Confession: I’m fucked up.
Or at least I’ve believed this for the better part of my thirty some years.
As a young child, I went out of my way to help my parents out, basking in the resulting praise. I was the good girl. The one who could always be counted on.
In middle and high school, I was a great actress – performing different roles depending on the situation I found myself in. I had friends only because I seemed able to intuit how to give everyone exactly what they wanted. I would gauge others’ moods and personalities, and base my dialogue and stage presence accordingly. Inside, I was empty.
Surely there was a time when I felt okay with who I was – a time when I wasn’t afraid of what others would think if I didn’t pretend. I vaguely remember such a time, but it’s long ago and far away. I have no idea what changed. I don’t know what happened to make me feel like I couldn’t just be myself anymore. Along the way, some other things happened. Around the age of twelve, I developed anorexia. At first, it was great: here was one thing that was MINE. I wasn’t doing it for anyone else. It was my choice and it made me feel GREAT. Somehow having this “amazing” ability to deny myself basic nurturance felt like a great accomplishment. Rational or not, I finally felt good about myself for something. Starvation gave me some kind of bizarre, incredible high that I had never experienced before.
Before long, however, it lost its magic. Yet I still hang on.
Over the years this eating disorder has served different functions – a way to control a scary and uncontrollable world, a way to distract myself from painful emotions, a way to numb out when the difficulties of growing up seemed too much to bear.
Ironically, now it’s just one more thing that makes me feel fucked up. Contrary to the popularly spouted belief that everyone with anorexia thinks they are fat and are on a deadly pursuit of thinness at all costs, I happen to see myself very clearly, thank you very much. My eyes work fine, and my mirror is not distorted. I realize that I am underweight, that I’m not healthy. And I hate what I see.
So why don’t I “just eat”?
Good fucking question.
I wish it were so easy. But anorexia is a DISEASE, people. It’s not a fad, and it’s not “just” an obsession with wanting to be thin. For some it may be, but for the vast majority of sufferers, there’s a lot more going on. It manifests in different ways for different people, and telling someone with an eating disorder to “just eat” and wondering why they’re not “over it” already is like telling someone with leukemia to just quit multiplying their white blood cells so profusely.
And yet… And yet…
Here I sit, hating myself.
Hating myself because while I’ve watched people around me recover from their eating disorders left and right, while I’m still struggling. I see them looking good, living their lives, having fun. And not to be selfish or anything, but why not me? WHY NOT ME DAMMIT? What the hell is so wrong with fucked up me that after 20 years of therapy and treatment I’m still fighting?
This is the question I ask myself.
And again, ironically, I think the very fact that I keep asking myself this question is part of the reason why I’m still struggling. Hating myself does nothing to motivate me to change. It just makes me feel shittier. You can’t hate yourself into changing. Believe me, I’ve tried. I’ve tried SO many things to try to “improve” and become a “better” version of myself. I practically have a fucking internal checklist of things I feel like I have to do every day in order to be “good enough.”
The funny thing is, there are times when I think I’m awesome. I mean, I’m funny, I’m incredibly thoughtful, I’m smart, I’m a good listener, kind, caring, . . .
And yet… And yet…
I hate myself.
I hate what I look like, I hate that I struggle, I hate that there are times I’m so debilitated by my anxiety and depression that I can’t just suck it up and “feel the fear and do it anyway.” I hate it all.
And I think it’s time I stop hating.
That’s what this blog is going to be about.
I had this huge epiphany today that right now, I’m enough. I have everything I need. There is nowhere I need to “get to.” No state of perfection I must reach. I have all that I need right here. I. AM. ENOUGH.
Just thinking these thoughts and letting them sink in lifted the cloud of depression that’s been following me around the last few days.
Granted, I still have a lot of work to do. I still think I’m pretty fucking ugly, and I carry a lot of shame around because of my ongoing struggle with an eating disorder. But I’m fucking tired of it. I’m fucking tired of waiting to live my life until I’m all “fixed.” If I wait that long, I’ll NEVER live. I don’t want to hide anymore. I don’t want to wait. I had plans to write a book one day when I’m “recovered,” and feel like I actually have something to be proud of. But you know what? Fuck that. I’m going to start writing right now. I have a story to share whether I’ve achieved that imaginary nirvana or not. I have worth just as I am and my story is valuable just as IT is. And the fact that I’m fighting — I feel like a liar as I type this, but fake it till you make it, right? –- is more than enough to be proud of. Warriors fight. At least I haven’t thrown up the white flag.
So there it is. This is me, world. I’m fucked up. I have an eating disorder. I struggle with both anxiety and depression. I’m not perfect, and I don’t think I ever will be.
I. AM. ENOUGH.