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I can hardly believe summer is drawing to a close. The past few months have brought change and a renewed sense of hope to my life. For the first time in my years of disordered eating, I am actively challenging myself to previously feared foods and doing so with minimal guilt. Only yesterday, a friend and I popped into the local Coldstone and treated ourselves to swirls of tangerine and pink lemonade sorbet then sat outside laughing and swatting away mosquitoes. Bug swarms aside, this is what I have craved for so long–not just the eating of tasty things but the enjoyment and pleasure brought by the experience of trying new foods and opening myself to life and the joy it has to offer.
As autumn nears, so does a whole new set of potentially blissful moments. I’ve seen a few people posting “bucket lists” for the fall months, and since I’ve never made one, I’m jumping on the trend.
“MoPB (Moments of Potential Bliss)” List
- Take an evening walk in crisp, cool air
- Carve a pumpkin
- Try a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (or similar autumn-themed drink)
- Attend the Johnny Appleseed Festival
- Do a leaf craft (such as this one)
- Bake an apple dessert
- Watch a ridiculous old horror film
- Decorate apartment with jewel tones (and burn spice-scented candles)
- Donate sweaters and jackets to Goodwill
- Go for a hike once the leaves turn
What are you looking forward to this fall? What possible moments of bliss could you open yourself to?
This morning I had a truly vulnerable conversation which got me thinking a great deal about feelings of self-worth and of how, too often perhaps, we fall into the trap of allowing others to define our value as human beings. I’m guilty of this more often than I’d like to admit–someone hurts me and my thoughts rush straight to Toxic-World.
The obvious flaw in this line of thought is that by giving others the permission to define our self-worth we relinquish control of our mental health (and physical health, by proxy).
Ponder this with me, if you will. Do your best to let go of the questions, the “why’s”, the “how’s”, the “what if’s” and just accept, even if for only a moment, that the actions of others do not negate (nor create) the meaning you have as a unique and powerful person. Your importance is innate to you. It exists simply because you are.
I recently attended my first eating disorder recovery support group. I’d searched for groups in the past and been unable to find anything in the city, so as soon as I located this one, I knew I needed to make myself go. The small group met in a cozy basement room of a local university building. Overall, the experience was positive and left me feeling welcomed, warm and hopeful.
Later that night, though, as I lay down to try to sleep, I found my brain swimming with thoughts..
“I don’t know why you went to that group. There’s not even anything wrong with you! Good grief. Your weight is perfectly healthy. No one thinks you look ill, so you obviously aren’t. Yadda, yadda, yadda.”
Living with an eating disorder is much like playing host to an evil twin who perches herself on your shoulder incessantly whispering cruel and belittling comments into your ear. You never feel good enough, pretty enough, deserving enough. But though it sometimes feels more comfortable to consider the ED as separate from yourself, I believe this displacement of responsibility could be potentially harmful.
The reality is, all these thoughts are coming from your own brain, not some separate entity. Frustrating? Absolutely. But admitting these thoughts are a part of yourself means returning the power to where it belongs. In you.
Let me say this, as much for myself as for anyone who might be reading: You deserve peace. You deserve joy. And you deserve to not continue to live in a way that leaves you tired, weak, ill and socially-isolated. YOU ARE ENOUGH.
City in Indiana.
Dead of winter: Sunny but frigid.
Late 19th century house living room.
Me (Holly): 30-something girl. Loves knee high socks, the sound of the cat crunch-crunch-crunching his food and collecting old things. Dislikes being called ma’am, backseat drivers and skin rashes.
J: Boyfriend. Computer genius, nerd-extraordinaire. He’s one awesome dude. Likes German chocolate cake, reading comics and plaid PJ pants. Dislikes grapefruit and hugs from strangers.
Hermes: Not your average domestic cat. Loves eating canned pumpkin and playing fetch with rubber bands. Dislikes having his belly sniffed.