« How to become anorexic »
At 13 years old, I looked up on google: “How to become anorexic”. The rest is history. Somehow, after a heartbreak, starving was the only thing that made sense to me. If I could not control what was happening in my life, at least, I could control my appetite. I loved making myself go hungry. To feel so empowered. To be able to rise above my human instincts. To feel somehow, that I was better than everyone else, because I would not indulge. Because I could eat very little and still do hours of ballet every day. To feel on top of the world for a moment. Until the moment became a little less rosy. I was in control, or so I thought… The truth is, it might look nice and feel nice at first, but there is nothing glamorous about an eating disorder. It quickly gives way to ugly and death like allure, eats away your attention, your precious time, and eventually your power. It begins to overpower you and you lose control. What started out as a fun diet turns out to be a two-week trip to the hospital with severe existential questions to answer and a sense of humiliation and defeat.
A rocky road
I didn’t really realize until much later that it was womanhood that scared me. Sexuality. By starving myself, I could stop time. I could stop the process of ripening. If only I could just stay 13 for a couple more years! Sometimes, when we aren’t ready to deal with traumatic events and difficult emotions, we develop defence mechanisms to slow down the process. That’s exactly what I did and it afforded me a couple years, until I was ready to face the immensity of what I had been avoiding. The truth is, the way I became a woman was much less like a beautiful flower’s bloom and more like a play of extremes. Perhaps that’s just how some of us grow, perfect with our imperfections. Everything is a lesson. And every lesson offers so much depth of character to gain, so much information to integrate, so much power to claim. “Why not use this to grow into something beautiful?” I thought. “Why not use this as an opportunity to KNOW MYSELF?” To ask: “Why is this happening to me?”, “Why am I doing this to myself?”, and “What is the universe trying to teach me?”
Open up to love again
Someone once told me I would suffer from this condition for the rest of my life. But that is a discourse based on fear. To all the young women and men suffering from eating disorders out there, I say to you that it is possible to recover from an eating disorder. Totally. You don’t have to spend your life counting calories, obsessing over food, over exercising or being in a state of depression. You CAN live again. With joy. With delight. With health. With passion. It wasn’t until I reached my first “rock bottom” that I realized something had to change. I lay as if on a cloud, out of space and time, wondering what might be carrying me still if I no longer had the strength to carry myself. For me, it was God’s hand. At that moment, I made the choice to heal. Not because I had been endowed with superhuman willpower, but just because… it was time. My karma had been lived out, and I was blessed with a choice: to heal. I took it. I chose to start eating again, to start living again, and eventually to start opening up to love again. To feel again. You have to have the courage to take that choice when it presents itself. A leap of faith, they call it. It is in our nature to heal, when we are ripe for change, and it is possible to recover totally, and open the doors of our heart again to love life, and live fully. Today, I hold no shame nor any regrets when I think of the anorexia. It is just a story. I lived it out, completely, until the end.
Live totally. Without fear. And love with reckless abandon.