This time last year I was in LA with my family for Easter. I was a mess, emotionally and mentally distraught. At first I put on my usual performance, pretending everything in my life was great, going according to “the plan.”
Then Easter dinner came around.
I proceeded to chug my wine, while the rest of my family sipped and caught up on life. I ate more lamb than my stomach had room for, then washed it down with two servings of dessert. A few minutes later, I was bent over the toilet in my childhood bathroom, purging the meal we’d all spent hours preparing. The sense of relief from vomiting was mixed with the pain and sadness I felt from knowing that my “food problems” had followed me home. That I was somehow forever tainting my childhood with the stain of my disorder.
Awash in emotion, I brushed my teeth and removed the smudged mascara that had gathered under my eyes. I returned downstairs with the intention of telling no one what I’d done.
But something inside of me had different plans. A part of me that was yearning to be seen and knew I needed help. I pulled my mother aside when we were the only two in the kitchen and confessed. Tears of relief streamed down my face. My mother’s shocked expression as she listened to her youngest daughter confess to her crimes against her own body.
She held me. The two of us shaking from my sobs.
A few days later, I returned to my apartment, my job, my life that felt so distant from what it once was. I visited my therapist one last time and agreed to accept more serious treatment for my burgeoning eating disorder. A week or so later, I was admitted into treatment and six months later, returned to my life.
While I am in a good place right now, all things considered, it’s still so difficult to revisit some of these more excruciating memories. To remember how lost and scared I felt. The shame that dominated my life and dictated every decision. The miles of separation that existed between my emotional consciousness and my day to day actions. I was drowning.
That’s why, today and one year later, I’m forcing myself to remember. It’s a helpful exercise, albeit, painful. But it reminds me of some of the most important lessons I’ve learned.
That asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
That the sense of inclusion I may feel from being a certain jean size, will never again be worth destroying my relationship with my body.
That loving myself at my core, and seeing others in this respect, is the best gift I can give the world.
I hope that in reading this, even if it’s just for today, you can allow yourself a break from self-critical dialogues and instead love yourself for your darkness and your light.