I have cried twice in less than 24 hours...not sniffles and a few tears, but shoulders-shaking-can’t-catch-my-breath-snot-running-down-my-face crying. Be honest…when you read this, was your first reaction to feel sorry for me? To worry? Truth be told, at first I felt sorry for myself. I planned a full on pity party…invitation: ME! But this morning I was reminded of something that is so easily forgotten…I am not alone.
I received the following message from a dear friend referring to my National Eating Disorders Association Awareness Week campaign:
“All it takes is one person. One person to step out, be brave and share their story. The trickle effect is what happens when good people latch on to the stories. It only takes one person to change lives. That is what you are doing.”
This was my response, without thinking…just responding (through the second wave of tears in 24 hours):
“You don’t know how perfect the timing of this message is. It has been a crap week and I have been struggling and the voices in my head have been full of doubt, telling me I am a fraud for telling my story when I still struggle when times get tough. The first day I publicly talked about my story, my mission was to help just one person. I thought if I could do that, my suffering would have been for a reason. Every time I hear that I have helped someone, my heart is so full. And when my heart is full, there is no room for the hate. So thank you for telling me this. These words have truly shifted my day.”
These words, from this sweet friend and from my own unedited heart, stopped me in my tracks. Pity party cancelled.
I needed this moment of clarity to be reminded of the days when the tears didn't come because they were pushed down with food. I needed to be reminded that what I am doing truly matters, even if I still struggle when times get tough, because we all struggle…that’s what makes us human.
So, while I ask each of you to speak your truth, here is mine: Eating Disorder Recovery is a constant battle. It can be a full time job. The tricky part is that you don’t get a schedule ahead of time. There are days you wake up thinking it’s a Sunday and you have nothing to do but rest and realize with a jolt that you have to work all day…work on self-love and compassion and peace. There are moments when you catch your reflection in the mirror and smile and moments when an onslaught of negative thoughts fill your head. There are times you feel so alone and then there are days you feel your spirit lifted by true friends. There is good and there is bad, but every little bit of the struggle is a step in the right direction. The struggle is real and the struggle is hard, but the struggle will set you free.
So don't be afraid to struggle. Don't be afraid of bad days. And don't ever think that you are alone, because I am right here...speaking my truth, struggling all the while.
"If we didn't struggle, we wouldn't be alive. And I am convinced there is no greater feeling than being alive."