Day 270: Happy 23rd Birthday To Me

Happy Friday to everyone,

Today I am celebrating my 23rd birthday–my first birthday in recovery.

The differences from my birthday this year from how my birthday was last year when I was locked in my eating disorder is like I am two different people living two different lives.

A year ago today on my last birthday, I woke up at my boyfriend’s (now ex-boyfriend) house, and the very first thing I wanted to do was go get my scale and weigh myself; actually I don’t think I even wanted to do it-but I remember feeling like I needed to do it.

It was a necessity at the time; like air is to humans to breathe.

The scale was tucked away in my boyfriend’s mom’s closet, something that usually wasn’t an issue because she normally left for work before I woke up. But for some reason, on my birthday last year, she was still home in the morning.

I remember thinking what in the world I was going to do.

Do I go and take the scale from her closet and go weigh myself in the kitchen like I always do, even though she already thinks I am crazy about my weight anyway?

Do I not weigh myself and try to have a day without it?

I couldn’t. I needed to get that scale.

I can remember that feeling I had when I walked with my head down to that closet and pulled out that scale, and set  it down in the middle of the kitchen tile as I stood to weigh myself on it.

“Shira, why are you doing that?” I remember her asking me.

“I just have to,”  I said.

I can remember the humiliation I felt as I stepped on that scale in front of her eyes. I can remember how ashamed I felt, how defeated I felt and how controlled by Ed I felt.

And after all that,  I hated what that number showed that day-I remember exactly what it was.

That day, I let myself have one chocolate for breakfast. It was a huge deal. It wasn’t a Sunday (my binge days), and the fact that I even let myself have that was almost unimaginable.

At my job at the time, I didn’t tell anyone it was my birthday because I didn’t want anyone to bring me cake or cupcakes.

I met my grandma and mom for lunch at a deli, where I knew I could order egg whites; they sucked.

And that night, before my boyfriend took me out to dinner (at which I hardly ate or enjoyed), I made his mom take a picture of us, telling her I wanted it as a memory, when I knew deep down, all I wanted to do was see how my body looked like.

As I started this first birthday in recovery this morning without a scale, without a number and with many different yummy chocolates,  I sat with E over coffee and I almost cried.

I have given every single ounce of my inner strength within me to make it to this birthday in recovery.

I have fought, I have cried,I have been in physical pain, and I have walked through the mental chaos in my head that only those with eating disorders or addictions can truly understand-all for one reason: because I finally know that I am worth fighting for a life of happiness and freedom.

Today, I celebrate that life.

While I have a long way to go in my recovery, it is important that I sit back and acknowledge how far I have come since a year ago today.

I was surrounded with so much love today.

I hugged my sister last night as we blew out a candle on a cupcake together right at 12 a.m.

I had lunch with her today, I am going to have dinner with my family later, and I was able to truly start this day feeling loved by others not because of what I weighed and not because I looked a certain way, but because they love me for who I am as a person.

Even last year, people around me loved me for who I am, but because I was so busy only conditionally loving myself based on what number I attached to myself that day, I couldn’t even enjoy it.

I didn’t need a scale today to tell me my self worth today.

I didn’t need a number.

All I needed to do was reflect back on the chains that were shackling me a year ago, and now see that they lie broken on the floor beside me-and that I am the one that broke them.

That right there, shows my worth.

It shows the fight I have within me. It shows the love I have for myself and it shows that deep down, despite what Ed might say, I know I am worth living a life of true self acceptance and love.

I cry as I write this post right now, because I look back and I know, that I will never have to go through that humiliation of standing on that scale in the middle of the kitchen ever again.

No eating disorder, no Ed, no nothing, can ever bring me back to such a hopeless and dark place, and it is my deepest hope and wish that no one reading this ever does either.

On this 23rd birthday of mine, I celebrate my life.

I am celebrating my hard earned life in recovery.

I also need to say that today wouldn’t be the same without my twin sister. She was brought into this world next to me, and she can truly see into my soul. She has been a huge source of strength during my recovery and I am blessed to share this special birthday with her.

When my sister and I were born, she was twice my size because she ate all my food, (ironic right), and I was really tiny and I had to fight really hard to get to be a healthy baby.

My dad once told me “Shira, you were born a fighter. From the minute you came into this world, you were fighting.”

And on top of that, I am born on the 18th (obviously), which in the Jewish religion, stands for the word “chai,” which literally means life.

The story of my life literally translates to : fighting for life.

But today, I am not fighting.

I am celebrating.

Hello to my first birthday in recovery, and hello hello hello to my beautiful life.

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12 thoughts on “Day 270: Happy 23rd Birthday To Me

  1. Happy Birthday My Love! You both have always been fighters and yes it is so ironic you were fighting for food actually in the womb! Monique just ate it all up but because you fought so hard before you were born your lungs were actually more developed than hers and she needed to be in the respirator when she was born but you didn’t… You had been fighting so hard for the food you did get you naturally were stronger (albeit smaller) than her. We were ALL always so worried about you not weighing enough when you were born … Then weighing too much as you grew. I’m afraid we began your eating disorder for you long before you ever even knew what food would mean in your life :(. But we have also all grown and learned right along with you … With Moni by your side YES always there to support and stand for you!
    Happy birthday love, on many levels! xo

  2. Happy 23rd birthday to both of you. How wonderful to have that special closeness that twins share. Wishing you happiness and continued success in your recovery in the coming year. You are a fighter and you will win.

  3. Shirush I just read this n I’m crying… You are not only fighter but winner n survivor n most if all my beautiful inside n outside shirush!!!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  4. Happy New Life Day, 4 days late. I didn’t say birthday because all the your posts speaks about is that the difference this birthday is that you not only have a new life but so much more potential, hope, strength, loads of courage… I can go on.

    It made me reflect to mine so I had a look at the date then looked to see when i actually gave up my scale. Turns out I gave up the sale 5 days after my birthday but am not counting that day as a no scale day because no doubt i weighed myself. So, as of today, for me, is 209 days without the scale.

    I hope you know that your blog played a huge part in my giving up mine. I remember when I first started reading your posts, I thought to myself, “wow, that’s great for her but I will NEVER give mine up!” Ha, look at me now. Your posts revealed that, although it was hugely scary, it was possible and you were surviving. No, your problems didn’t magically disappear and yes, you have many very tough days but honestly, these days the majority of your posts have a positive slant. Also, you are writing more non-ED posts which means you are transitioning out of an ED lifestyle into, well, real life.

    The fact that you have so much wisdom at your age, means you are going to have an amazing life.

    One warning, or perhaps caution is a better word… Because of your struggles you are matured beyond your years. Keep that in mind when you are talking to peers who don’t know you well. Not everyone in your age bracket will have the depth of life experience that you, at 23, have gained and lived. I do a lot of observation of people and the friends I have that are closer to your age have had some difficulties in this because they expected most people to be at their level and understand. Even in my age range, I’ve had to learn to cultivate ‘light topic’ conversations in order to talk to people who just don’t ever go into depth of living, growing or experiencing what life has to have. Interestingly, I discovered that light weight topics can be fun and almost restful from having deep philosophical discussions. I have one friend who has been through hell and back so we have no need to delve into that. We have the greatest time talking about shoes and wandering around at the outlets. 😛

    • Thank you so much!! There are so many things that touched my heart with this comment. I will start with saying “Happy New Life Day.” I absolutely love that, because it is so true. And I definitely didn’t know that this blog was even a tiny reason of what led you to give up your scale, and I can’t even put into words how incredible that feels to me, thank you so so so much for sharing that with me. 209 days without a scale is amazing–beyond amazing, it’s life changing (I mean, I don’t have to tell you because you are also going through it).

      Even on the hard days,I try to find the positive and remind myself that a hard day in recovery is always better than an easy day in an eating disorder. On that note, you are so right about meeting people my age and connecting with them. I was just telling my therapist how I have a hard time connecting with people my age because I just don’t feel that they get the idea of life and all that goes with it. But I have found that light conversation (I love the way you phrase that), is actually a good distraction from all the heavy serious issues going on around me.

      This was such a great comment and it brightened my day more than you know, thank you ❤

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