This is one of my favorite hashtags to search for on Instagram (by the way, here’s my account 😛 https://www.instagram.com/emmavescent/). Whenever I’m feeling low, I type in this or one of several other recovery-inspired hashtags and scroll through the pictures and captions to try and motivate myself to keep going.
My whole life, I have been uncomfortable in the skin I’m in. Whether I was at my highest weight or my lowest weight, I was never happy. Sure, there were some days where I felt sort of passively about it, but there were never any where I said something like “Wow, I really love my cellulite!”
Society taught me that I was never good enough the way I was. That there was always something to improve. And to me, the happiest girls always seemed to be the prettiest ones. The ones with the gorgeous smiles and cute button noses and yes, the “perfect” bodies.
I felt like the elephant in the room, even though I stand a minute 5′ 2″ if you’re being generous. Absolutely gargantuan. I looked at the little indentations and creases and stretch marks patterning my skin and felt disgust in my bones. I longed to look like this hazy, ill-defined girl in my head. She was absolutely everything I ever dreamed of being. She was tall but not too tall. She was curvy but not too curvy. She was happy but not too happy. She was smart but not too smart.
Look at how ridiculous all of those statements look. They have these restrictions on them that just make no sense at all. Because everyone is beautiful.
But then we come to the one that almost cost me my life.
She was thin, but not too thin.
When I was really entrenched in my eating disorder, there was no small enough. I would curl up in a little ball like I was a cat or something at night, trying to fold in on myself until I all but disappeared. I felt like a waste of space and an inconvenience to everyone. I didn’t believe I had any purpose on this earth, and oftentimes debated whether my life was worth bothering to save.
I was blind to how emaciated I looked. How sick I looked. Despite the fact that my weight had absolutely plummeted like a stone, though, and I knew logically that I was a fair bit thinner than I had been before this whole mess got so out of control, I wasn’t happy.
I really, really wasn’t happy. I cried myself to sleep most nights and spent the night with the TV on because otherwise I would have to sit with just my thoughts in my head. I required medicine to keep me calm after eating and my body image was as fragile as glass.
Now, I know I’ve been actively recovering for several months now. But I still have a long ways to go, both mentally and physically.
Yesterday I was looking through boxes and bags of stuff that I’ve accumulated over the past few months. And I started to cry. I found necklaces and jewelry gifted to me while I was in the hospital. I found cards and notes written to me while I was in inpatient. I found little gifts and tokens that my roommates from all levels of care had given to me.
I am so, so lucky. I am so lucky to have such amazing supports in my life.
And I am so lucky to have this life.
Maybe this is the weight my body needs to be. Maybe it’s not what I would want it to be, but in my heart of hearts, I know that no weight will ever be good enough for my eating disorder. But maybe this is where I’m meant to be.
And maybe that’s okay.
I have been granted a second chance at life for a reason. I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell don’t think that was so that I could be miserable and sad and hateful. Try something more like happy and joyous and grateful.
Fall always brings about this sense of new beginnings. And as September comes to a close, it really starts to feel like autumn in New England. I love the colors, I love the smells, I love the flavors, I love the sights, and I love the possibilities.
October has always been one of my favorite months.
Why not make it something more than that, though?
I’ve been granted the ability to exercise. I would be far more comfortable in my body were I not so incredibly out of shape. But I also want to learn how to be in touch with my limits and my needs. I want to learn about how to properly take care of myself and keep everything in moderation, including moderation, as the saying goes.
So instead of just talking about it, let’s do it. I challenge you to do this with me.
This isn’t a weight loss journey. It isn’t a weight gain journey either. It has absolutely zero to do with weight. It’s a happiness journey.
Starting October 1st, I will spend each day learning something new about my body. I will nourish myself properly and I will set aside some time to exercise in a healthful and mindful manner. I will try not to think negative, poisonous thoughts about myself, but in the event that I start to, I will try my hardest to replace them with positive thoughts. I will try new things and be open to experiences. I will venture outside of my comfort zone. And I will keep fighting my absolute damndest to one day be at peace with myself, and my squish.
Embrace the squish, everyone. Because it means you’re alive, and that’s a beautiful thing.