This post was originally written as part of a blog series over at An Emergent Life as a way to bring awareness to body image and eating disorder awareness in general and to Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Week in Australia. This is such an important topic for me to write about not only in my own healing journey but because it is my hope that one day all women and men with truly cherish, love, nurture and nourish their bodies and find freedom in their own individual beauty.
My body is amazing.
On the very basic level, my body shows up every day working it’s magic just to keep me alive. It knows when to take a breath, it doesn’t need to be told to pump blood through my veins, and it has an amazing ability to eliminate things that it no longer uses.
My body is incredible.
This body of mine has fought illness, disease and life-threatening infection and in a moment when I thought I might breathe my last breath, it worked even harder to make sure that didn’t happen. My body, this body that I was given, is a real gift.
On a deeper level my body is a vessel where I take up residency and live my purpose serving the world. It’s a divine and gracious vessel, home to a soul that’s craving to send out love and compassion, a soul that is ready and yearning to make a difference in this big world of ours.
However, it took me a really long time to realize how lucky I am to have this body.
I had an eating disorder for almost 15 years that consumed me and in all honesty, not many people even know about it. It varied in severity but at my worst it was bad and at my best it was manageable. Some days I wondered if I would think about anything other then what my body looked like, how much I was eating or whether or not I got to work out enough to burn what I had eaten.
I longed for the day that I would just be happy with what I was given. I was desperate to find freedom but I didn’t know how.
I spent so many years fighting with this incredibly resilient body I have. I’ve abused it in ways that I’m not proud of. I’ve berated it, cursed it, called out its flaws and used it to gain inappropriate attention from men. I’ve pushed it when it was tired and weak and needed rest and I’ve whittled it down to nothing all in the name of vanity.
I spent so much time longing for something different that I missed the amazing things my body was capable of doing. I felt like a prisoner, longing for freedom, bound by shackles wrapped tightly around me ankles holding me where I was. I couldn’t see this gift for what it truly was.
And then it happened. The day I finally realized I was free.
It was almost three years ago and I was busy working on one of my home projects, a newfound passion of mine, when it occurred to me that I hadn’t obsessed about food, exercise or my weight in what felt like a long time.
I stood there in disbelief and wondered what had changed? What was so different now from the days where it was all I could think about, when it was my whole world?
I continued to mull this over for a while when it hit me. It was me, I had changed.
I had started living my life instead of standing on the sidelines waiting for someone to tell me how to live it.
Slowly I began discovering interests and passions I never knew I had which consumed me in ways I’d never experienced. I had this newfound burning desire inside to be creative and explore the world differently. I had other things to take care of, to think about and slowly, these things began to take place of my obsession with my body.
For the first time I was fully immersed in doing something I loved. I was using my given gifts, getting creative, feeling passionate and alive.
I’ll be the first one to acknowledge that this isn’t as easy as it sounds in every case. There are a lot of severe cases of eating disorders that require professional attention. However, for me, my disorder stemmed from the fact that I wasn’t fully living in my life. I wasn’t heeding the call from within and instead I placed my energy and attention on my body.
What I’ve found in myself and witnessed in others is when we put a lot of emphasis on the exterior (how we look, what we have, who we are seen with, etc.) it’s a good indication that it’s time to look inside and see what is missing in our lives.
When we aren’t truly happy in our lives and with what we are doing, when we feel like we have no control over our lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the things we can control, like our body.
Once we begin to see that we are the co-creators of our lives, everything can change.
What do you want for your life? How do you want to feel? What are you interests, your passions and hopes and dreams?
Start here. Slowly begin to unravel what it is you truly want.
If this is something you struggle with this is a wonderful time to turn inward and ask yourself what are you truly hungry for?
Give yourself permission to dive into the dreams, to try new things, fall in love with you life and see what shifts elsewhere.
Your body is a gift. It’s a vessel for you to share your passion and light with the world.
Your body is amazing and so are you.
If you struggle with issue surrounding your body and eating I encourage you to reach out to me. You really are not in this fight alone.