Appreciation, Body Acceptance, Body Appreciation, Body Image, Body Love, Body Shape, Body Size, Eating Disorder, Emotions, Encouragement, Faith, Feelings, Friends, God, Gratitude, Hope, Joy, Love, Recovery, Social Media, Uncategorized, Weight

Crossroads

Every morning we are born again.  What we do today matters most.
-Buddha

******

Every so often in eating disorder recovery I find myself at a crossroads.  I can choose to keep fighting or I can choose to give in and allow the eating disorder a prominent place in my life again.  Sometimes the two roads blur and I stall at the crossroads because neither route seems to be the clear path.  The longer I stand at the crossroads and stall, the harder the decision becomes.  I know recovery offers the freedom I so desperately want, but there is that part of me, however small, that is still afraid to completely give up the eating disorder; regardless of how much of the recovery freedom I have already experienced.  In order to choose the recovery path I have to break up with the eating disordered part of my brain…repeatedly.

A few weeks ago I found myself, once again, standing at this crossroads.

After two solid months without hearing the eating disordered voice in the back of my mind or engaging at all in eating disordered behaviors, I came upon that crossroads quickly.  I stalled so long that with each passing day it seemed more difficult to choose.  I knew recovery was the right path, the path I have wanted all along, and I had to force myself to take the first few steps down the disordered path again.  After a short time the disordered path again became comfortable, providing the emotional comfort for which I was longing, and setting me up to make it harder to get back on the recovery path.

I spent three days writing out the eating disordered thoughts, never reading them because I was afraid to look back.  I was afraid I would look at the words on the page and it would awaken the recovery warrior in me.  I was afraid the abusive eating disordered voice would jump off the page and snap me back into recovery.  But isn’t that what I’ve wanted for so long?  Recovery and the freedom it provides?  While the answer was, is, and always will be a resounding, “yes!” it did not change the fact I was afraid to look at what I had written.  After an additional day debating whether or not to read my own writing, I opened my journal and began to pour over all the hateful, negative, mean, and horrible things the eating disordered part of my brain told me in an attempt to regain control and go back to the eating disorder.  My heart broke because I allowed myself to take those vile words as truth for several days before the recovery warrior was again awakened within me.

What helped me make the decision to turn down the recovery path this time?  My husband.   After putting up with the clearly eating disordered mind he got out a plate, put veggies and chicken on it (while I was arguing at him because I didn’t want it) and put it in front of me.  He said he wasn’t going to let the eating disorder keep controlling me and the only way he would get his wife back was to feed her; nourishing her brain and body.  I love him.   He is my rock and always wants what is best for me, even when I don’t want it for myself.  Not only was he taking care of me but he was being Mr. Mom to our daughter while I was being selfish in the eating disorder.

I couldn’t have married a better, more supportive man.  He reminds me that my body is beautiful when I can’t see it because he sees the mother of his daughter and stretch marks that tell a story.
And you know what?
He was and is right.

My body is beautiful, my stretch marks do tell a story, as does the rest of my body.
It tells MY story.

With Body Love,
Lane 

Appreciation, Bikini Body, Body Acceptance, Body Appreciation, Body Image, Body Love, Body Shape, Body Size, Eating Disorder, Emotions, Encouragement, Exercise, Faith, Feelings, Friends, God, Gratitude, Hope, Joy, Love, Recovery, Social Media, Weight

Symbolism and Self-Acceptance

Rising out of darkness, the lotus flower emerges to float on top of the water;
unstained by the mud that binds it.

******

After a long weekend visiting family in a very health-conscious city (i.e.: people always running and biking regardless of the time of day, and gyms on every corner), I found myself really struggling with body image and wanting to return to eating disordered ways.  RED + FLAG.  For the last two months I haven’t really struggled with the eating disordered thoughts or body image nearly as bad as I did for the last few days.  Feeling in such an awful place about my body made me question why I am even running this blog and Facebook page.  However, last night I got some serious rest and this morning I woke up with a new frame of mind.  While I am still struggling I am ready to fight harder again because that is recovery: moments of fighting hard, tooth and nail, to remain in recovery and learning to love myself and my body along the way.

This is the official BBA logo, designed by Megan Anderson
This is the official BBA logo, designed by Megan Anderson

 I have also been thinking a lot about the symbolism behind the BBA logo and what it means for me in recovery and with my body acceptance.

The BBA logo is rooted in deep meaning and symbolism; everything from the lotus flower to the color scheme was chosen carefully and to represent something.  The lotus flower sits delicately, cleanly on top of the water after it comes up from the muddy bottom and murky water that holds it in place.  It is rooted firmly and opens with the rising sun.  A new day, a new beginning for the lotus flower.  The flower is unstained by the mud from which it rises. Beauty rises out of darkness.  Body acceptance is beautiful, especially when it comes from the darkness of self-doubt, self-hate, and struggle to love.  The lotus flower in the logo is not fully open, showing body acceptance and love is an ongoing journey.  It takes time, patience, and continuous effort to learn to love myself; just as recovery times time, patience, and continuous effort.  Neither body love or full recovery came instantly when I stepped into the sun and started living in the truth.  Like the lotus flower blooming in the sun, petals open slowly and each one is examined in truth (sun) before the flower is fully open and the heart is revealed for the world to see.  I am like the lotus flower not fully open.  While some petals have received the sunlight others are just beginning to open as I figure out what triggers me most and causes me to feel such dislike for my body.

images

The blue and purple hues used in the logo also hold meaning for me.  Purple is my favorite color but, as I wrote in a previous post, I believe purple to be dreamy and daring.  The color blue, especially light blue, is calming and comforting to me.  While purple represents the side of me that dreams of full recovery and body love, blue represents the calm state of mind it takes to practice radical body acceptance.  

Finally, the water under the lotus and the droplet of water above it represent sustaining life and relaxation.  The ocean and water speaks to me and calms me.  Much like a lotus bobbing on the water and making ripples, becoming a body acceptance advocate also makes ripples.  It isn’t a commonly embraced concept, as we are a society fixated on changing our appearance.  BBA seeks to make waves.  Water is also sustaining.  We need water to survive and water helps give life.  The water droplet coming down on the lotus helps sustain it, such as food, water, and God help sustain me.

While the last few days have been a struggle, I needed to return to the root of why I started this blog.  It is an honest look at radical body acceptance through the lens of eating disorder recovery.  This is the honest side of it.  I still struggle; I haven’t perfected this process.  I have days when I don’t even remotely love my body and it is difficult to practice radical body acceptance and find the things I do like and appreciate.  There are days when I don’t want to fight for recovery because it might be “easier” in the moment to go back to eating disordered ways and just let go of the rope in this tug-of-war.  However, I don’t let go;  I keep pulling and practicing radical body acceptance no matter how difficult it is.   I find the things I do appreciate and hold on to those.  I see the sunlight as I am rising from the muddy, murky waters of the eating disorder and self-hate to examine my petals in truth.

This is the truth:
I don’t appreciate my body all the time, but I am learning.  I fight to find the things I do like, even when the eating disordered part of my brain says there is nothing to like or love about myself.  I appreciate that my body could take my daughter trick-or-treating last Saturday in that health-conscious town because I enjoyed living in the moment with her.  I also appreciate my brain and heart for fighting to fully recover from the eating disorder that bound them in hate for so long.  What is your truth today?

Radical body acceptance is a journey on which anyone can embark.
So why not start today?

With Body Love,
Lane