I feel like recently, Facebook has taken it upon itself to make me feel as old as possible. Haha
I kid you not, every day it seems like I’m getting a notification that “so and so and I have been friends for 9 years!” Or “this happened 8 years ago today!” And it assaults you with a grainy photograph that reminds you that you’re no longer a spring chicken.
But it’s actually really quite interesting, having all these old pictures get unearthed and thrown at me like an N’Sync jam at a present day wedding reception. Out of left field, and slightly jarring.
Because with each of these photos, I can remember exactly where I was in my recovery. I can remember how I felt about myself, what my exercise/food regimen was at the time (which for a long time into my recovery was still an unhealthy relationship), and the state of my mental wellbeing.
These photos don’t just capture a moment in time. They tell a story. There’s a history that can be seen in the pupils of my eyes…that only I truly know.
But seeing these images everyday, whether I like it or not, they make me reflect on my recovery. On the journey thus far. Revisiting the ups and downs that have gotten me to the place I am today.
So I wanted to share a few things that recovery has taught me. And I know I’ve written about this before, but like I said…recovery is a journey, and I honestly learn something new every day. Or come to a new realization every day…or at least when bombarded by a visual reminder of stops along the way.
1) Just Do the Next Right Thing
This is far and away the number one phrase that got me through a lot of the tough days (and yes, there were many) of recovery. This little gem, offered to me by my mother, helped me through many-a difficult moments. Sometimes, seeing the big picture is like staring a mountain straight in the face. Daunting. Unconscionable. Discouraging. That’s where this little phrase comes in.
Baby steps add up to big steps which add up to real progress. And sometimes a baby step is all you can muster.
Which leads me to my second point…
2) That’s okay.
One of the biggest things I had to learn right out of the gate when it came to recovery was that I need to be patient with myself. And give myself permission to take the time I need to do the work. As much as I would like to say that my full recovery was an overnight phenomenon that happened Day 3 at inpatient, it was a slow go. A series of baby steps. And the Type A/Perfectionist/Over-Achiever/Never-Had-to-Struggle-a-Day-in-my-Life girl in me had to come to terms with that. I had to learn to say, This is where I’m at, and that’s okay.
3) Let People In.
Thinking back to when I was in my disease, one thing stands out from all the rest…and I’m not talking about the glaringly obvious physical difference. It’s how alone I was. Or rather, how self-inflictedly alone. How isolated I made myself.
For years, I would not answer the phone when my friends would call. I wouldn’t return texts. Declined invitations. As my body wasted away, I withdrew further and further into reclusion – not wanting anyone to see how truly sick I was. Once a vibrant, socially flourishing young girl, I now just wanted to be left alone to self-destruct with ED. And that, honestly, more than anything, is one of the most devastating aspects of an eating disorder: the toll it takes on your relationships.
There is freedom in opening your heart to others. One of the greatest gifts that has come out of my recovery is the true value I now have for the relationships in my life, and how I cherish the people I love.
Friendship is a gift. But you have to show up, and let people get close to the real and messy you.
4) My Body is Part of Me, Not All of Me.
I’ll keep this short…
I have a body. A body which allows me to think and run and dance and do all the cliched things that advertisers like to depict in tampon commercials.
There is more to me than this body. And there is more to life than this body.
And as soon as I realized that, and stopped focusing on it, the healthier my relationship with it became.
So yes, I celebrate the fact that I am a confident, healthy and yes, beautiful, young woman, but I realize that my body is only part of that equation.
I am a work of art, made by the most accomplished of Artists. And that is what is truly the most beautiful and most celebratory thing about me. It’s the soul inside my body. The soul that seeks to know and worship the King.
So sure, when it comes to Facebook, maybe it’s a little jarring to come face to face with a forgotten photo from the deep and dark abyss of the inter webs from the early 2000’s. But honestly, I don’t need a fuzzy photo to see just how far I’ve come. I’m my own living, breathing embodiment of the freedom I have, and the healing that’s taken place. It’s written on my heart. And today, that’s what’s in the pupils of my eyes.
@beauty.beyond.bones – Instagram
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