Perhaps, like me, you have done the work. A lot of work. Because fighting for recovery from an eating disorder takes just that: WORK.
Work to push past boundaries your eating disordered locked you into. And work to push past fears and limiting beliefs. It takes work to show up and take in what your treatment team offers you, day after day.
Work to feel the fear and do it anyway. Work to go out into the world. To battle the disordered thoughts screaming in your head. Work to avoid weighing yourself. Or to challenge the insanity in your head after you give in and weigh yourself.
Work to fight the demons in your head that lie and say you aren’t good enough. The ones that say you don’t deserve to eat. And even the work to go through your clothes time and time again and say goodbye to that which no longer fits you. That which no longer fits your life.
I have done the work
There are days I don’t even want to think about it anymore. I have done so much work that my life is larger than it was just weeks ago. So much work that I don’t even recognize myself at times.
The work broadened my life in ways I never expected. It has expanded my relationships, my days, my interests, my energies, my ideas, my creativity, my love, and my life. In all directions.
Yet, it’s not over…
It is also so much work that sometimes I forget I still have more to do. Because even though I have gone through SO many clothes and let them go (if you don’t believe me, check out some of my earlier articles about jeans) I am not finished.
I was recently reminded of this as I attempted to get ready for a very special, very fancy, important evening. I dug into the deepest darkest part of my closet in search of something appropriate to wear.
There I found, in a black dress bag, my fanciest dresses. I had saved them because they are from important events. One from my engagement party. Another from the rehearsal dinner. One from my honeymoon. I haven’t had the need to take them out of the bag in over a year because as a stay at home mom, I just don’t dress up that often.
And as I tried them on, one by one, I felt the familiar feeling of panic creeping up from my stomach and into my throat.
And I realized something amazing
I realized, in that moment, that I am too big for them because MY LIFE is too big for them.
Today I am so much more than someone who neglected her own needs in attempt to fit into a certain size.
I am so much more than the person who counted, calculated, and felt shame on an hourly basis. Now I am more. My life is more. And thankfully, I have done the work to know that at this very moment I have a choice.
I choose to focus on the life I am creating right now. By focusing on love, life, and connection, I have a life that is full and big and real.
It may mean that I no longer fit into those dresses… but it also means I no longer have to live life imprisoned by an eating disorder.
That life was suffocating, shrinking, exhausting, isolated, and miserable. Instead, I choose a life that is FULL and LARGE and simply too BIG for those small dresses.
This life that is so full of vitality, connection, community, laughyer, joy, and love. It could never be contained in those tiny little dresses.
As I zipped the bag up and refused to continue trying on dresses that no longer fit, I felt a sense of wonder. Because I realized that either way it takes effort.
It takes an enormous amount of work to fit into those tiny dresses…. but the result is a tiny life. It also takes an enormous amount of work to expand your life… but with it you get so much more.
Choose the fuller life warriors. It is what we are all here for. And it is worth every bit of the work.