Over this past weekend I had the pleasure of playing side by side with one of my long time friends. When I say long-time, I mean it in the literal sense – we went to preschool together as well as middle school and high school. We were always in musicals and drama productions together and we played across from each other in almost every orchestra as well as our own little quartet we formed. We, of course, had many ups and downs, but I am glad to say that the ups went really high and the downs, although the reached rock bottom at points, were always well out numbered by the ups.
From preschool days……to yesterday. Still as crazy as ever?! YES! And I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Greg is the type of friend where we can go our separate ways and even go months without talking, but then when we get together it feels like we were never ever apart. We’ve watched each other grow, learn, scream, be angry, laugh until we were crying, fall apart, and then fall back together again. We have both fought battles…although we are both well on our way up our individual mountains, we can relate to each others struggle and be empathetic.
Sitting side by side with Greg and playing music was a lot of fun for me (and I hope for him too!!). I, however had a strange experience during not one, but 2 of our rehearsals prior to the concert. Saturday we were sitting on stage with all the other musicians…I had eaten breakfast and snack as required and on time and everything. It was getting near to 12:00 and I heard a strange sound. That sound, was the sound of hunger – my stomach was grumbling. It was asking to be fed. I ignored it for awhile, but it started to become uncomfortable. The type of hunger that is more than a notification “hey, don’t forget about me, I need some food down here”, but a hunger pain. And for the first time since I can remember, I GENUINELY spoke these words:
“Wow. I’m hungry.”
I said them out loud. The felt foreign in my mouth – almost sour because they had been “bad” words for so very long. I hadn’t spoken them, and truly meant them in probably a year or 2. I waited for the guilt to wash over me as it has commonly in the past when things such as this occur. The guilt came closer as the silence after my words was hanging in the air, but then Greg said, “Me too! I am so hungry!!” and I felt a rush of relief – I am NORMAL. Hunger is NORMAL. Feeling hungry is OKAY. It’s not “bad”. It shouldn’t be “guilty”. It’s not something to be “ashamed” of. And if absolutely does NOT make me a “weak” person.
And on the next day, when we had rehearsal from 12-1:30…the same feeling occurred again. Except thankfully, this time Greg and I had candy stashed under neath our seats and we nibbled on it throughout rehearsal to hold us over!
I was able to honestly admit, “I am hungry” out loud, in public, without feeling ashamed, weak, guilty, or “fake”.
This may seem really silly and juvenile to most people, but to someone who has struggled with food for their entire life – it was a scary thing to admit and to say out loud – especially when it was so taboo and shame-ridden for the past many years. I am so thankful that my feeling was acknowledged and agreed upon by my buddy! So thankful for him and his capability to help aid me in my quest for “normal-ness”.
I want people to know that the battle isn’t over yet. Little victories like this spot my life here and there, which is great! I am so happy to accept change and to be able to feel things again – even when they’re unpleasant. As silly as these teeny tiny things may seem, they are huge in my eyes and the eyes of those who are recovering from any type of eating disorder. I still struggle daily, but God has brought me so far and I thank Him for his glory, mercy, and the love He shows me each and every day. I couldn’t have come this far without holding his hand every single day. I know, even on the toughest days, that I will be okay…so long as I cling tightly to his Hand and His promises.
Perfection paralyzes progress. This journey is a dreadfully painful, yet an ever increasingly beautiful one and I am thankful to live each day, no matter what it entails. Every day I learn something new about myself and the world around me. God is good, life is good – even during the storms. I’m gonna keep climbing – onwards and upwards, my friends!