Several years ago my mom asked me if I was afraid to not be sick. Did I think that I wouldn't be important if I was healthy? At the time it seemed absurd. Of course I wanted to be well! Who wants to be stuck in the throws of an eating disorder for eternity? Perhaps this person?
I never really understood what she meant until recently. After several days of unfounded anxiety I had a clear moment.
I was afraid. I didn't know it but I was. I was afraid of being healthy, of growing up, of really doing something well, of success. I subconsciously thought that if I succeeded at anything besides my eating disorder that I would have to then give it up. I would have to give up what I had gripped onto for so long, what I thought was my identity and my livelihood. If I really allowed anything else to fill space in my life then things would fall apart. I would lose control of my carefully constructed reality and be forced to live in a world where nothing is certain. A world composed both of failures and successes. I must have believed that if I always knew I would fail that it was safer. Besides I'd always have the eating disorder as an excuse, an exit strategy.
I wasn't ready to give up the starving and the extreme working out. Years of failed relationships, false starts in school, jobs that didn't work out. It was easier to retreat back into myself. The unknown drove me crazy. Always knowing the future was safe. Go to work or school, workout, sleep. Repeat. I didn't need external challenges to be important. I knew how to be important in illness. After all isn't one of the greatest successes in our culture weight loss? I was good at that. It was enough.
It is a sad statement that society puts so much emphasis on such a vacant pursuit.
Stepping into a world composed of both failures and successes brings a new level of excitement paired with anxiety. Anxiety of the unknown. These days I find myself dealing with this. Accepting that I don't know the outcome of that day, of that moment. Accepting that I must live to breath in the moment, to feel the whisper of my inhales and exhales as my truth. This is the ground I hold, the space I fill; sensations overflowing the boundaries of my body and the confines of my soul. To reject these innately human things is to choose darkness instead of light. I've seen the light, I know it exists and I plow forward. The past is only an illusion. Remember it but don't harp on it, don't simmer in the stew of regret. Rejoice in the experience of life.
Do you rejoice? Do you regret?