Then and Now: What I Had to Overcome to Love Myself

That Was Then…

Thirty-one years ago, mid-October, marked the beginning of my eating disorder battle, carved deeply in my mind forever.

Turmoil in the month of September: a boyfriend breakup; a sister (my rock) left for college; I was on crutches because of an ankle infection; and to top it off, a pregnancy misdiagnosis due to amenorrhea. These were struggles too overwhelming for any 15-year-old.

But a night out with friends and a gallon of ice cream (consumed entirely by me) was supposed to make it all better. Instead, my head and heart spiraled downward with my body to soon follow. 93 lbs…87 lbs…83 lbs…that would not be my lowest weight, but it was enough to interrupt life for 26 years.

I had so many positive activities and feats to be proud of: homecoming attendant, Freshman All-American cheerleader, class valedictorian, regional modeling contract with a trip to Reno and a chance for a national contract, full-ride college scholarship – yet none of it mattered.

For when I looked in the mirror, I could only see an empty soul. I was alone in my disordered world and lonely from shutting so many out. I cried out many times, and family and friends wanted to help. But the change would only come when my heart could take no more. [Read more about that journey here.]

and This is Now…

A disparate challenge placed before me: cancer. I’m alone, sometimes, in my world, trying to make sense of the nonsense. Yet I am never lonely – instead, I am surrounded by so much love from family, friends, and even acquaintances.

Looking in the mirror, there is not an empty soul but rather a strong, fierce and determined spirit.

What’s different? Is it age? Life experiences? Responsbilities to people other than myself?

All of the above, and none of the above. We are ever-evolving humans. Change is life. Growing up is life. The lessons I learned during my 26-year battle cannot be taught – I just had to go through them. The tears, anger, suffering, despair, the dark places…all to finally have light.

Once asked if the “C” diagnosis was more difficult to deal with than my “ED” – my response was, is and will always be “NO!”

And why?

Because I now love myself no matter how I look or what happens!

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“I see my body as an instrument, rather than an ornament.” Alanis Morissette

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