What I Need.

I have far greater needs than to be taken care of materialistically. I need love. I need support. I need strength when I’ve got none. I need affection. I need to be smiled at. I need to be held. And to sometimes be sung to sleep by the sound of a beating heart.

I don’t need money. I don’t need security. I don’t need unrealistic expectations. I don’t need flowers or gifts. I don’t need a big home and stuff to fill it with. I don’t need fancy cars or gold on each finger. I don’t need extravagance. I don’t need things.

I need to love and be loved. Unconditionally. Met in the middle and sometimes beyond. I need to be put in my place when I’m wrong and apologized to when I’m right. I need there to not be right or wrong, only communication and understanding. I need there to be depth. And I need belly laughter. Let there be tears we dry together. And moments of silence filling the space.

Look at me and tell me you love me without words. Look at me as though I am the last piece of the puzzle. Look at me and see me. And let that be enough.

Advertisements

How Did I Get Here?

I want this to be the last I write about this.

I want this to be the last day I hold any resentment or regret.

I want this to be the day I unshackle myself and become free.

There was a moment tonight when I started to really wonder, more than I ever had before, how I got to be here. How did I blink and become 34? Why did the years pass on without a long lasting love? Why did I make a decision at 22 yet now I am living the life I suffered to avoid?

How did my life become everything I tried to escape?

Where did I go wrong?

I mean, I do genuinely feel in some respects I’m in a place I was meant to be. There are certain situations and people that have come into my life and it feels like a piece of the puzzle has been solved. Yet on the flip side I have so many holes, so many stones left unturned, dreams unfulfilled, pages unwritten, life unlived.

So how did I end up here? Why didn’t I leave when I had the chance? Why didn’t I live while I had the chance?

These emotions rear their ugly heads from time to time, and I know full well it’s because I haven’t yet accepted where I am. I haven’t accepted that my life hasn’t gone at all according to ‘plan.’ I haven’t accepted that, yes, some of my own decisions got me here. I sure as hell haven’t fully accepted that this is it, for always and forever, until I draw my last breath. And at times I can’t even imagine my life any differently.

So how do I finally put these feelings to rest? How do I fully step into where I am and who I am? How do I make peace, forgive (others and myself), and put the ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’ to rest?

Sometimes I think I’m getting there. Until that moment I get tripped up, lose sight, begin resenting, and eventually land in the question of ‘how did I get here?’ It’s a vicious cycle. A cycle I am desperate to escape.

I know there is no well traveled road to get me there, that no one can really guide me. Because everyone’s journey is unique. No matter the similarities, the variables are too great and ultimately I have to step into healing on my own. I have to forge my own path. I have to heal my own heart, mend my own fences, and find my own way.

I’m ready now though. Really ready. I’m ready to let go of this baggage I’ve been carrying around, using as an excuse, stumbling over, and trying to hide. I’m ready to be set free. Ready to become someone better.

I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and do the dirty work. I’m ready to dig in, tear my heart out and finally stitch it up. I’m ready to be someone to another. I’m ready to not be alone in this life. I’m ready to be part of something greater than myself, leaving behind ego for selflessness.

I’m ready to step into my divine power. Own my life. Own my shit. By any means necessary.

I know it’s going to hurt. Like hell. I know it’s going to be emotional and painful. I know I’m going to have to tear down my walls and actually FEEL all of this. I have to bleed it out, throw it up, and flush it away. I have to drag myself through the muck kicking and screaming until I’ve finally expelled every last bit of the past from my limp body.

And then I have to pick myself back up, take a deep breath, face the sun, and start walking. Only then will I have truly let go. And only then will my heart be healed.

What is Romance?

Maybe everything we think we know is wrong.

Maybe romance isn’t flowers and poetry. Maybe it isn’t surprises or grand gestures. It isn’t candlelit dinners, expensive jewelry, island getaways, or public proclamations. Maybe, just maybe, romance is laughter. Or nicknames. Or 10 minute visits before work, 3am texts from work, telling his family about you and wanting to know your last name. Maybe it’s him calling you the minute he heads home in the morning or wishing you happy birthday nearly a dozen times. Maybe it’s funny stories of the past or exchanging nothing but emoji conversations.

Maybe the beginning of a relationship doesn’t need to be so serious. Maybe we don’t have to have those deep conversations. We don’t have to question what is happening or how long it may last. We don’t have to compare notes about where we’ve been or where we are going. Maybe we don’t have to feel nauseating butterflies or fear meeting their family. We don’t have to worry about what we order for dinner or how we look first thing in the morning.

Maybe in order to build a future you have to be present. You have to be open to what is unfolding in front of you instead of trying to make the relationship hit every check point on your list. Imagine letting go and having fun, being surprised by each revelation; piecing together and building a foundation based on who you are now, not who you think you want to be, and certainly not who you think you want the other person to be.

Can a love like that be possible?

In the past I thought I had to have certain things figured out right off the bat. I thought those serious conversations were a must. I worried about the time we’d have together and would either of us be flexible or understanding enough when it came to restrictions. I would dwell on deal breakers, stubborn and unwilling to make exceptions. I was nervous about how we’d get along with each other’s families and friends. And what if he had no passions?!

As I age and gain more experiences, I feel as though I’m beginning to see relationships in a completely different light. They aren’t linear and don’t follow a pattern. They don’t follow your expectations either, no matter how low key they may be. Relationships aren’t like the movies or books or like other people portray online. And the best ones are often so unlike anything you could imagine. When we let go and let them take on a life of their own organically and without prejudice, we could very well create the deepest love we have ever known.

 

I never wanted to be set up with someone again. It hasn’t ever worked in my favor. And I was just barely open to the idea of even meeting someone or pursuing anything. I’d convinced myself that I was perfectly fine with my narrative of being single and being ok with that for the rest of my days. I would tell everyone ‘sure it’d be nice to meet someone and share experienced with them but…’ I’d repeated these ideas to myself so much and for so long that I actually believed them to be true!

Of course until I met him.

We aren’t anywhere yet other than at the start, so very fresh and new. Though already everything I thought I knew about the type of relationship I wanted has been completely dismantled. Maybe it’s age. Maybe it’s history. Maybe it’s a little bit of magic.

Whether this is or isn’t something beyond what it is now, I can already tell I am going to be forever grateful for the door that has been opened. For the widening of my eyes. For the tender touch upon my heart.

There.

Throughout the last few years of recovery, my top priority was getting to a place where I felt comfortable in my body. No matter what shape it was in, what the scale said about it, or how it looked in any piece of clothing. I longed to feel at home.

You see, once I dove head first into learning everything I could about anorexia, I came to realize how long the seed had been germinating. It didn’t begin when I was working out six to seven days a week. It wasn’t caused by a certain situation I’d gone through or as a result of any break up. Society’s idea of beauty had absolutely no part in it whatsoever.

In reality it had begun long ago out of a desire to feel seen and accepted by my family. The symptoms would ebb and flow depending on what my current situation looked like, and I eventually spiraled out of control when I couldn’t seem to effectively handle everything going on in my life. At that point I wanted to shrink and disappear, matching how invisible I felt to everyone around me anyway.

I’ve written before about bits and pieces of my recovery journey. This time of year tends to bring it to the forefront because it was this season years ago that I was slowly wasting away. Once I’d decided to choose life, I made it my mission to find some way – any way – to feel at peace in my body.

Here I am, now nearly six years into recovery, and finally living what felt impossible for so long.

Looking back I can see the ways in which my eating disorder was still very much present in my recovery. From the desire to lose weight to calorie counting to hurting my body and using negative internal dialogue. It’s been a bumpy road for sure, and realistically I know that little voice will always be lingering. But I know I am much stronger now and capable of loving myself just as I am, just as I always wanted to.

So often getting to this moment seemed like a pipe dream. I thought I would forever be in the chase but never arriving. I would have fleeting moments of total acceptance followed by a big trip and sometimes a hard fall. It made me feel like I would never really ‘win’ against my eating disorder, and at times I felt like giving up.

Intuitively I knew better though. I knew this story in my life had a purpose beyond myself. I had some beautiful people who stuck by and believed in me and now have these two little girls who need me to be more than this. Resigning myself to suffering isn’t an option.

Over the last few months I’ve been doing some deep soul searching. My mind, body, and spirit have been opened to acknowledging, feeling, forgiving, accepting, and healing. As I sit here with the cool November air skimming across my thick bare thighs, I feel good. As simple as that.

I’m no longer concerned with how my body, my vessel, looks. I’m not afraid to take up space or be loud or weird. I do yoga, meditate, light candles, use crystals, go to spiritual cleansings, breathe deeply, eat intuitively, laugh a lot, curse, sing badly, connect with others mindfully, and I have never felt better.

I’ve learned and accepted that I am not meant to play by anyone else’s rules. No one else gets to set the bar for me or tell me who I should be or how to live my life. Only I get to determine what is best for me, what is going to light me up, and in what direction I move.

I’ve prayed. I’ve cried. I’ve written thousands upon thousands of words. I didn’t think I would see the day. But I kept at it anyway. This is who I wanted to become for so long, and I’m here living it and it’s beautiful. All of it. The ups and downs, the waves of calmness and madness. Every little detail.

This journey doesn’t have an ending. There is no stopping point or finish line. I will forever be a student of my own life, consciously walking this path, bringing everything into alignment, and doing my best to live wholly.

I’m grateful for my struggles. Honestly and truly. They may have taken me the long way but without them I’m not sure I would have made it to this point. This gloriously messy and fulfilling point.

Invisible.

Have you ever felt like a visitor in your own life? As though you don’t belong anywhere? Not among any group of people, not in any situation, relationship, space or time? A deep rooted feeling of not belonging. Unable to shake. Unbearable to carry.

Yet this is my life.

For as long as I can remember I never felt like I fit in. Not in school, not at a job, not with friends, not in romantic relationships, and not even with my family. I have always felt like “that one over there.” People kind of like me, or maybe they like the idea of me, yet no one wants to claim me. No one wants to call me their own, part of their tribe, a piece of their puzzle.

I can only get so close to people. I can only do so well at work. I can only do so much for others. Still going unnoticed, head down, and constantly fighting for a place in this world.

Being a loner hasn’t always been self imposed. It’s just that you get tired of feeling less than. It hurts more to stand along the fray of the crowd than to omit your translucence from the picture. It hurts more to stare at the phone waiting for someone to care enough to ask how you are and really want to know. And it’s crippling to continue to put trust in the wrong people who are all to quick to take advantage of your generosity and kind heart.

This is why I long to live between the mountains and the fields. My bones ache to feel more connected to the earth than to its people. The sun a more steady presence than most, and the moon more faithful than any man I’ve ever been with.

I yearn to come and go as I please, answering to no one, asking for comfort from the stars and kisses from cool breezes.

I don’t belong here. I’ve never belonged anywhere. And no one would miss me if I were gone.

Some day my time to roam will come. Some day I will find a sense of belonging within myself, and there I’ll make a home.

Not Mine.

I envy freedom. It’s a taste I’ve long since forgotten.

How I yearn for those days, that life, my life. My life is no longer my own. Freedom tied tightly to a string and let go with the wind.

My life is no longer my own.

My mom recently said to me, “Life is about choices.” “I know,” I said. “But the kids were not my choice.”

Because sometimes we forget it is entirely possible to become a victim of circumstance. No matter how many strangers commend me or tell me I have the option to walk away, it’s not as simple as either. Being this, playing this role, is both a gift and a curse. It was done both to me and for me. But a choice it was not, and a choice it is not.

You see, when there are other lives in the mix, little lives, you can’t simply turn your back over the legalities. When children need you they need you. It doesn’t matter who you are. A provider is a provider, and children need to be provided for. They are already suffering. How selfish of others to think it’s as simple as “you can step away.”

No, I cannot.
No, I will not.

But, oh, how I took my freedom for granted.

I wish I had lived a little more, traveled a little farther, stayed out later, seen more sunrises, and loved a little harder. Because now… Now, there is no going back.

I spent the last few years of freedom suffering in my own emotional hell. I wasted my time while I wasted away. And I can never get it back. Those long lonely hours, night spent awake, nights spent away.. They are all gone now. My freedom to be sick is gone now. The choice of whether to stay or to go is no longer my own to make.

 

 

Some days I mourn the loss of who I could have been.

Resisting.

I started doing something I promised myself many times I wouldn’t do again. How easily I forgot the tightness of its grip. How gently yet forcefully it started pushing me back down the rabbit hole.

I kept spinning the story about how far away from my eating disorder I’ve gotten. I talk about how hard the journey has been but how I now feel comfortable in the skin I’m in. And most days that’s true.

Most days I feel on top of the world. No matter how far behind myself I feel, no matter how much life knocks me down and drags me around, I still wake up with a smile in my heart, grateful for another day. Genuinely.

But then I had this idea to start calorie counting again. I’d been slowly shedding the unwanted weight so what better way to amplify my efforts, right? No. A million times no. Because no matter how much training I’ve done, how many books and articles I’ve read, and no matter how far gone I was in the past, it’s not enough to keep me from peeking behind the curtain of what once was: restricting.

Slowly I found myself dipping below normal, toeing a line, seeing how little I could get down to, and ignoring how, day by day, I was inching closer to madness. Once again I had convinced myself this was the way to do it. I had already shed the bad situation, and now I was wiling to do whatever it took to get rid of every last bit of it, every last reminder, every last pound I allowed it to stuff into my body. It wasn’t about the weight so much as it was erasing what got me into this space. I started to feel so desperate to get back to the place I was in before the world came crashing down around me.

The only way I knew how was control. Or rather, the facade of control. Soon it became about what was allowed. How much would I be allowed to consume at any given time during the day. How far would I allow my body to be pushed every day. How long would I allow myself to stare into the darkness before it would inevitably consume me.

My body soon began betraying me. In an effort to limit food consumption, I turned to increased amounts of coffee, three workouts a day, and forcing myself to go to bed hungry. How dare my body turn against me and want food. The thought stung. Why couldn’t I be obedient to my thoughts?

Mind you this all happened within the span of about two weeks. Because no matter how many years of recovery you have under your belt, there is always a little piece of you waiting to go backward. It doesn’t matter if, on a good day, you can’t imagine ever going back to that, because given a taste it is extremely hard to resist.

But then I got to a point where I couldn’t deny myself any longer. I was hungry and I was tired and I needed to wave my flag in resignation. Recovery, you win again. I will follow you peacefully.

I feel my best when I am listening to my body, not my eating disorder voice. I feel my best when I make a choice in the moment based on intuition and feeling good rather than what I hope might make me take up less space by morning. I feel my best when I sometimes eat a little extra candy or really only want a rich cup of coffee for breakfast. Because when I lie down at night, what makes me feel best is that I lived.