Gratitude Glasses

Just a quick update here.  I am currently on day 6 in a string of good days.  To be honest, I’ve been down and out with a cold/flu since Wednesday, but I’ll take a winning streak however I can get it.  It’s funny the promises we make to ourselves when we are at our lowest.  Lying in bed over the weekend, I promised myself that I would never purge again if I could just get well. And then I realized how I take my good health for granted and abuse the luxury with my reckless B/P episodes– I am grateful to be (almost) 32, full of life, and with family and friends that support my wellness.

Over the past year or so, I’ve kept a gratitude journal. Little snippets out of every day for which I am grateful. The funny thing is, I become grateful for even the smallest of things when I am in the habit of staying present and keeping my eyes open to the life around me. The gratitude list goes from the really big things (health, stability, etc.) to the most minute things (dinner with a friend, coffee in the morning, fortunes in the fortune cookies) when I am tuned in to how beautiful life can be.

I think this ties in to my recovery in some way. Understanding that each moment is a gift and to not waste my precious, one shot at this life on others’ expectations or stripping away my value because of the way I look. Using each encounter with another human as a chance to see the world through their lens and to grow a little further in my own journey. Perfection will never happen. What does ‘perfect’ even mean? And what a waste if I’ve poured out my real self only to leave behind my false self. Here’s to be grateful for and embracing reality.

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Faith

Happy Monday (I’ve had an ample amount of coffee, so I can officially say that) – I hope everyone had a nice weekend.  I live in North Carolina, and the weather is finally picking up on the fact we are in the midst of fall, and it’s been lovely to put on a jacket before stepping out– hope that it stays this way for a while.

Up until this point in the blog, I haven’t mentioned my faith.  Mainly because it’s an interesting piece of the overall picture that I’m still trying to figure out.  But also because I don’t want to alienate anyone.  Our paths to healing are all so individual, and I’ve said before there isn’t a one-size fits all path to recovery.  But at the end of the day, my faith is a big part of this journey, and I am just trying to air that out on this site with authenticity.  Take what you will from this or leave it on the interweb, no judgment or expectation at all.

Almost six years ago, I decided to start going to church.  My parents raised me with great morals, but going to church was never a huge part of my life and one day I woke up and thought it would be a nice thing for a responsible adult to check out.  The story is much longer than the context of this blog post, but on the short– I fell in love with the teachings of Jesus and witnessed and experienced a lot of unexplainable things that removed most of my doubt.  I say most, because I think doubt is good and healthy and keeps people searching and on their toes.

As I suppose with any faith, the journey (there’s that crazy word again) is interesting and deeply personal.  When I first became a Christian, I thought that if I were “X” God would take away my eating disorder.  So, I responded in what I saw as the path to sanctification– not drinking, judging others, only hanging out with Christians, volunteering, the list goes on.  There are moments when I look back at that time and my stomach flips at how gross of a person I was.  My faith eventually (thankfully) morphed into something much more genuine, and about my relationship with God, not what I (or others) did or did not do.

But that was even harder to reconcile with my eating disorder. I genuinely loved God. I longed to love and respond to others as Jesus would have. I prayed fervently for healing and it still didn’t go away. It was almost as if God loved every part of me except for my bulimia, and there was a ton of shame and guilt about this ugly piece of my life.

So I turned away from Him (not completely, but I took a giant step back) and sought help from a non-Christian counselor. She and I did some ugly, dirty work with somatic therapy– accepting who I am and not doing anything that doesn’t feel right in my body. There were some huge breakthroughs, and in so many ways I am a much calmer person, more comfortable in my soul than I’ve ever been. Faith was rarely a part of our discussions, the focus was on the facts and what my body was telling me to do.

Yet, something was lacking. I’m no artist, but I can only liken it to painting a beautiful painting, and stepping back and realizing something was missing. You couldn’t quite put your finger on it, but another person makes an obvious suggestion and then you totally see it. God’s presence was missing from my recovery. My goal for my life is to love others as I have been loved. I long to share my eating disorder (and eventually recovery) with others who are burdened by this nasty thing, and let us help each other to walk into the light together. I have read a lot about the 12 steps lately, and I don’t know that it’s the perfect model for bulimia recovery, but I do know the first two steps have resonated with me and make total sense as it relates to my eating disorder and my faith:

1. I’ve admitted that I am powerless over bulimia– and my life had become unmanageable.
2. I’ve come to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.

I believe I am approaching the crossroads of my therapy/the “I can do it with hard work” mentality and leaning on God for help through this. I don’t have all the answers, but I know I can’t do it on my own (and to be frank, I don’t really want to), and I’ve chosen to lean scriptures and prayer. I think this writing by Ranier Maria Rilke sums it up well:

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.