Do you guys notice anything different about me? I’ve given myself a blog makeover and I gotta tell you guys, I’m loving it! I realized that my old format looks different on laptops vs phones vs tablets and sometimes made the font and layout different depending on your device so I decided it was time for some renovations. I also made some edits to my Facebook page and have been keeping up with my Instagram, as usual. Soon enough, I will get into the habit of tweeting but I’ve been off Twitter since my junior year of college so it’s a hard thing for me to get back into! Does anyone else have Twitter problems? I certainly do.
Anyways, the last month has been busy in the best kind of way. I’ve been settling into my own, all-mine apartment which still makes me feel like I’m on a vacation with myself. I’ve also been getting adjusted at work (side note: I love my job, I love my job, I love my job). I’ve been going for night-time walks, listening to lots of podcasts, watching lots of Netflix, rediscovering my love of cooking, reading, writing, exploring and generally just doing lots of things that make me feel fulfilled.
This past week marks my seventh month in recovery. Recovery hasn’t been at the forefront of my mind like it has been for the past few months. This is both good and bad- good because my life is getting bigger. It’s like my food and recovery and exercise thoughts were a thought bubble over my head that is slowly getting further and further away, crowded out by thoughts of self-care, writing, relationships and late-night ice cream endeavors. But in another way, I recognize that it may make it easier to slip into old behaviors and thought patterns if I’m not careful. So I’m being careful. Boy-in-a-germ-proof-bubble kind of careful. I try to make sure that I’m eating enough and taking care of myself and when I find that I have an ED thought or a body hate moment, I show myself compassion and gently direct myself back on the right path. Sometimes this is easy and sometimes it’s not. It’s always worth it.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my recovery and my progress and my struggles. One early recovery memory has come back to me a few times over the past month. Let me just paint the picture here. It’s a chilly February morning. I’m driving to my internship at the hospital. Normally, this drive seems long and tiresome. Usually at this point, I’m already hoping that I would get out of the hospital a little bit early because the afternoon rut I always hit leaves me foggy-headed and exhausted. But this day in particular, I found myself singing along to the radio in my car. And this is not my normal, quiet kind of singing that I do so often with the folksy, sing-song-y music that I’m usually listening to. This is full-on, body-moving, running-out-of-breath singing along to a Taylor Swift song that came up on my iPod. I was bouncing around and then laughing at the silliness of the whole situation- actually laughing, out loud, at myself.
It wasn’t until later that week that I realized why that moment felt so refreshing and real. It was because for the first time in a long time, I actually had energy. I was actually meeting my body’s needs and not using all my energy on an extensive work out in the afternoon. My body was actually being taken care of in a way it hadn’t been for years. I was dancing, shaking, moving, singing in a beautiful, revitalizing way without realizing what a wonderful accomplishment that was in and of itself. It took me days to realize that that silly, happy moment was actually representative of the progress I had made.
That is what recovery is like.
As I move further along into my recovery, I find myself passing these milestone moments and not realizing until later. Not even always milestones- just moments that show how much progress I’ve made since I started this process. In the beginning, everything was a big THING. A few weeks into recovery, I went out for a milkshake-and-french-fry snack in the middle of the day. MILKSHAKES. In. the. Middle. Of. The. Day. This is groundbreaking stuff people. And it was a THING. All day, I thought about this huge recovery win. And it was. In the beginning everything was a huge win and I don’t have any regrets about that. In the beginning, these things need to be celebrated and it is something to be excited about. Beating those fear foods becomes an event and that is a-okay with me. Making a breakfast date with my partner (can I start just calling him Charles now? Yes? Good!) specifically to eat French toast was understandable and it was exciting. But now, the focus has come less off the food and more on the living.
I still have recovery wins- when I have an unexpected afternoon snack, when I bought Oreos for the first time in years last week (!!!), when I let myself lay on the couch after
work and just be lazy, something that my ED would have never allowed me to do. Last weekend, I went to a lake house in Maine with my Charles’ family and his grandfather made sausage and biscuits for breakfast, which Charles has told me about multiple times over the past few years. And instead of making myself something else for breakfast (even though I really wanted the biscuits) or eating it and having a fit of anxiety later or denying breakfast altogether, I was able to enjoy the moment with his family and eat. No guilt, no shame, no anxiety. I was able to engage in life without feeling trapped by my eating disorder. (PS later that day, I had a cookie straight out of the oven when his grandmother offered me one- two wins in one day!)
These things are still exciting to me- how could they not be after the box that my eating disorder trapped me in? But they’re not the only things I think about anymore. I’m learning to live a much bigger life and embrace all the bumps and the laughs and the changes and the anxieties and the beauty. I try to show up to this life and engage in it as much as possible. And through all this living, I sometimes forget to celebrate all the things that would have made me through myself a small party in the past. But that’s okay, too. I don’t feel like I’m missing out. Rather, I accept those things as part of this new, happier, healthier, greater life I’m living. A piece of the puzzle.
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See you and talk to you guys soon (thank goodness for social media and the blog community)!