Monday, April 25, 2011

Stopping Self-Sabotage

I spent all day Saturday at the beach. For most people, the wonder and beauty of the ocean elicit feelings of peace, tranquility, spirituality, awe. When walking along the seashore, I am no exception. I stand, arms outstretched and eyes closed, breathing in the majesty. My stress levels recede. My body is healed. (I suffer from horrendous allergies. The ocean is the only place on earth where I can, literally, breathe clearly). My soul is healed. I feel closer to God. I feel complete.

Unless, of course, the beach is crowded and I am wearing a swimsuit, which I avoid like the plague. This was the case Saturday. I spent 10% of my time marveling at the wonders of creation, and 90% of my time feeling fat, wishing I was thin like the woman lying 8 feet from me on the pink and white beach towel, that my abs were more defined like the girl in the blue bikini throwing a frisbee with her friends. I spent 90% of my time feeling ashamed and strangely out of place inside my own skin. I didn't take off my sunglasses, attempting to create a barrier between myself and the rest of the world. I tried to lie very still as if I could somehow dissolve into the sand, blend in and become so commonplace that no one would notice me.

After about an hour or two of lying on the crowded beach, my boyfriend unpacked the lunches we had brought with us. He had a tuna sandwich. I had a veggie sandwich with vegan mayo and spinach. He also brought along some fat free pretzels. There was no part of this meal that would have ordinarily made me feel ashamed to eat it. It was reasonably healthy. But I couldn't eat it. I felt as though the entire beach was gawking at me, counting every bite, validating my "fatness". I ate a little less than half of the sandwich and put it back inside the cooler. I felt so open and exposed, something I had not felt in a very long time. I lay on my back and watched the seagulls circle over me. I closed my eyes and listened to the sound of the tide rolling in and out again. I could no longer see the girl on the pink and white towel, the girl with the abs throwing the frisbee. I just listened and tried to forget. I became aware that I was sabotaging myself-- something I am guilty of daily. Any time there is a good opportunity or I am in a good situation, I unconsciously try to sabotage it and make myself miserable. It's not on purpose. But I always do it. I let my emotions, my eating disorder, all of the baggage that I have impose itself and manifest itself and steal all of the spotlight until I'm having a horrible time and a good situation has turned quickly into a miserable one. I realized that lying there on the sand. And I vowed to stop self-sabotaging, to enjoy my time at the beach, to enjoy my life.

So I pushed my sunglasses back onto the top of my head, took off the shirt I was wearing over my swimsuit, kicked off my sandals, and walked into the water. Past the girl on the pink and white towel. Past the girl with the abs and the frisbee. I stood with my hands on my hips, the entire beach looking or not looking, and let the water rush in to meet me. Literally and metaphorically seeking renewal.

My boyfriend walked out to the water to join me. We found a little deconstructed crab shell stuck in the sand, the legs broken and disjointed lying all around it. It put things in perspective for me somehow.

I realized before long that I was still hungry. Instead of fighting it, I returned to my beach towel, unpacked the rest of my sandwich, and finished all of it. It was a beautiful day. I've said it before and I will say it again, every day for the rest of my life if I have to:

There is no room for an eating disorder in my life.

Life is too short.

Life is too precious.


  1. This post and your feelings really resonate with me.

    I feel like this quite often and self-sabotage a lot of perfectly good situations.

    I am so glad that you overcame it. Be proud!



  2. I can relate to your post today. I am glad you wrote about this. I have always struggled going to the beach. It's one of my favorite places to be, to be frank with you, yet my ED prevents me from feeling truly comfortable there.

    My ED feeds me this kind of thinking that I am not worthy to be there among the people I wish I would look like.

    This summer, Stu and I will be going to a beach for our honeymoon and I will take this into my consideration. Just to be one; be in the moment; enjoy the enviornment, and enjoy being with Stu and myself.

  3. I love the turnaround at the end of this post - it's amazing!! A massive well done and you should be so proud!

    I can imagine that the beach must be a really difficult place to be for anyone who has or has had an eating disorder - the way you just said No to it is so inspiring!

    Thanks for sharing :) x

  4. This entry made ​​me weep. (Which is in-appropriate at this moment because I'm at work now but I don't care)
    I do not remember if I've ever written on your blog but I always read it.

    Thanks for sharing your feelings and make us see that we are not alone in this world.



  5. I loved this post :) I do that a lot... Walk away from my meal but realize I AM hungry and that I need to go back and eat more :)
    good for you!

  6. This was a beautiful post. :-) Good for you for recognizing that you were self-sabotaging and changing your attitude! That takes a lot of self-awareness and courage. I will try to follow your example next time I go to the beach!

  7. This is beautiful and so symbolic :)
    I'm glad that you ate your whole sandwich!

    I know what you were going through about self-image and feeling like everyone is judging you. But to be the truth, we are definitely our toughest critics. We would never look at girls that look the way we do and think, "Geez. She's gross/fat/etc.."

    The only way to love is to let love in :) You're doing beautifully <3

  8. I love the way you show that life is so much easier without EDs and there are a lot of beautiful things you can do in your life. Thank you for those words! I'm sure that a lot of boys and girls with EDs will think it twice. And of course, you're helping them a lot. Kisses! :D