Thanks to a conversation with my mom, I went to bed in tears last night.
Of course, those who suffer from eating disorders may not be entirely unaccustomed to crying – or at least to the frustration, hurt, and hopelessness that often to trigger it – but this was different.
Last night’s dispute wasn’t about how many exercise classes I should be allowed to attend or whether my breakfast really satisfied my meal plan. It wasn’t about whether I would eat the dinner prepared for me or demand something else.
Instead, it was about politics. Current events. The argument itself was particularly painful for a girl who considers her mother to be her best friend. But even so, as I climbed into bed I felt almost… relieved.
A new kind of tears
See, I wasn’t crying because I had eaten the whole jar of peanut butter in one sitting (which, incidentally, is 100% normal in recovery) or because my stomach is rapidly expanding as I refeed.
No, I wasn’t crying because I was embroiled in a personal debate over which entree to order or because I was panicking after having sat sedentary all day.
For the first time in months I was crying for a reason that wasn’t fueled by my anorexia. Instead, it was fueled by my own personal opinions and beliefs.
Who knew I even had those anymore?
Recovery can be messy and emotional and painful and hard. Life can be messy and emotional and painful and hard.
But it can also be beautiful; full of love and energy and excitement and passion. But you can only rediscover that after scraping away every last residue of the disorder that has replaced you.
You can find yourself again- once you get rid of your eating disorder.
You can find your joy, your despair, your laughter, your tears. But when you find that despair, those tears, you are crying not because you are sick but because you have allowed yourself to care about something.
You have allowed yourself to live.