I have been meaning to update you guys for about two months now and kept finding excuses not to.
Sometimes, when I was having a hard day I would say “ok, today is the day. I want to remind people that even once we are a while into our recovery we still have hard days.” Then I would think, no, I’m not ready to admit that at the moment-not even to myself and not to the world.
Then there would be great days that I would want to share, and then thought that it wouldn’t be totally accurate of the hard times I’ve been having lately. And when I mean hard times, I don’t mean with eating. I mean with accepting my new body and talking positive to myself.
And then today happened and I broke down and cried in my car at work and I knew the time has come to share a little bit about what’s been going on with me lately.
I knew today was coming since I got hired for my job in March.
“In October we do health screenings where they weigh you so you can get a discount on your insurance if you have a healthy weight,” my editor told me months ago.
I even remember talking to E about it and what I would do when that time came. We decided to cross that bridge when it came.
Well, today, it came.
I’ve had to tell doctors multiple times now to please not tell me my weight and that I won’t look at the scale.
It’s become easier and easier over time, but it is never without struggle and second thought that I say it. But when that happens, they write down the number, and we carry on.
That’s not how it went today.
Today, with my heart beating, I told the woman doing the screening to please not say the number and that I won’t look at the scale.
And I decided to only do this because it is saving me about $700 a year on my insurance. Otherwise, I would never have even put myself through it.
So there I was, yet again standing on a scale.
It was absolutly horrible. Even hearing the words “ok, now stand on the scale,” made me feel like I was stuck in a trance I just wanted to escape from.
I felt so judged. This one big number was all they cared about.
The lady doing it said she had to write my weight down on a paper for me for my records. While she didn’t tell me my weight , she told me my BMI number (a number between 19-29 that supposedly indicates where your weight is on a spectrum from overweight, healthy weight or over weight).
During my darkest times of my eating disorder, I would plug in numbers on an online BMI calculator to see how little I had to weigh to make the underweight category.
I took the paper that had my weight written on it and folded it in half right away, walked out of the room and ripped it apart and threw it away as fast as I could.
It sounds so easy, but it was so hard.
I just wanted to cry, which ended up happening a few times already.
My weight was in my hands. Literally, in my hands.
I felt like my entire recovery rested within this piece of paper. Do I look? Am I ready to look? Maybe I am ready, I told myself over and over.
“No Shira, you are not ready. You are not ready!” I was screaming to myself in my own mind.
I had to tell myself that at least 30 times.
And you know how I know I was not ready to see this number?
Because lately, more than ever in the past six months, I have been doing a lot of the negative Ed actions that I vowed to stop doing : taking pictures of myself in the mirror, telling myself mean things, being hard on myself.
But at the end of the day, this is the human side of me. And for every picture I take, I delete it right away. And for every negative comment, I later tell myself I love me anyway.
But, being that I haven’t been in a good place with myself recently and being not even two years in recovery yet, I very much knew I wasn’t ready to see that number.
Maybe one day I will be-for now, I am not.
But to have it in my hands was an unreal feeling.
In all my recovery I have not been so close to knowing my weight.
If I wanted to, all I had to do was open the paper.
Even to know that BMI is very triggering for me.
If I wanted, I could sit here on my computer all night plugging in different weights on a BMI calculator to see what weight gave me that BMI, but I won’t do that. I won’t do that because I deserve better than that for myself after all the work I did ripping apart that paper and throwing it away.
But I am still so sad. Sad, but proud.
Part of me is sad because I let Ed tell me that if I did see that number, I would be so upset with myself for letting myself get this “big,”-and more sadly, I believed him. I still do believe him.
The other part of me is sad because, to be honest, a part of me misses knowing. I miss knowing that number. I miss knowing that kind of measurement in my life. For years, it was all I knew on how to measure my success.
And the biggest part of me is sad because seeing the power that little piece of paper with my weight on it had over me reminded me that Ed is still a big part of my life.
And for whatever reason, that keeps making me cry, even right now as I write this.
It pains me to know that my eating disorder still, even to this day, can make me cry-to know, that if I did for whatever reason see that number, I would not be ok.
I wish I could say I would see that number and be ok with it.
I wish I could say I could know that number and not let it ruin everything I worked so hard for. But that’s not the truth.
The truth is, life after the initial first phases of recovery is so emotionally tasking. It takes a lot of work. Every day I work at being kind and compassionate to myself- every. single. day.
Every day I work to tell myself I love myself even if I hate what I am seeing in the mirror.
Today, though, I was reminded of the dark space Ed still holds within me.
It’s no where near the space he used to take up and it’s no where near as deep, but it’s still there.
I can still hear him now telling me that I should have just looked at that paper and seen the damage.
I probably will wonder for the rest of the night what that paper said. I will have to refer back to this post multiple times to keep me from searching for a weight that fits that BMI calculation.
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while–about how life, even after almost two years into recovery, is difficult.
So many people email me daily and ask me if Ed just ever goes away, and sometimes, they even feel bad that they are in recovery too and still have Ed in their lives–they think it makes them weak.
Today, I felt that way too for a moment.
I felt like I took the easy way out by throwing away that paper.
But the truth is, we are not weak. We are strong. We are strong because we choose to acknowledge Ed and fight him instead of just give into him and pretend that’s the life we want to be living.
Strength, however, does not make life easier.
My strength that led me to throw that paper away today is not making me cry less.
It’s not making the reality less harsh that part of me still wishes to know what that number is.
It’s not making it easier knowing that part of me still wants validation from my weight-and maybe that’s human.
And maybe the best thing I can do for myself tonight is let myself cry and feel human.
I know tomorrow I will be so proud of myself for throwing that paper away. I will be so proud of myself for not searching for that BMI information.
But for right now, a part of feels a little broken as I sit here and cry and write this.
I still long for that validation that Ed gave me and it kills me and hurts me in the deepest part of my soul that I want that.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned along this journey,I always feel better when I extend myself to others.
On that note, I would like to give a big shootout to all of our Hello Life fighters all around the world who’ve made insane strides in their own recovery.
We had one lifer ask me to send her cookie dough today in France since its a kind we only make in the United States. How amazing is that?
I still send out bracelets each week: this week’s will be to Germany.
And I still have a vision of expanding Hello Life to help many more people around the world.
But tonight, I need to help myself: so I wrote this post–and am sharing my sadness about today’s reality with you all.
Once again, today I made the choice to choose recovery.
I literally chose recovery over relapse, because that’s exactly what would have happened if I saw that number today–without question.
I could have looked at that paper and given it all up and started all over.
But somehow, I didn’t.
I am not even sure how, but I didn’t. And that’s what makes me a fighter.
I fight even if I feel my gloves are on the wrong hands and my back is turned to my opponent ready to give up-I somehow fight.
Today I fought once again for my recovery, even if it means a night of tears and curiosity and sadness.
Here’s my plan: I am going to cry tonight out. Maybe I will tomorrow night too.
And then on Saturday, I will celebrate my 24th birthday.
It will be my second birthday without a scale to ruin it. And I know by then, when I am sitting with my birthday cake and new friends in Washington, I will be so grateful that paper from today is torn up and thrown away.
But for now, I know I am not the only one today who made a hard choice to keep my recovery.
I know I am not the only one today who has cried.
And because of that, I know I am not alone.
For the many of us who will be crying together tonight around the world, for the many of us who are fighting for our recovery and for the many of us who aren’t’ ready to fight yet, but are even reading this blog because we know deep down we deserve to one day love ourselves fully, hello life.