Even though I haven’t starved myself in a very long time, I am an anorexic at heart. I loved being thin. I loved being skinny. I loved, loved, loved the ridges of my abs, the distinction of my ribs, and the way my hip bones jutted out past my womb. I loved the way my body felt at the tail end of a five day fast. I loved the way reality got blurry and fuzzy, the empty, hollow feeling inside my body, the fist of hunger that pushed into my guts all the way through to my lower back, the soporific effect of calorie deficit and the lucid, crazy, more-real-than-real-life dreams it produced.
I know I’m probably not supposed to say any of that here. I’m POSITIVE there are people that will think less of me, call me a freak, say “you need mental help,” and stop reading my words.
Doesn’t matter. I have to own my truth, and this is it.
Right or wrong, good or bad, beautiful or horribly ugly, this is it.
This is ME.
Turns out, so this this.
Hi. My name is Erin. I am a recoverING anorexic bulimic body dysmorphic. I have three kids, stretch marks, a herniated belly button from three, full term pregnancies,
My name is Erin, and I have fat.
As an anorexic, fat is the one thing we try to avoid. I wrote before about blemishes, how we have changed our perspective to see them as flaws and stigma. Although I have had very little trouble accepting the presence and reality of my blemishes, never seeing them as flaw or disfigurement,
I DO feel that way about my fat.
I hate fat.
Or rather, I DID.
Not as much any more.
See, recovery from anorexia, bulimia, and body dysmorphic disorder is not just about stopping the behaviors those disorders are famous for, it’s about changing the way my brain works. It’s about seeing myself as beautiful, no matter how much fat is on my body, and valuing myself as a human being no matter how I look.
Recovery from anorexia is “eating all the meals,” AND “being okay with fat.”
Recovery from body dysmorphic disorder is “BE REAL.” See yourself for what you are, not for what you’re afraid you are.
In today’s society, being okay with the fat we have is hard. According to magazines and advertisements and examples of “sexy” all over all the things, we’re not SUPPOSED to have fat. Or cellulite, or wrinkles or short waists or folds or pimples. Or pores, for that matter. We are supposed to be PERFECT, and PERFECT DOES NOT INCLUDE FAT.
I’m so tired of feeling inadequate because my biologically determined self fails to meet societal expectations.
Not too long ago, this amount of fat on my body would have triggered a full on panic. I would have HATED. myself. HATED. Hate, hate, hate. Pure loathing. I would have looked at that picture above and starved for two weeks, then binged because I was so hungry from starving, then purged because I binged, then starved some more.
An overreaction, you might think, but a normal reaction for an anorexic.
Then, The Body Image Project.
I will be honest, I was a little nervous to take this picture. I didn’t know what to expect. I thought “It’s either going to be moderate, or it’s going to look like a monster bowl of punched-down bread dough. I doubt I’ll even be able to see my abs.”
I was pleasantly surprised to see only a moderate amount of fat, AND abs.
[“Hi there abs, haven’t really noticed you in a while. How have you been?”]
I know I have fat on my body. I’ve come to accept its presence, even if I don’t particularly like it. The difference is, now from before, its presence does not determine or effect my self-worth, overall contentment, or course of action. I would very much like to get in better shape, but WHEN I do (not if), it will be because I choose to be healthy.
It will not be because of fear.
It will not be because of self-hate.
It will not be an attempt to flee my reality, and it will not be in spite of it.
Of the last five to ten times you started a new exercise routine or diet change, how many of those times were because of those things?
For me, every single time.
Every time but the last one.
It is not coincidence that the last time was the one that stuck.
When we change because we claw and fight our way toward something wonderful, instead of running from what we fear, the change is more permanent. The change itself pulls us forward.
That thing behind us, it will never stop being there. If we look at it and try to run, we’re still always looking back.
No matter what your physical self looks like right now, if your stomach is bigger or smaller than mine, or bigger or smaller than yours used to be, it’s time to move forward. It’s time to let go of what you feel you’ve failed. It’s time to move toward something better, a version of you based on worth and merit, not one held back by fear, regret, shame, guilt, or embarrassment.
YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN WHAT YOU SETTLE FOR.
No matter where you’re at.
Let’s move forward together.
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Live every day like it’s your last one. Find yourself, own your truth, and change your whole world. Forge Depth, and never stop digging.
Push on, my friend.