In both of these pictures, I am smiling. My hair is straight and I am looking at the camera. I am also wearing makeup in both pictures, though admittedly less in the one that was taken at the hospital.
But there’s another difference that I think is far more noticeable and far more important. The picture from the hospital was taken back in mid February. I look emaciated. My eyes have enormous, dark circles under them, my cheeks are hollow, and my smile doesn’t reach my eyes. The thinness that I so avidly sought rendered me skeletal.
The picture from the treatment facility I’m currently at was taken just today. My eyes are brighter and have a sparkle to them. My cheeks have filled in and the overall profile of my face is healthier. My smile is gentler, calmer, and less strained. Though the amount of weight gain that has traveled to my face is sort of a sore point for me, I know that it is a sign that I’m recovering, and recovering admirably.
Anorexia has come very close to taking my life away. Completely. Not just in the sense that it landed me in the hospital for several months or in treatment for extended periods of time. It literally almost killed me. And that is why, on this Monday, I’m taking a moment to acknowledge the amazing metamorphosis that has taken place.
Don’t get me wrong. My body image is still awful. I’ve bloated like you would not believe (I’m officially coining the phrase “abominable bloat”) in all the areas I’m most self conscious about. I still engage in calorie counting, and my urges to use other behaviors are always incessantly, off-the-charts high. But I’m making progress. And I’m taking back my life, one bite at a time. Hopefully with time, my mental progress will catch up with my physical progress. For now, I’m content with the remarkable difference I see between these two pictures. It may not be extremely noticeable to an outsider. But to me, it’s monumental.
Like I said. One bite at a time. Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and I think that living the life I was put on this earth to live is pretty damn worthy of being done well.