Web MD has concluded that I have the flu or some sort of viral infection. I’m achey, exhausted, dizzy, and lightheaded. I have a cough and have been sneezing (probably due to allergies). I wake up with a scratchy, sore throat that has now turned into a dull, constant pain, and overall I just feel sick. I’m not running a fever (I rarely ever do), so I’ve been trying to rest my body but get out for a longer daily walk with Angie, otherwise she gets restless in the apartment and won’t let me sleep. I can’t blame her. Although each time we go outside she tries to eat things she shouldn’t. We’re still working on some training.
However, today I did something that I never thought I’d actually go through with. I’ve been dealing with poor body image as a result of all the emotional turmoil of graduating, moving, etc. and for some dumb reason, I thought it would be ok for me to try on my “eating disorder” jeans. I tried them on and of course they didn’t fit the way I wanted them too. Surprisingly, I didn’t get very upset by this because I expected it. My healthy body does not look like my sick body and that’s a REALLY GOOD thing.
As I was laying in bed a few minutes ago watching the Harry Potter marathon on ABC Family, I realized what I needed to do with these jeans. Instead of cutting them up and destroying them that way as a symbol of my recovery, I decided I needed to write reminders on the jeans.
I accept the fact that my healthy body is indeed much curvier than my sick body. Accepting that fact doesn’t mean that I’m particularly thrilled by it, but I realize that it means that in order to look the way I used to in my eating disorder, I’d have to give up my joy, happiness, sanity, ability to think clearly, ability to enjoy anything, do anything, go anywhere, hang out with others, and I’d lose my apartment because I’d be in treatment, which also means I’d lose my dog, and then I’d have to start all over again, from scratch building my life back up. Is losing EVERYTHING I value worth the momentary satisfaction of fitting into these jeans (until two minutes later when my eating disorder would demand I lose more weight)? No. No, no, and NO.
What started as this:
Ended as this:
If my genes (not jeans) could talk, they’d tell me that my body isn’t naturally this size or shape. That in order for me to be happy and healthy both physically and mentally, I need to be at a healthy size. I realize that everyone’s body is different and someone could possibly be healthy and be the size that these jeans are (I won’t say what size they are because that doesn’t matter). The phrases I wrote on the jeans are specific to me and my recovery, and they remind me of how much I love my life now and how I won’t let myself go back to my illness. It’s no longer an option.
The graffiti jeans are a symbol of my journey towards body acceptance. Cute, sexy, and beautiful are not sizes, they’re attitudes. Confidence is sexy. It’s appealing, it’s attractive, it’s motivating. Who wakes up in the morning and says, “Confidence? Who would EVER want that?” Nobody with healthy cognitions would say that. NOBODY. We all want confidence and we all THRIVE when we are confident. We’re happier when we are confident. We are stronger, more powerful, and more able to create, dream, and live the lives we want to when we are confident.
Confidence must be cultivated though and it doesn’t come naturally to all of us. Some of us are lucky to have grown up being taught to be confident (not cocky or arrogant), and others of us have to learn it as adults. Either way, you take what you have now and you practice it, you grow it, you nurture it. I used to hate, absolute hate the words “nurture” and “nourish”. The “ish” in nourish makes me squirm in my chair, even as I write it. It doesn’t sound right to me, but I’ve accepted it as a word that needs to be in my recovery.
I never thought I’d do this to a pair of jeans and truth is I haven’t fit into these for months and months, but I couldn’t let go of them as wearable clothing. Every once in a while I’d try them on and get upset and go put on leggings. I rock the leggings. Leggings are my friends right now and these jeans are not.
The day has come for me to accept what my body is and is not, what it can and cannot do, what it will be and will not be. I have no choice but to learn to love it and treat it well. I only get one.