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.