So, here’s one of my rare “life update” posts…. I didn’t think I’d have anything to share today. I woke up in a dark, dark place, feeling like I couldn’t escape. But I crawled from my nest to my garden, and I’m so glad I did, because this happened:
I write this from my happy place (being in my wilderness of a garden, while sunbathing in a wooly hat and drinking gin through a heart shaped straw). For those not “in the know” I feel I should explain that my use of the term “happy place” here, does not mean I feel happy. It means I have taken myself to pre-ordained safe place, mentally and physically, in which I can usually at least have a chance of boosting my mood and finding some inner peace and safety. Sometimes a “happy place” can exist purely in the imagination. And sometimes it’s purely a physical location. Most people try to have a few because you can’t always predict when and where you’ll be when you want to go to them. And I feel I must stress here, strongly, how DIFFICULT it is to “go to your happy place” when you need to. So that, right there. Me just WRITING THIS FROM HERE is huge. In and of itself. Yet this is NOT the positive thing I feel compelled to share, not at all. My happy place simply allowed me the inner peace to access wise mind and reflect on the year that I’ve just traversed and realise how far I’ve come.
I’m not gonna lie. Things are REALLY hard at the moment. Physically, mentally, in every way possible. But you know what?! I CAN DO HARD THINGS!!
And what I am doing RIGHT NOW exemplifies this. Two years ago, I had never in my life sunbathed with more than… a third… maybe… of my body exposed, due to a foul combination of Body Shame, Eating Disorder and Body Dysmorphia.
A year ago almost to the day, I proudly shared a photo of myself sunbathing in this very same place. At that point, I considered myself in Eating Disorder recovery. I was eating again. But I was also at (or close to) my “ideal” body size.
Nevertheless, sunbathing was still an achievement, and being ok with exposing my body (even in the privacy of my garden) was another. But I still feared weight gain (was terrified in truth) and “knew” I wouldn’t be able to do this if I gained even a kilo. That told me something wasn’t right. I’d never maintain my recovery if I was still thinking like that.
And so began my journey into the world of Body Positivity. It seemed like a wondrous thing. But it was an aspiration, one I felt I’d never achieve.
And I’m not there yet… but I have just realised that as I lie here in my garden in almost perfect mimicry of last year’s scene… one thing is different.
I’m not within my ED brain’s idea of the weight range it’s ok to exist in… but I care not one bit!!! In fact I am comfortable with my body. More so even than I was last year. And it’s only on being here, like this, that I realise… this is not what I thought would happen.
I had been thinking that this summer was going to be harder for me than last. That I was going to have to work a lot harder at maintaining my healthier eating behaviours and not relapse… and that still might be the case at times… but, I feel something I never thought possible. I have developed a mindset I never thought I’d achieve. And it feels like magic. But it isn’t. It’s the result of a lot of HARD WORK. Really, really hard work. And good therapy and it’s an achievement and I am allowed to be PROUD of myself. And I am.
So this is in part me celebrating how far I’ve come, and in part a message to anyone out there reading this and feeling the way I felt last year (the way I still feel about many things). You CAN do it. It doesn’t happen overnight but it does happen. And it takes a TON of REALLY HARD WORK. But it’s worth it.
One day you’ll will catch yourself doing something you never dreamed possible with such ease that you didn’t even really think before you did it. Trust the process; it works!!
Also, a massive shout to all the Body Positive Warriors who’ve gone before, for sharing their own journeys. You guys kept me going! Especially @bodyposipanda – this lady is my hero.