Happy holidays to all our beautiful fighters,
Before I start this special Thanksgiving post, I want to just say thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone’s support, love and encouragement towards each other and me over the past 22 months that this journey has started.
Every single day I am so filled with gratitude and appreciation for the beautiful souls this blog has brought together.
To see our Hello Life community connect with each other, support each other and love each other through this blog, social media or personal relationships, even without meeting each other, truly shows how many wonderful people our world has when we open ourselves to it.
With that being said, I wanted to take some time to write a special Thanksgiving post for all of us fighters around the world.
The holiday season is one of the most triggering times for those of us in recovery, fighting for recovery, or who are in the depths of our eating disorders.
We are surrounded by food, family and people and the pressure to try to enjoy meals while being present and not captivated by Ed. It can be one of the hardest things we face all year.
I am writing this post today for a few reasons.
First, is to remind us, and me, that we are human–meaning, that as we go into this holiday season and into Thanksgiving this week (for those living in the U.S.), there might be times we are not present.
There might be moments or minutes we let Ed come in and take over.
It doesn’t mean we are failures. It doesn’t mean we are weak. It doesn’t mean we can’t do recovery and the holidays at the same time.
It means that we are practicing being human. When you are living with an eating disorder, there is no such things as human. There is only perfection.
Learning how to be human again and be OK with it takes time and effort.
We are practicing how to be present.
It is my wish for all of us, including myself, to let go of our expectations of how “normal” we want to be during these holiday weeks and just let ourselves glide our way through, meal by meal, moment by moment.
For me, the holiday times are still difficult.
Being in Washington away from family has made it easy for me to adjust to my regular routines and regular food patterns. I will be flying home to L.A. for Thanksgiving and my patterns will have to break.
Even with almost two years of recovery on my side, it doesn’t make breaking patterns easier. Even with the comfort of my family, it doesn’t make Ed completely silent.
I sat here for days telling myself over and over that I will just go home and forget all my worries, forget Ed and just enjoy my Thanksgiving like a “normal” person.
I told myself I would eat extra healthy during the beginning of the week so when Thursday came for Thanksgiving I wouldn’t feel as bad.
But the more I kept telling myself that, the less authentic I felt.
Who was that talking ? Was it me or was it Ed? It took me some time to sit and figure it out, but I’ve realized that was Ed talking. Not Shira.
Because Shira would say why should I convince myself of anything? Why should I plan rigid rules all week instead of just be in the moment?
That’s not the way I started my recovery and it’s not the way I live my daily recover either.
I’ve always had the mentality that I will let myself feel discomfort, live in the gray areas and ride out the good and bad.
I spent the first 7 months of recovery learning the beauty of living in the gray areas and not setting specific rules and being so black and white.
To set rules as to how “normal” I want my Thanksgiving to be or how healthy I will eat before it would be going back to that black and white mentality and it’s not something I want to go back to.
Instead, I’ve decided that I am going to spend today, tomorrow, and Thursday with only mentality: go with the flow.
If I overeat, so be it. If I don’t, so be it. If I eat dessert three times, so be it. If I don’t, so be it.
I am not saying it will be easy and I am not saying Ed won’t be there.
But I am saying, that no matter what and no matter how many moments I may creep away from the present moment to consult with Ed during these holiday times-I will find my way back to the present.
I will appreciate the moments, minutes and hours I spend in the moment.
I will love myself for letting myself enjoy those moments and I will forgive myself for the times I don’t.
This Thanksgiving, that is what I am most thankful for: the ability to forgive myself.
Learning how to forgive myself is something that I’ve worked on for a long time, and it’s not in any way where I want to be yet-but I am far better at it now than I ever was.
Learning how to forgive myself-wether it be for mistakes at work, slips in recovery, listening to Ed–whatever it is-has helped me love myself in a way that I never have been able to before. It’s helped me love others in a way I haven’t been able to before.
Secondly,and not to be cliche, but I am thankful for the undescribale amount of support and love from my family, friends, and Hello Life fighters. I can say, without question, without the support of our fighters, my recovery would not be anywhere near where it is today.
From the bottom of my heart–to all our fighters, especially those in our support group, thank you for your warmth, love, kindness, understanding and friendship–it’s what makes Hello Life, Hello Life and its what keeps me strong in my recovery.
This Thanksgiving, Hello Life is adopting a stretchy pants/leggings/sweats policy the day of Thanksgiving and the day after (since we all know Thanksgiving never ends until all left overs are gone).
This is to help lessen the impact of triggering clothes and to allow ourselves the right to feel comfortable on this special day with our loved ones.
It’s also to practice self-love.
I ask you to join the many of us who have already committed to the policy. And if not, I ask you to join us in showing yourself at least one act of self-love this week.
If it’s not wearing comfy clothes, maybe it’s telling yourself something you love about yourself. If it’s not that, maybe it’s letting yourself spend time with someone you love.
Whatever act of self-love you choose, know that you’re deserving of it, as we all are.
It takes bravery and courage to walk the path to self-love every single day–not many of us can truly do it authentically and whole heartedly.
That bravery and courage nearly doubles during the holiday time when Ed and other forces can be so overwhelming-yet here we are fighters, continuing to walk with that same bravery and courage.
To all of us who continue to rise to that level of bravery and courage and to all of us who will rocking our stretchy pants, hello life.