Marching Off The Map

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

I am inexplicably happy.

Today I ate. (more than my meal plan, even!!)
Today I played music.
Today I learned.
Today I worshiped.
Today I was vulnerable.
Today I was loved and I allowed myself to be loved.

Today is a milestone that 7 months ago I could have never imagined. I have officially been home from my time in Denver, CO for longer than I was actually IN Denver, CO. It felt like I was there forever…so to have that amount of time beat, feels really good. And really…strange? It’s weird to think that I’ve essentially “lost” something that was so comforting to me for so much of my life. As silly as it sounds, I really do have to mourn the loss of my eating disorder because for half my life, it was the only coping mechanism that I had. It was the only one that I saw results from, and for the most part – it was a coping mechanism that worked. Ya know, aside from slowly killing me – it was great! I didn’t have to feel any feelings or worry about paying for or eating food, or whether or not clothes would fit (because let’s be real – they never did, they were always too big and so eventually ya just get used to it.)

Basically, I don’t expect anyone to understand how intricate and complicated an eating disorder is. You really can’t even comprehend it unless you’ve been there yourself. Which is no fun, and I absolutely would never even wish that on my worst enemy.

BUT.

Something my therapist and I talked about on Tuesday has been on my mind almost constantly since she said it. She was reading some of my writing where I was talking about my ex boyfriend and she drew attention to my saying, “I’m not the type of girl to put my goals and dreams on hold for someone else.”

Guilty as charged. I totally did write that and I will take full responsibility for any repercussions. She made a very valid point: Although in that particular moment I was referring to my life in regards to people, I did exactly what I said was so unlike me to do, for my eating disorder. I repeat: Guilty as charged.

However, I’ve been thinking a lot about that. Here’s what I believe: Yes, my eating disorder was extreme, but it had to happen. Let me explain. It’s not that my eating disorder had to happen, or that it had to get as far as I allowed it to get, but SOMETHING had to have happened in order for me to end up where I am today.

Because of my eating disorder I am a significantly stronger and better person. Sounds pretty messed up, right? Indulge me, for a moment. If I hadn’t had an eating disorder, or something of the like, then I would still be…
-at a school I didn’t like
-unhappy
-codependent
-depressed
-anxious
-self harming
-in unhealthy thinking patterns
-in unhealthy relationships
-not living by my values
-weak in my faith
-malnourished in every way EXCEPT for the physical sense.

You’re probably thinking: “wow she actually is crazy, that she has all that going on AND an eating disorder.” Well, actually I have an eating disorder BECAUSE there’s all that going on and it was a coping mechanism that helped me avoid all of that.

So, one thing led to another. One thing piled on top of 500 others. One step led to 20 more that led to an entirely dangerous cliff. And yep. I jumped off the edge.

But here I sit today. Typing this. Knowing that my identity exists in Christ, and Christ alone. Knowing that I have a future that I am EXCITED to participate in and live out. I have a puppy. I still have friends, and those relationships are so much healthier because I learned that I have a voice. I learned that I have a voice AND how to use it. I learned how to nurture healthy relationships and how to cut off unhealthy ones. I learned about how dangerous co-dependency is in relationships. I learned that I have worth and I am deserving of love. I have values…specifically: passion, spirituality, creativity, compassion, empathy, authenticity, kindness, honesty, and everything the like. I made some amazing friends and had some experiences that I will never forget. I know kinda-sorta what I might-possibly-maybe want to do with the rest of my life now. I know that a bad day doesn’t mean a bad life…it means that you get up and try again tomorrow. I learned that I DO NOT NEED TO BE PERFECT (although, not gonna lie – that one’s still a work in progress). I saw and learned that there are people in this world who love me for who I am, as an individual, outside of music. I met an amazing violin teacher who I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I will be going to a different school next fall, one which will hopefully be a much better fit for me.

There is so much more to me than an eating disorder. I am a human being and up until the past few months, I wasn’t acting as a very good one. Well, I take that back…all I was doing was acting. My life is not perfect. Perfection does not exist. My path looks different than those around me, but that’s something that I’m learning to be okay with. All good things come in their own time, and ultimately God is in control. I may have stepped off his original path for me for a little while, but this disease – although absolutely horrible and wretched – has helped me find my way back, and get on an even better path than I was on before. I am a stronger individual, I have a stronger sense of self, and more importantly, a stronger sense of who I am in Christ Jesus. What more could a girl ask for?

So now, as I sit here utterly exhausted and reflecting on all my blessings – yes, I count this past years experience as a blessing. I believe that it had to happen in order for me to learn how to live an ultimately happy and healthy life. It was a roundabout path, but it will ultimately lead me where God wants me to go.

“There is some kind of a sweet innocence in being human- in not having to be just happy or just sad- in the nature of being able to be both broken and whole, at the same time.”
― C. JoyBell C.

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