Hard to believe it, but Independence Day is just a few days away…
It’s a day that has, for the last 14 years, played a very dark role in my life.
For me, Independence Day was the day I became dependent on ED.
Briefly, for those who may not know the whole story, I became an anorectic on July 4, 2001, at around 10 in the morning. A few hours earlier, I had gotten my first period. As I stood in front of my bedroom mirror in a big girl bikini, anticipating the July 4 party where I would not only make my secret debut as a woman, but also do so in a sexy bathing suit with a flat stomach in front of my very first-ever boyfriend, I felt beautiful. I felt thin and light. I felt…in control.
And it was at that very moment that I lost all control.
ED is a very insidious master. He sneaks in at our most vulnerable moments, preys on our most opportune insecurities, and toys with our emotions until we’re so broken that we have no choice but to obey.
Or do we?
Not to belabor the metaphor, but ED places a tax on our emotional, physical, and spiritual lives that we have no reason to pay. It’s a tax based on lies, misconceptions, and negativity. I’ve let ED tax me for no good reason–no good reason, that is, other than the ones I’ve fabricated based on my perception of how I needed to look.
For 14 years, I’ve listened to the tripe about bikini season. For 14 years, I’ve struggled with my “bikini body.” And for what? What is it about a bare midriff that should determine my value–to myself?
So I’m taking this Independence Day to declare (and reaffirm) my own independence. From ED. From expectations about body image and composition. From compulsive behavior. From the negative thought processes I’ve used to keep myself from enjoying my life for the last 14 years.
That means mindfulness. Forgiveness. And reaching out to friends who are going to love me for me (to remind myself that I should do the same).
Independence may not come in a single explosive firework blast. It may take more than one bikini season to achieve. And it may be a war that has to be fought over and over again–but the good news is, we have the tools to win the battle each and every time.
What about you? How will you declare independence from disordered eating or exercise? And how will you support others who are not yet ready to declare their independence?
I hope you have a wonderful holiday,