"We eat the way we eat because we are afraid to feel the way we feel." - Geneen Roth
I sit at my kitchen table, windows open, the beautiful morning sunlight shining. I hear the whir of the fan, the hum of the cicadas and the bark of a dog in the distance. I smell fresh air and cut grass and the early crispness of fall. But the question I am asking myself is “What do I feel?” Why is this is the hardest question to answer? When did we lose the ability to cry when we are hurt and scream when we are mad? When did it become the norm to hide what we feel?
As a highly sensitive person and someone recovering from an eating disorder, I know I probably spend a lot more time thinking about these things than most. I am introspective and curious and constantly trying to crack the code of my existence. I feel things deeply and therefor experience even more discomfort when pushing down my emotions. I have learned that the release I feel when letting my emotions out is far easier to deal with than the stress I create by holding them inside.
Over the past few days I have felt emotions bubbling up and have tried to mindfully notice them without judgement. I have tried to let them out. I have tried to name them. I have failed. So I decided to spend some time with my journal and just write and see what happened. What I wrote was a goodbye letter to my eating disorder.
It is important to know that transitions are difficult for me. I don’t do well with change. But it is time to say goodbye. The letter I wrote feels a bit too personal to share here, but trust me, it was great. Most importantly, it was brave. It was me being authentic and facing life head on and not letting the fear of not knowing what comes next hold me back. It was me standing up for myself and crying and screaming and demanding to be heard. And don’t we all deserve that? Don’t we all just want to be heard?
When did it become the norm to hide what we feel? It happened when we listened to all of the pressures of society and placed them upon our shoulders. It happened when we decided that showing our feelings was a sign of weakness. It happened when we thought having so many emotions meant there was something wrong with us…that it was a flaw that needed to be hidden.
My emotional side is my greatest strength. It is what makes me a good mother, a good friend, a good writer. It is what makes me, me. It is what has given me the strength to dig deep and find the courage to say goodbye. These emotions, that felt like chains for so many years, are exactly what I need to unlock the cage door and set myself free.