power, alcohol, sex, designer shoes, a perpetual state of being busy, drugs, success, an eating disorder — all these things that we try to fill that void with, can never and will never be able to.

Why?

Because there is only one thing that can fill it.

The common theme among everyone for what was “filling” their void was “spirituality.” — “Finding peace through meditation.” “The power of envisioning.” “A zen meditation retreat.”

Okay, those are all great and good. Sure, finding a respite from the chaos is wonderful. But they’re all missing one thing:

God.

I don’t care how “zen” that retreat is — how many sun salutations you do, or “power of positive thinking” books you read — they will always fall short, because they’re missing the only thing that can truly bring you peace: God.

And I never want to be preachy, so I’m going to just keep this short.

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He refreshes my soul.

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“Spirituality” is missing something:

❤ LOVE.  ❤  God loves you back.

Yoga is wonderful. Meditating is beautiful. Positive thinking and Envisioning your future are terrific motivators. But they cannot mend the brokenness. They cannot fill that hole inside that you’ve tried and tried and tried to fill with this and that. Because at the end of the day, it’s just you. You open your eyes from the meditation or shavasana, and it’s just you. You’re still alone. Momentary peace, yes. But here’s the thing:

God loves you back. And loves you through your brokenness. And loves you in spite of your brokenness. And loves you because of your brokenness.

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And lastly, with Him, you are never alone.

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Your story is yours. You are not a failure because of an eating disorder. You are not a disappointment or a lost cause. You are not disqualified from love because of it. No. You are a warrior for rising up from the ashes and reclaiming your life.

You don’t have to do it alone. You’re not abandoned. God will see you through. Because He loves you.

The question is, will you let Him?

Life Update

Hello beautiful warriors!

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I just wanted to pop in quickly to say a couple things:

#1) You are loved 🙂

#2) You are enough. 🙂

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#3) Just a quick life update: I am going to be out of NYC for the next week or so because I’m filming a pilot! (Yes, I’m an actor) 😛 I am currently sitting in my hotel room after a long day of shooting, eating room service 🙂 #OmeletteAt10pm #yassss

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#4) I have posts already written and scheduled so I’ll still be sending out love, but I probably won’t be posting as much on Instagram (@beauty.beyond.bones) or Twitter (@AnaRevealed). But that’ll just be for the next several days!

#5)Lastly, if you haven’t refollowed my IG account, please do so! I made the switch, and I miss seeing all your lovely faces every day 🙂 xoxo

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Keep fighting the good fight, my loves. You are all brave and courageous and beautiful souls. Just do the next right thing.

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Finally, I want to just reiterate what I said on IG this afternoon: Remember why you’re doing this: why you’re choosing recovery. Eight years ago, when I was in the depths of my disease, if you would have said that I’d be shooting a pilot, going after my dreams, and WITH MY HAIR BACK, I would have never thought it was possible in a million years. But here I am today doing just that. God got me thought it. And He will for you too. Thiere IS life beyond ED. Your life is out there waiting for you. Go after it. I believe in you.

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– ❤ –

AR

A Father’s Day Lesson

#HonestyHour

Father’s Day is upon us here in the US.

And every year, when it comes, I am full of just a mixed bag of emotions: love, gratitude, admiration, feeling blessed — those are all pretty common, and wonderful things. But since my anorexia, I have to be honest: in my mind and heart, this day also carries a lot of guilt, indebtedness, shame, unworthiness, and regret.

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And to be clear, none of that comes from my father. He does not in any way, shape, or form make me feel like I should feel those emotions.

But I do.

You see, my eating disorder carried a lot of deception and lying, to say the least. It was a very dark and painful time for my entire family. And my father took the brunt end of all my fury.

My father has always been the most amazing man. The most amazing man. And I know we all say that about our dads, but I cannot even begin to express the heart of my father.

He is truly a reflection of our Father, God.

He is kind, loving, understanding, strong, intelligent, humble, and honest. He is good.

One of my favorite memories was when I was a little girl, he’d let me put colorful plastic barrettes in his hair and play “hairdresser” while he sat in his chair and watched Sports Center at night. He was a saint.

He taught me how to play poker with pennies while we sat on the living room floor.

He’d tell me a bedtime story every single night.

He never missed a sporting event, or a performance, or a recital.

He has always been my biggest supporter.

And during my anorexia, all he wanted to do was to help me get better. He tried everything under the sun. Literally. He researched weight gaining drinks from Scandinavia that weren’t approved in the US yet, and had them shipped to the house. He would encourage me to eat, take me to restaurants, pray for me – everything under the sun to help me get better.

But I abused that love. I lied to him about my anorexia. Despite how much I loved my dad, I let my anorexia come before him, and I wasn’t honest about my behaviors or the weight loss, or the fact that I even had an eating disorder. I had betrayed him, his love and his trust.

But you know what? He forgave me.

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At inpatient, I finally came clean to him about my deception and about my eating disorder, and here’s what he said: “I forgive you.” He told me how Jesus was betrayed by Peter three times, but that Jesus still loved him unconditionally. And that he loves me unconditionally.

I do not deserve this man as a father.

When I think about everything that I have put him through, it breaks my heart and makes me feel that list of disgraceful emotions.

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How could a measly Hallmark card even scratch the surface of how deeply grateful I am for his forgiveness? Or how eternally thankful I am and indebted I feel for his unwavering love and kindness?

So, this year, as this Father’s Day rolls around, I am trying to break out of those negative feelings I have, because I realize that they are coming from ED. ED is trying to once again, snake his way into my brain and make me feel not good enough, unworthy, and full of shame.

Those are not the truth.

Yes, my past with my father includes pain and hurt — but it was the result of my eating disorder. And he has forgiven me. And loves me.

The truth of the situation is this: I need to love myself enough to let it go.

This is really important, so I’m going to repeat it.

I need to love myself enough to break free of the guilt and shame and regret about my past, and accept the forgiveness that both my father on earth and Father in Heaven have so graciously given me.

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That is loving myself.

Loving myself enough to let go of that burden of guilt I carry around so that I can embrace Father’s Day as a way to celebrate the wonderful, amazing man I have been blessed with as a father, instead of feeling like a failure as a daughter.

That is loving myself.

That is what I’m going to do.

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Beauty Beyond Bones

In light of my recent Instagram fiasco, I have decided to change my handle from anorexiarevealed to @Beauty.Beyond.Bones

I had been feeling prompted to change my name for quite some time, and this seemed like the push from God that I needed to make the change. The former tends to focus more on the darkness of the disease, where the latter focuses on the hope and True Source of my recovery, which is my mission. Let’s live in the Light, people. 🙂

So I wanted to just take a minute to explain what Beauty Beyond Bones means to me.

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Beauty Beyond Bones.

During the depths of my anorexia, my skeletal frame was the physical manifestation of my interior brokenness. One of the many lies ED made me believe was that emaciated bodies were the definition of beauty – the definition of self-worth. ED made me believe that I would only be enough if I were gaunt and skeletal.

Reflecting on this now truly breaks my heart and makes my soul ache from seeing how deeply broken I really was. And it gives me so much sorrow to think that many people reading this may feel that same way.

And I’m going to be honest with you. This aspect of recovery — the mirror – has been one of the most difficult parts of recovery. It has been an area that ED can still control me with.

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As I’ve said before, since my anorexia, I’ve hated the mirror. I avoid it at all costs, unable to see the beauty in my reflection, and instead seeing the projection of my guilt, shame, and inability to love myself, onto my reflection. It is a daily battle, and it’s the first thing that greets me every morning when I have to look in the mirror and brush my teeth.

And I’m not “above” poor body image thoughts, either. Even though I am in recovery, I still battle with over-scrutinizing my body, and to say that I am “harshly critical” would be a grotesque understatement. So trust me. I get it.

So.

Beauty Beyond Bones.

This is my mantra. This is the phrase that I have to say to myself every time I face my reflection. Every time I go shopping. Every time I put on my bathing suit or take a shower. Every time I go to an audition where they’re holding a casting next door for runway models. My Beauty is Beyond Bones.

My beauty is from Christ.

I’ve said this before, and I’m not going to get preachy. But this has been so instrumental in my recovery. My beauty is not my own. It is because I am made by God.

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Psalm 139: For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Yes, my physical body – my flesh, muscles, bones – they’re beautiful, because they’re the handiwork of the Lord.

But it goes beyond that.

My true beauty comes from the fact that Jesus is living inside of my heart. He dwells within me. And He will dwell within you, too.

Now I want to pause here, because when I was in my disease, my mother used to tell me that. And even though she was 100% right on the money, I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to think about being a child of God. I wanted nothing to do with it. I just wanted to be alone with ED, self-destructing.

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So here’s something that I could have related to a bit more.

There’s a story in Ezekiel 37 that literally sums up my recovery. And it sums up Beauty Beyond Bones. I seriously almost fell out of my chair when I read it. Allow me to paraphrase:

God leads Ezekiel out into the desert where he is surrounded by tons of dead, dry, bones. Ezekiel asks God, “Can these dry bones live?” And the Lord breathed into the bones and they came to life. They came together, bone to bone, flesh appeared, and skin covered them. His “breath entered them, they came to life and stood up on their feet – a vast army.”  … God said, (13-14) “I will breathe my Spirit into you and you will live.”

I was that pile of dead, dry bones – both literally and figuratively. My hope was dried up, my body was dried up. I was lifeless: a shell of a human, without passion, without purpose, without hair, and without the belief that I could go on. I was a bunch of dead bones.

But Jesus breathed life into me. Into my dead bones, and brought them to life. He restored me. Restored my body, my spirit, my mind. He took the old, dead me, and gave me new life. He made me a new creation. And He will do the same for you.

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Believing that my beauty is beyond bones has been a long and arduous journey. And if I’m really honest, I’m still on it. But every day, I’m getting closer. Every day, Jesus works a little more and more on my heart. But I celebrate the fact that I am no longer that pile of dead, dry, bones. God has breathed life into me, and now I can truly live. And since His spirit lives within me, He is always with me and I am never alone. And so I will keep fighting, until one day, when I brush my teeth, I won’t have to try to convince myself of my worth or beauty. I will look in the mirror and know it.

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Clear Eyes, Full Hearts: Can’t Lose

Friday Night Lights.

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If you haven’t seen it, stop what you’re doing, and watch it on Netflix. All of it. I’m not kidding. You’ll thank me later..

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Truth be told, I watched the entire series in one huge marathon, otherwise known as binge watching. Side note: as someone with an ED history, I hate that term with a passion. Anyone else?

But I digress.

Friday Night Lights, if you don’t know, is an iconic football drama that centers around the Dillon Panthers, their incredible Coach Taylor, and the players that come in and out of his life.

They win championships, they lose championships. They face injuries. Adversity. Transfers. Bad refs. Division. Supporters and Doubters. But every time before they take the field, they chant “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts: Can’t Lose.”

Clear eyes, Full hearts: Can’t lose. 

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That motto struck a chord with me that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I knew that it was a great saying, but I couldn’t exactly pin point why.

Until now.

That phrase, my friends, is recovery. In one phrase, Coach Taylor divulged the secret, not just to winning football games, but to recovery: “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts: Can’t Lose.”

Clear Eyes.

Recovery is going to take a lot of things: Courage, determination, endurance, hope, will power. But one of the biggest things, is having a vision of where you’re going. You’ve got to have clear eyes to see that you have a promising future in front of you. That is incredibly cliche, but, dammit, you have something to offer this world. You have something to live for. God’s got a plan for you, and there is nothing that can stand in your way from going after it. You’ve got to be able to see past ED’s blinders, see beyond any obstacles he throws in your way, see through his lies, and keep your eyes focused on the goal: full recovery.

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On the flip side of that coin, you’ve got to have clear eyes to be able to look back and recognize the destruction caused by ED. Looking back with clear eyes means that you recognize all the havoc and pain ED caused in your life, but that you truly know you have been forgiven of it. Looking back with clear eyes means that you’ve let go of the guilt and shame you may have felt, and can see that you’ve grown from the pain, and that you’ve become a strong warrior that is not burdened by a haunted past. You have clear eyes for both past and future.

And lastly, you’ve gotta have clear eyes to be able to spot ED and his lies. You’ve got to be able to recognize the THIEF for who he is and be able to decipher the Truth from his lies.

Next:

Full Hearts.

Love. It’s all about love, people. Loving yourself. Loving God. Loving others. Letting other people — letting God — love you. And accepting it. It’s all about love! Seriously. It is the hardest aspect of recovery, and also the most crucial. When your heart is so full of love — from yourself, from Jesus, and from others — there is no room for ED. When your heart is filled to the brim and overflowing, ED literally drowns and cannot torment you anymore. You…

…Can’t Lose.

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And this is it, folks. When you combine those two things: eyes that can clearly see your past for what it is and your future for what it will be; with a heart that is full of love – from self, Jesus, and others – you can’t loseWhen your mind and heart are aligned and on the same team, recovery is inevitable. It is certain to happen.

Your brain will no longer be abusing you with regret and guilt and shame about your past, because you will know that you are not your eating disorder. You will accept that yes, it was a painful time in your life, but it was just a season, and there are big things ahead of you. Things that only you can do, because He’s equipped you with the precise skill set for the job.

And you will be able to crush ED to the ground, because you can see his games and see his lies for what they truly are: lies. And you’ll be able to shut him down because your heart is full of love from honestly believing that you’re worthy and enough and loved.

When those things happen, you can’t lose. Or rather, ED can’t win. Because he won’t have access to those two entry points to your mind: your heart and your eyes.

Every time the Dillon Panthers would take the field, they would always chant that phrase as a way to “get up” for the game. And not to give away too much of the show, but Coach Taylor was known for taking “lost cause” players, and turning them into champions. In that way, he was an allegory to God. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve sure felt like a lost cause once or twice in my past. But part of Taylor’s success in winning year after year after year, was that he lived that motto. He believed it. He practiced it. And they were his fighting words. He didn’t give himself any other option, but to win.

Just like Taylor, you’ve got a championship to win: recovery. And you take the field every morning when you wake up. So give yourself a locker room pep talk beforehand, just like Taylor.

Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose. 

———————————————-UPDATE———————————————-

** A note about my Instagram fiasco:

As many of you know, today, my *former* Instagram account, @anorexiarevealed2 was falsely-reported as a “pro-Ana” account, and shut down by Instagram.

Yes, they can do that.

But it breaks my heart because, as you know, my #1 goal is to share hope, positivity and encouragement to #EDwarriors and girls (and boys) struggling with eating disorders. I’ve been through that darkness, and I want to be there for these strong souls. I was just absolutely devastated that my account, which had nearly 1000 followers, was just – *poof* – snatched away and shut down — all because of a FALSE ACCUSATION. I mean, I am 1,000% pro-RECOVERY! I poured my heart out into making my account meaningful by creating over 200 original pieces of “quote art” that have all since been lost. And what disappoints me even more than the fact that I lost all my original art, and all the followers, is that Instagram never even sent a reply email when I let them know that it was a false accusation.

And here’s what I think: Hurting people hurt people.

Someone, who is in a dark place right now, wanted to thwart the positivity and encouragement and hope that I have been working so diligently to promote through my Instagram and my blog, so she lied to Instagram and reported me as a pro-Ana IG account.

And to be clear, I’m not disappointed that I “lost followers,” as though it’s a popularity contest and I’m superficially sad that I don’t have good “numbers” anymore. What breaks my heart is that those followers were being exposed to the hope I’ve been trying to spread. Not that I think I’m going to save the world, or anything. But those were 1000 people that were getting a little soundbite about God’s love for them through my Instagram photos. So I’m not sad that I lost “notoriety” or lost “popularity” — I’m sad that those people that were being exposed to love are no longer receiving that message.

And all because a hurting person lied to Instagram that I was promoting eating disorders, and then they deleted my account without even checking to see if it was a factual accusation or not.

So I’ve literally had to start from square one again: Adopt a new name (@beauty.beyond.bones — if you search for anorexiarevealed it will take you there), remake all my photo art, and start rebuilding a community from the ground up.

And to be completely honest, I was completely discouraged. Devastated. Defeated.

I had literally poured out my heart into spreading love and nurturing people through an outreach that got wrongly snatched away from me.

*Sigh*

But I have to just pick myself up and carry on. I believe this is God’s will that I’m doing, and I will not let an obstacle take me down. That’s what the enemy wants.

I will be RELENTLESS in the pursuit of my purpose.

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So I invite you, to please join me at @beauty.beyond.bones with a follow, and together, we’ll carry on in this journey.

INSTAGRAM UPDATE 6/18

Hello beautiful warriors.

I’m truly heartbroken this morning, as Instagram disabled my account, AnorexiaRevealed2. (And yes, you are not seeing things. This is the second time this has happened.)

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Apparently I was reported for being “Pro-Ana.” This is incredibly disheartening because if you’ve been following me, or have read even one sentence of my story, you know that I am 1000% PRO-RECOVERY and trying to spread HOPE. There was absolutely nothing — zero, zip, nada — that was even remotely close to anything negative or “pro-Ana.”

I was using Instagram to reach out to #EDwarriors that were in need of encouragement, support, a shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to, etc. And at 1000 followers, to be deleted because of a false accusation is just so discouraging.

But I am back on IG, @beauty.beyond.bones

So I would ask that you please follow me on there for more inspirational quotes and images, as well as blog updates. And if you wanted to give it a shout out, that’d be beyond awesome 🙂 Thank you for reading and joining me on this journey! I love each and every one of you!

Love,

AR

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Fight Fear Less

What are you afraid of?

Really. I want you to put it into words. Verbalize it.

What keeps you up at night?

During my anorexia and for some of much of recovery, I was afraid of the weight restoration. I was afraid of certain foods; that “all elusive” weight range; how my body was going to change. I was afraid of not being perfect; I was afraid of failing, being a disappointment, and letting other people down.

Maybe some of those are ringing true for you. Maybe you’re afraid of admitting you have an eating disorder, period? Been there! Perhaps you’re afraid of adding a supplement, or stopping your exercise addiction. Maybe you’re afraid of revealing to your loved ones that you’re struggling. Or maybe you’re afraid of feeling your feelings.

Whatever you’ve verbalized, I’m guessing it sounds a little bit like that.

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When you were a little kid, remember how you had that one thing that made you feel safe? Maybe it was your blanket, or a stuffed animal. I was afraid of the dark, and I remember my sibling told me once that my bedsheet was like steel armor and nothing could hurt me underneath it. That was my “safe place.” I would always hide in my safe place whenever I was afraid.

An eating disorder capitalizes on your fears. It uses what scares you to manipulate you into self-destruction.

When you’re afraid of something, what do you do? How do you deal with that fear?

And I’m not just talking about “ED stuff” — I’m talking about anything in life.

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You’re afraid of someone breaking into your house: so you get a security system. Or a big scary dog.

You’re afraid of getting mugged on the street: so you take self-defense classes, get a “rape whistle” and buy a thing of mace.

You’re afraid of X: so you do Y.

You enter what is called “Fear Mode,” where you go to your “safe place” and try to control the fear.

That’s the core of your eating disorder. You’re so terrified of the weight, or the food, or allowing yourself to be loved, that you try to control it. You go to your safe place — your ED behaviors.  You’ve found that your ED behaviors — whether it be restricting, or purging or over-exercising, self-harm, whatever it is — it makes you feel safe and in control — and that is where you revert to when you’re scared: Because you don’t have to face those fears when you’re actively engaged in your eating disorder.

That’s what your ED behaviors are: they are a way to control the fear. Those destructive behaviors are what you turn to in order to control what terrifies you: They are both your “teddy bear” and your fighting sword.

And I want you to know — I’m not coming from a place of judgement. The Good Lord knows I have quite the “checkered past.” 

So I get it. I get why we go there. And yes, we all have gone back to a behavior once or twice in recovery. That’s why it’s called recovery.

But here’s the thing about fear. And yes, I’m going #RealTalk on ya.

Fear is part of life.

We all are afraid of something. And it’s not what scares us, it’s how we respond to it.

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We’ve all heard quotes and quips about fear. Gosh, without even consulting Google, I can think of, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” “The only way to overcome fear is to go through it.” Blah blah blah. They begin to lose their meaning, time after time after time.

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So here’s a new one.

And it’s from my own life. So, take it as you will.

I’ve accepted that fear will always be a part of life. Even though I’m in recovery, I still have a lot of fears: Will I meet the man I’m supposed to marry? And if I do, will I let him love me and will I accept his love? Will I be successful in my career? Will I ever be able to 100% love myself? Will I be derailed again by an Ulcerative Colitis flare up?

Fear is everywhere.

So here’s my thing:

Fight fear less, and trust God more.

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Instead of trying to control everything you’re afraid of — instead of trying to control your fears about weight restoration and a “blooming body,” — trust God more.

You don’t have to be fearless. You don’t have to be super brave and not fear anything anymore. It’s okay to be afraid. Just trust that God has a good plan for you and your life.

Now this might be really hard to conceptualize, and even harder to do. You might be thinking, “Sure, that sounds good…conceptually. But when it comes right down to it – when I see the numbers going up on the scale, when I am faced with an Ensure supplement increase, when I’m bloated, when I have a full plate of food in front of me — trusting God just isn’t going to cut it.”

And I know. I’ve been there. It is hard. They don’t call you a warrior for nothing.

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But here’s what I invite you to think about. You don’t have to believe it. You don’t have to accept it. But just hear it. Read it. Don’t dismiss it just because it has to do with “God.”

When we fight our fears – when we try to control them by using ED behaviors, or whatever, we are not actually in control. We may feel like we’re in control. Like, “Oh yeah, well, I left 3 sips of Ensure at the bottom of the bottle.” Or, “I didn’t scrape the tablespoon clean when I was measuring my peanut butter.” No. Those little manipulations are like our “teddy bear” when we’re feeling afraid. They’re a little way for us to fight, and control our fear. But here’s the truth. Here’s the #RealTalk:

God is in control.

And I’m not going to get preachy, so I’m just going to end it with this:

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.

One of the things about this quote that I am often guilty of, and maybe you are too, is that when I read this, I think, “Oh awesome! Everything I have planned for myself is going to work out! Everything I have written in my “goal journal” is going to come to fruition! SAH-WEET!”

But that’s actually not the case.

Note: that it does not say, “For I know the plans you have for yourself.” 

No. It says, “For I know the plans I have for you,”

His plans for us.

We are not in control. We can try and try as we want, but in the end, it is God who is the author of our lives. And if He is allowing us to endure this trial, then there is something we’re supposed to learn from it. And it will be used for good. To prosper us…it says so right there.

And this is the absolute last thing.

When we’re in that moment of fear, facing an increase, or an intense urge to purge, or a full plate of full-calorie pasta, remember:

You are not alone.

Psalm 121:1 He will not let your foot slip. He who watches over you will not slumber.

I invite you to take that little phrase, “He who watches over me will not slumber”  and just reflect on it.

Its meaning can get lost in the “bible-talk-ness” of that phrase. Allow me to break it down: A) He is watching over me. B) He is watching over me at all times because He doesn’t sleep. Therefore, C) I am never alone.

You are not alone.

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Fear can be paralyzing, if we let it. It can be destructive, if we let it.

But it can only control us if we let it.

Fight fear less, trust God more. 

Recovery Is…

When I was deep in my anorexia, it was hard to imagine what a life without ED would look like. It was such a foreign concept. An abstract notion. I was trapped in a box that kept getting smaller and smaller, and I couldn’t picture what a life free from that “ED box” would be.

So I thought I’d share with you what recovery looks like, in case you find yourself not being able to see beyond ED’s tunnel vision.

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RECOVERY IS…

…Waking up in the morning, refreshed after sleeping the entire night through.

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…Looking in the mirror to check if your outfit matches, rather than how your body looks.

…Being able to watch a movie without thinking about sitting for two hours.

…Having a warm body and being thankful for air conditioning.

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…Going to a restaurant without researching the lowest-calorie menu option before hand.

…Going to bed and saying a prayer, instead of rehashing the day’s calorie intake verses exercise.

…Spending time with your friends and goofing around and laughing and being present in the moment.

…Eating without weighing or measuring your food.

…Lazy Sunday afternoons where you eat snacks and just veg out on the couch.

…Waking up in the morning without anxiety about the day, or guilt about the day before.

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…Being with your loved ones and focusing on them, rather than focusing on your body image.

…Not being afraid to go to the doctor.

…Going out to eat and ordering what actually sounds good.

…Walking into a room with confidence because you know you’re beautiful in more ways than one.

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…Saying yes to invitations and spending time with people you love.

Beer.

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…Being able to concentrate on a book, or magazine article, or other things that require mental focus.

…Being spontaneous with your time – Spur of the moment outings or last minute road trips with friends.

…Being able to shop in the women’s department, and being proud of it.

…Baking cookies with mom and licking the bowl.

…Falling asleep peacefully.

…Warm chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven.

Exercising for pleasure, not for punishment.

…Being gentle with yourself.

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…Answering the phone and returning phone calls from friends.

…Eating meals whenever you damn well please.

…Being excited about birthday cake.

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…Looking in the mirror and seeing a beautiful girl with flaws and imperfections, and being okay with it.

…A full head of healthy, shiny hair.

…Knowing your potential and working towards fulfilling your dreams.

…Forgiving yourself for things in your past and loving who you are, inside and out.

…Letting other people love you because you know you’re worth it.

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Recovery is freedom.

This is recovery. This is the life that is out there waiting for you. Anorexia can make you forget that such a life is possible. It can make you forget that there is more to life than the ED prison you find yourself trapped in.

You can have that freedom.

It’s up to you.