January 12, 2009

My Story - Part 1

It is going to take a little bit of time for me to get to the part of this blog where I can simply type my daily activities because I feel like I have a lot of background to share. There is a desire in my heart to open up about my journey before I share the minutia of my daily life. Hopefully I will be able to keep you interested along the way.

If you have ever been there, then you know exactly what it feels like. The guilt, the fear, the adrenaline rush. Nothing about it it glamorous and yet it continues to be glorified in our society. There are hundreds, if not thousands of books and articles about the medical and physical aspects of an eating disorder. The sunken eyes, loss of hair, heart issues, screwed up teeth, fragile bones...the list could go on and on. The part that has touched me the most deeply though are the scars. No, not the scars on my heart from the damage that was done. Not the stretch marks from gaining and losing weight way too quickly. Not even the scars on my fingers from the acids that eroded them. I am talking about the emotional scars that only make me stronger. You see, a scar is evidence of a wound that is healed. It is a simple equation really, once you are healed, you will bear the scar. Or in my case, wear it with pride.

Eighteen years ago, at my tenth birthday party, one comment from a friend changed a happy, healthy girl into one that was self-conscious and self-loathing. Did you know that one comment is all that it takes? I used to dream about what I would have been if things had been different. Would I have somehow ended up trapped in a cycle of binging, purging and starving regardless of her comment? Who knows? All I do know for sure, is that I would not be the strong, disciplined and driven woman that I am today if not for my struggle. This is my story, how one wounded and broken girl allowed herself to heal and became a strong woman with scars.

Lies...at the core of every eating disorder is a scared man or woman who is desperately trying to come up with their next lie. One of my favorites was, "My stomach is queasy. I can't eat right now." Well of course I was queasy. That is what happens when you take handfuls of diet pills and don't eat all day...but this was the lie that my parents would buy and the one that would give me even one more hour of not eating...one more hour of control.

I think that one of the hardest things about an eating disorder is that you can never let anyone get too close to you because they may uncover your secret. It is hard to be close to someone when half of your conversations are lies. It hurts to walk away from a relationship because you are afraid they may discover who you really are. I have hurt way too many people and alienated myself from people who truly did care. When I was 17 years old, I met a great guy who absolutely adored me. I remember being shocked that anyone would ever feel that way about me because I hated myself but I was absolutely elated. For three fabulous months we had the kind of relationship that every teenage girl dreams of. Long phone conversations, moonlit walks, making out at the movies and dreams of what the future could hold. As our relationship progressed though, I knew without a doubt, that it could never last. How could this guy, no matter how fabulous he was, love a broken girl who couldn't even figure out how to eat properly? Forced to choose, I took the binging, purging and starvation. They seemed much safer and less likely to leave me if I ended up disappointing them. It wasn't until I realized that people are not looking for perfection from me, that I began to be able to open myself up. I have been blessed to know unconditional love from a few people in my life. They are incredible souls who know the truth, every ugly part and love me in spite of the mess I am. Unfortunately, I had to live with the guilt of all of the lies I had told them. This was one of my scars.

I told you that I was long winded! : ) Stay tuned for Part 2.

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