I carry with me the fear that I am no longer me. I carry with me the hope that I will never fully recover because the idea of no longer being the skinny girl, the “on top of it” girl, the stand out girl, makes me feel invalid.
People tell me that I am so good at managing my time…I stay on top of everything that comes at me and they don’t understand why or how I could do this. But what they don’t know is that the reason I am so good at this is that I am perpetually bored and am missing a piece of me that used to take up a significant amount of time. I used to count calories, write and rewrite my meals and calorie intake, rationalizing how much I needed to eat or could get by without, for hours each day. And when I couldn’t keep up with my schedule, I spent hours binging and purging over the toilet - throat burning, stomach screaming, back aching and feeling worthless. I used to manage all of that while still upholding a sense of "outward perfection" to the world. Now, as I move farther and farther away from that life, the time I have to achieve my true desires gives me the luxury of being able to accomplish a lot in what seems like a short period of time.
I miss when people would talk about how I disappear when I turn sideways. I get happy when people talk about the ridiculousness of being a size zero, saying how thin it is and I secretly know that that is me.
People respond with support and love when they hear I am in recovery from an eating disorder but they will never truly know me or what I have experienced. They don’t understand just how significant it is that I can try a free sample without desperately trying to figure out how many calories were in it to know how to rework my plan for the day to be sure I still met my goals. And the scary part is that they don’t really want to know, which makes it easier to keep hiding those parts of me.
To be honest, people didn’t even know when I had a problem until they could see it outwardly but rather than being worried, they reinforced it inadvertently by telling me how great I looked or people giving me increased attention when I went out in public and comments such as “I wish I could look like you!”. But they never knew how much pain I was in. My value was and oftentimes still is determined by my appearance - how much skin can I grip in my hand, what does the mirror show, what truths do my clothes tell.
I work every day to fight against the unbelievable and ridiculous expectations placed on people in order to feel beautiful and yet I still am held down by their grips every day. What a hypocrite I am sometimes and yet, the insidious of ED makes it so that the secret is still exciting. I have a journey yet to go but the strides I have made have helped me rise up to the voice of ED and say that I care more about living than I do being perfect. And don’t get me wrong, there are days that isn’t true and I fall victim to EDs sweet love. But each day, it is getting easier to shred the secrecy and say that today I will stand in the light.