07 January 2014

In which she breaks her silence...

I am healthy no longer anorexic.
I have family who loves me.
I have a job that I adore, and that makes me feel worthwhile.
I am finally rebuilding my life after things started to implode in 2010...

And I hate my body
I HATE my body

There's no getting around that fact.

And I'm angry about it.
It seems as if many ED recovery blogs show recovery as all lightness and fluff. You push past the fear, you post smiley "Operation Beautiful" affirmations on your bathroom mirror, you do a lot of yoga, and ... and you are recovered. Slim, beautiful, worthy of admiration because you came through the fire and look amazing for it.

What about the rest of us?

What about those of us who careened past recovery weight and are now tipping precariously into the overweight, or even God-forbid, obesity range?

We hear it all the time - love your body. YOUR body. And typically the person spouting that is still acceptably slim, slim enough for society to accept her, while not so slim to be considered anorexic anymore.

What about the rest of us?

Those of us who are fighting the Buddha belly and the thunder thighs; those of us who are not slim by society's standards, those of us who really are overweight and yet we are constantly bombarded with the message that we are to LOVE YOUR BODY.

I don't want to love this body. This body is overweight and tired and has high blood pressure. 

This body is too-round and too-curvy and too, dare I say it? Too large.

Does loving my body mean not taking care of it? Have I loved my body so much that I've put it in danger? Did I listen to those affirmations too much, forgetting that loving my body might mean keeping it a healthy weight? Not around 155-160 pounds for a small-framed woman of 5'3"?

My ED doctor says I'm not overweight. My GP tells me not to stress about my weight.

But how long should I love this body, before love kills me as anorexia tried to?

And why is it that it seems as if the strongest advocates for "loving your body" are those who are slim, those whose bodies don't offend society?

17 comments:

Meliss said...

wow. i hear you!!!!! i was always terrified if i gave up anorexia and bulimia, i'd end up with some body i couldn't stand.

i think, perhaps, the answer is -- what do you want for yourself? what are YOUR priorities?

also, have you maintained this weight for a while? are you eating and exercising comfortably? do you feel this is your natural weight?

this post hits me so much emotionally and it's incredibly evocative.

Meliss said...

wow. i hear you!!!!! i was always terrified if i gave up anorexia and bulimia, i'd end up with some body i couldn't stand.

i think, perhaps, the answer is -- what do you want for yourself? what are YOUR priorities?

also, have you maintained this weight for a while? are you eating and exercising comfortably? do you feel this is your natural weight?

this post hits me so much emotionally and it's incredibly evocative.

Meliss said...

OOPS. i posted twice. sorry

Jacqueline Hough said...

This was an amazing post. It sums up how the rest of us feel. I haven't had the happy go lucky moments yet. It is hard being in a body that you don't recognized. Thank you so much!!

Nicole said...

I have finally found a woman I can relate too! I am 40 and have been "in recovery" for just around two years. I was wondering what your thoughts were on finding yourself. My story is, of course, different than yours but can you relate to feeling like you are without identity. I have not only put on an abundance of weight but I can not find happiness, relief, or success in anything I do. It's as if my purpose is gone. It pains me to be so brutally honest because I am a mother and I should feel purpose.
Thank you for your blog

Meliss said...

write more Angela. this subject resonates with so many of us.

you're really brave to write this -- really, really brave.

keep going please...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being brave.

Woman in Crisis said...

Please continue writing…this post resonates with me to the core of my own recovery.

Anonymous said...

Fact is, you are overweight. Not obese… but leaning that way with your current BMI. Doesn't mean you should go back to your eating disorder, but starving and overindulgence are both extremes, often spurred by the same types of things. Your issues might very well be the same now as they were then, with different outcomes. Continue to seek professional help.

Anonymous said...

wait… so you pick and choose your blog comments?? So… there's no point in commenting unless they praise you?? Seems fitting…

Zena said...

I am sitting here trying to politely figure out how to respond to the last comment. Appropriate words are lacking. The last thing that someone in recovery from a life threatening eating disorder needs to here is that she is over weight, I say life threatening because if you knew or bothered to read any of the back story, she did in fact nearly die. This post was about her feeling about her body which she clearly states she is not happy about. she definitely didn't need some one confirming her feelings, the fact of the matter is that sometimes when you have starved yourself so long it can take a very very long time for your metabolism to rectify itself. Months to Years de[ending of severity, duration and age of the individual inflicted with this disease, let her Doctors worry about her weight and health, Angela, I don't have much advice on this except that body image is the last of the distortions to fade away, The fact is that you are 47 I believe and what you weigh is pretty average, you have come so very far in your recovery and no one is telling you that you have to love your body, but why don't you try listing out all the amazing things it has done for you, one being it didn't give up on you even when you gave up and tried to destroy it. (((Hugs)))

Meliss said...

it really annoys me when people leave anonymous comments. even tho this wasn't a really mean comment, i say -- stand up and own it.

i don't know if Angela is overweight. i'm not a doctor or a nutritionist or Angela

when i was 20 pounds more than the weight charts want, i was perfectly healthy. when i was 20 pounds less, i was seriously ill

Anonymous said...

Angela, don't beat yourself up. Truth is, our bodies are not our whole self. I still have weight to gain, but I know what you mean. All these slim, beautiful people saying that they recovered and now love their bodies doesn't really give me all that much hope. It just makes me think "maybe my weird bloated tummy and still freakishly skinny rib cage is abnormal and I'll stay that way!!!" but really, sometime after I accepted recovery, I decided to just accept my body. Maybe I'll never LOVE it, maybe my weight will not settle at that beautiful thin weight, but I just want to be happy and healthy and not constantly think about my BODY! My body does not define me. We all Love, love, love you, no matter what you feel about your body. -Morag

Natalie said...

Hello "The Spirit Within"! I just happened to find your blog for the first time after reading Eating Disorder Hope's Top 18 blogs of 2013 via Pinterest. I noticed that yours was the only blog that carried a biblical perspective, and I appreciate that you are sharing your journey and self through a love to write and blog! :) I'm currently a psychology student, as well as a girl who has been down a life path with an eating disorder, and who is still healing from all the remnants to this day! This post struck me the most as being very wonderful. How true that is!!! You know, I have been reading a book called "Reviving Ophelia" for a class for females, and this brought me back to a part in it where the author states how girls in our culture are vulnerable to choosing the average adult self for females verses our true selves (such as, who we were as little girls). This means that we buy into the culture, the media, the underground message that says we basically can't be real to be beautiful. We must weight this, eat this, do this, and smile all at the same time lol.

Well that's simply ridiculous, and the only reason why others want us to think along these lines is to sell us products or make us an object to sell products.

I know what it is like to get angry at the recovery world, because it seems so fake sometimes when all that ALL of us girls want is to be able to be REAL!

But the good news is that REALITY can not be mastered by human desire or effort. REALITY can set girls free from guilt, shame, and death.

We don't have to another statistic in the recovery world where we are just more girls who live obsessed with "recovery" (and so we do the yoga, eat the chia seeds, and become these soul hippies.) WE CAN BE RECOVERED - free, honest, learning, imperfect, but redeemed by Jesus Christ.

HE made us, HE is still kicking it despite how dark life seems and how awful people can be, and HE is with us so that WE can be ourselves, we can say that He made us aesthetically beautiful and pleasing to others BECAUSE HE DID and the media has NO POWER over that!, and we can live in grace and know He loves us unconditionally and will help us along the way in our journeys.

You have not loved yourself to death. That is condemnation. You are not a part of an ugly force in society, society is the force that works because of ugly intentions to beautiful/amazing people like you. You are more than the body you have. If you haven't seen that yet, find your true self through Christ and never lose sight of who you are.

I know what its like, and hopefully I was able to offer you a bit of hope and love and freedom just now.

I have it, and one day I want girls I meet who look just how pitiful and broken I used to be, to be able to lavish it also.

Have a good day :) thanks for sharing your heart!

Jana Talavaskova said...

I'm familiar with this never-ending train of thoughts: hatred vs. love war and mixture of fear and hope and happiness and fear again. I suffered from bulimia for 13 years and the experience has made me re-evaluate many things in life. I've been in successful recovery for 3.5 years and can't express how happy I am about the positive changes. That's why I decided to share them in my book The Most Honest Book About Eating Disorders: www.amazon.com/Most-Honest-About-Eating-Disorders-ebook/dp/B00HRWF15I. I hope it will help to as many people as possible on their way to healing.

Jana Talavaskova said...

I'm familiar with this never-ending train of thoughts: hatred vs. love war and mixture of fear and hope and happiness and fear again. I suffered from bulimia for 13 years and the experience has made me re-evaluate many things in life. I've been in successful recovery for 3.5 years and can't express how happy I am about the positive changes. That's why I decided to share them in my book The Most Honest Book About Eating Disorders: www.amazon.com/Most-Honest-About-Eating-Disorders-ebook/dp/B00HRWF15I. I hope it will help to as many people as possible on their way to healing.

Angela Elain Gambrel said...

I'm confused. What comment have I not allowed on here? I allow every comment unless I feel it would be harmful to myself or my readers (such as links to pro-ana sites, etc.)