Thursday, May 27, 2010

part II- legitimizing my health.

after i talked about legitimizing my disorder, i thought it would only make sense to talk about legitimizing my health and recovery as well.

actually i didn't think that at all.

I was just watching some morning TV (i'm just as bewildered as you are as to why i seem to do my best sewing to the tune of cheesy morning news shows) and on came a dear little girl (she's 18 now) whom i'd had in my cabin when i used to work camp in the summers.

she's now writing original music and doing shows all over the place and apparently putting out an EP in the near future. I remember her being completely adorable as a younger girl, and she's grown up into a radiant young woman- absolutely beautiful.

before my temporal lobe could even process the sound of her music, i was already comparing the size of her arms to mine.

So she's a totally healthy girl...not super thin at all...but still beautiful. and i mean i would guess my arms look about like hers...unless the camera is making her look bigger than she is...but regardless...she's healthy and radiant beautiful so maybe that means that it's okay that i'm healthy too...if she can be normal-sized and still attractive, then maybe so can i...

and so went my "if she can, then so can i" thought train for the ga-zillionth time.

i used to think that these thoughts were okay- healthy even- and to a certain extent i think that they were and maybe still are.

there's a point in the recovery process that all you can do is grasp for what works and hang on. if you're a fellow struggler you know what i'm talking about--and maybe right now that's where you are- grasping away- and that's fine! It was at this point, when i still had weight to gain and i wasn't even convinced that recovery was for me, that i looked to healthy celebrities, friends, and role models to make myself feel that maybe "health" wasn't so repulsive after all...that maybe i could still be successful and beautiful, "just like (rachel mcadams was a big one for me)".

i'm thankful i thought that way. really. because looking back to the chaotic blur of the beginnings of my recovery i liken where i was to a war trench--there was no time to decide whether or not i was choosing the best or most effective ammunition. it was an intense battle against an enemy that required quick and constant artillery, and google-imaging rachel mcadams or zooey deschanel (wow that sounds creepy) was often just that.

Although there are days when i find myself right back in those trenches, i like to think that i'm now in a bit less heated of a battle that allows for more strategizing and even a moment to breathe now and then (fellow strugglers- if this calmer state of recovery sounds like a place you'll never reach, keep fighting, even when you don't want to, i promise you'll get out of the trenches eventually).

but it's here in a quiet morning moment of deep breath and calm thoughts that i've come to realize this:

my former camper on TV this morning was in the midst of doing what she was created to do- making music. This could be far too romantic of me, but have you noticed that it's when people are in their true element, when they're doing the thing they're best at, that their beauty reaches its full and most radiant potential?

to me at least, it always seems to be true.

unless what you're best at is disordered eating.

i'm thankful for the healthy examples that got (and sometimes still get) me through the trenches. truly thankful. but i think that the reason these people stood out to me had a lot less to do with their physical beauty and state of health than i'd originally thought. Don't get me wrong- health is essential to beauty, but i think that true, undeniable beauty comes from the passionate pursuit of whatever it is one is meant to do.

in other words, i don't want health to be okay for me because it looks good on someone else. although there was a time that such thoughts were my saving grace, it's time i started taking advantage of my newfound health and pursuing some passions, rather than gleaning off the passion on someone's face to legitimize my health. after all, we don't follow meal plans and snacks for sake of achieving health itself; we first achieve health so we can then achieve life. and like i said, with true life and passion comes true beauty.

here's to life and all its beauty. for everyone.



  1. I feel honored to watch your recovery unfold. This post speaks volumes to the work you've done over the past half-year since we met. Seeing the shift (albeit on screen, though I know it exists in person too) brings happy tears to my eyes. Love and miss you!