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.