Happy Second Birthday Hello Life: Celebrating 2 Years Without A Scale

I still remember the day I gave up my scale two years ago today. It was the most painful day of my life.

I didn’t know how I would make it without waking up each morning and knowing what number I was that day.

How would I know if I was good? How would I know if I was bad? How would I know anything if I didn’t have my number on the scale to tell me.

Today, I know that I am no longer defined by a number.

This is what I was defined by today: (a text message from my 11-year-old brother).

“Happy Hello Life Day!You taught me what never giving up means. You taught me what it means to set a goal and not let anything stop you from getting it. You are the center of my heart,” he wrote.

With that text message, I was reminded of why I started this journey-and that was to save myself from Ed so I can live in freedom and live knowing what it feels like to let someone else love me other than Ed.

I started it because I knew somewhere deep down, I deserved to wake up and not have to run to my scale-that I deserved to start my day not being predicted by what that scale read.

I started it so I could go to my family dinners. I started it so I could eat a piece of my own birthday cake. I started it because I knew I deserved to live.

Today, as I celebrate my own recovery and the strength it took to get me here, I think about the many people who are still fighting for that recovery-for the people who are laying down tonight trying to make tomorrow that day of change. You are not alone. Even if tomorrow is not that day, you are not alone.

When we suffer with an eating disorder, we often suffer in silence.

Through this blog, we have gotten loud. And that noise, has saved my life, and the lives of others.

To everyone who has stood by me these past two years-thank you is not enough. My recovery is not only mine-as I’ve always said, it’s the journey of this whole Hello Life community.

Today is about gratitude-gratitude for all the support I have.

Today is about compassion-compassion for those who are where I was two years ago.

Today is about appreciation-appreciation for those who are in a stronger place in their recovery than I am.

Today is about strength- strength to walk the path of self-love.

Today is about celebration for life-and being ready to continue on this journey.

There’s a hundred things I can list here that I want to say about today: but here’s the most important ones:

I am alive and I am free.

Happy second birthday Hello Life.

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Figuring Out My New Life

Happy almost Friday everyone,

Since I last wrote, I have officially moved to Washington (the state, not D.C.), got my own apartment and started my new job as a reporter for the main newspaper where I’m living.

When I used to talk about living in the gray, I had no idea just what that totally meant, and I still don’t think I know what it totally means, but I think I have a better idea of it now.

When I first started recovery, living in the gray meant not weighing myself and not knowing that number.

Then it meant letting go of my standards of self perfection.

Some days it meant going with the flow when my plans fell through.

Today, living in the gray means accepting that I would rather sleep an extra two hours than go to the gym before work.

Today, living in the gray means not knowing how I will meet all new friends and people, but that I will.

Today, living in the gray means not being able to try on all the old Ed clothes I gave away before I moved.

For now, the gray means this and only this: I am figuring things out.

And maybe it’s always been that simple all along.

One of the biggest changes that I’ve had in recovery since I’ve moved to Washington is that I no longer have a mirror in my room.

I actually only have one full length mirror now and it’s in my bathroom.

Not only is it in my bathroom, but it’s hanging on the inside of the cleaning supplies closet door in the bathroom; basically,  it’s as inaccessible as a mirror can be.

This means that I no longer wake up and do body checks in my bedroom.

I know that if I wanted to, I could stroll myself up to the bathroom, open the closet and lift up my shirt and do a check, but 9 days out of 10, that walk just feels defeating, like I am letting Ed start my day for me.

The three times that I have made that morning walk to that mirror and did my body check, I never once felt better. I didn’t feel relieved, I didn’t feel sad and I didn’t feel happy.

I felt empty. It didn’t bring me anything. It didn’t get me a cover story. It didn’t get me new friends.

My jeans still don’t button how they used to and I am still not comfortable in my skin how I would like to be, but that mirror is not going to bring me any of that.

On the days that I fight the urge to make that morning walk to my mirror, and on every single day since I’ve been here (with the exception of two days) that I didn’t go to the gym because I wanted to sleep more, I thought to myself, “good job Shira. You love you baby, love you.”

Yes, I really do talk to myself like that.

I love myself when I make sure I come home for lunch every day.

I love myself when I eat a snack every day.

And I surely loved myself when I left my very first city council meeting mid–way to go eat dinner and come right back.

Some nights, I  love myself so much I even have two desserts after dinner.

Tomorrow there is  a BBQ at my work and a going away party with cake, and I guess I’ll love myself through that too.

But above all, on my hardest days here, it is my family, friends and fellow fighters who have lifted me up.

I don’t care how much success I have in Washington and I don’t care if they make me a world known writer-I moved here never forgetting where I came from.

And I will never forget that.

I came from the fighter who started this blog.

I am still her and I will never let her out of my sight.

tattoo

For all of us fighters…Hello Life.

Day 272: Let Me Tell You About My Birthday Cake

Hi guys,

My party last night didn’t stop for Ed, and my birthday celebration didn’t stop for Ed today either.

Today was my final birthday celebration (I guess it’s about time being that my birthday was two days ago), and it was by far the best one because it was truly symbolic of everything I have been writing about the past few days in terms of where I stand in my recovery.

My best friend and her boyfriend took me out to a beautiful brunch, which in itself is symbolic of how food has the power to be such a bonding experience, but then at the end of it they brought out my birthday cake.

This cake was so special, thoughtful and symbolic that it truly deserves an entire blog post of it’s own, so here it is getting one, and it starts with a picture of it so you understand what I am talking about.

cakeeeee

What does this cake show?

1. It shows my favorite picture that I have yet to take in recovery (I wrote about it once too). It was my favorite picture because it was with my best friend and it was a night that I remember was filled with laughter, and fun and food–all worlds of recovery coming together.

2. It shows my newest article that ran on the cover of my university newspaper last week. The fact that this article is on a cake means so many things.

This cake is sweet, it’s bright, and it’s delicious. It’s self indulgent. It is everything Ed would never let me have. And my article is the result of where recovery can take me; not just with my perception of my body , but with my entire life, like with my career.

I wrote a post earlier this week about how my recovery and how eating and nourishing myself kept me focused and was a big reason why this article was so well written.

3. This cake shows a cake! The word cake is like a forbidden word to Ed.

But this cake was all for me-with my name on it, my picture on it, and my successful article on it-three things that Ed cannot take from me; rather, they are three things that recovery gave back to me.

Recovery has given me that smile that I am wearing in my picture, it has given me the tools to stay focused to write that story, and it has made me proud to own my name, my story, my life, and all that goes with it.

So now, even though I am looking at all the pictures that people posted on Facebook from yesterday, and feeling really full, and thinking about how I don’t like my body in each one, I sit here and remind myself that those things, while they might seem so important in this moment, are really nothing.

The way my arm looks in that one photo is not important.

The way my leg looks sitting down on another photo is not important.

What’s important is this: I am blessed with the love and support of the greatest family and friends, and I am blessed to have celebrated my first birthday in recovery that I worked so hard to get to with E.

I want to say a special thank you to my beautiful best friend for not only making my birthday incredible, but for literally being my rock and so many times, my sanity during this process of change and recovery.

What’s important is everything  that I listed that my cake symbolized to me.

And if that isn’t enough, then the fact that a huge birthday cake got an entire post dedicated to it on an eating disorder recovery blog definitely is.

Hello life.

Day 271: This Party Doesn’t Stop For Ed

Hi everyone,

Thank you all so much for the beautiful birthday wishes left via comments and email! I can’t tell you how much love and support they gave me and I am so grateful for them.

Moving on to today, I would be lying if I said that Ed was not here.

I wish I could say he wasn’t, because I had such a beautiful first birthday in recovery yesterday, but the truth is, that he is.

And he has been since I woke up in the middle of the night and I felt my body sore again.

And then he was there again when I got dressed and didn’t like the way I looked in the mirror. And he was there when I took a picture of myself with my phone right after that (which I deleted right away afterwards).

And lastly, he is here right now, asking me what people will think when they see me tonight.

Tonight, I am going out to celebrate my birthday with me and my sister’s closest friends, and some of them, I have not seen since I started recovery. Ed loves this because it just amps his voice up as if it was being projected through a megaphone.

But here’s the bottom line: This is my birthday, not Ed’s.

This is my first birthday in recovery, so Ed can seriously just find his way out the door, because my party is not stopping because of him.

On that note, I am going to get ready to have the greatest first birthday in recovery celebration ever.

I will only experience my first birthday in recovery once, so I am doing it right—so Ed, you can now leave, and the party can now continue.

Hello to keeping this party going with or without Ed and hello life.

 

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.

Day 215: Not Going To Fall

Hi Everyone,

I sit here writing today’s post in bed with a heating pad on my neck and Advil by my bedside.

I woke up this morning, ready to go workout, but I slept wrong and I could not move my neck at all.

I went to the gym anyway, only for my trainer to send me right back home, since I pretty much can’t move at all.

I guess I had some kind of hope that she would let me work out anyway, because after eating a lot of food and sweets yesterday, I really felt the need to burn some of it off.

Well, she didn’t let me workout, and I am thankful for it, because I would have hurt myself even more.

But naturally, Ed and I were not happy about that.

I was already in pain from my neck, and on top of feeling that discomfort, now I had to live with the feeling of not being able to burn off any calories from yesterday.

It’s annoying and it’s frustrating, but at least I listened to her, and I came home and rested all day.

And I still ate today too, which is a victory for me and a loss for Ed.

In the midst of me driving myself to the gym thinking I could actually work out today,  I got a Facebook message from one of my old friend’s dad.

This friend and I were friends in high school, and over the recent years, he was battling some Ed’s of his own, although his was not food, his were drugs.

As I said in a post last week, everyone has their own Ed in life…whether it be food, alcohol, drugs, or anything else people might use as an outlet to deal with life.

Anyway, he came home from rehab about two months ago.

I spoke with him on the phone, but never saw him in person, as I didn’t want to get too close to someone who I wasn’t sure was strong enough to stay away from their addiction, and I didn’t want him to introduce me to any new coping mechanisms like drugs; Ed is already enough for me to handle.

Over the past few days, his parents kept asking me where he was, and for the phone numbers of the people he is with.

I had no idea why they were contacting me, since him and I haven’t spoken in a few weeks.

Today, I found out, he had told his parents, for the past few weeks, that he’s been hanging out with me and my friends.

He knew his parents trusted me.

He used me as his cover up, so he could go do whatever he is currently doing…I am not sure what it is, but considering he isn’t communicating with his family, I assume it is not good.

At first, I was so upset.

How could someone use me to cover up for them doing harmful things to themselves like possibly using drugs?

Especially me…this guy and I were close friends. He was even the third subscriber to this blog.

And then I realized, I can’t even be mad at him.

I can’t be mad at him because this isn’t him doing this, it’s his own Ed.

I remember when I used to use people to cover up for me and my dear Ed.

I would use my brothers, and tell my boyfriend at the time, that I ate dinner with my brothers already, so I couldn’t eat with him.

I would tell my sister I couldn’t eat with her since I had to make dinner for my boyfriend (at the time).

The list goes on and on.

I doubt my friend is reading this post today, because when you are back in that dark world of addiction, you don’t pay much attention to the present world outside.

But if you for some reason are…I hope you know that no matter how many times you’ve fallen, you can still get back up.

Right now, in this moment, you can stop, take back control, and get back up.

I have to remind myself of this message today too.

Ed is yelling at me that I should not eat because I didn’t work out today.

But I am eating anyway.

Why? Because I know what it’s like to fall victim to Ed,and how hard it is to find the strength to stand back up again.

I woke up this morning standing up to Ed,and I will go to sleep standing up to Ed.

I’m not going to fall today.

And to my friend who is struggling today, I hope you can find it within yourself to stand up too.

Hello life.

Day 214: I Love You, That’s What

Happy Friday everyone,

I was sitting here with my brothers, thinking what to write about right now.

I was thinking I could write about the fact that I ate cake today, and how bad I feel about it, but that isn’t  helpful to me in anyway.

So as I was sitting here about five minutes ago, I said out loud to my little brothers, “guys, i have nothing to write today,” (They don’t need to know I am uncomfortable about eating cake).

“I love you, that’s what,” my four year old brother said to me.

I think that sums everything up.

My recovery, my dedication and my perseverance…”I love you,that’s what,” sums it up pretty well.

I love you, that’s what…what better way to end my Friday than with that, right?

Hello life.