Title: today, I am right where I’m supposed to be
Author: Jamie B., blogger at thirdwheelED.com
Note: This piece originally appeared on thirdwheelED and has been cross-posted (with edits) with permission.
Being exposed is one of the most raw, tender, and vulnerable experiences one can have. Most of my life I did everything I could to avoid being “found out”. I avoided coming out, I avoided sharing secrets, superficially, I have always preferred baggy clothing so as not to feel exposed, and I wore a variety of masks to conceal my true self, even to those closest to me. This constant deceit and hiding under various facades only served to perpetuate the secretive nature of my eating disorder.
At the beginning of treatment, approximately 8 months ago, I felt like my body was not my own. I felt like I occupied space that was not mine. It’s not even that I didn’t want MY body, I didn’t want ANY body. In a way, these thoughts were a way of concealing the deep-rooted fear I had of exposing my real self. Focusing on my body and the external space around me enabled me to avoid thinking about what it would mean to make myself vulnerable and instead, to show my real self.
Today I feel like I’m in recovery.
Today I’m not ashamed to look in the mirror and see a body that is in recovery. My body doesn’t make me feel like a failure, it makes my eating disorder feel like a failure and for that I’m most of the time grateful. It’s a complicated relationship though!
Today I feel a greater sense of connection to my body. I feel lighter, like a leash has been cut. I feel the most present and self-aware that I have ever felt in my body and in my life. I know I have all of the tools I need to be able to rock recovery, I just need to believe and trust in myself that I have the ability and knowledge of knowing when and how to utilize said tools. Maintaining motivation is also crucial for me and does not always come easily.
Today I feel like I’m in a very tenuous position, like I’m standing on a super creaky, unsteady bridge that requires me to put one foot, in front of the other. I might fall, but I also might succeed. But unlike the bridge which might break on its own, my recovery, my success or my fall is essentially in my own hands. I know what I need to do. The first thing I need to do is to accept where I am in the current moment. I can’t expect to be 100% recovered. I have to be okay with and accept that challenges lie ahead. Right now, I tell myself that,
I am right where I am supposed to be.
This has been my healing mantra for quite some time now, but honestly, I think this is truly the first time I can say that I’m diggin’ it.
And you know what? It feels good. My thoughts are clear for once. I feel like I’m actually living, like I woke up having not known I was asleep for the past few years. I feel a subtle shift in my mood, in my hope and vision for the future, and in my connection and relationship with my body. I’m allowing myself to feel the potential for recovery and to want it. In the past, I think I’ve been so afraid of wanting recovery because it felt too risky, too exposing (!). What if I didn’t have the ability to recover? I didn’t want to risk experiencing the loss of potential, the risk of feeling inadequate. But in all honesty, none of us are this extraordinary, yet we nearly kill ourselves trying to be. But let’s face it, we’re all pretty darn ordinary, which is a marvelous truth that I’m embracing. To be ordinary is to be imperfectly perfect.
As Nayyirah Waheed said, “I am a home to a life”. Gosh I freakin’ love that line. If I am home and I am inseparable from my body, then my body is an imperfectly perfect home and life is its inhabitant. My body is my own and therefore, I have power over my life and the ability to protect it.
I think a true sign of being in recovery and of healing, is that very moment when you can step back, widen your lens, and have gratitude for your illness – when you can recognize the rewards of recovery. I have been given the opportunity to courageously reflect on myself, on life, and on gratitude. In a way I feel so very lucky.