I love confessional posts almost as much as I hate them.
I continue to write them because, as far as I'm concerned, they serve two important purposes:
1.) It lets me air my "shameful" secrets and allow myself to be publicly vulnerable. This morphs into some form of internal strength. There is something about being unapologetically honest that allows me to finally accept my truths; whatever they might be.
2.) I know that they will reach those who identify. Out of the hundreds of thousands of you that read these articles, many will breathe a sigh of relief that they are not alone. Life is hard for all of us. It's brutal, unforgiving and difficult. If I can share my tribulations and assist others in acknowledging that they have a sister out there that goes through this shit too... well, solidarity can be powerful.
This subject is a interesting one for me, because I do identify as a strong pillar of self-love and body acceptance. But on the flip side, I fully realize that I am just as human as everyone else. This gives me the courage I need to real talk with y'all. I'm no super hero; just an honest gal who loves to give the world WAY too much information.
So with all of that being said, the honest truth is: I still struggle with an eating disorder.
Eating disorders commonly stem from needing to feel in control of something (anything, really); and often our body is what we have complete jurisdiction over. It only makes sense. This act of ultimate self management can look different for everyone; deprivation, over consumption, and purging are only a few. In my article "What's My Excuse?" I talk about this lack of control as a child:
My excuse is that I lived in an emotionally abusive household where I had no control. My father liked to call the shots when ever he could, and when you're a child, this all the time. His emotions were almost always unchecked and I had very little input over what my world consisted of, SO I would eat to control at least one thing in my life. The only thing I could, really.
This has continued into adulthood, and while it's less than ever before, it's still present. I can clearly recall a moment in my early 20's when my roommate at the time begged me to stop my destructive habit. I was throwing up on the daily, trying to compensate for any food consumption, and she explained how horrifying it was to listen to. At the time though, it seemed like the perfect solution, so I continued. Nowadays, this habit is rare but still becomes a viable option when I feel terrible about myself. Feeling like shit can come from self soothing by eating too much food, or simply because I feel too fat to exist and vomiting is the only way I feel I can fix it.
I'm sharing this with you in part because I don't want you to think that I'm perfect when it comes to loving myself. My good days far outweigh the bad, but to let you think that I'm impervious to societal brainwashing is foolish. This quote is one of my absolute favorites, so I will share it again:
I recognize that these eating habits aren't good for me and I would love to see them change. The shame, guilt, and embarrasment that comes from eating in general is useless. It takes a negative toll on my psyche and leaves me with self-loathing that I definitely don't need. To eat to the point of feeling uncomfortable in my skin doesn't feel great either. With saying that though, Id like to clarify: there is no shame in overeating. It simply makes me feel ill-fitting within my body. I fully acknowledge that there are things that are much more harmful than overeating or purging. This is the coping mechanism that I have adopted; it's worked psychologically for me to some degree and there is absolutely no reason to feel shame. The reason I'd like to see this change is because, for me, my habits are a form of self-punishment and my goal is total and complete body love. I deserve as much.
It is true that certain eating disorders can become deadly, and if you find yourself in a dangerous situation, you can reach a hotline here.
But know that any eating disorder isn't something to hate yourself for. Know that I'm human. That you're human. Know that we're all doing the best we can and it is definitely enough.
The struggle to trump hurtful habits (whether it be negative self talk, eating disorders, or the sabotaging of relationships because you feel unlovable- among others) is the hardest journey of all. But it's worth it. When we strive for more "I love me" days than "I hate me" days, we are working towards allowing ourselves to fully participate in the world. We are working towards a beautiful life where we recognize that we deserve ALL the happiness. That's the truth.
You're not alone.
I'm here for you if you need me.
You got this, darlin'.