Bea proposed the questions: what is standing in your way? What makes liking yourself, being happy with your body, leaving disordered eating behind a fairy tale? to me when I stated that her idea of how life could be, and even my “wish, what I really want” was just a fairy tale, unattainable, even though they sounded nice, good, like something I did want. What follows is the list that I gave her, and a copy of my “wish.” It could be triggering, if you have or have had an eating disorder. There are no numbers are sizes listed to try to keep triggers to a minium.
What I want, more than anything, is to be okay. I don’t want hurting myself to be my first response to being upset, or anxious, or having my feelings hurt, or to not knowing how to cope. I don’t want to be afraid to talk to my husband about our relationship. I don’t want my first reaction to be stress or anxiety, or frustration with myself, when I make a mistake. I want to look in the mirror and be able to name 3 things that I am comfortable with; I don’t even have to love those things, just to be able to have 3 things about the way I look, about my body that I am truly comfortable with would be amazing. I want to be recognize that my body is more than the way it looks– it is the body that can swim and climb and roll down hills. I want to be able name my emotions, to know what I am feeling, instead of labeling the feeling as bad and running from it, or good and trying to figure out what it might be. I want to have to ability to not be so controlling all the time, to relax once in a while. I don’t want to “live” in the room in my head forever. I want to be connected to my body. I don’t want to be nervous every time I hug my husband, or kiss him. I want to be able to talk about things that are “real” without stuttering and being so obviously awkward. I want to feel emotionally connected to the people I care about, in the way I have experienced recently in small amounts— I want that most of the time because it is amazing, and good. I want the fear of trusting to be less than the joy that trusting others brings. I want the rewards of showing my vulnerability to those that care about me to show me that it’s okay to be vulnerable, and that it can be a good thing. I want to remember that connecting with my daughter on an emotional level is a whole different kind of wow than I have experienced before, and it’s one I want to keep experiencing in my life. I don’t want to believe for the rest of my life that I am bad; I want to let go of the shame and guilt. I don’t want to hate myself for choices I have made, or for things that were done to me.
Why I can’t let go of the ED Behavior
1. It’s my little bit of control, absolute control, over what happens to my body. I don’t think I can let go of that.
2. I have this secret wish that if I am just good enough with my eating, then I will be back in my size X jeans, or if I am really extra good, my size X jeans.
3. My mother hates fat people, I can’t be really fat because she will never be able to accept me. (And somehow, what I believe her feelings are about me being fat, I have projected onto everyone else in my life. — this I have just realized while writing this post out)
4. I’m afraid that If I ever did try to eat normal, then I would really be fat. (Logic: I eat maybe one meal a day, throw up anything bad I eat, any food over one meal a day is usually thrown up. If I am fat doing those things, eating 3 meals a day and not throwing up will make me huge)
5. I still believe, deep down, that if the scale would say my “magic number” then I would like myself, and I would finally be happy.
I don’t know exactly what this all means, but I suspect it is big. Just the fact that I have made a list is big. I’ve never made a list about my eating behaviors before– and I am the queen of list making, let me tell you. I think our wedding planner wondered if I was going to put her out of a Job, and what exactly, her role was, with my binders and folders and lists and notecards and post-its. 🙂 So, this might be big. If I can keep stepping forwards.