Earlier today, I got one of the biggest compliments that I think I have ever gotten.
The publisher of our university newspaper that I write for, who is also my professor, and also someone who I really look up to, told me that I was talented.
Not only did she say that I was talented, she said that I was smart, and that I am a great reporter.
I was sitting in her office looking at her thinking, does she know who she’s talking to? Does she really mean these things about me? And I saw it in her face, that she was sincere.
At that moment, the pants that I was wearing that felt so tight this morning no longer mattered; the fact that I skipped the gym today didn’t matter; the only thing that mattered was that I was talented.
I left her office feeling like I was walking in another universe where I was almost invincible to anyone, including Ed.
Hearing someone I admire tell me that I am talented gave me a satisfaction that no number on a scale could ever have given me.
And now, fast forward to about 30 minutes ago when I was eating dinner, and for some reason, the human calculator inside of me decided to calculate all of my calories that I ate today.
Why did my brain do that? I honestly can’t tell you.
I didn’t want to. Yet somehow, there I was, doing it, eating my food, and counting calories inside my head both at the same time-the count going up as the bites increased.
And by the time I was done calculating, I discovered that the count was far higher than I expected it or wanted it to be and all of the sudden, the fact that I was talented no longer existed.
Everything I had felt earlier today when I got that compliment vanished, and now, the only thing left to define my day was this calorie count.
Yet again, another day in my life being represented by a number.
How did that switch happen so quickly?
One minute I was feeling like this untouchable talented young woman, and the next, I am nothing more than X amount of calories, and not even a good X amount at that.
This is the part of recovery that I hate to talk about because it’s so unbelievably draining, disheartening and discouraging, and I apologize to anyone who it could possibly trigger-but to avoid writing about it would be avoiding my truth, and that is something I refuse to do in recovery.
I would rather sit here and admit to everyone on this blog that I let this calorie count label me today, instead of sit here and write a dishonest post about how great I am still feeling that my role model called me talented today, because I am not feeling like that anymore.
However, I do have to acknowledge the fact that being aware that this calorie count is defining me today, and being aware that it’s something I am not OK with, speaks volumes to me.
At one point not too long ago, I would have actually thought that it was totally justified to judge myself on how many calories I ate that day, and I would have thought it was acceptable.
Today, although it is still happening, I am not OK with it, and it is not acceptable to me .
I accept that I feel lessened as a person because of it, but I know that feelings are not facts.
Feelings are feelings-they just come and go like the tide in the ocean.
Feeling judged by this calorie count today is a feeling; and it’s a bad, worthless feeling that I hope will trickle away soon.
But, no matter how worthless I might feel right now, there is one fact that remains clear:
My professor did indeed call me talented today. It was not a fantasy, it was not a dream, and it’s not a feeling. That actually happened.
Feelings can be misleading, but facts don’t lie.
I am talented, and that fact has the ability to preserve itself and stand strong even against the loudest, harshest and meanest Ed remarks ever, and it will be what I hold onto tonight until I feel strong again.
With hope that tomorrow will end in a better light, hello life.