My Life’s About To Change

Happy Monday everyone,

It’s been almost one month now since the end of our one year without a scale together, and I want to start off by saying thank you to everyone’s beautiful emails, comments and messages throughout this past month.

I said that I would continue to do a monthly update after our one year journey together had ended, and I will continue to do so.

I am not sure for how long my monthly updates will go on for, but being that I am trying to live in the gray and not the definite and rigid world of the black and white, I think we will just keep that open ended for now.

Part of my biggest adjustment to living in recovery after the blog was over was learning how to continue on in my recovery without writing about it every day.

I had a friend who is a recovering alcoholic message me the day before I reached my one year mark without a scale and he said, “Shira, when the one year is over and all the fireworks go away, don’t look back. Keep going.”

When he said that, I remember thinking to myself, “Well of course I will keep going…duh.”

But now, I understand what he meant.

When there was no more blog to write about my daily accomplishments or challenges, when there weren’t as many encouraging comments or e-mails, when there were no more fireworks every time I  reached a milestone, that is when recovery entered a new stage for me, and that’s the stage I am currently in.

I actually like this stage of recovery because it has given me the freedom to live in recovery but because I am not writing about it every day, it has let me enter a new journey; a journey of starting my career and finding out who I am without  my blog.

At the same token, this stage is a challenging one, just like any other stage in recovery, or life.

When all those fireworks are gone, there is just me, my new healthy body, my new challenges, and my new victories.

Learning how to walk through the challenges and embrace the victories with only myself and not the rest of the 600 people who read this, was an adjustment, but it’s one that I am learning to embrace more and more each day.

I remember the first time I overcame an Ed challenge after this blog was over.

I was sitting in my bed and I decided to not go to the gym that day simply just because I was tired. I wasn’t sick, I didn’t have plans, and I didn’t have an excuse; I was just tired.

I remember having that initial urge to come and write about it to you all, but then I realized that wasn’t the journey I was on anymore.

At first, I almost felt lonely. It was just me and myself celebrating our victory against Ed by ourselves.

But then, I felt proud of myself.

There I was, able to stand up to Ed and make a healthy decision in my recovery just for me-no one else and with no one else knowing about it.

In that moment, I remember realizing how far I had come.

So I sit here today with big news to share with you all.

Remember the many and numerous blog posts that I wrote about not finding a job and no one wanting me? Remember the many many posts where I cried about feeling rejected? Remember the post where I referred to myself as the little cat stranded in the box on the street that no one wanted?

Well, I am so proud and beyond happy to say that cat now has a job.

My dream job, guys.

On March 1, I will leave to make my way to my new home where I will be the newest reporter of a big local newspaper in Washington.

For purposes of the company privacy and those kinds of things. I can’t say the name of the paper, but the point is, I am going to be living my dream.

I interviewed at many places and even flew to South Dakota this week for another potential job, but I know that Washington is the place for me because I connected with the people there.

Even from this blog, if there is one thing I know, it’s that connection with others is crucial not only in my recovery but in my life.

I will be moving states (right now I live in California) and I will be starting my career as a journalist.

My recovery is coming with me and we are going on this journey together.

Of course, Ed will be there too, as I know that no matter how strong in my recovery I get, Ed will always be a part of me.

But this time, he won’t walk in with me on my first day at my new job. And he certainly did not walk in with me on my dinner with my editor and lunch with other reporters during my interview for that job.  And he was also not there when I celebrated me getting that job with my mom with the best chocolate cake and strawberry short cake I ever had.

My life is about to change.

My location is changing, my house will change, my job will change, and the company I keep around me will change.

But there is one thing that is not changing and that is my recovery.

Moving away and on my own could be Ed’s greatest wish to get me back to him, or it could be my chance to show myself how far I’ve come and how much I deserve to live this life in recovery and pursue my dream as a journalist; and that’s the route I am taking.

Here’s the recovery plan for my new move:

-Skype sessions with E

-Skype meals with E

-Finding a support group by me

-Finding a therapist and nutritionist by me via E’s recommendations

-Staying active and involved in the Hello Life Fighter Support Group

-Stay true to myself.

I am not afraid to start this new journey of starting my career. Every ounce of me feels that I am ready in my recovery to do it.

I wanted to write this first update because this week is the week that I start finding apartments for myself in my new home and getting serious about relocating my life and I know that the support from you guys will bring me encouragement and strength when these changes become overwhelming.

I would also like to say that the Hello Life bracelets are still available and if anyone would like to join the Hello Life Fighter Support Group that is still available too, just let me know so I can add you. I can say for myself, that the fighters in that group have forever changed my life and have brought me more strength than I could ever have imagined.

Before I end this first update I want to say one very last important piece of information about my new journey in Washington.

There will be no scale in my new apartment.

Hello life.

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Day 281: Raised Spirits

Hello lifers,

I don’t know what it was about today, but after a day like I had yesterday, someone somewhere must have known I needed a little extra support today, and not only was I lucky enough to receive it, I was overflowed with it.

From private e-mails, to comments, to tweet messages and to Facebook messages, and a special phone call from my mom, there was a beautiful person sending me a positive and inspiring message at the end of every media outlet today.

Some gave me words of encouragement.

Others told me how this blog has touched their lives.

One girl even told me this blog has saved her life.

But what no one knew, is that deep down, getting everyone’s support, is what lifted my spirits back up from my hard day yesterday and brought them into the place of hope that they are now.

Because of your love and support, I had a good day in recovery today.

I didn’t have a good day because I worked out (because again, I didn’t workout today yet again).

I didn’t have a good day because I didn’t think about calories in my food (because I most definitley did do that).

And I didn’t have a good day because my newest story for my university newspaper ran on the front cover today.

I had a good day because something so much stronger, bigger, and more fulfilling than Ed could ever make me, surrounded me all day and all night; and that was the support from all of you.

A year ago, I was the girl who would have said that I could handle everything on my own. I was the one who never needed help. I was the one who helped everyone else.

And even though I still tend to feel that I am expected to be this super hero all the time, I am no longer afraid to say that I cannot do this alone.

I cannot do recovery alone, and I don’t want to do it alone.

I am not afraid to admit that it is because of other people that I made it through today with a sound and hopeful mind.

Ed was the one who was afraid of other people, not me.

And now, I get to embrace the love and support I was missing out on for so long when I was letting Ed rule our lives.

This blog is truly no longer only my journey, but the journey of an entire community leaning, encouraging and supporting one another.

Thank you for being the reason I sit here tonight with raised and hopeful spirits.

Hello to the beautiful souls who have made today’s recovery a gift and hello life.

Day 278: It’s Days Like Today That Keep Me Going

Hi everyone,

It is days like today that keep me going. They are the days that remind me why I chose recovery in the first place.

It is days like today where I only did one body check, that keep me going.

It is days like today where I ate birthday cake frozen yogurt in the middle of my day for no reason at all other than the fact that I just wanted it, that keep me going.

It is days like today where I was able to study and get homework done without being so preoccupied by how I look or what I ate, that keep me going.

It is days like today where I didn’t encounter another conversation with myself in the bathroom mirror about why my arms don’t  look good,  that keep me going.

It is days like today where I didn’t go shopping at the mall because I knew I would not be accepting of any new clothing sizes, that I see how I’ve learned to have compassion for myself, that keep me going.

It is days like today that remind me when I gave up my scale to my therapist, why the first words that came to my mind were “hello life,” that keep me going.

It is days like today, where I didn’t have a number to define me, that keep me going.

It is days like today, that I ask you all, what keeps you going in recovery?

It is days like today, where recovery is on my side, that I humbly say, hello life.

Day 274: If She Can Go 209 Days Without A Scale, I Can Go To A Basketball Game

Hi everyone,

Here is today’s breakdown:

My newest article is due in two days.

I won’t have time to work on it later tonight because a friend is taking me to a basketball game for a belated birthday gift and Ed said I needed to go to the gym this morning.

The facts that remained this morning were this: that I need to write my article because I won’t have time later, and that if I go to the gym, I won’t have time to do that.

So, this is when I had to prioritize.

If I put Ed first, he gets first priority, and my article would then get last priority, making my recovery kind of last too.

At this stage in recovery, I am too aware of the consequences of doing that could be suck me back into Ed.

I was blocking my grandma’s car in the driveway this morning, and I knew she had to leave by 11 a.m.

If I left my car there, it would have been my motivation to leave by 11 a.m. to go to the gym too, so I wouldn’t block her.

I literally had to go and move my car right when I woke up so I could not use that an as excuse to go workout.I don’t know how I got myself to go do it with Ed yelling in my ear, but I did.

But I am glad I did, because I sit here 6 hours later with my article pretty much done.

However, the idea of not working out and now having to go eat unsafe food is overwhelming me at the moment, and it’s giving Ed a lot of fun material to tease me with.

But right before I wrote this post, I was reading some comments that other bloggers left me on some of my posts a few days ago, (the most heartfelt thank yous to windwhisperings and Sasha).

Sasha said that my blog was part of the reason she gave up her scale ,and has been scale free for 209 days now.

It just made me think for a second, that if she could give up her scale for 209 days, and I’ve given up mine for 274 days now, then can’t I go to this basketball game and go through the motions of maybe eating some different or unsafe foods?

I don’t know why, but knowing someone else gave up their scale for 209 days  is a lot more motivating for me today than to look at my own accomplishment of  274 days without a scale, so I am going to focus on that.

Sometimes all it takes is knowing that if someone else fighting the fight can do it, so can you.

That’s what those 209 days of Sasha being scale free are for me.

If she can go 209 days without a scale, then I can go to this basketball game, unsafe food and all.

Hello life.

 

 

 

 

Day 273: Today Was Worth The Fight

Hi everyone,

Today was not an easy day in recovery for me.

It was one of those days where you wake up and you don’t know how you are going to make it to the next hour, so you just go minute by minute.

Between waking up bloated from all the food this weekend, my body feeling sore from all of it, and the mental distraction of replaying what I ate over and over as I kept looking back at the pictures that were taken of me on Saturday night from my birthday and hating on each one, today kind of started out belonging to Ed.

And then as I was walking into the gym, the scale there literally haunted me the entire time.

It was exactly this time last year after my birthday that I decided to start weighing myself everyday again, and it’s when my eating disorder took a turn for it’s all time low. I never turned back after that. I couldn’t stop–(until I got into treatment).

I knew that if I stood on that scale today, Ed would literally become who I was again, and there would be nothing anyone could do to pull me away from him.

And as much as I would like to say that I didn’t step on it because I love my recovery so much, I wasn’t in that space today.

Today recovery was hard and it was hard to remember even the incredible things I wrote about it a few short hours ago last night on this blog.

The honest reason why I didn’t step on that scale today is solely because of this blog and the commitment I made to be scale-free for a year. That and only that.  And you know, maybe that isn’t so bad? Maybe that is OK for today, and maybe it is OK because it was enough to keep me from stepping on that life sucking machine?

All day I kept looking at the pictures that were posted of me from the weekend, thinking about how  I can change my body in all different kinds of ways.

I don’t know why, but sitting there and almost fantasizing about the many ways that Ed could come in and save me from recovery was almost something that I was locked in a daze by;  I could not get out of for a little while.

But after I looked at those pictures so many times over and over, I realized that my answer to becoming happier with the way I look in them does not come from change and it does not come from Ed.

My answer does not lie in stepping on another scale.

My answer is acceptance.

A big part of recovery is learning to flow with changes and learning to embrace change, but what happens once those changes have set in?

Then, change is no longer the answer.

The answer then moves into acceptance.

The question is how to get to that acceptance?

And I don’t have an answer for that right now, other than what I know from these 9 months of recovery so far and that is if I set some kind of special goal about how and when I want to fully accept myself, I will epically fail.

The only thing I can do is give myself time and go with the flow of this process called recovery.

I need time to accept the changes, time to accept that I will never be who I once was, both physically or emotionally, and time to accept that it is OK to give myself time–I don’t need to be the hero right now.

On that note, at the same time that I am embracing this opportunity to give myself time to master acceptance, I am also going to accept that today wasn’t easy, and that is OK.

Not everyday needs to be a great day.

All everyday needs to be is one worth fighting for.

And considering the fact that everyday leads me one step closer to freedom from this eating disorder, today was definitely worth the fight.

Hello to knowing our lives are worth the fight, and 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.