One of my favorite authors, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, once said:
"...human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves."
I have reflected on these words many times throughout the years, especially in regards to my eating disorder. But, in the past, I often used this quote to negatively inspire myself. It fit perfectly. I could be reborn. I could change everything. I could alter my course, suppress what I ate, sculpt my body and emerge skinnier, better, more beautiful. I would be me, only better. I would be me, only perfect. Searching for this perfection became an all-encompassing obsession that ruined my life. I refused to believe that "perfect" was unattainable. I reached one weight loss goal only to set another. Before long, the number on the scale didn't even matter. Unless it flashed back 0, it wouldn't be good enough.
Is it good enough now?
A lot has changed since I've been in recovery. My body has changed; it's gotten bigger. It's gotten stronger. This was enough to convince everyone who knew me that I was also better.
"Better. Synonyms: convalescent, cured, fitter, fully recovered, healthier, improving, less ill, mending, more healthy, on the comeback trail, on the mend, on the road to recovery, out of the woods, over the hump, progressing, recovering, stronger, well". (http:thesaurus.com)
In other words, all former symptoms and issues vanquished. Anorexic no more!
If only it were that simple.
One does not go from Anorexic to Formerly Anorexic so easily. There is a long period of transition. A great chunk of time to think and reflect and heal and cry and eat and struggle and starve and struggle and fight and celebrate and lose and love and win. A lifetime of great, marvelous, continuous rebirth.
The quote is still one of my favorites, but I see it now for what it is: a celebration of our imperfections. An urging to grow, to try, to change and be changed. It isn't about being perfect at all. It's about doing the best with what we're given-- it's about making the decision to adapt to any obstacle-- and to grow because of it.
I may never be fully recovered, but I've come far enough to know that I am never going back. I will never treat myself the way that I once did. I am not perfect now and I never will be. Finally, I'm okay with that.
Stop chasing perfection.
You won't find it.
Stop punishing yourself.
You are beautiful now. In this moment.
You are good enough.
You are worthy.
You don't have to pull it together to begin recovery. You don't have to lose 10 lbs to begin recovery. You don't have to get a whole lot worse to "deserve" recovery.
You just have to let your body speak. Not your mind, your body. Your heart, your organs, your skin and blood and stomach and hands and feet and bones. Your body, the one you're hurting, the one you're depriving, the one you're neglecting, the one you're killing. You have to let it speak.
And then you have to listen to what it's telling you.