STOP! Close your eyes, take a deep breath. In slowly through your nose and out slowly through your mouth. What do you see? What do you feel? Is it excitement? Adrenaline almost? Maybe a little anxiety? Fear? Happiness? Maybe a little bit of all of them? Are you picturing the greatest version of yourself? The one that is living in complete authenticity? Do you see yourself living the living the life you have always wanted? What are you doing? Is it playing in front of you like a movie? You want to just reach out and touch it. It feels so real. It feels so right. You really want to reach out and grab it. What’s stopping you? Are you running? Are you hiding? Are you playing small? What is it that is holding you back from your GREATNESS? What is the story that keeps replaying in your mind? The one that you were told as a child, “you should do, be, want, reach for.” These stories that play over and over again. What is your story? Now tell me this, is it YOUR story? Or is it what you’ve been told? By good intended parents, friends, partners? Or ill intended? I am asking you again, what is YOUR story? What is holding you back from stepping into your GREATNESS? We have been told so many stories, it’s hard to know our own hearts. We run all day, chasing things that don’t satisfy us. Staying in relationships that don’t fulfill us. Going after the wrong partner because somehow the familiarity comforts us. Constantly pleasing so we feel “good enough.” Telling ourselves that this ok, it will be ok. I invite you to re-examine, turn inward. Place your hand on your heart. Stop playing small. Listen to your inner being, the one that is trying to come out and help you live your life’s purpose. The only way to step into your GREATNESS is to let go and allow. Let go of the old stories. They are merely cassette tapes in our minds that we have on replay. It’s time. It’s time to push the stop button on those tapes. The time to take your power back is now. Only you can do it. No one is coming to save you. Letting go of those old stories and stepping into our GREATNESS can feel completely overwhelming, scary, maybe even frightening. But when you do something that scares you, that is when your growth occurs. We can’t grow if we are playing small. There is no growth in staying in a place that does not fill your cup. What are you being called to do? Who needs to see and feel your light? The only thing that banishes the darkness is the light. Shine your light. Reach out into your GREATNESS. Create a new story, you hold the pen. You weren’t put here to exist. You are destined for GREATNESS. Show the world what you’re made of, Shine your light, Share your GREATNESS!
What do you think of when you hear the word “Surrender”? Close your eyes, what do you feel? Do you feel like giving up? Do you feel that you are feel weak? Do you feel that you have failed? Is there a situation, circumstance, person, place or idea that comes up? Just feel it, let it sink in. I know the idea of sitting with our thoughts, feelings and emotions can sometimes feel overwhelming, suffocating and completely uncomfortable. These feelings, thoughts, emotions do not define us. They are passing through us. Here to teach us and help us grow. Just recognize them, allow them to come up, feel what you need to feel without judgement.
Surrender is not giving up. I invite you to think of surrender as a gift. The gift of trusting in a power far greater than your own. An inner knowing that you are being guided. I invite you to surrender and allow what is inside of you emerge. Don’t run away from what you are becoming. Instead, stop, breathe, trust and allow. Listen to your inner knowing. Surrender to what is trying to emerge within you. You are not your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Ask yourself instead, what good is present that you can not yet see? Change your perspective, see this moment through the eyes of greatness. That greatness is you. It is inside of you waiting to come out. The world needs your greatness…..
“If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies, how very different our ideals of beauty would be”
I cry myself to sleep at night. I don’t cry for him… It’s her that I miss. She trusted without question an loved without reservation. She was open and alive, soooo alive. But not anymore. It was not quick and painless. It was agonizing and merciless…. Slowly poisoned by the man she loved and trusted. Poisoned by his words and his silence. Poisoned by his anger and his rage. She was dying, so slowly that she didn’t even realize she was dying. Withering away until she was no more, taken by an evil she couldn’t comprehend. And I am all that is left, a shell, empty and haunted. I wear her clothes, speak with her voice and smile with her smile. I do this so no one will know she’s gone. But I know and I miss her everyday. That woman, she used to be me.
We have all had to learn painful lessons. We are all recovering from some mistake, loss, betrayal, abuse, injustice or misfortune. All of life is a process of recovery that never ends. We each must find ways to accept and move through pain and to pick ourselves back up. For each pang of grief, depression, despair there is an inverse toward renewal coming to you in time. Each tragedy is an announcement that some good will indeed come in time. Be patient with yourself
The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live only as you can.
Embarking on the Road to Restoration
Standing in the shower the other day, I had a breakdown of all breakdowns. The water did a good job at disguising my tears. It didn’t come out in a scream. It was a silent cry followed by intense prayer. I completely bared my soul. I let it all out. What sparked this all? I did something that I had not done in some time after scrutinizing myself in the mirror staring at a completely distorted image. I looked at the scale at the doctors office. Good decision? Bad decision? The answer to that I do not have. All I know is that the number staring back at me had me in disbelief. It shocked me, thrusted me back into reality. I had to step on and off multiple times to ensure its accuracy, to convince myself that what I was seeing was true. How did I get to this place? How did this happen? Where did everything slip from my fingers and into the hands of the anorexia? The chaos and control surrounding me left me with only the ability to control my body. If I disappear I no longer have to feel not good enough, unseen, unheard, under appreciated, incapable.
The second I turned my back it must have slipped right past me and hid so I would not find its presence and force it to leave. With each day, it began to quietly speak, a whisper so faint in order to go unnoticed. But no noise, no matter how quiet, can be ignored. It has a way of implementing itself into your brain. You don’t realize it but the noise, that voice, is being absorbed and slowly, what it is saying becomes your truth. You begin to have these thoughts that seemingly came out of nowhere and you wonder how they came to develop. It was from that voice, the one you thought was no threat for it could barely be heard, the one that you believed you pushed aside. As you did that, it just started talking and talking and spewing lies to you about your worth and beauty and your potential. It filled your mind with negative thoughts, put in you false beliefs about things in reality, skewing your perceptions. All the harsh critical words and actions around you have now become your own voice. What once seemed so practical and made sense now seem like foreign concepts and impossibilities. And even though I knew I should have been paying attention to this, I got distracted. I lost focus and it took advantage of that. So here I am today shocked at where I am, saddened to find myself stopping at this place on my journey, and realizing that something needs to change. It is time to get moving again.
As I embark on the road to restoration, it is so easy to focus on the negative. There is nothing easy or painless about the process of recovery in the aspect of physical healing. It is exhausting; physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is terrifying. It is facing the unknown every day. It is relinquishing control over your body’s every action. It is coming face to face with change every second, watching the slow progression of your body restoring itself. Each passing day, you look at a new you. You are afraid to face the mirror every morning for what it will show you that day, wondering if you will recognize that person, fearing that you will despise the person she becomes. Things become tighter. You realize you take up more space. You see more of you appearing, making the sight of bones disappear. Things you once saw, ways you measured your progress, signs of illness are fading and changing. The physical signs of the disorder are losing their prominence. It is scary to watch something that became you, weaken. How will people react? Will they treat you differently? Will they still care? Will they still love you? Will you be once again overlooked in life? It is beyond terrifying to let go of something that served such a strong purpose in your life.
When I think of the journey ahead, immediately my mind goes to the trying times. I think of the absolute dread that builds up as you realize your weight is rising. How it breaks you into pieces to see your old body leaving. How it torments you to see your body repairs itself after all the damage the eating disorder has caused through the years. That body became your normal, your place of safety and familiarity. Despite its attempts to disappear and ultimately lead you to death, it was what you knew and established a level of peace with. It became a part of your identity. It is painful to have to shed it. I think of the feeling of dread that sits in your stomach every time you approach food with no hunger sensation in your body and with the voices shouting at you to not pick up the food to your mouth, but you know that you need to do it or forever be in the grasp of the eating disorder. You know if you don’t take a bite, this process is not going to get any easier or get you to where you need to be any sooner. It is just delaying what inevitably needs to be done, making it harder the next time. I think about the discomfort of fullness, of no longer being empty, and how strong the urges become. The level of difficulty of having to sit through the urges as you feel your stomach expanding is beyond explanation. I crave relief from it all, but I realize I cannot get it from the form I have been accustomed to relying on. I think about how intense the comparing becomes, how strong the eating disorder’s competitive side comes out. I think about the anxiety I face as I approach many firsts and fears; eating out, eating socially, breaking rituals, having fear foods. I think about the self-hate that starts to grow as you start to take care of yourself again, seeing it as a crime to show yourself love. I spent so much time punishing myself. Anything opposite seems wrong. Every action in which I am not self-destructing is uncomfortable and a struggle. I constantly have to remind myself that I deserve this, that I need to eat, that I need to rest, that I need to be kind to myself. I think about how recovery has no vacation. It is a job to perform every minute. Even sleep is part of the process, fighting the nightmares and allowing yourself to relax.
In the midst of all the dread and focus on what is about to come and what I will endure, I lose focus on all the beautiful things about recovery. They get belittled alongside the fears and struggles. I forget about how good it feels to once again take enjoyment in things when you move past the scariness of the task. I forget the joy when I begin to take pleasure in the simplest things again; licking the beaters after making cookies, eating new foods every day, the smell of baked goods ruminating in the house, a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day, the feeling of a warm body, the strength to play with all of my kids, a body that fits in clothes, no longer fearing showers because I don’t want a glimpse in the mirror or my naked body, beautiful mane of hair. I forget how beautiful a smile looks on me, the pride I can once again take in eyes that sparkle, and the harmonious sound of my own laugh. I forget how amazing it feels to be happy with no restrictions or rules on it. I forget what it is like to let myself be loved, to no longer live in isolation, to feel the warmth of an embrace without trying to push it away. I forget what a blessing it is to no longer care. To not worry about arms that are bigger or a face that is fuller or thighs that are closer together. To not worry about calories or bargaining with myself in order to have dessert. I forget what a treasure it is to walk into a grocery store and buy what I want with no attention paid to the nutrition label, to eat for taste, to have a piece of cake for breakfast because I can and want it and because there is no rule against it. I lose sight of the beauty of allowing Myself to be seen, to be heard because those around me have silenced me so I began silencing myself, take up space in this world with no shame in it. I forget how lovely it will feel to become me again. That there, underneath the pain and sadness, was a happier, livelier, fearless version of myself that existed once before and has been dying to come out again. No she isn’t perfect, but she is healthy and alive and joyful, and that is who I want to be again. But I want to take her to the next level. I want to implement the strength and courage and hope and faith I have gained in my time of struggle and make myself someone even more remarkable. I want to make her a world changer. I want to love her with all my heart and give her a life of no limitations of the body, mind, and heart. I forget, while so focused on the negative, that I deserve the fight to be better for I am better than it all; better than the eating disorder, better than the sadness and isolation and exhaustion, better than the negative thoughts, better than the sleepless nights, better than the mornings spent crying in front of my mirror. I deserve to be healthy. I deserve recovery.
It is so easy to let the fear overpower my faith. No it won’t be easy. It never will be. It won’t be painless or free of worry and anxiety. I would be naïve to think the fight of my life would leave me without scars or never out of breath. But it sure as hell will be worth it. It promises me positive results. Perhaps not right away but eventually. I have seen it with my own eyes. I have to believe that I am not an exception to deserving recovery. I have to believe that I have it in me to be a warrior and will be a witness to the beautiful life before me. So here I go on the path to restoration. No looking back. No turning back. Only forward from here, one step at a time.
” hold on pain ends”— H.O.P.E.
She folded her life like origami. Made what was large into something small. Bending and creasing her edges. Until she filled no room at all. Speaking but they didn’t hear, it was always too loud not the right time. She learned to always say sorry. That she was a burden for taking up space. And so into herself she folded, locked in her own suffocating embrace. The world tore at all her edges. Once sharp edges they started to fray, now so tiny nobody noticed, no longer a burden with this disappearing. As she slowly began to decay. Reduced to ashes of moments, the wind swept her up off the floor. Her pieces were scattered in places, she’d dared not to inhabit before. As her eyes took in all the beauty, of a world which she’d lived life deprived. She was now learning there’s no need to say sorry. Taking up space simply means your alive.