I am celebrating a new season! A new, magical season. A new, powerful season. A rational season. A profoundly wonderful season. A new season of the year. Of my life. It is September. And I am existing in a vessel of happiness.
August has always been my hardest month during the past 17 years of struggling with an eating disorder. It’s where my energy seems to combust into something destructive, spiralling into a dark, cold winter of body hatred, angry diets, and silent despair. But rather than breaking me, our most recent August built me into this grand vessel of love that I am now using, to my fullest, grandest capacity, to contribute goodness to this earth. Each human possesses a personal responsibility to positively influence peace and prosperity, and I realise that I am now doing this, wildly and passionately, as a result of achieving the body which I love. One can do great things when one is happy.
I’m a why girl. And it’s so interesting that during my 17-year battle for physical self-acceptance that I never questioned on the why. Why did I want to look in a particular fashion? And what was my actual goal? To be thin? Or to be something more as a result of being thin? Only now, in retrospect, do I know the answer. After tasting the deliciousness of achieving my aesthetic goal, in a healthy, wholesome, glorious fashion, I realise that my answer is this: My goal was EVERYTHING. Because being thin gives me everything.
I knew the answer for my bulimia. I knew of why, for 11 years between the period of 1999 until 2010 that I ate extremely large volumes of food, tens of thousands of calories daily, and threw it up. It’s because I love food. And I am black and white. Yes or no. On or off. If I were to eat one bad thing, altering the course to desired physical perfection, then I would need to consume the entire grocery store, pizza shop, donut bakery, and pie shop. And get rid of it. All. Before midnight. That’s just my personality.
I additionally knew of why, after my bulimia ended, cold turkey on 4 July 2010, that I grew into six additional years of chaotic, disordered eating, a replacement for the bulimic bingeing and purging, and still highly disordered. It’s because food remained as my poison. Although I controlled the bulimic behaviours successfully, I developed new bad habits. Where there is toxin, there is toxicity. And I remained as a toxic, aesthetically imperfect (to me) human being.
Weighing anywhere between 89 and 181 pounds, up and down the scale several times, during this complete period of 17 years, my body always looked normal and healthy to the observer. Yet it was anything but normal and healthy. And I was simply so embarrassed of my own skin. I detested the girl in the mirror, and only now do I see that I could not exist at my highest potential until I enjoyed what my eyes observed. But I was trapped into this seemingly never ending battle with food. I never thought that I could be truly happy, rather that I would, one day, be the old lady with an eating disorder, hating my body and fighting against it.
Yes, it was a huge part of my battle, but bulimia was just a side effect of my body obsession. During that time period, I abused laxatives, exercised solely to rid my body of calories, and vomited until my gums were so diseased that my bananas were painted in blood. And, post bulimia, sometimes for a year at length, I’d nourish solely on gin, cashews, and vinyasa power yoga, wasting away my body, my brain. But then I’d injure myself, or simply give up because a girl can only starve herself for so long. And I’d get fat and miserable again.
I was a very functional disordered eater.
I am convinced, that most of us, we the disordered, we the former disordered, we the future disordered, maintain a normal, unquestionable existence for much of our lives. Most of us work. Most of us play. Most of us maintain divine relationships. And, we all share a very ugly secret. Functional bulimia. Functional anorexia. Functional binge eater. Functional disorder. Yet the struggle is so intensely fierce. Hiding the struggle, even more so. This outlines the primary misconception on eating disorders: that a person who is suffering and or engaging in the wretched behaviours must look in the extreme, as either too skinny or as too fat. For most of my disordered life, I looked as neither.
But I was very sick.
Why did I want to be thin? Fit? Muscular? I knew it had nothing to do with any of the conventional reasons that are listed clinically as related to weight obsession. I knew that a reason existed, and it literally blew me away, over the weekend, when I freshly realised it. It is because when my vessel is happy, I can offer my talents and gifts to the Earth, to the highest, most beautiful degree.
I am so deeply, deeply grateful for the power of my body to recover and to excel from a state of physical and of emotional ugliness. I have discovered balance. Food is no longer my poison. FOOD. It would either kill me or nourish me. I had to LEARN how to eat. I had to LEARN how to work cooperatively with something so lethal to me. I had to LEARN how to be friends with something that was the enemy for so long. Unlike other addictions, I simply could not eliminate food from my life in order to be healthy. I needed to make peace with it. And I have done such. Furthermore, in the process, I have LEARNT to use cardiovascular activity efficiently so that my Ashtanga Yoga practice may be soft. And strong.
What is this reason for this newfound efficiency? It is the amazing gift of Peloton. It is the great fortune of having access to the highest quality spin classes directly from the comfort of my apartment. Of Jennifer Jacobs who has become not just my coach on the bike, but my friend off of the bike. Of Nicole Meline who kicks my booty with power running at high resistances, in her loving, holistic, yogic manner. Of Jennifer Schreiber Sherman who literally makes me stop pedalling whilst my jaw drops at what she’s asking of the Peloton. She’s so intense! Of the other grand instructors. They’re all so fabulous. And of the community of friends who cheer, support, and drink martinis with you on Friday, over the internet, and in person!! Peloton is magical. And accomplishing this little dosage of cardio, daily, allows me to slow down and to love on my yoga practice like never before. To nourish my friendships. To nourish my body. To honour my body. Furthermore, I am now mindful of how Ashtanga, when practiced at a full vinyasa method daily, yields grand injury in my body. Thus, on many days, I deviate from the Ashtanga system, listening to my body’s rhythm. I’m a happy girl in the jungle of life.
Food is no longer my poison. Like wine and sushi, food pairs deliciously with oxygen to yield this powerful, strong vessel that I am. Yielding a human who pours her entire being into stimulating peace and prosperity on this earth. And I am a better mommy to Gwendolyn because of this all. And that is what matters most to me.
I am existing in a vessel of happiness.
I am publishing this article to tell you about my successful living during the past few months with regard to my eating, exercising, and simply being me. I am publishing this article to thank you for inspiring me. Because you do. Thank you for your compassion and care in reading my story.