This Is Us

I’m a day late, but I’ve been wanting to write a post for a while.

It’s been three years since I walked through the doors of Monte Nido for the first time, and I hardly recognize my life now. I am happy. I just graduated college. I consider myself (for the most part) recovered from my eating disorder. I’m more alive than I have ever been, and I have so much hope for my future.

However, there’s a part of my life that I’ve intentionally kept hidden from many people over the past few years. The longer I’ve kept silent, the heavier it’s become to carry. Now that I’ve finally graduated from college, there’s something that I want to share with you all.

This is Liv. We’ve been in a relationship since November 30, 2014.

15056393_10154648995294400_4719175721941240720_n

Liv’s trip out to visit me in SF in November 2016

Being with Liv makes me happy. She makes me feel alive, and I am a better person when we are together.

I have been so scared of people’s responses to this news, and I’m tired of it. I’m tired of having so much brain space taken up with, “I wonder if they figured it out because of that picture” or “Crap!!! Someone posted a comment thtruth.pngat identifies us as a couple! DELETE DELETE DELETE.” I’m tired of thinking about the perfect way to “come out” on Facebook, or the perfect way to tell this person or that person. It’s exhausting. I’ve lived under the weight of shame for too long.

So, from this day forward, I am choosing to live MY truth. As I am reminded by Glennon Doyle Melton and Nadia Bolz-Weber, “You are responsible TO the truth, not FOR it.”

Some of you reading this may not understand why something like this would cause so much shame to begin with, while others of you are intimately acquainted with the homophobia and discrimination that is rampant in Evangelical Christian culture. I want to share my experience. While my story is not representative of the entire LGBTQIA+ community at Gordon College or in the Evangelical Church, I know I am not alone in my experiences, and I know many other queer students who have felt the same fear that I have during my time at Gordon.

Please forgive me – this is going to be long.


For those of you who know me, you will know that when I first moved onto Gordon’s campus, I was in love. I had finally found a place where I felt I could thrive. I threw myself headfirst into leadership positions. I almost never missed a chapel service, even once I had completed all my credits. I loved being at a Christian college, and I felt certain that I made the right decision in transferring out of my liberal, feminist program at George Brown College.

After a wonderful first semester, things fell apart rapidly. My eating disorder got really bad over the summer, and by the time I came back to school in the fall, my whole life was consumed by it. I ended up in residential treatment, and for the first time, I began to actually do the real work of recovery. I vividly recall spending a whole group listening to my peers talk about sexuality and relationships. It was the first context I can remember where the concept of being “not straight” wasn’t a big deal (outside of the very liberal college from which I had transferred). The topic kept coming up in conversation after that, and I remember one conversation where I realized that maybe I liked girls too. I curled up in
a ball and felt like an awful human being for even thinking I might not be straight.

15978365_10154843118784400_245262790_nShortly after stepping down from residential, in an effort to be honest with the people I care about (something I’d been learning to do in my recovery process), I “came out” to a handful of people I trusted most. The process was excruciating. It usually involved a trip to Panera, followed by an hour (or more) of silence as the person I was with sat patiently while I (literally, physically) sank further and further under the table before finally getting up the courage to say, “I think I like girls, too.” This was invariably followed by them telling me they loved me and this new revelation didn’t change anything, and me purposely avoiding them for weeks in a massive vulnerability hangover.

It was during this process that I grew closer and closer with Liv. By the end of the school year, it was nearly impossible to deny that there was something between us. Alas, I managed to stay in a state of denial through the summer.

Coincidentally, this was also the topic of much controversy at Gordon College that summer as well. President D. Michael Lindsay signed his name to a letter addressed to President Obama requesting “religious exemption” from an anti-discrimination clause meant to protect LGBTQIA+ people. That summer, I couldn’t sign onto Facebook without another new article about Gordon and LGBT discrimination and losing community partnerships popping up. Overnight, this topic that I had been struggling with so personally was all I saw as I scrolled down my news feed. I felt so alienated. This institution that I cared so deeply for hated me. I was devastated.

I returned to school that August feeling completely fragmented but trying to hold myself together. There were protests outside of every chapel service, and I stopped going to chapel because I was afraid that if someone saw me walking near the protesters, they would automatically know that I was “one of them.” At the same time, I was working as a student employee in an office at the college, which helped me create distance from the rest of the LGBTQIA+ students at Gordon. I had an image to protect, both personally and professionally, and I was committed to doing whatever necessary to protect it. Despite everything that had happened between Liv and I the previous school year, I insisted we were “just friends.” In retrospect, it’s clear that we were “friends” in name only. We were routinely going far away from campus to be in a place where no one knew us. We would hold hands walking around Harvard Square, only to come back to campus and be “friends” again.

Here’s an excerpt from something I wrote during that period that I think sums up where I was at well:

I’ve also noticed a direct correlation over the last few weeks with my eating and the level of shame I’ve experienced over these feelings that just keep swelling up inside of me no matter how much I try to push them down. I feel guilty, so I don’t eat. My thoughts start swirling and I go into panic mode, and suddenly I’m overcome with urges to binge and purge. As the days have gone by, the more ashamed I have felt. The more ashamed I have felt, the more I want to give up on recovery. I’ve worked so hard and come so far, and I’m about to throw it all away for what? Because I’m ashamed that I like a girl. That I like girls. And guys. But I like girls.

It’s not worth it to destroy my life because of the gender of the person that I like right now. I want to believe that it is, because that’s simple. I know how to kill myself – both slowly and not as much. I don’t know how to sit with these warm and fuzzy feelings… I don’t know how to be okay with this fluidity that seems to be my sexuality.

10262103_10152873678334400_8108113381714285088_n

Thanksgiving 2014

Everything changed on our trip to New York City, Thanksgiving 2014. Walking through Central Park, hand in hand, knowing that we’d have to go back to our real lives at Gordon broke my heart. As we were driving back to Massachusetts, I couldn’t deny it any longer. I didn’t want to. She was my girlfriend, and after 6 months of my denial and her patience, I was finally ready to admit it.

After we made things official, I spent so many hours in therapy working through the shame that was suffocating me. In fact, I credit the work I did with my amazing therapist and dietitian to combat the shame of being in a same-sex relationship at an extremely homophobic and unsafe institution as critical in my recovery process. Liv even came with me to a number of sessions to deal with the toxic environment we were both living in. While homophobia and heteronormativity were deeply ingrained in my upbringing, Liv struggled to understand why people – especially those who proclaim the love of Christ – could have such hatred for us. Coming from a more affirming church background and completely unfamiliar with Evangelical Church culture before arriving at Gordon, she was overwhelmed with newly-internalized self-hatred and was being forced to question every idea she’d ever had of a loving, faithful God, who is not restricted by a man-made gender binary and loves all of Creation equally.

15970667_10154843142239400_1624267613_n

Thanksgiving 2015

As the year progressed, things became much scarier for the queer community at school. I will not do what so many of my fellow alumni have already done and turn this into a post primarily about Gordon College. Frankly, they don’t deserve the press. If you’re truly curious, a Google search will bring up a number of newspaper articles, blog posts, and other editorials related to specific items of controversy in the past few years. I will say, at this point, the queer student population dwindled as the Administration became more threatening. A number of professors were forced out, including literally half of my department. An “expressive activism” policy was enacted, effectively silencing all discussion of LGBTQ+ issues on campus. All action and activism of the previous year was replaced with a dark cloud of silent resignation, and Liv and I became increasingly withdrawn. We went from our apartment to class and back to our apartment. In the midst of all this, my thyroid shut down. I was extremely ill and depressed, and many days I could hardly force myself to get out of bed, but my relationship with Liv continued to flourish. That apartment became our safe place, and we hid away together, cooking meals and binge-watching Netflix (We watched all of Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice while still somehow getting our homework done. Be impressed, y’all.). Still, that pang of sadness and fear came back to us whenever we heard of another incident involving the school, another instance of administrative threats against a student, or another hateful letter or speech by our president, an administrator, or a guest speaker.

13177950_10154113184674400_2912559522147825302_n

Artistic Credit: Rebecca Powell (Thanks again, Bec!)

Graduation 2016 eventually rolled around, and I was so envious of all the people who were officially done with that toxic institution. I still had one more semester left, but as you can read in my last post, I went to San Francisco to finish my practicum. I wanted to badly to be able to “come out” and be honest about our relationship, but I still felt like my status as a student was at risk if the Administration were to somehow find out that I wasn’t straight.

Now, I have completely finished my degree. My final grades have been submitted, and I am officially an alumna of Gordon College. I am now able to be honest about my relationship without fear. And yet, I’m still dealing with shame from my conservative Christian upbringing and (newly named) spiritually abusive church experience as a teenager. I still have a lot of internalized homophobia even though I have done significant research on the various theological positions regarding homosexuality in the Bible. Through our experience at Gordon, Liv (unfortunately) now has a better understanding of why this has been so hard for me, and we’ve been able to work through a lot of this fear and shame together. I am still terrified to tell anyone who I think is a Christian that I’m dating another woman. I still choke on my words whenever I go to say that I have a girlfriend. Thankfully, I have met some incredible people along the way (including Liv) who have shown me it is possible to be queer and a Christian – people who have taught me that Jesus would still hang out with me if He were physically present today.

With regard to my time in San Francisco (and my first time in four years truly away from Gordon), I’d like to give a huge shout-out to Pastor Caiti and Tara, and the rest of the community at Park Presidio United Methodist Church, who welcomed me into their community so readily; to Claire, David, Shelley, Sister Loraine, Ileana, Peter, Trent, and all the other chaplains I worked closely with at Sojourn Chaplaincy, who listened to me as I talked through my own theological reflections; to Kailie, Kaylee, Esther, Meredith, Karen, and the rest of my housemates at the Clunie House; and to all my friends who have stuck by me all these years as I walked through hell and back again.

I feel extremely raw and vulnerable putting this out for public consumption, but this is me owning my story. This is me facing my truth head-on. This is me living Brave.

I can’t wait to breathe again.

15970161_10154843161734400_1654506470_n

***I wish I didn’t have to say this on my post, but please, this is not the place for hatred or vitriol. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Be a decent human. I know you have it in you.***
Advertisements

Stop treating calories like currency.

Your body is not a bank.

Stop treating calories like currency.

You do not need earn them.

You do not need to save them.

You do not need to swap them.

You do not need to count them.

Just stop

The above post, which I first shared on tumblr, was inspired by all of the talk of calorie counts, fear of liquid calories, “saving all of my calories for tonight”, etc.

There is so much more to life than counting calories, reading labels, measuring food, and making calculations, and it makes me sad when I see someone’s entire social media page revolving around the unit of energy that is nourishing your body.

I understand that there can be a time and a place for calorie counting, but even then, it never needs to take over your life.

You are so much more than the number of calories you eat, or the number of pounds you lose in a week.

It’s hard to break out of that habit, I know, but it is possible, and let me tell you it is so worth it.

Food is meant to nourish your body, but it’s also supposed to be enjoyable.

Be aware of what you’re eating, but do not let it consume you.

It takes effort, until it doesn’t

Since I’ve been home and interacting with people who I haven’t seen in quite some time, I’ve been asked all sorts of questions ranging from “Where have you been the last three years?” to “You’ve gained so much weight! How did that happen?” (Talk about tactless and triggering, much? No gracias.)

The question that I’ve been asked most often in conversations where the topic of my recovery comes up is, “Do you believe you can fully recover or is this something you’re going to have to manage forever?”

In the recovery community, it sometimes feels like there are two camps when it comes to the answer to this question. There are those who are fully convinced and have seen evidence that full recovery is, indeed, a very attainable possibility, and then there are those who believe that while symptoms may be eliminated or highly reduced, there will always be little bit of the eating disorder just waiting for you to slip and fall into it’s waiting arms.

(Source: healthyplace.com)

(Source: healthyplace.com)

As for me, I ascribe to the ideology of camp number one. My response is a resounding yes. Yes, I absolutely believe that full recovery is possible. I have met too many recovered individuals to believe that they are the exception to the rule. For me, the notion of continual management of symptoms and hyper-vigilance of watching and preparing for the next relapse fills me with such a deep sense of hopelessness. I don’t want to think that all of my efforts have been for naught – all the meals that I’ve fought through and all the urges I’ve surfed (Sun wave, anyone? Shout out to Ali and Rachael at IOP if you see this.); the endless therapy sessions and the pain of buying clothes to fit my new body that I’m working hard to accept. I need to have an end in sight, and for me, that end is “recovered”.

One huge component to this discussion is the definition of recovery and recovered. Everyone has their own unique definition of recovery. I have thought about this long and hard. I have participated in plenty of group therapy sessions based around this topic. It’s very difficult to fight for something that you cannot even imagine.

When I say that I believe in being fully recovered, I think of life without an eating disorder. What does that mean though? In my mind, it is so much more than weight restoration and the cessation of behaviours. It’s choosing to reach out instead of reaching in. It is to eat more one day and less the next; to have a big brunch without worrying about how it fits in your meal plan. Self-compassion is no longer a treatment buzzword, rather it’s a reality that is lived out on a daily basis. It’s saying no to things that don’t satisfy you, and creating space for things that make you come alive. It’s establishing and maintaining real world relationships that are not wrapped up in the treatment and recovery circles. It is affording yourself the opportunity to make mistakes. I think it means embracing your inherent character traits and using your strengths to your benefit, rather than aiding in your self-destruction. It is living in the space between black and white. It is seeing yourself as a worthy human being, no questions asked. It is having healthy coping mechanisms that have simply turned into ways of life. It is structure and routine in combination with flexibility and relaxation.

Something that we talked a lot about in treatment was how both the eating disorder self and the healthy self come from within each of us, and the process of recovery means that we develop our healthy self so that it’s strong enough to absorb the eating disorder self back into us and take all the energy we spent waging war with our bodies and begin to fight together. What once was fragmented becomes whole.

From everyone I’ve talked to, I’ve learned that there’s no single moment where you realize you’re recovered. Eventually, the day will come when you realize that you’ve been so busy living that you haven’t thought about engaging in behaviours for over a year. There will be moments where you remember…maybe a familiar taste triggers something deep within the recesses of your memory and you thank God that you are no longer that person.

To get there takes work; it takes effort and energy.

Until it doesn’t. 

My pant size is not who I am

Today, I cried in a fitting room for the first time in my entire life.

I cried because the shorts that I tried on didn’t fit me. I cried because my pant size has increased significantly since January. I cried because I was standing in front of the mirror and all I could see was fat – everywhere. I cried because I was allowing that pant size to define who I am as a person. I cried because I felt disgusting, shameful, and ugly.

I bought a few pairs of capris in a size I am still very uncomfortable with and left the store feeling defeated.

The only thing I could think to do was to retreat into my eating disorder. “Once I get smaller again, I’ll feel a bit better. I won’t go too far this time…I’ll still be healthy,” I told myself. Rather than allowing those thoughts to take root, I chose to reach out to my dietitian, Anna, for support. The conversation that ensued allowed me the opportunity to slow down, challenge my distorted thoughts, and reassess my values.

I was reminded that to have a body is a common experience. It is something that every human being can relate to. I was reminded that being in my body as it is now does not have to be an isolating experience. In fact, it is only when I am fully present in my body that I am able to connect deeply with others.

I decided to shift my attitude from one of hatred, to that of gratitude. I made a conscious choice to think of all the amazing things that my body, as it is now – increased pant size and all, has allowed me to do. For example,

  • I have been able to climb the stairs up to where my church meets without feeling tired.
  • I have been able to walk around the pond at school and have a conversation with someone I care for deeply.
  • I have been able to play Dance Dance Revolution in a very old arcade with a dear friend.
  • I have gone on a hike to watch the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen.
  • I swung on the swings with my brother.
  • I held a gigantic eight month old baby for hours.
  • I shot hoops with my friend and sucked at it but had a lot of fun.
  • I went canoeing with that same friend and was able to lift the canoe onto the roof of my car.

Being in this body is less about the body itself, and more about what I am able to accomplish through it. If I were not healthy, I wouldn’t have been able to do some of those things, and if I were able, I wouldn’t have been present to enjoy them.

This canoe was so heavy. Sarah and I took a while to lift it up there, but we did it and it would have been impossible for both of us 6 months ago. Nourishment is a miraculous thing indeed.

This canoe was so heavy. Sarah and I took a while to lift it up there, but we did it and it would have been impossible for both of us 6 months ago. Nourishment is a miraculous thing indeed.

She also shared the following quote with me:

“If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself.

If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself.

Truly, the greatest gift that you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.”

~ Lao Tzu

This quote speaks directly to the things that I value most of all. It reminded me of why I’m fighting for recovery in the first place. It is why I had to get rid of my old clothes and shop for new ones. It is why I am learning to move into uncharted territory and explore what it means to be healthy and present in the world. It is why I said, “This is the end.”

As I wrote a few weeks ago, I want to leave behind my footprints everywhere I go. I want my life to have meaning, to make an impact. I want to be a person who challenges others to think differently, who speaks light into dark places, gives hope to those who feel that they are too far gone. I see injustice and I want to stand against it. I want to be not only a lifelong learner, but I want to give myself space to put my learning into action. I want to not only speak MY truth, but I want to be a platform for others. I want to amplify their voices so that they are heard loud and clear. I want to love boldly and passionately. I want to live a life full of compassion, bravery, vulnerability, flexibility, and sincerity.

If I allow myself to shrink my own world down to the size of an article of clothing, I am doing myself an incredible disservice. I may wear a larger size than I did, but I’m able to accomplish more too. I am full of life now – in a way that I never was before. I have so much to offer this world, and I am not about to throw that all away. (Thank heavens I’ve got so many amazing, supportive people in my life who remind me of this regularly. I don’t know where I’d be without y’all. You know who you are.)

So, today I cried in a fitting room for the first time in my life. I cried out of fear, self-hatred, and disgust. Next time, I won’t cry. I don’t have to like that my clothing size is larger, but I am choosing to accept it. Acceptance has nothing to do with enjoyment.

I commit to actively choosing to carry my values into the fitting room with me along with the clothes, because ultimately those are infinitely more important.

Why does it even matter?

Confession: I’m terrified of what people who only know me on a surface level, or who used to know me but haven’t watched this process of illness and recovery would think of me if they found out I am in recovery from an eating disorder.

Now, I don’t think it’s necessarily something to go around proclaiming to the world. “Look at me! I just got out of treatment for an eating disorder and I’m actually sustaining my recovery (even though i just got out a week ago)!!” There’s a time and a place, and there is wisdom in being cautious, especially with something as personal as this.

However, I also don’t think it’s appropriate that I’m feeling shame about my recovery.

When I was sick, I had less of a problem telling people that I was struggling with an eating disorder. It was more obvious, and it made me feel strong and empowered…as twisted as that is. In recovery, I feel strong and empowered sometimes, but at least right now, I feel physically and emotionally drained. I don’t feel like this is something to be proud of, even though I know it is.

The shame might come from my body. Being home has made my body image so much worse. I look in my bathroom mirror and I see my body as it is, but I remember what it was. It might come from the fact that I miss being sick. I know it’s a common feeling, but who in their right mind would miss that hell? It might come from the knowledge that people won’t see me as someone who needs help. I’m capable of caring for myself now, but I always go back to wanting people to take care of me.

Another part of me feels that if people see me in recovery, but they didn’t know me before, all of the valient effort that I put forth will go to waste. I want people to be proud of my recovery, but I feel like I’ll just be “that girl”.

I don’t really know. It could be a combination of all of those things. The biggest question that I have to ask myself is, “why does it even matter?”

Why does it matter of people don’t see the sickness. Why does it matter if people who don’t know me judge me? Why does it matter if people didn’t see me throughout the treatment process?

What matters now is that I’m here. Using my voice. Speaking my truth. Hoping that one day I’ll stop looking back and romanticizing the illness. I’m in recovery, and I’m really, really proud of myself for that.

Foreign to Familiar

Coming back to a familiar place after a period of significant change is always strange.

It highlights the multitude of differences between what was and what is. A relationship might feel so comfortable, and yet a piece of you knows that it is not right. A place might bring back so many old memories while simultaneously making you want to crawl out of your own skin. Even walking down the street you’ve lived on for years may feel both foreign and familiar.

On the one hand, you are the same human being who was here before. You slept in your bed, walked down your street, interacted with these same people. The routine of everyday life…or in my case, the lack of it…in this world seems to fit like a glove and you fall right back into it. This is what you know, what you’ve always known here.

And then you are hit with the harsh reality, you are not the same. You cannot live the same way. That glove that used to fit perfectly has left you feeling constricted and frustrated. Is it possible to navigate a familiar landscape differently? It must be. I have known countless amounts of people who have been able to do just that, but I am struggling to figure it out.

I am here – laying in my bed (which isn’t actually my bed considering my mother gave it to my brother…still bitter about that one), in my bedroom, in my house, in this neighbourhood, in this city. I went to a grocery store – I remembered things. I went to my church…and realized that maybe I don’t fit there anymore after all. I talked with a friend, and I realized we had very little to connect over anymore.

This discomfort is the evidence that I have been transformed. It is evidence of all the hard work I have done over the last few months. It is clear to me that the self I have brought back to Canada this time around is entirely different than any self I have brought back before.

For me, I think that navigating this familiar landscape differently means pulling out a map and charting new routes to take. It means establishing new connections, creating new memories, and maybe reorganizing ;). I also think that maybe it’s okay to bring a few familiar people along for the ride.

I really do feel like a foreigner in a familiar land. And maybe I’m okay with that.

This is the end.

My own ability to recover might be what terrifies me more than anything else.

 Yes, I’m absolutely terrified of losing relationships. That’s what I go back to time and time again. My eating disorder says that if I get better, I’ll lose my friends, my team, everyone who’s ever loved me. I’ll be alone in the world, and why would I want to get better only the end up in the same place that I started? I’ve had this discussion so many times. The people who love me want to see me well. There will be a shift, a necessary shift, but I will not lose them entirely. People will show up for me as I show up for myself. I say, “This is the end.”

 Then I think of my educational and professional capabilities. I’m able to do better work when I’m not eating. Food is not a distraction because I can pretend it doesn’t exist for an eight hour work day and get so much accomplished. Food doesn’t exist while I’m writing a paper, or I’ll use it as a reward for finishing. When I enter into a period of recovery – even thinking about recovery – my focus shifts. It appears I am not capable of holding both recovery and school/work at the same time. At least, not to the standard I’m used to holding myself to while I’m slowly digging my own grave. I say that I need my eating disorder to succeed in school, and I’ll get better once I’m done and my grades are good enough for grad school. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way because I don’t have the luxury of getting sick to the point of needing treatment again, not really. I’ve never not had an eating disorder and been a student. I don’t know what that’s like. I’m terrified that I’m going to fail. I would rather fail school and be recovered, than be sick and have my PhD though. I know that for sure. I say, “This is the end.”

 I think of my life and all that has happened until this point. I think of the trauma, the lies, the lack of resources. I think of the emotions that I don’t want to feel and the work that I don’t want to do. I think of how overwhelming it is. That’s why I’m scared of getting better. Yes, partly true. But is it really? Am I really afraid of staring my demons in the face and addressing them? I’ve been living with them my whole life…it might be nice to not have them clawing at my back constantly. But, it’s impossible for me to get rid of my eating disorder because how else would I cope with the work that I will have to do? I use the eating disorder to block the pain of the trauma, and I use it to cope with the pain from the recovery. There’s really no winning here. The eating disorder is not an effective method of managing my emotions. I say, “This is the end.”

 I think of my eating disorder as my identity. Of course I’m terrified to give this up. It’s been fourteen years. I don’t know who I am without it. Bull. Shit. I have a pretty solid idea of who I am without the eating disorder…and I actually kind of like the idea of being that person. I am an incredible friend. I am compassionate, intelligent, creative, and loving. I am dedicated, strong willed, and hardworking. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a student. I am human, and I am vulnerable. I’m learning to live authentically, and the eating disorder gets in the way of that. Why would I want to keep something that steals the light from my eyes and the warmth from my heart? I say, “This is the end.”

 And then I think of me. I think of all those things. I think of how much I want to be well, and how hard I’ve fought to get to this place. I think of how I literally feel the eating disorder slipping further and further away…and yet I find myself lunging for its coattails. I need to hold on, even if just a little bit. I need to hold on because I’m afraid to stop fighting against myself. I’m afraid to take all of the effort that I’ve spent to make myself small, unseen and unheard, and instead, make myself known. I’m afraid to walk into a room and make a noise that announces my presence. I say that I want to leave a legacy – to leave behind my footprints everywhere I go – but it’s impossible for me to leave my footprints if I tread so lightly that I don’t make a sound. I’m afraid because I know I can do this. I know that I have this untapped power source in the depths of my being that’s just waiting for me to say, “Yes. This is it. This is the time.” I’m afraid because once I do that, there is no going back. There is no holding on to just a little bit of illness. There is no, “You can be sick at home and healthy at school”. The seductive nature of the eating disorder, the allure of being sick…this is the great illusion. The feelings of safety and security, while once true, are now masks for destruction and defeat. The gentle whispers turned into deafening roars. What a tragedy I couldn’t hear my own self think. The illusion is destroyed when I say, “This is the end.”

Isn’t it funny that the one thing that we spend our whole life running from – the one thing of which we are most afraid – can also be the only thing that saves us?

This is just the beginning.