I sat quietly on the couch. Fidgeting, shifting, and flushed. Trying to make myself appear comfortable, trying to convince my therapist that I was okay, trying to consider the implication of her accusation -- her diagnosis.
I almost felt like laughing when she said it -- and she said it in such a matter of fact way. She was careful with me, not knowing exactly how deep she could dig.
Sitting on the couch in that little room, I thought she was probably wrong about me. Yes, I had kind of an obsession, but it wasn't really that bad. I wasn't one of those girls.
I was acutely aware of my body. Every sensation was multiplied. Every feeling of "fat" was embellished by the thoughts that swirled around inside my brain.
I felt strong, powerful, and fierce. But I also felt defenseless, exposed, and nervous.
She said that for someone like me, being strong would mean eating that chocolate chip cookie. The strength wasn't in resisting it, but in challenging myself to eat it.
I thought that the secrets I spilled out into that room would surprise her, but she had heard them all before.
"I'm not here to make you fat," she said (as if she could read my mind). It was a relief to hear, but I still didn't believe her. Everyone around me wanted me to be bigger, to take up more space -- when all I wanted to do was shrink away. Oh the conspiracy!
I would continue to resist all of her suggestions and advice for many sessions, thinking that I couldn't allow myself to give in and give up on this power I possessed. These super-human strengths that made me feel like me.
What I failed to realize during these sessions was that I was slowly giving myself permission to let go. Bit by bit, piece by piece, challenge by challenge. I thought it would mean letting go of being skinny, but it actually meant letting go of the hiding, letting go of being cold, letting go of waiting for the days to pass, letting go of being alone, letting go of the rules, letting go of the hunger, letting go of the past, letting go of the unknown, letting go of missing out, letting go of the desire to be someone else.
Letting go of the eating disorder.
The funny part about my eating disorder is that it tricked me into thinking that I was the strong one. That I had all the power. That restricting, controlling, and denying myself made me stronger. The harsh reality was, my eating disorder had all of the power, and I had none. It silently ruled my world, dictating my every move and breathing hot breaths of guilt, shame, and fear into my soul.
I'm on the outside now -- or at least much closer to the edge. That black and white life is now smeared with glorious gray.
From this side, I can see things more clearly. I confused desperation, suffering, and disease for proof of strength.
When in reality, the strength was in letting go.
She let go. She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go. She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgments. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the 'right' reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go. She didn't ask anyone for advice. She didn't read a book on how to let go. She didn't search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of all of the memories that held her back. She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right. She didn't promise to let go. She didn't journal about it. She didn't write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn't check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go. She didn't analyze whether she should let go. She didn't call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn't do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn't call the prayer line. She didn't utter one word. She just let go. No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go. There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn't good and it wasn't bad. It was what it was, and it is just that. In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore... ~ Rev. Safire Rose