So this past week, I have been up at our lake home in Michigan. It’s a beautiful time together with family, sunshine, food-a-plenty, and of course, beer!
It’s been really interesting for me to enter into this intense week of family time after just coming off of an intense period of filming on set.
And it may not be for reasons why you think.
Yes, it has been a 180 degree shift from hyper-career focused energy to literally watching grass grow, drinking and lounging on a boat without a worry or cell phone coverage.
Yes, it has been a total culture shock from urban NYC craziness, to remote, blink-and-you-miss-it, population 1200, one-stoplight fishing town.
Those things are all true, and wonderful.
But it has also been interesting for another reason:
I am remembering who I am.
You see, I have mentioned how ED makes you become a shell of your former self: absolutely sucking your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social lives completely out, leaving you lifeless and hollow in more ways than one.
But in that emptying, you also lose the animated, vivacious, and fully-alive girl you used to be.
In a previous post, I recalled an episode from art therapy during “family week” at inpatient. The assignment was for each family member to make an art project about how the anorexia had impacted him or her. And what I made will shed a lot of light on the disease, and its implications on my life.
I made a black box, or coffin, out of construction paper. And inside the black box was a bunch of brightly colored confetti.
The box, I said, represented my disease. The brightly colored confetti was who I was pre-anorexia: I was vibrant. I was exciting. I had passion, zest, life, energy, love, and zeal. Anorexia took all those things and killed them, as it was slowly killing me.
That’s the thing that people don’t understand. They see their daughter or their friend wasting away. “Where’s the silly girl I love?” “Where’s the goofy girl who loves to play outside, hang with her friends, and have spontaneous dance parties?” “Where did she go? If I could just reach her…If I could just find her again…”
And that’s precisely it. Because the truth is, when I was in my disease, I was also experiencing that: “If I could reach her, then I wouldn’t be here, wasting away. I’ve lost her and I cannot find her anymore either.”
And one of the biggest aspects of recovery has been to locate that girl. And slowly, I have been making progress, and I’d say I’m about 90% there.
But these past few weeks, I have truly been embodying that girl.
That’s why it’s been interesting.
Because I went from a couple weeks on set where I was absolutely in my element, thriving, doing what I love to do and am passionate about — to an environment that taps into a different part of the old me – where I can just be silly and laugh and be around people who know me and love me and support me and who I am, who I’ve been, what I’ve been through, and where I’m going.
It’s been a constant flow – a total submersion – of embodying that “person-hood,” for lack of a better word.
And you know what? I can tell a difference.
In the little things. Little things that add up to big things.
Little things like, I haven’t looked in a mirror the entire time I’ve been here. In fact, I haven’t even put on makeup! I have been present, and in the moment – not concerned about silly “wishy-washy” things that my perfectionist side of me always holds tight to. Relaxing about having an extra snack or an extra drink with people I love.
But the biggest thing, is that I’m letting love in.
I’m allowing myself to receive love from my little neice. I’m allowing myself to feel the love from my siblings. I’m sharing my heart with my family and being open about my feelings, realizing that they are valid, and worth sharing.
They say it takes 21 days to break a bad habit.
I’d like to amend that to say that it takes 21 days to adopt a new habit — of self-love.
I’m quickly approaching the 21 day-mark of being in a place where I’m living as the girl I used to be.
I’m remembering who she is.
And spoiler alert: she’s pretty awesome 🙂
Spoiler spoiler alert: I don’t actually believe that. Yet.
But one day I will.
One day I will truly believe that.
Who knows. Maybe by the time these 21 days are up, I’ll believe that in my soul. Let’s hope. I’ll let you know.
Today could be your day one. Today could be day one of your journey to create a new habit of self-love. Self-acceptance. Self-forgiveness. Self-gentleness.
I dare you to try it. 21 days from now will be July 28. That’s seriously not far AT ALL.
Your life could change before August.
8 responses to “21 Days”
Today was the perfect day to read this. I’m going through a season of “Who am I, now?” I’ve never recovered from losing my brother (who was also my next door neighbor) and two weeks ago I lost a dear friend and I think sometimes life puts us in a position that through loses that completely disrupt our lives as we have known them and we are forced to do things differently and allow it to bring the changes in us that are needed for the next chapter in our book. So thank you.
I’m so sorry for your loss. You’re right, different life moments can bring about changes in us that can help us move forward and heal. It’s all about being open to them. It sounds like you have a lot of wisdom, and that there’s a lot I could learn from you! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! Sending hugs
God bless you, I appreciate it, I like the twenty one day concept, I’ve been thinking do I want to be more serious/ almost frumpy or jazz it up. But I do know we have to go with what life throws and do our best to be our best in all of it. It does more than ever make me appreciate every moment with those I love.
You are brave. You are strong. And your heart is absolutely beautiful. I don’t know why these curve balls happen but the grace you’ve come to embody from your situation is a radiating from you, I want you to know. You’re story and your spirit have inspired me.
Hi! First of all, I adore you. I can connect so much to many of your posts and you consistently remind me that recovery IS possible, even when sometimes I feel like it isn’t. I have a question for you though-and I am NOT disagreeing with your lifestyle or anything like that! I am just curious as to why you are a vegan after an eating disorder? I’m in recovery and my therapist has told me that veganism is not an option and will never be a good choice for me to make, even though I honestly would like to. So my question is by choosing a lifestyle like veganism do you feel like it’s a disordered choice (not accusing of course) or if not how were you able to convince other people that it was not?
Hi Maggie, this is a great question. Thank you for asking! When I was first in recovery, i was not a vegan, because as your therapist correctly points out, I didn’t want to put restrictions on myself in such a fragile state. But I have a digestive disease (ulcerative colitis) and I’ve had to adopt a special “diet” so as to stay in remission. So it is out of necessity. But basically it all comes down to a mental state. It is possible to adopt a vegan lifestyle while maintaining your recovery, you just need to be uber aware of your mental state and your motivation to become vegan. That’s just my two cents though:) thanks for stopping by! Xx
ive read some of your post for the first time and even though i dont have anorexia i totally relate to some of your struggles and aspirations and am going through some of them at the moment, like self love and acceptance, and being myself, i have been on medication for a number of years now for a mental illness and both the illness and the medication have effected my personality and emotional life and i find i am not the same person i used to be in the way i express myself i am more reserved, and hold back a lot more than i used to im so self conscious at times, anyhow im hearing you, im glad you felt like you were back to somewhat near your former self and had a good time being you, its a good feeling and experience and something that is wonderful bless you you’re an amazing woman, i love your expression of heart it soothes my heart to read your words, praise god.
Wow Michael, what a kind note. Thank you. Praise God indeed-he has delivered and healed me from a lottttt, and for that I am grateful. Thanks for stopping by. You are a blessing! Hugs and love xox