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.