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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.