Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Celebrating Summer, Celebrating Life

I've written before that the change in seasons affects and triggers my eating disordered behavior. My anorexia first began in the dead of winter, which could explain why during the cold weather winter months, restricting and self-starvation become increasingly tempting for me. Summer, however, seems to trigger different feelings. Of course, warmer months add a lot of anxiety and negativity toward the way I feel about my body.

I don't want to wear a skirt. Why would I wear shorts. My legs are hideous. A swimsuit? You must be kidding...

This is normally the sort of dialogue that occurs inside my head when summer begins to materialize. But instead of trying to starve myself, something about the warm weather makes me want to exercise, to "get healthy", to "eat more cleanly", to "lose weight the healthy way", all under the guise that I'm doing something "good for myself."

But where do these feelings come from? Aren't they just eating-disordered mania in disguise?

I'm afraid so. But those of us who have and are recovering from eating disorders are not the only individuals to have this inner dialogue. Quite frankly, it comes down to pressure. We are pressured to have toned, tanned legs, beach-ready bodies, swimsuit-worthy waists. During the summer, there are no extra layers of sweaters or coats or scarves to hide behind. Unless, of course, you want to sweat to death or stay indoors. I don't want to do either.

But I refuse to feel guilty about my body.

I refuse to feel inadequate, insubstantial, insecure, unimportant, unworthy, ugly.

I refuse to waste yet another summer by holding back and not enjoying myself.

(I've wasted far too many)

So, I wore a skirt today, even though my legs are the one part of my body I am and always have been most afraid of. I wore a skirt without leggings. Without tights. Without self-tanner. Without worry. Or regret. Or trepidation. I wore a skirt because it was 90 degrees, unrelentingly humid, and I refused to swelter away another summer in jeans.

Wait, I'm sorry, did I just do something... practical?

Maybe this doesn't seem like much of an accomplishment to most of you, but for me, that's progress. I can count the times on one hand (today included) that I wore a skirt (without tights/leggings) or shorts *in public* in the last 15 years. How unbelievably sad is that? How irrational? Even at my lowest weight, I was deranged enough to believe my legs were huge and disgusting. But that's what an eating disorder does: it lies, intimidates, and destroys. That's why I'm celebrating practicality. Celebrating summer.

Celebrating this short, sweet, single shot at life we are all given.

This is the only life I have.

I've already wasted too much of it.

That stops today.


  1. 'that stops today'. Wow powerful words, very strong! I love it :D

    I know exactly how you feel. I hate my legs the most as well. I loathe my thighs and my calfs are a new hate of mine...ahhh. But I'm forcing myself to wear a swimsuit and maybe a bikini when i go to France next week (posted pictures on my blog of both :S). Hoping I don't chicken out lol. Should be easier because it's in another country..or at least that's what I tell myself haha.

    Congratulations on wearing that skirt. It's not just the eating that fights against the ED, it's so much more!

  2. Progression....not perfection.

    That's what you just did for yourself.

    It may be a small simple shake up of an action you had done for yourself, and do give yourself a huge pat on your back.

    I struggle with the very same thing. My thighs and legs are my ... what do you call it...GRR areas. I don't like them despite knowing that it is uniquely mine. All women in my family have long legs with curvy thighs....and that's what makes my family unique.

    This summer, I am going to challenge myself by going to beach and not compare myeslf to other women at the beach on my honeymoon. It may be a small, insignifant thing, but it will turn out to be a significant decision for myself. :)

  3. Love it! Well done!! I don't have an eating disorder and it still seems like an accomplishment to me!

  4. I also hate to wear shorts or show my legs. But it is about 86 degrees and humid here in mid-Michigan so I am wearing a skirt and form-fitting T-shirt - can't hide under baggy clothes as easily in the summer.

    Good job! You are an inspiration!

  5. Hey Girl : )
    I've never commented before but I read your blog often.
    I understand exactly how you feel with wearing skirts/shorts. I am the same way. You made a very brave decision though and I am so proud of you for doing it! Our body images are so distorted, we see something totally different from everyone else when we look at ourselves in certain clothing. You got passed this mentality and that's an amazing thing! Keep fighting, you're worth it!!