Good afternoon everyone,
Last night, I had a really interesting experience.
I was tutoring my cousin (she is technically considered a half cousin, but to me its the same thing).
I have to give you some background on my history with her and her family for you to understand why last night was so important for both she and I.
My cousin is 16 years old, and I used to be very close to her and her mom. I am still close with her, but not as close with her mom, although I love her and care for her deeply and always will.
Her mom is struggling with an eating disorder herself (she hasn’t said it to me out loud, but I know it), and for a long time, it was something she and I both knew we were living with, but we never spoke about it.
I would go to her house, and take food home that her mom would make for me, yet never eat it, or I would eat a few bites of food there and then “be full.”
Regardless, I spent a lot of my time while I was in my eating disorder in her house because it was a safe place for me.
I didn’t have to talk about Ed. I didn’t have to do anything. We both knew, and therefore we didn’t judge one another. We just let each other be in our own prisons.
So, my 16 year old cousin is a smart girl, and she saw all of this.
Everyday with her own mom, and every time with me when I would come over to tutor her.
I remember looking in her mirror and saying out loud, “Oh My God,I need to lose weight.”
She would always try to tell me I was perfect the way I was.
Long story short-I let Ed come into this girl’s life. Not even her mom’s Ed-my Ed. As if one Ed in her home wasn’t enough already, right?
She used to ask me how I was so skinny, and how I would do it.
I so badly wanted to yell at her to not be like me, and that I am trapped inside a jail within my own body and mind-but if I did that, it would mean exposing my secret, and I couldn’t have done that with Ed- so what did I do?
I gave her diet advice.
Yes, I know. I feel terrible about it now too.
How could I be such a bad role model?
How could I let Ed touch her soul that already was damaged from seeing other dark things on its own?
Anyways, last night, we had an amazing conversation.
We ate together. We laughed together. I opened up to her about my struggle with my eating disorder, and I told her the darkness that it took me to.
I didn’t tell her for no reason; I told her because I want her to learn from me.
I want to fix the bad images I helped create to her about bodies and what is considered beautiful.
She was so happy to eat with me, and she was even happy to hear all the facts I know about all kinds of food–a fun part about seeing a nutritionist every week.
I remember sitting with her last night, and she was talking, and I literally felt like I was talking to myself.
“I like to have a plan for everything,” she said.
Ah, these “plans,” are so many times what landed me back in the arms of Ed.
If my “plans” didn’t go my way, or if life didn’t go my way, I ran to Ed.
I told her how much she deserves to receive the beauty that life has to offer her, and she won’t get it if she is so stuck trying to control all her plans.
I told her that if I could tell my 16 year old self, the lessons that I have learned now from my recovery, I would go back in a second-but since I can’t do that, I can tell them and show them to her, and that is what I did and will do.
We talked about loving ourselves, respecting ourselves, knowing our self worth, and how beautiful of a soul she has.
I need to change the role model I once was to her.
I need, want, and will, go from being viewed by her as her skinny cousin who she wished she looked like, to a strong, secure woman who loves herself, both inside and out.
I liked that she smiled last night. I liked that she ate with me-even though I could feel her own body insecurities through it.
I liked that we connected-but most importantly, I liked that I was finally honest with her.
Whatever unhealthy lessons Ed made me project onto her, I will now fix and change.
More than that, I will make sure I tell her how beautiful she is-even if it is everyday-because I will not let her reach that place of darkness that I have been.
I wish I could say that I have the power to make sure no other Ed in this world ever reaches her-but I can’t do that.
All I can do is try to be the best role model I can be, and maybe that’s part of my journey?
Maybe part of my recovery is helping others along the way, and showing them their own beauty-so no Ed can ever take it from them.
I am grateful that I am in a place to turn things around with her, and become a better and stronger person for her to look up to.
She is beautiful-inside and out.
I am beautiful-inside and out.
Together, we will learn from one another.
What a great day to say hello to.
Hello to turning things around, hello to being a positive role model, and hello life.