Happy Friday Eve everyone,
So I went to the park today to go for a short run instead of go to the gym because I felt like being outside, only when I started running, my body was just not having it.
I ran cross country in high school and I usually actually enjoy the feeling I get from running (as long as Ed is not there with me), but today, I remember thinking to myself “wow, this is really just not fun.”
It was not what I expected and it’s not what Ed expected. I had expected to run . I mean, other than wanting to be outside, that’s why I was there.
Every time I walked, I felt like I was moving 1 mile per hour. But the more I tried to push my body to run, the more miserable the experience was becoming.
As I started walking, this song came on my Pandora and it had a line in it that said “We have a choice to make, wether we choose to win or lose, and I choose to win.”
I’m not sure if it was because of the state of mind I was in, but that line hit me really hard.
In that moment, I honestly felt like I was able to step outside of my own body for a moment. There was me as my soul and then there was my body.
We were two different entities.
Since the beginning of my recovery, I have felt that me as a person and my body are two separate things. While that may not be true, that’s how I feel.
We are like a married couple that is bound together for life, that went through a period of distrust and through this past year we’ve been relearning how to trust each other and getting to know each other again.
So, my body didn’t want to run today.
After all it’s done for me and after all Ed has put it through, I am learning to listen to it and to respect it.
So if it doesn’t want to run, it doesn’t run.
In that moment, I truly felt like I was winning.
I was winning because I was making the conscious choice to listen to my body instead of listen to Ed.
I was making the choice to grow in this relationship with my body. We are a couple, and we are growing and learning together.
Since the day I chose recovery, I knew I chose to win.
But today, after hearing that song, it just made me think about it more.
What is winning?
I don’t even think there is one direct answer for that.
Everyday my definition of winning changes-especially when it comes to winning back my life from Ed.
Yesterday, winning meant making myself dinner.
The day before that winning meant eating frozen yogurt with my brother.
The day before that winning meant simply getting through my hard day.
Today, winning meant walking instead of running.
Today, winning meant eating the soup the lady I tutor for made for me. It wasn’t winning because it was me eating, it was winning because it was me showing compassion to someone else the way I would want them to show me.
Today, winning was eating dinner with my sister, even AFTER I ate that soup because I knew she was waiting for me. Again, the win wasn’t the food-it was me honoring our time we had set aside for each other and not letting Ed take that away.
Winning is connecting with the fighters in the online support group.
I don’t know what shape or form winning will look like tomorrow, and I am not even sure if I will win tomorrow.
Maybe tomorrow I won’t win and it’s a tie. Maybe some days I will feel like I am losing.
By choosing to win, it doesn’t mean I chose to always be undefeated.
It means I chose to persevere.
It means I chose the hard path; the path of walking instead of sometimes running; the path of listening instead of acting, and the path of learning how to love myself for who I am just the way I am.
Winning is a journey, it’s not a one time race with a one time winners title.
The closer this blog gets to the end of its one year mark, the more I am beginning to see that.
I write this post to you this morning in hopes that by writing, I will bring myself into a better place of mind.
I write this sitting in my car after I just dropped my sister off at the airport and I am parked right outside my gym. I just can’t seem to go inside right now with so many emotions weighing heavy on my heart.
So I decided I’ll spend half of the time I allocated to working out today to sitting here in the quiet and writing this post in hopes of giving myself my own kind of therapy.
My body is so sore today, I can barely move.
The skin on my stomach hurts, my chest hurts and my back is sore . Sore to the point like I feel I am bruised everywhere and my skin is so tender I can feel it everytime I move.
It’s one thing to indulge in yummy foods like I have been allowing myself to do for this past month, but it’s another thing to wake up the next morning after one of those indulgences, something that was supposed to be enjoyable, and feel physical pain everywhere.
How will I move today and deal with feeling this pain?
How will I sit and be present through my other cousins 18th birthday at my favorite steakhouse today? And not even get to fully enjoy it because I have to be so careful to not make my soreness worse?
I remember when I used to weigh myself, that number I saw every morning would be with me all day.
Just like a person has a cell phone number to be reached at 24/7, I had my number that Ed could reach me at 24/7.
Today, instead of that number, I have the physical discomfort of my body soreness. It’s a constant reminder of the “punishment” I get for eating everything Ed said not to.
And despite the dozens upon dozens of times I’ve gone through this soreness, this one is just really hard. It’s making me cry as I write this.
I am 16 days away from my one year mark without a scale and of being in recovery , and my body has still not found it’s way to naturally healing itself from all of Eds torture.
I don’t have any answers today and I don’t have the inspiration I am in need of to even give myself at the moment.
All I have is my truth today, and sometimes, holding onto our truths during times of self doubt and self judgement is the best thing we can do.
My truth for the moment is that I am having a hard day.
That’s it .
Letting myself acknowledge that and letting myself have that is actually the most free I’ve felt since I woke up this morning.
I just posted a picture in the Facebook online fighter support group that said, “One hello could lead to a million things,” and I asked what the other fighters would say hello to.
I said hello to self love.
But now I want to say hello to my bad day. Because with saying hello to it, it means accepting it and then saying see you later to it tomorrow.
Maybe I can even say see you later to it later today.
I won’t say goodbye to it because that’s impossible to say goodbye to bad days forever.
But for now, I need to stick to my truth.
So hello bad day, I have hope we can get through this and soon you will be able to leave me.
And in the meantime, I’m going to accept that your here and just take it moment by moment.
My alarm went off this morning waking me up to go to the gym, and the first thing I felt was that my body was sore from the food I ate yesterday.
Feeling that soreness was Ed’s way of making me feel guilty about whatever amazing food I ate yesterday, and it was his way of telling me to go work it off today.
But I knew I was meeting my friend Anna for lunch today (and I was meeting her for dessert too- Anna and I always need dessert) and I really wanted to dress up and feel really good when I went. I don’t know why I wanted to, but I did.
I only had time for one or the other: go workout and go see Anna sweaty and in yoga pants, or take my time to get ready, do my hair and feel good.
Despite Ed telling me to go to the gym because of the food I knew I would eat with Anna, I decided to stay home and get ready.
Sometimes I think that getting ready and feeling good about ourselves, wether it be the way our hair looks, or the outfit we choose to wear, or the make up we wear, can make us feel even better than some workout at the gym.
And indeed, that was the case for me today.
It was a different kind of self care.
And when the jeans I decided to wear were a little tighter than usual, (which I already knew these pants are kind of tight, and it was a totally Ed based choice to wear them, probably in the hopes I would feel guilty and eat less today or something because of it) I decided to throw on a loose shirt over it and carry on.
The problem was not solved forever, but the problem was temporarily solved.
I looked good. I felt good. I felt comfortable.
I didn’t feel like I just had some great workout, but I felt pretty, and I think that actually felt better than sweating at the gym today.
So on Anna and I went to have our lunch and two desserts.
Two, yes, two.Two amazing desserts.
At first, I left that restaurant thinking “Oh my God, Shira, you’ve been eating so bad for a whole month straight now. Holiday season is over. Stop with these lunches and mid day desserts.”
But then when I really sat and thought about it, and walked myself through my own thoughts, I realized that while it is true that holiday season is over, the birthdays I celebrated this week were not over, and the birthday I am celebrating tomorrow with my other cousin is not over,and my lunch dates with friends are not over either.
So maybe my holiday food vacation is a little bit extended?
Even though I do feel guilty and anxious right now about this entire month of sweets and big lunches and dinners, part of me is feeling proud and part of me is laughing at Ed that he can’t stop me from enjoying them.
I am in the time of my life right now where I am transitioning from college into the working world, trying to find a career and trying to establish my life.
If in the mean time of doing that, I happen to have time for birthday lunches in the middle of my day with my cousin, dinners with my family during the week, and lunches and dessert for no reason at 2 pm on weekends with my friends, then why not?
Although I might not feel so great right now, I know that there will come a time in my hopefully soon to be career and job oriented busy life, where I am sure that I will miss the days of mid day lunches and desserts, and miss the days of birthday celebrations and dinners in the middle of my week.
So for now, even if Ed trying to ruin it for me, I am going to try to enjoy my extended vacation-delicious food and all.
And it’s really not the food that makes these lunches, birthdays and dinners so special, it’s the freedom that comes with being connected with others that makes it special.
But, if I had to choose between a special meal with loved ones that included Ed approved food, or choose between a meal with loved ones that is down right delicious and yummy, even though it’s not on the safe calorie list, I will take that one.
It’s not that long ago that I let Ed keep me in my house every day and every night away from the world , isolated, deprived and unhealthy.
Now that I am able to go to lunch, dinner and dessert, I think it’s ok that I let these extravagant meals and social gatherings last a little over the one month allocated to holiday eating like other people do.
After all, I have many years that were taken by Ed to make up for.
Hello to my extended holiday and hello life.
Today started out bad. Really, really bad.
The kind of bad that included almost a 30 minute body check, which was more like of a body attack on myself, and pictures of this body check (deleted right away but still) and pretty much just a lot of sadness.
I was sad because I felt like I was letting Ed just swallow me up in his mean and suffocating self and I was feeling stuck in it. I was so mean to myself and to my body in that mirror today.
It was like a 360 from yesterday where I had my first day of no body checks.
I was upset at how my body looked and I was mad at myself for this entire month of eating all this delicious holiday food, and even not holiday food, just eating sweets for fun, and I was mad at myself for not working out this week when I was sick.
Somehow, I found one moment of strength to stop myself, look at my own eyes in the mirror and give myself a pep talk.
At first I might have been embarrassed to say on this blog that I sometimes talk to myself in the mirror, but I’m not anymore, because it is the truth.
“Shira, so what if you don’t love your body right now? You are like every other American in this world who enjoyed the holiday season, give yourself a break.”
That’s the only thing I could manage to say to myself. But it was true.
I don’t own a scale of course, so I can’t tell you how much “holiday weight” I’ve gained (or think I’ve gained), but I figured it’s no more or less than the typical average American person.
And although part of me is still in Ed’s hands at the moment, the healthy recovery part of me is actually really proud of myself after that self talk intervention.
For the first time in years that I can remember, I was like everyone else this year.
For the first time in years, I actually went from Thanksgiving to New Years and ate and enjoyed yummy food and more than that, enjoyed the social gatherings around it.
If a few extra pounds comes with that, the recovery part of me says it is so worth it.
Not only was this the year that I was like every other American and indulged during the holidays but it was also the year that I started living in recovery.
This was the year that I rang in with my now ex-boyfriend, who is no longer in my life. This is the same year that I left our three year relationship to go find my own voice and my own strength, and it’s the year I left him knowing I am deserving of someone to respect my voice.
This was the year that I left his family, who had become my family, back in my past. His family was Ed’s family too. We loved them. I loved them. It was one of the greatest heartaches I’ve felt this entire year.
This was the year that loneliness and self doubt often kept me company, but it was also the year that I’ve grown closer in my friendships than any other time in my life.
This was the year that 20 days after 2013 started, I decided to give up my scale.
This was the year that I stopped using my weight, my calories and my clothing sizes to define me.
This was the year I was forced to unlearn every truth I ever thought was true about myself, many of which Ed taught me, and the year I was forced to create new truths for myself.
This was the year that my truth now begins with my story. This was the year that my truth begins with my soul, my inner being, and my spirit-not with my physical looks.
This was the year that I not only was the top senior reporter for my university newspaper, but the year I graduated college.
This was the year that someone sent me an email saying this blog saved their life.
This was the year that strangers from all around the world, have now become friends and support systems for one another, through this journey.
This was the year that an online support group was created out of this blog- a support group that will live on so far longer than this blog ever will.
This was the year that my black and white way of thinking turned into gray.
This was the year that I have learned how to finally start showing myself the kind of unconditional love that I have always shown to others.
This was the year that I decided to change my life for no one else other than myself.
This was the year hello life was born.
This was the year of hope.
Happy Friday everyone,
The recovery fighter support group is officially started and active online with discussion forums already flowing, and I just want to say thank you to the strong souls who are putting their heart, time and support out there to help one another.
If anyone else wants to be a part of it, please let me know. It’s a private group so you can only join via email invite through me. I set it up this way so it remains a safe and private place for all of us.
So onto today, who knew that my sweet tooth is still alive even when I am sick?
Being sick has really taught me a different level of self care.
It’s taught me that my body truly has a mind of its own.
Now that I am sick, I am not really in control of what my body needs right now. If it doesn’t need exercise, it doesn’t, and that is something I have to honor.
If it wants food and sweets even if it’s not working out, it needs that, and I need to honor that too.
This is the kind of self care where I really need to take my own self out of the picture and just listen to my body.
My body has a mind of its own, and it really doesn’t care what Ed thinks.
Even on the days where we try to tell our bodies not to crave certain things, it doesn’t care. It will crave it even more, right?
Our bodies don’t care that it didn’t exercise today, it still wants and needs food. My body is probably enjoying its staycation from the gym in bed most likely-even if Ed is not.
My body doesn’t care that Ed is telling it to not want certain foods.
Praise and long live to my strong fighting body that doesn’t care what Ed says.
Before I begin today’s post, I just want to say a quick note that you might have received an e-mail from my blog today where I re-blogged someone else’s posts about a young woman who is trying to raise money to help her fight cancer. I just want to make it clear that I don’t personally know her or even the blogger who wrote the post, and therefore cannot verify that her donation site is 100% legitimate. I just wanted to help spread support for someone in need. I am in no way promoting or endorsing her or anything of that sort, I just thought I would help spread the word.
So moving on into today:
Low key, I think I cried almost two times today.
Well, one a half times.
One times I really did cry, the second time it was just me hyperventilating with that knot in my throat, but I didn’t cry again. So let’s just say I cried one a half times today (so far).
Here’s the recovery niche of that statement: I didn’t cry over my body, or Ed, or what food I ate today, or the food I ate yesterday, or what I looked like in the mirror.
I cried because I honestly have so much homework to do and so many things to fix on my new articles that I am writing and absolutely not enough brain power or time to do it all at once.
Sometimes, when I get overwhelmed, Ed comes to comfort me.
But today, he didn’t. He didn’t because I didn’t let him-and I didn’t let him because having him come in the picture will only make me cry more tomorrow.
Not to sound totally crazy here, but having a day where I am stressed out, or a day where I even cried over something totally not related to my body or to calories or to food, is kind of refreshing.
Those readers who are struggling with eating disorders might understand this a little bit better.
When I was locked in my eating disorder, everything revolved around it. Everything from food, to weight, to what I wore that day, to how I felt that day.
My emotions were once (and sometimes still are) regulated by Ed and what he told me to feel that day.
If I weighed a “good enough” number, he would tell me I could be happy. If I weighed a “bad number,” he would tell me to be stressed, angry and sad.
And that was pretty much the entire range of emotions I ever felt when I was in my lowest point with Ed.
I never cried though. And if I did cry, I cried alone at night, by myself in bed, when my heart would beat really slow and I would get scared about what I was doing to my body.
So the fact that I cried today not because of anything Ed related, but because I was stressed out about something absolutely not related to him is actually a great thing.
I’m moving on to new stressors, that are not about my eating disorder.
No stress is ever fun, and I am in no way happy that I cried, because obviously, I am slightly having a mini freak out about how I will handle all this work in such little time, but, I am able to see what this means.
This means life after Ed.
Also, I just want to say thank you to everyone who e-mailed me and told me they received their hello life bracelets today. I haven’t had a chance to respond because if you can tell by this post, I’ve been stressing out today, but I promise to respond soon and I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know you received them.
I guess it’s not really low key that I cried anymore because hundreds of people now know, but I don’t care.
Your the same people who’ve known that I’ve cried because of Ed, so why not tell you when I cry because of other things not about him?
It’s kind of refreshing to read right?
For what it’s worth, it’s refreshing to feel.