Image: @perrygohAn eating disorder has been a part of my life in some shape or form for over 26 years. I have only recently started sharing my struggles and triumphs. A huge step forward into gaining my life back has been the acceptance that having an eating disorder is not something to be ashamed of.
In treatment, I experienced an almost magical transformation that happened when I opened up in a group setting with others who were fighting similar demons. However, in my personal life I have been very guarded about my battle. Only occasionally have I shared parts of my journey with others.
A month ago, I took what I consider a leap forward on the path of accepting myself and living a full healthy vibrant life when I submitted an article to Recovery Warriors.
I hoped it would be freeing, healing, and maybe even help someone else. The article was about getting rid of those damned jeans that no longer fit. The irony is, that at the time the article went “live” the very jeans that inspired it were STILL sitting in a garbage bag in my basement.
Yet, the pile of cloths grows
I had every intention of getting rid of those jeans after I wrote the article. But as the weather warmed up, I discovered one by one, that all of my shorts, capris, and skirts no longer fit me. You see, finally in REAL recovery, my body is finding it’s set point. My old clothes no longer fit. So, I piled up more and more clothing.
Suddenly, instead of a pair of jeans screaming at me, I had an overflowing bag of clothing screaming at me. I knew the healthy action would be to give them away. Yet, they continued to sit in my basement.
Until, at some point, I moved them to the garage. I told myself I had made progress; they were no longer yelling at me from my bedroom. But I still saw them, every day, as I walked to and from my car. I told myself I would take them to Goodwill…tomorrow. But still, in the garage they sat.
More than coincidence
However, almost immediately after the article was shared on Recovery Warriors, some incredible things happened. Events that in my opinion cannot be explained by coincidence.
You see, the very night I realized my article was “live”, as I wondered if I had made a mistake sharing my story, a nearby single mother’s home went up in flames. I did not know this woman personally, but the next morning, as I read about the size clothing she and her daughters were in need of, I was overcome with emotion.
The sizes of clothing they were asking for were the exact sizes I had sitting in my basement.
I had spent months ruminating about the clothing that no longer fit me, and yet this family lost everything they owned in one night. The feelings overwhelming me were more than just those of perspective. I know I am blessed. I have a husband, children, a home, and we are healthy. This event touched me deep down inside of my core.That morning a very curious chain of events was set into motion.
Re-write the narrative
There are lessons waiting for me to learn at every turn of my life. I had known that keeping that bag of clothing was not good for me. It only fed the secret desire I have to some day fit back into them. But what had never occurred to me for even a second was that some one else might need these clothing. That even though these clothes were no longer good for me, they could actually HELP someone else. By holding onto these clothing, I was keeping them from doing just that.
It dawned on me that I have a choice to re-write the narrative of my life in my head.
I am not getting rid of these clothing because I am now too fat to wear them.
By giving them to someone who needs them desperately I am helping someone else. The realization that as long as I am stuck in disordered thoughts, I can not help others was TOO obvious to ignore.
So, by giving away clothing that no longer fit me, I not only opened up space in my closet. But I created room in my life to reach out, connect with, and help other people. Which is what I believe we are really on this earth to do anyway.
Before, I believed deep down that giving away those clothing symbolized the ending of something. And while I want to be free of this eating disorder, the disordered thoughts continued to haunt me. But it was not until after I actually got rid of the clothing that I realized it was not an ending. It was actually a beginning.