The Quiet Victories

Written by: Emily Blair, Director of Operations

Being able to let go is something that I struggle with daily.  There are so many things I hold onto so tightly.  So tight my knuckles turn white and my hand begins to ache.  And the white color becomes the norm.  I forget the color of my skin and the capability of my fingers as they wrap around the rope that binds me to…well many things.

To the constantly comparison I play between my body and the body of other women.

To the need to always have my apartment completely organized, down to the last pillow.

To the impulse to pick at my skin whenever my hands are free.

To the guilt I feel when I decide not to attend an event one night.

To the dislike of the idea of the passage of time.

To the distress that comes the moment after I make a decision, as a wave of doubt nags at my mind.

To the fear that I will let down or disappoint those I let get close to me, causing me to build up barriers instead.

To the guilt of the toxic relationships I have let into my life.

To the anger I experience when I realize I let insecurity dictate so many of my actions.

To the pain behind the fact that I still have bad days – days where my depression sneaks in and my anxiety paralyzes me.

I could go on and on and on.  Although I do not know for certain, I can imagine that you may hold onto things of a similar nature.  And you know what?  It’s okay because I still hold onto a lot of stuff too.  It’s a daily fight to let go.  You have to slowly pry off each finger that surrounds the circumference of the rope and hope one day that letting go isn’t a fight but embedded within your life.

And learning to let go looks a little different for everyone.  It involves steps.  And those steps are specific to our journey.  For me, they are, at times, baby steps.  For example, the other day, I resisted the urge to flip through an entire cookbook where I had intended to choose which meals I would make my “standard” dinners throughout the week.  At the time, I was considering planning meals all the way up to when I had a family – considering kids!! I know, writing it out even sounds crazy to me.  But this reflects my desire to have every aspect of my life planned out, which to a certain point becomes an unhealthy obsession.  Or in the bigger picture, it shows my desire to have complete control, which I am learning does not exist.  So this tiny step, the moment where I took the cookbook, looked at it, and put it back in its place, was a quiet victory for me.

Why did I share this with you?  This strange moment of me in my kitchen staring at the Betty Crocker quick-prep cookbook fighting an internal battle within my mind?  I share this with you because many times I think we convince ourselves that other people can so easily let go of things in their life and embrace discomfort.  Especially within the age of social media, people can appear to let go of difficult things that impede their recovery, or their life in general, with such ease and grace.  We see people posting photos of embracing their bodies, sharing the miracles of mindfulness in their life, experiencing transformation through yoga, and on and on.  We forget to remind ourselves that the process is messy and most of the times painful.  I can guarantee the individuals behind the social media posts would agree.  The post doesn’t always share the quiet victories those individuals had to overcome to get to where they are.  They don’t show the moments in the kitchen, when the cookbook is placed back on the shelf.

I hope this reminds you that you are not the only one who struggles with letting go of things and that the quiet victories are just as powerful, if not more, than the loud ones.  The quiet victories are a sign that you’re trying.  You’re fighting.  And really, that’s all that matters in the end.

Eclipse

Written by: Morgan Blair, Founder and Creative Director of Unpolished Journey

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We drove a long way. Six hours to be exact. To see it. See the eclipse. Out in the middle of no where, in the line of totality, on the highest point of the Native’s land. We set up camp, got out the hummus, and turned on some Nahko to prepare our minds and spirits.

These moments mean more to me than they might to the average person. I look out at the rolling hills, I feel the blazing sun on my skin, I taste the pita and hummus on my tongue, I hear the music, and everything- I mean everything- is amplified as if coming out of a blaring speaker somewhere off to my right. I know what it is like to be trapped in darkness, to be friend’s with death, to fantasize about fading away. I know darkness, therefore light is overwhelmingly beautiful. It is a sight I always feel I am seeing for the first time. A new friend, a new food, a song, an experience, water, life, love, hope, all these things allow me to fall in love with life all over again.

Lightness, goodness, hopefulness, these are equal to the eclipse. A sight that together the entire nation shared in its wonder. Together we stood up there on that hill under the 90 degree sun, cheering as the day turned night, as the universe took control of our attention, as we, if even for a moment, were not distracted by our differences. Unity. What a sight. The world is a magical place. So many concepts unexplained to us.

I rested on that hill, under the newly night sky, and embraced the dark. I sat in the dark, yet completely encapsulated by the light and magic of the moment.  I used to only recognize the dark, but now I am friends with the light. Now I can feel these experiences with an intensity some may see as unimaginable.  I know death, I know hopelessness, I know despair, and I am so thankful for that because in knowing these things I am able to appreciate their counterparts that much more.

Today is my little cousin’s birthday. He passed away a year and nine months ago. I still don’t know what to do with that loss. But somewhere during the eclipse I felt like I got a glimpse of his beauty once again. He was there. There was a chill in the air, a comforting blanket of hope, and he was the one covering me in it. What a thought? What a sight? What an experience?

I write them down now, these experiences. I don’t want to ever forget all the light I have felt. I don’t want the darkness to win over my mind. I set reminders for myself.

The eclipse.

Andy.

Energy of hope.

Energy of light.

I write these things down, close my notebook, and smile as I express gratitude for being healthy, alive, and hopeful enough to embrace these moments.

Embrace your own moments of light today.

Stay magical,

Morgan

The Illusion of Expectation

Written by: Madeline McCallum, contributing writer and blogger at http://madelinesmusing.blogspot.com/?m=1

I’ve always had a lot of trouble with the concept of “letting go.” That’s probably not particularly
surprising, as giving up control is one of the major pillars in recovery. And I could probably write
multiple books on the intricacies of that process, but that’s not the kind of release I have been thinking of lately.

The struggle that I think goes unmentioned is what happens after you’ve been to battle with control – the kind of darkness that seeps in through the side of the window pane, that makes you shiver even though you are staring straight into the sun. Recovery is so much more than just maintaining a steady ship. I have spent nearly half a decade building up my armor, strengthening my defenses; yet, I still can find myself exposed and alone in the middle of the battleground with no understanding of who I am or how I got there.

I recently ran head on into major life changes, and boy was I unprepared for how triggering that would be. In the midst of extreme stress, I found myself clinging to self-expectation and the dangerous cycle of would/could/should. How do you ground yourself when everything you thought you were, everything you have prepared yourself for, everything you think you should be, has gone out the window?

Pain that I thought I had buried a long time ago was unearthed, and I found myself drowning in an ocean of toxic coping mechanisms. I realized that crushing controlling thoughts in one area probably means that they will figure out how to pop-up in another. In order to deal with a whirlwind of change, I had switched into extreme stockpiling mode – making sure I was correctly positioning myself for the future, ensuring everything (from the daily grocery run to my career objectives) was perfectly calculated and set into motion. Here I was, like an empty wind-up toy, trying to fill myself back up by performing the motions of self-improvement. I was confronted with the notion that letting go is something you must do every day, over and over.

Now, there is something to be said for preparation, but that can easily slide into the realm of all-consuming control. This is where I sometimes get stuck – I know that my genuine self is strong-willed and extremely driven, so how am I supposed to just “let go” and throw all of my cares to the wind? The key is that letting go of rigorous expectations does not mean losing ambition. In fact, in stark contrast, it means grounding deeper in order to channel your authentic goals and desires. This is more difficult – obsessive planning allows you to go on a sort of hyper-drive cruise control in which you become disconnected from where your heart actually wants to go.

My need to control outcomes had morphed into a need to control the set-up, to micro-manage the scene – leaving myself with a false sense that I was then “letting go” as soon as action was called. This begs the question – am I just performing my life? By meticulously regimenting, I am actually removing my own agency. I end up just becoming paralyzed by wanting life to happen all at once, setting up all the spinning plates perfectly but then not being able to keep them all moving at the same speed.

I must let go of obsessive preparation that is based on some internalized metric of who I think I am/should be/could be/will be. Initially, I had to learn how to feel comfortable in my body when I could no longer rely on a skeleton identity. Now, after spending a lot of time becoming incredibly self-aware, I must let go of my own meticulous agenda in order to find balance – knowing my authentic goals but also leaving room for flexibility, for serendipity. To let go of the past, you must also let go of the future.

Right now is all you have, however cliché that may seem. Putting all of that pressure on The Now to dictate outcomes in The Later is unwarranted, not to mention exhausting. We spend so much energy trying to manipulate outcomes and resist what the universe has prepared for us – imagine how much more space our minds would have if they weren’t hypnotized by the siren call of “self-improvement.”

This month, I am focusing my energy on letting go of limiting beliefs.

I am letting go of to-do’s and giving myself the space to be.

Learning to Let Go

Written by: Morgan Blair, Founder and Creative Director of Unpolished Journey

What’s on your mind, causing you constant anxiety, keeping you from reaching your full potential, holding you back in fear, limited your abilities? Whatever it is…

Let that shit go.

It is weighing you down, keeping you from being able to spread your wings and take flight. It is the boulder tied to your balloon keep your feet stuck to the ground. When, you weren’t even meant to be on the ground in the first place.

I think a lot about the image of the butterfly trying to fly while being tied to a boulder. It keeps it low to the ground and exhausted, pulling down and inhibiting the butterfly’s natural born purpose.

We are that butterfly. We let stuff weigh us down all the time. Our past, our anxiety about the future, food, body image, fear, hopelessness. I could go on and on. I know, because I have been there. I have been carrying multiple boulders around with me in a backpack that seems to grow larger with each passing day and, you know what? I’m done. I have decided I am done. I am going to practice what I preach (shout out to Kesha) and let that shit go because it is no longer serving me in any way.

 

In order to experience true freedom in life, we have to first understand what freedom asks of us. Freedom is not something that you just magically wake up one morning possessing. Freedom is a battle. You have to first win, catch, and hold on to it. Freedom requires work and I think that is what people don’t understand. It’s like the saying of “if you wait until you feel motivated you will never start in the first place”.  The same could be said of freedom. If you wait until you’re ready to let things go, to experience release, to live a life apart from fear, then it will never happen. Why? Because, we never feel ready. Readiness is just an abstract construction we have created within our minds to try have a concrete understanding of a concept you can’t possibly tangibly explain. It is a dangerous thing to wait until we are ready for freedom because, in doing so, we may never experience the delicious taste of its blissfulness.

I used to think that recovery was something that eventually would fall into my lap. That one day I would wake up with an intense desire to get better and therefore would never have an urge to use my eating disorder ever again.  I waited years for that day.  I waited through many treatment stays and many relapses, always believing that my recovery epiphany moment would eventually come.

It never did.

I never had one moment where I was like “wow I’m in recovery”. It was a slow crawl towards health. An uphill battle, which I started to climb when climbing was the last thing I wanted to do. My recovery epiphany looked a lot like training. Slow and steady wins the race. It was months in the making. It was hard to even see the progress. But slowly recovery unfolded and suddenly I could look back and see just how far I had come.

I believe the same is true for freedom. Recovery and freedom go hand and hand. So, in order to obtain freedom, I believe the process looks a lot like recovery did and does. It is slow and hard and complicated. Freedom is an uphill climb with a tired back and sore feet. Freedom is starting from where you’re at and trusting the view at the top is better than where you are currently standing. Freedom is pushing and pushing and pushing yourself to do what scares you so that one day you can look back from the mountain’s summit and say, “I did that.” I climbed. I got myself here. I fought for my freedom. Because, there is nothing more satisfying than fighting to become the person you’ve always wished to be.  

If we return to the butterfly metaphor, freedom in the process of cutting those strings. No one is going to come and cut them for you. You have to be willing to do that part yourself. You have to get to a point where you are done carrying around extra shit and are ready to let it goooooooooo.

I don’t know what helped me get to the point of willingness to fight for my freedom, to start cutting the strings connected to my boulders. I think, perhaps, it was simply exhaustion. Exhaustion from fighting so damn hard. It just wasn’t worth it. So I got out my big girl scissors and cut cut cut away all the parts that weren’t serving me anymore. And boy can I fly better and higher than I ever have before. The summit of the mountain climb is near. I can finally see it after all these years of waiting at the basecamp.

It’s there.

It’s real.

I am coming for the amazing views.

Anorexia: Miniature Giants

Anorexia: Miniature Giants: an insider’s attempt to illustrate the complexity of anorexia and how insidious, intricate, and hidden the illness becomes. This short story is used to define what anorexia looks like.

The city was vast, expanding beyond what the eye could envision.  Its buildings were elaborate covered in etched stone, turrets, glass mosaics, and pediments. The streets were laden with gold and the lights guiding these pathways were ten-foot-tall barrel torches whose diameter expanded nearly five feet.  The torches became campfires illuminated above the heads of any passerby.  The city was majestic and magical, having the appearance of a world built for a movie’s screen.  This city was Guardia.

But as with any beautiful thing, there were some not so attractive aspects of Guardia.  Like the fact that Guardia seemed to be suspended in this perpetual silence.  A silence so deafening it was loud.  A silence so encapsulating it was suffocating. It left any passerby with a crushing sensation on his or her chest because the air held tangible, solid, heavy weight that with each step fell down with more intensity on his or her shoulders. The silence stemmed from the lack of activity.  More so than silence, the city was frozen in the moments it was built patiently awaiting the day when breath would enter the buildings’ halls or the golden streets. But nothing had come.  Silent, frozen abyss of beauty with no one around to experience it.

No one is an overstatement because there are three persons who reside in Guardia.  Daisy the designer, Bambi the builder, and Mikey the maintainer. As one could have guessed, Daisy designs the next additions for Guardia, Bambi builds them, and Mikey maintains their perfection.  The process takes years, but Daisy, Bambi, and Mikey’s lack of additional commitments leaves them without any time constraints. Every day, every moment, every breath of theirs supports their role in the construction of Guardia. A never ending project with a never ending list of goals to achieve.

Daisy, Bambi, and Mikey live in the far east corner of Guardia in three small townhomes lined up next to one another.  Mikey thought it best to live on the outskirts, in the hills, in the dark streets where torches have yet to be laid so as to not interfere with the perfection of Guardia.  And so the townhomes are dry and boring with no pediments or mosaics, just three brick boxes lined up next to one another so that when the day comes that Guardia has expanded to these east hills there would be no problems tearing down the townhomes to make room for the next addition of Guardia’s majestic streets.

Where the resources for Guardia come from is a mystery whose answers lie nestled in the center of the golden streets in a building called Central Station.  Except it isn’t a station at all, but rather a massive silver tube where the endless mounds of supplies come pouring out.  Marble slabs for building facades and colored glass for mosaics, gold leaf for the streets and chisels to etch the stone, all flood from the massive silver tube in the center of a dome in the center of Central Station in the center of Guardia.  The mystery of this lies both in the Giver and their location.  Because this massive silver tube that spits the resources to keep the city ever expanding and suspended has no starting point.  Meaning, when Daisy or Bambi or Mikey walk outside of Central Station and look up into the sky the tube does not expand upwards, but instead cuts off at the roof.  The only thing understood about this tube is its destination and the continuous mystery of contents being poured into Daisy, Bambi, and Mikey’s work.

As time went on, the resources purged from the tube exponentially grew.  More and more times throughout the day it emptied into Central Station.  At first, Daisy, Bambi, and Mikey were flattered by the tube’s increased activity, taking it as a compliment from the Giver saying “you are doing such wonderful work. I think you can handle even larger tasks”.  But as the tube continued to empty and the contents continued to grow, Daisy, Bambi, and Mikey became more and more aware of their inability to keep up.  They didn’t have enough hours in the day, enough energy in their bodies, or enough hands to use up all of the tube’s resources each day.  And so, Daisy designed a dump next to their townhomes in the east hills on the outskirts of the city.  The dump was a place to store, discard, and set aside excess resources at the end of the day.  It seemed a brilliant plan and a simple solution to the tube problem.

Except, the tube’s purging continued to increase and so the dump continued to grow.  Larger and larger became the mound next to the townhouses until it not only swallowed up Daisy, Bambi, and Mikey’s homes, but began leaking down the hills into the frozen abyss of Guardia.   For the first time, the silent seal surrounding Guardia was broken and a stench buzzing with the noise of overproduction echoed through the golden streets. Time started moving again as the excess glass and marble and gold leaf interacted with the ageless illusion of Guardia’s buildings. Quickly, the dump overtook the entire city and even when the tube in Central Station dropped off the resources for the day, neither Daisy, nor Bambi, nor Mikey could reach them, blocked off by the piles and piles of garbage filling the once pristinely golden streets.

There was nothing left for the three of them to do, but also there was no where for them to go. They had forgotten what life looked like before Guardia, before the endless cycle of designing, building, and maintaining.  None of them could remember if there were other cities out there and, if so, how would they manage to find them? Guardia expanded in every direction to every horizon.  As far as they knew, this was it.  Guardia, the tube, their jobs, and now the dump.  And so, Daisy, Bambi, and Mikey wandered each in separate directions deep into Guardia’s streets only to become buried between the piles of garbage and the mystery of otherness.

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Eliza was young and beautiful.  Her soul leaked from her eyes and ears a bluish green color onto every person that she came in contact with, the color of peace, healing, and tranquility. A “radiant spirit” her fiancé called it and “that is why I fell in love with you”.  Eliza’s hair was long and golden and when she would run through the field behind her and her fiancé’s home towards the lake, it would bounce up and down in stunning ringlets that made even the most cynical heart skip. Eliza was always laughing with her students when she was teaching the second grade, always singing the loudest when she was participating in the church choir on the weekends, always running up and down the stairs into her craft room to grab ribbons to tie in her hair.  She was a real life princess who created for herself a persona of peace and ease.  She was self made, self taught, and everyone knew it.  Because, an energy like Eliza’s was unnaturally alluring.  Not a cloud existed in her world and, for that reason, everyone seemed to want to be a part of it.

The students in Eliza’s class would brag in the halls to the other second graders of their fortune and on teacher appreciation day Eliza was showered with chocolates, flowers, and gift cards while the other teachers were only given a card or an apple.

Eliza’s fiancé had fallen in love with her over her fascination with water. She would run along the trail surrounding the lake and one day locked herself out of her car.  She didn’t have her phone and asked him to borrow his.  And, he felt he was the luckiest man in the world to have had a reason to start a conversation with her.

They were going to be married in the fall and bought the little bungalow on the lake last month to celebrate.  The sounds of the water splashing against the rocky shore were especially pronounced during the night when everything fell silent and Eliza and her fiancé sat on their porch staring into the darkness. It was in these hours of reflection that the mystery of Eliza came into question.  Her fiancé would stare at her profile from the corner of his eye and attempt to conceptualize what she was thinking about, but no matter how much he excavated his imaginative mind he could not come up with an answer. The issue lied in this humble truth.  Eliza’s life was simple, but she was vastly complex beyond what anyone knew.

As the years passed, Eliza began aging and shedding. Her white, perfect skin started to peel from her arms, legs, and face. Her, now, husband started finding these skins in the trash or clogging the bathroom drain and became increasingly concerned.  The Eliza that he knew was not the Eliza running around the lake or sitting next to him on the porch at night. Her golden hair faded to a mousy brown and her blue eyes dulled to a pale grey.  Eliza no longer wore ribbons in her hair or sung in the choir.  She still taught but getting to school every day was a chore and a bother.  There was no laughter in the classroom and the students had started wishing they had been placed with the other second grade teacher.

“Eliza, tell me what is wrong?” her fiancé begged one evening as they sat together on the couch.

Eliza’s head was resting on his lap as she peered up at him with her grey eyes.  She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out.

“Eliza, please” her fiancé whispered.

“There is something wrong.  I just don’t know what.”

The next morning, Eliza’s fiancé drove her from their small little bungalow on the lake downtown to see a doctor.  Silence filled the car ride and annoyance pledged the space between their chairs in the waiting room.  The ticking of the clock on the stark white wall marked the unraveling of both their sanities.  How had they come to this place, both their minds recounted with each tick of the clock’s hand?

The doctor came into the room where Eliza was perched atop the paper on the table and her fiancé was seated in the corner.

“What is it, doctor? What is wrong with her?” the fiancé begged, staring into his clenched fists believing that looking into Eliza’s grey eyes one more time would suck out what little life either of them had left.

The doctor walked over and stood directly in front of Eliza, peering intensely into her eyes.  Eliza breathed deeply and with the exhale heard the doctor say with conviction.

“There is a city being built in your gut, Eliza.”

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Commentary

I have decided to add at the end of the short stories a brief explanation of how the story relates to the mental illness it was written to portray. For those of you who enjoy figuring out for yourself the metaphor I have created and connected with the characters/plot in a more personal way, this commentary is not for you and should be disregarded.  But for those of you who are a little confused or simply curious about my thoughts surrounding the creation of the stories this section will be beneficial.

In writing “Anorexia: Miniature Giants”, I was thinking about the complexity of the disease and how insidious, intricate, and hidden the illness becomes. So much so, that unless you or someone extremely close to you has personally struggled with the illness, it is nearly impossible to understand.  I took my own personal experience and tried to envision a metaphor that would accurately depict what the struggle felt like.  That is where I landed on the idea of a city being built inside a gut.

The story begins with a picture of a fictional, majestic, otherworldly city called Guardia.  This space works to symbolize the control and perfectionism that aid in the development of anorexia.  The illness doesn’t start off insidiously, but instead presents itself as a wonderful lifestyle choice, acceptable by society and complimented by friends and family. “You look so good.” “You have so much self-control.” “Have you lost weight? You look great. What is your secret.”  All were comments that would fly my way each time that the illness began to take hold.  The praise I received from my behaviors symbolically refers to the etching of the stones and laying of the golden streets of Guardia.  The illness felt like I was building a city.  There was a formula for it, a science, and always room for expansion.

The silver tube in the center of Guardia is meant to represent the illness itself. It is that tube that is anorexia, the gene, the brain chemistry, and neurological pathways that cannot be turned off.  The tube is just there, spitting out all of the supplies needed to build the anorexic a city.  So what else was I suppose to do with marble and gold and chisels my mind was giving me, but sit down and start building? The thing is I didn’t think to question the tube in the same way that Daisy, Bambi, and Mikey never tried to figure out who the Giver of the supplies were.  It was just always there, demanding that I continue to use up its supplies.

At the point where the tube starts to exponentially grow in its contents is the point in my anorexia journey that I started to lose control.  It was the point where the restricting of my food and the hours at the gym and the layers upon layers of clothes were not a result of the careful intention of planning the beautiful Guardia.  This was the point when of excess garbage being piled around the illusion of perfection was the result of the tube, or anorexia, being more powerful than I was.

In the story there was only three residents meant to discharge all of the resources the tube purged.  But when, by the end of the story, they needed nothing short of an army to organize and use all the tube was throwing out at them.  Anorexia is the same.  It starts as a methodical beautiful city frozen in an illusion of perfection and then it all becomes buried in garbage as the illness becomes greedy, sending too many demands your way.  “Loose more, run more, do more,” it says.

It is no wonder the character Eliza started to fall apart because Eliza is the one holding this city inside of her.  The city is unable to be seen by her husband or her class, but it has been in the making for years and years.  Eliza was even unaware of the residents Daisy, Bambi, and Mikey living inside of her.  Who, by the way, are meant to represent different anorexia behaviors such as restriction, over exercising, and diet pills abuse.  It wasn’t until the city was piled in garbage that she and everyone else started to question that something was wrong, which was a theme in my journey as it is with so many others.  The illness goes undetected because it is unable to be seen.

The last element of the story that I feel as though needs to be explained is the part where Eliza’s skin starts shedding.  Though it borders on self explanatory, I do think there is something to be said about the fact that it is her actual skin that is peeling off.  This isn’t me saying that Eliza was wearing a costume and faking her happiness and free-spirited energy to her husband and class.  This is me saying that as Guardia fell apart inside of her gut, her own self started to fall away with it.  Anorexia took me far far away, swallowing my entire identity. I, like Eliza, lost every layer of my authentic skin.

Let that Shit Go

Written by: Gracie Mayer, contributing writer and Facebook manager of Unpolished Journey

Written for August’s monthly intention of Letting Go.

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In my early recovery I remember having a transformative conversation with one of my friends.  I told her, “I have been praying and praying that God will take my eating disorder from me.”  Her reply was earth-shattering, and brilliant, and infuriating and one of the deepest truths I have ever heard.  She said, “God can’t take something from you if you are still gripping it as tight as you can.”

She was right.

I was begging God to free me from my eating disorder.  I wanted freedom, relief and a return to normalcy around food and eating.  I was begging God to take my eating disorder from me without doing the work of actually letting it go.  I still wake up every day and make a conscious effort to let it go–to loosen my grip and to turn it over to a higher power.  But more and more each day I have such gratitude for my eating disorder because it has strengthened my ability to let go, my unwavering belief that this too shall pass and my constant journey to embrace change.

There are so many categories of letting go.  I have had to let go of people because they let go of me.  I have had to let go of behaviors that didn’t serve me.  I have had to let go of thoughts that diminish my worth and convince me I am unloveable.  I have had to let go of the expectations for how I thought things or my life would be.  I have had to let go of the need to control and predict every step in my journey.

But with all of the things I have let go–there are so many things that I have gained.  I have gained improved relationships with many of my friends, learning to focus on loving without expectations or conditions.  I have gained new activities and behaviors like yoga and daily meditation that serve me and nourish me.  I have gained new patterns of thinking that affirm my worth and empower my goals. I have gained a beautiful perspective that allows me to embrace the alternative routes, detours and scenic routes I have taken in my life.  I have gained gratefulness and an ability to lean into the unknown with excitement and hope instead of dread and anxiety.

I am constantly learning, and every step is part of the process–the process of learning to love and let go, the process of learning how to breath and begin a new journey by letting go of the past, the process of remembering to not sweat the small stuff and let go of the trivial day to day mistakes that don’t matter.

I began to notice that the pain I feared in letting go was soothed by abundance that filled my life when I finally did start letting go.  Sometimes we have to let go in order to clear space for the new adventures, growth and relationships.  When we empty ourselves of everything that does not serve us, does not bring us joy and does not align with our life’s higher purpose we allow ourself the space to invite in new opportunities and transformation.

To recover I must transform.

To transform I must let go.

Here I Find Myself 

So here I find myself sitting in a coffee shop in LA, confused on how I got here. Not how, but more like when. When did I become healthy enough to travel without restriction, to eat what I want at breakfast, to go a weekend without exercise? When did this girl, this healthy, full of life, girl in the mirror, become me? 

The answer is not absolute. There wasn’t one moment, but a series of awakenings that lead to the human I have become. A series of falling flat on my face, only to get back up, and venture forward still. I am not who I thought I would be a year ago. I am better. Newer. Fresher. Stronger. 

Life teaches us about moments. Life teaches us about breath. Life teaches us that moments + breath = living. We are living whether we realize it or not. 

I find myself frequently at crossroads. Choose light or dark, left or right, soy or almond. What I choose may seem insignificant in the moment, but I know is monumental in the moments ahead. 

Who am I but a series of these awakenings? These moments where I find myself, noticing myself. It’s like meeting someone for the first time. 

“Hi, how are you? I don’t believe we’ve met before.”

The mirror tells the story of the new person I fight each day to become.