I have an eating disorder. Every minute of every day, I struggle against that little voice inside my head, that little devil that sits on my shoulder attempting to drown out the rational angel on the other side. It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. The time, the effort, the commitment it takes to not fall back, to keep my eyes on the prize, to believe in that light at the end of the tunnel. I have learned that, on average, it takes five to seven years to recover. And yet, there is such a fine line between “recovery” and being truly “recovered.”
Growing up I felt constantly pressured to be perfect – the media, society, my peers, my father, myself. I am just now starting to dig deeper, determined to understand how these influences shape my reality. I find that they inhibit this absurd idea of needing to be thin, to be beautiful, to be perfect in every way.
It has been a year and a half since I was diagnosed with anorexia. To most people who see me, the fact that I have an eating disorder would not be a surprise. But, it is so much more than that. I struggle everyday to accept the fact that having an eating disorder is a part of who I am. It always will be.
It takes great strength and courage to not let my eating disorder determine who I am, to not let it become me. Each day, I must plan. I must remain motivated. I must learn to accept myself for who I am, growing to love my body, honoring the hunger that burns deep inside. It is more than physical. It is the hunger that drives my heart and my soul. My constant thirst for knowledge. My wonderful love of life. My great passion for teaching. My deep joy of being in the company of others.
I am not perfect. No one is. So each day that I wake up and step foot onto the carpet of my bedroom floor, I must remind myself to love – heart, body, and soul. To treat myself with respect. To honor what God has graciously given to me. Yes, there will be great highs and, yes, there will be even greater lows. But I must forge ahead.
As a human being, there are too many days when I feel like a chicken with my head cut off, running around, barely able to string together a cohesive sentence. But, when those days come, and I am in the heat of the moment, there can be no excuses. For my own well-being, my perfectly imperfect being, I believe that slow and steady wins the race.
Never give up, never surrender.