Today, I found myself bombarded with my ED thoughts after trying on a pair of jeans from pre-recovery. When they didn’t fit, I immediately felt angry at my body. My eating disorder voice was quick to tell me what behaviors I could use so as not to be so “disgusting.”
As I sat and tried to reframe these thoughts instead of using behaviors, I was struck by the fact that my body really is a part of my recovery story – in fact, it tells its own story.
I have scars on my body from surgeries from past trauma. These scars are outward signs of an inward journey of healing, bravery, and strength. Although I look at these scars and think of the pain they have caused, I can also see the strength and growth they signify.
I have stretch marks on my body, and culture has told me that this makes me disgusting. The truth is, I have stretch marks on my body because I have had the gift of being able to dance. My body can do amazing things – and that required my skin to stretch a bit. I have stretch marks because of recovery and because I am no longer dying.
Rather than looking at these stretch marks and despising them, I can start seeing the story of resiliency they tell.
I am a different size and weight than I was a year ago. Although I might think this makes me unloveable and ugly, the truth is that this is me LIVING. I am not defined by a number, and my worth cannot be measured. Rather than the changes in my body leading me to want my old body back, I can choose to start seeing the story of freedom and bravery my body tells.
Sure, I do not wear the same size of jeans as I used to, but that’s because I have gained.
I have gained life.
And I have gained laughter. I have gained freedom. Those old jeans just can’t contain the life I have gained because of recovery.
So, body, I am sorry.
I am sorry for being at war with you for so long. You’ve always been a part of me. You help to tell my story.
It’s not a story I ever wanted you to tell, but it’s my story. You’re not “perfect”, but neither am I. And that’s okay.
Even if it’s hard for me to see you as beautiful, I will try.
I will try to remember the beautiful story you tell – a story of healing, grace, bravery, and strength.