A Single Post

Perfect. This first post has to be perfect. Maybe that’s why I’ve waited so long to actually write it. Maybe that’s why I’ve been waiting so long to start this blog, to speak up about what happened and what’s still happening (in some sense) to me. I want to make a difference in the world. I want to speak up about my experiences so I can help other people who are struggling like I used to.

But I can’t write anything until I’m fully, one hundred percent, not-a-disordered-thought-left-in-me-at-all recovered. Until I reach that elusive, sunshine and roses and baby unicorns frolicking all day in showers of confetti stage that people call “full recovery.” Right? RIGHT?

Wrong. Because if I waited that long, my fingers wouldn’t be flying across the keyboard right now.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in recovery. I believe in a world not dominated by eating disorder thoughts. I believe in a world of ice cream and chocolate cake and french fries. I believe in bigger clothes sizes and social interaction and color and FEELINGS.

I’m living in that world now. For the most part, I am recovered. But it’s not unicorn-perfect by any means.

I still think about calories. Not in the “oh my god I have to eat the smallest amount possible and fat is the devil” way I used to. But I still think about what I’m eating. I still compare things internally, even if I don’t act on these thoughts. Or even WANT to act on these thoughts.

I’m still sluggish if I take a day off of exercise. I still like the idea of burning calories. But I like the way I feel after I run even more. I like the way working out makes me more alive, more vibrant, and powerful.

I lost weight breastfeeding and was secretly happy about it. But when I finally gained the weight back, I was not-so-secretly proud of myself.

So am I still disordered about food? Am I still disordered about exercise? Am I still a teeny bit sick? Or am I as recovered as I’m going to get–there’s no more work to be done and this is just what it means to be a woman in this world? I honestly don’t know.

I think the simple fact that I’m writing this post right now, that I finally got up the courage to put myself out there, means that I still have more work to do. That I’m embracing the work I still have to do.

Maybe we all have more work to do.

Because I don’t like what being a woman in this world has become. People commenting on how “bad” they are when they eat an extra piece of candy. Calories becoming the equivalent of another swear word. The Mommy Wars hovering in the background of so many conversations.

I’ve lived what feels like a lifetime identifying myself by one label or another:

Smart kid.

Good daughter.

Anorexic.

Sick one.

Skinny one.

Gym rat.

Wife.

Mother.

Writer.

I’m sick of labels. I’m sick of formula vs. breastfeeding. Organic vs. junk food. SAHM versus Working Mom. I’m sick of fully recovered versus CAN’T I JUST BE A REAL PERSON AND LIVE MY LIFE?

That’s the goal. To say, “Huh. This is where I am now. And damn, have I come a long way from where I was.” Not to analyze myself. Not to get angry at myself for the mistakes I still make.

It’s hard, though. Because those labels are everywhere. EVERYWHERE. No matter how hard I try to avoid them. Things don’t “trigger” me anymore, but things do make me sad. Comments make me uncomfortable. People make me angry.

I love some of my labels. I love being a wife. I love being a mother. I love being a writer and a librarian and a friend. But sometimes I just want to be me, to drill down to the core of who I am without looking for all this external validity. Without always wanting to achieve and accomplish. Who am I beneath everything I “am”? Who am I without always striving for something more?

That’s why I’m not 100% sure this blog is a great idea. Because in the back of my mind, I am striving for something more here. I’m striving for a revolution. A revolution of honesty of truth. A revolution of “this is me, beneath all the labels”.

But maybe that kind of striving isn’t a bad thing. As long as I know that if I don’t reach a million people, I’ll still be worthy. Even if this blog is only seen by a few pairs of eyes, even if it doesn’t turn into a worldwide phenomenon and I don’t get sent on speaking tours across the country…hey, maybe I’ll change one person out there.

Maybe I’ll change myself.

It starts with a single post.

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19 Responses to A Single Post

  1. Amy says:

    Absolutely beautiful. You put my thoughts and feelings about wanting to get down to the core of me into words. Thank you, and please keep writing.

    Like

  2. Kristin says:

    Thanks so much for your honesty. It brought tears to my eyes. In so many ways I could relate…

    Like

  3. nikarella says:

    You are amazing, Jen! Keep on blogging!!!!

    Like

  4. Kimberly B. says:

    Wow. Your post really resonated with me. I’ve struggled with obtaining (and losing) some of the labels you mention. Reading this makes me feel much less alone. Keep writing, and I’ll keep reading.

    Like

  5. This is such a powerful post. Thank you!

    Like

  6. Joan says:

    Beautifully written. I don’t know if you need to hear this, but here goes. You are not alone. My labels have been various mental health disorders since forever ago. I get caught up in which disorder is causing this particular disordered thinking and forget to remember that…I’m me. I’m this beautiful wonderful mess and that’s enough. You are too. You are enough, right now in this moment. It doesn’t mean you can’t strive for things you want. It doesn’t mean that you have to be complacent if you are not content. It simply means that you can also love the you that you are today. I’m not very good at it yet – advice is easier to give than to take – but I’m working on it.

    Like

  7. Oh, my love. This is, as you know, something I really needed at this exact moment. I am so proud of you and am in awe of your strength. Truly. I’ve beat a lot of my demons but this is the one that I fear will be the hardest to put in its place. But you ease that fear and make it smaller. Thank you for giving me so much hope and showing such strength and vulnerability. This is exactly what I needed, today. Thank you.

    Like

  8. Kathy Hillson says:

    Beautifully written Jen, as well as the one on staying inside to play. Sometimes kids and moms just need a day to hang out and do whatever comes up. Even watching a TV show together. It IS a memory made!

    Like

  9. anneheathen says:

    I almost feel as if I could have written this myself. KUDOS to you!

    Like

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