This is an excerpt from my personal blog. Some things have been left out for personal reasons, but for the most part this is the original. raw. no. holds. bar…ME.
All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.
I have really debated whether or not to share my story on this blog. It’s a heart wrenching choice to make when I feel like I am putting so much of myself out there, which in turn leaves me vulnerable to people and their judgments. I don’t want to be judged when SO much of what I battle is just that…. judging myself. BUT, I do want to change, and I know that in order for change to happen, I have to do things that are out of my comfort zone. Do the things that make my palms sweat and my heart beat fast and in this case that change is honesty. I need to be honest with myself and others. I need to let the part of me that is scared to let others see my weaknesses die out and let the voice of my soul be heard. I believe there is healing in being honest and open with others. And maybe, just maybe, my brutal honesty will help one of you too. And for these reasons, getting personal feels right.
Everybody, sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequence
-Robert Louis Stevenson-
It all started last December when I noticed my hair was falling out in huge clumps. Every time I ran my hands through my long black hair, there was a lot of it left tangled in my fingers. I then started to notice how thin my hair was getting in the front. Every time I walked past a mirror I wanted to cry. I honestly felt bald, and it was scary for me. I knew the reason why it was falling out, but never wanted to march into battle and fight through all that needed to be dealt with to make it stop. It was overwhelming. It hurt my heart too much to really look at myself, deep in my soul and see what I had let myself become. So… I didn’t. I just pretended like I was fine. If you tell yourself and everyone else your fine then you are, right?!
You see, I have an eating disorder but it is not who I am. In the eating disorder world its name is ED and he SUCKS! Literally… sucks the life right out of you. Slowly, over time, he takes over your mind and it’s hard to remember what life was like without his constant chatter overpowering everything else. It no longer seems real that once upon a time I had a voice in my head and it was not ED, it was mine. Over the years I have lost myself to him and my voice slowly faded out. What a terrible reality that is…to realize you have lost your voice. That you have lost the one thing that makes you…you.
I realize now, just how much my eating disorder was controlling my life. My body image decided if I was worthy enough to make new friends, try something new, etc. I now see how much it was affecting my relationships with so many people I love. I was holding back sharing with them who I really was. It especially affected my relationship with my husband. Both physically and emotionally. He thought I didn’t like him and I just felt ugly and ashamed of the way I looked. “Who could love me looking like that” was a thought I had often. My physical relationship with my husband is not something I talk about.. EVER… ask my closest friends. But as many of you know in a marriage the physical, intimate part is essential to making that relationship work. And yet, it was the one thing I could not give him because of the way I felt about my body. I felt selfish that I couldn’t and at the same time justified and misunderstood. He told me all the time I was beautiful, that he loved me just the way I was but my belief was he had to tell me that because he was my husband. I love my husband with all my heart and just typing all that out breaks my heart. Breaks my heart that I felt that way and what it must have done to him.
HOPE: For good things to come
For a long time family members would tell me their concerns over my weight but I never really listened. I didn’t have a problem. I didn’t look like those girls you see who are anorexic. I was fine and the mirror told me so. My sweet sister -in-law Michelle who works at an eating disorder clinic was so patient with me. I know there were times when she probably just wanted to scream at me for being so naive. One day she in passing told me I should check out the Center for Change website to get some more info on body image. I put it off and put it off but one day I was feeling brave so I got on. They had a quiz that you take and you answer questions on a scale of 1-5. I took the quiz. As I went through the questions I started noticing how a lot of them sounded like me and some of the thinking patterns I have. When I was done I added up my score. I then sat and stared at the computer screen in shock when I read my results. I had an eating disorder and there was no way I could deny it any longer. Not to myself. Not to my family and not to anyone else.
This was the day I decided to make a change…because I deserve better for SO many reasons and so I made a decision that day that has Changed. My. Life. I started going to the Center for Change in June of this year. My first appointment I was a nervous wreck…I kept thinking…I don’t look like I am anorexic… I restrict my eating but it could be worse. That’s not an eating disorder. That is just watching my weight…I should just go home…If I get fat I won’t be pretty…if I change what I look like, I won’t have anything to offer…I should just go home… they will just tell me I am fine and send me home feeling like an idiot for wasting their time… I don’t really need help. I can do it on my own… I sat there waiting while ED did his usual “You are your body. Your body defines who you are speech” the one I have heard over and over for years. When the therapist came out I was waiting for the once over with her eyes and the look of “you don’t need help…your fine” but I never got it. My first appointment was the hardest by far. Sitting there rehashing things that I have blocked out of my mind for so long to a total stranger. Things that brought back so much heartache and let the ugly cry come out in full force. It was rough, but as I walked out the doors that day, I felt lighter and I had hope for the first time in years, that I was still in there. Kallie was still in there. Not Ed.
I have since then learned so many things about myself and how distorted my belief system was. I have learned that who I thought I was is not me at all and that I am an amazing creature. I have so much hope for a happy ending, and that sooner rather than later I’ll find myself again. I am learning that I still have a powerful voice and I have worth. I have a purpose and I am loved and lovable. I am learning to love myself. To embrace everything about myself. To take what I think are faults and make them my strengths. Realizing that I have a lot to offer and I can do amazing, hard things. To really see myself the way God see’s me. All of these things are things that I have not felt in a long time, and it feels wonderful!
You might ask what caused all of this? To answer that I can’t. I’m not sure what the main catalyst is right now, but I do know that a lot of little things happened that made me this way. If there is one thing I have learned or can emphasize to others, it is that life is hard & you honestly have no idea what people are going through or have been through. A lot of the feelings I have, as someone who restricts my eating, are the same feelings that someone who is over weight feels. It’s not so much about a number on the scale we hate…it goes much deeper then that.
Here are a few things I do know:
I do know that if we look hard enough there are reasons/signs for people’s behaviors. Maybe even reasons they don’t see or understand themselves, but they are there. There are signs in their behaviors of things that have happened. Things that people have said or done that have changed them for better or worse. These are not signs that can be read in words, but they are signs that someone needs to be treated gently. That they need help, and most of all, that they need love, understanding, not our judgement. I am learning how powerful words are and that you really have to watch what you say. We should take the time to choose our words carefully when talking to others. Especially, our little ones who are establishing their belief systems.
I do know that in reality EVERYONE is worthy of being loved…worthy of being understood… worthy of being cared about, worthy of feeling important because EVERY ONE of us has worth in the sight of God and who wants to argue with him?
So, next time you are quick to anger, judge, or make fun, STOP and take the time to really look at that person. Look for the signs that are unseen. The signs they are showing you if you really take the time to look. You will see them and you will be able to decide how to treat them accordingly.
Your words and actions are powerful…use that power for good!
Kallie is the Creator and Editor of Smitten By.
You can visit her Etsy shop HERE
or read more about her HERE