Ahh, Facebook. You wolf in sheep’s clothing, you. A veritable Taylor Swift, if you will.
I love me some T. Swizzle.
But it’s true. I have a love/hate relationship with The Book.
You see, when I was deep in the throes of my anorexia, Facebook was just a fetus. As in, only my older brothers had profiles, because you had to have an “.edu” email address to sign up. Not that it really mattered at the time…AOL instant messaging was eating up too much time to care about Facebook. *scoffs*
But it’s true.
The photo section of my Facebook profile is hard for me to scroll through.
Because there is a large chunk of time where photos are just not there.
Now, to be clear, all of my albums when I was visibly sick are set to the privacy status of “me only.” But still, when I pull up that page, (which I extremely rarely do) – those “hard-to-look-at” photos are there, accosting me in the face.
That’s actually one of the really sad parts about having such a traumatic event in your past: revisiting photos of those times is really painful. So I never do. And in essence, I’ve practically erased that time from my documented history. Aside from Facebook, I’ve thrown away pictures, photo ornaments, yearbooks, home videos – anything that documented me in my skeletal state has since been erased from history.
Perhaps you can relate. Maybe not with an eating disorder, but perhaps with a different trial or hard time in your life. *Poof* Made it disappear. Erased all evidence.
And actually, it was in listening to a podcast this afternoon from This American Life that made me think of this. I was listening to the episode entitled, “Tell Me I’m Fat” and one of the segments was the interview of this woman who had lost close to 200 pounds. And she talked about this very thing: erasing the history of when she was heavy. Throwing away all the photos because of the shame and embarrassment and pain associated with those photos.
And I found that she and I had gone through the same response to our pasts.
We both had been “wearing” our struggle on our bodies, just in different ways. We were visibly different people “back then.” And seeing photos of yourself as a visibly different person, the reminder is just a punch in the gut – no pun intended.
But there’s something that happens when you just erase a big chunk of your history. I mean, from the ages of about 17-20, I don’t have a single picture. It’s like it didn’t happen.
And that does something to your brain. To your spirit. It sends a message.
A message of shame. Of resentment. Embarrassment. Anger. Guilt. Loss.
And I’m going to be honest, much like I had to do for the year I spent on bedrest for Ulcerative Colitis, I had to mourn the loss of those years I missed out on due to anorexia.
I had to mourn the loss of my senior year of high school. Graduation. Senior summer. Freshman year of college.
I had to come to terms with the fact that I can never get those times back.
There will always be that “dark age” in my photo history where there are no pictures to show.
But you know what? That’s not how the story has to end.
In a way, it just serves as a reminder not to take anything -or any time – for granted. I have some making up to do, and it’s safe to say, I’m doing just that.
And maybe, just maybe, the reason there are no photos to show for that time, was because it was during that time that God was at work. Working a miracle. Saving my life. Healing me. Transforming me. Much like a butterfly, I was in a chrysalis, undergoing a transformation: body, mind, and spirit.
Fr. Mike Schmitz (the great 🙂 ) once said, “Jesus does His best work in caves.” Obviously, referring to the cave where He rose from the dead, but it’s true: that was in a tomb with a boulder rolled over the entrance. It was dark.
A dark period.
And well, you know what happened
Does this mean that I want to blast pictures of a gaunt and lifeless me all over the inter webs and plaster it to my forehead? Heeeeeeeeck to the no.
But I need to realize that that dark period is nothing to be ashamed of. Not that I should be proud of it, but just to understand that my sickly body was a walking wound. A wound that healed. Or rather, received healing. And any evidence that may be lurking in the deep recesses of private Facebook photo albums can just serve as a reminder to the power of His saving hand in my life. A reminder of how far I’ve come. A reminder to celebrate the new life I have been given and the new creation I’ve become.
I may not have any picture evidence to show for that time, but I am a living, walking, in-the-flesh piece of evidence that darkness is never permanent. Evidence that there is life in abundance when you live in the Light.