"Well-behaved women rarely make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, 1970s
This quote was my second tattoo by the age of 19. I got into a lot of trouble when I was younger...I know right?! You would never think, but yes, I've gotten into trouble and a lot of it. I've always felt like I had potential to invest myself into something. However, getting into trouble was suffocating my desire to try anything else. This tattoo was to remind myself that my actions don’t define me and that I’m not conventional. I follow my own rules, my own path, and live my own life...it took a long time to get here though...
My 29th birthday was this past October 3rd. I have a year to thoroughly enjoy until I'm officially in my 30’s. I always thought growing older was scary, but it's turning out to be pretty awesome. I feel sexier, more confident, and womanlier than I have ever felt...and I know Rick loves that...
I used to hate my body. When I younger, I was referred to as 'thicker'...and I like it now [back then I hated it]. I fell into this trap of looking at thin girls...women...and wishing that one day I could just wake up and look like that because that would mean I would be perfect, my life would then be perfect. I didn't realize that perfection is not an attribute anyone possess. I also realized that I wasn't happy with myself. I didn't understand that the reason I was in this battle was because of my own homemade torture chamber; my mind.
The signs were there all along, I was always concerned about my weight. I then got into sports and I felt great, my weight thoughts subsided. I had something to put my focus in and I was actually good at it. From then on, it was field hockey, running, lacrosse, my best friends, and my school life. I had a blast when I was younger. I didn't have a care in the world, no drama, just all around great times, but then high school came. I had a boyfriend for the first time. Back then, I'm not sure if you know exactly what you're signing onto when you when you get into a relationship.
I dated Boyfriend1 [name changed for obvious reasons] and I don't think even we knew why we got into a relationship. I lost my virginity with him when I was 14. I don't regret it, he was a great guy, but I was so young to do something so mature. We thought that was love and we said we loved each other not knowing what the word truly meant. In the end, I cheated on him and I acted foolish. I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. He broke up with me as a result. I desperately wanted him back, but looking back now I probably just wanted the comfort that came with a relationship.
That was my first real break-up. Break-up’s never get easier and sometimes it can feel like your heart’s been ripped out of your chest and an empty hole remains. Slowly, but surely, I turned to all my flaws as a coping mechanism [one in particular] which became my weight.
After we broke up, I had a paradigm shift [Gayle Hilgendorff writes 3 Paradigm Shifts to a Better Life, click the link and read about them] I couldn’t properly cope mentally. I believed that my weight at the time was the reason why he didn't want to take me back and be with me...totally outrageous thinking, but this is what happens when you hold things in. It will always come out one way or another, get help if you need it because your secrets make you sick. That topped with anxiety triggered my eating disorder.
Some people question "why would this person take their life?" Picture being trapped in your head, banging to get out...every...day. Well, sometimes that's how they come to that decision, they want silence…but that’s why you fight for yourself, because the banging can be silenced when you find your worth.
There's a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms people use like turning to drugs, excessive alcohol use, smoking, compulsive spending, emotional eating, self-harm, and starving yourself. This kind of treatment to yourself turns into years of struggling, pain, desperation, guilt, fear, loss and even more pain....
I really hid it so well at that time. Some people knew something, but ignored it or talked behind my back about it. I received numerous threats to get better from my parents, but even they didn’t know the right move for me. I was angry because this sickness was controlling me. The only people I could take my anger out on was my family. I couldn't enjoy the time I spent with my family. I couldn't enjoy birthdays, special events, weekends with friends, drunken stops at the diner, etc. I was struggling during college, so many days were spent juggling my eating disorder and my college experience at the same time. My eating disorder outweighed my college experience most of the time, but I still absolutely loved college.
I'll never forget it...I woke up one day in May, staring in the mirror at myself, eyes sunken in, dark bags from the lack of sleep, my cheek bones protruding and my jawline defined from the lack of nutrition. This was the moment I was finally done waking up this way. After this, it was numerous relapses, failures, struggles, anger, more anger, frustration, sadness, and eventually happiness...and then eventually freedom. This part of recovery is what people don't understand...there's going to be times in life when life gets low, really low, but you need to push for something and that something is yourself. Everyday you have to make changes to your own behavior or thought process.
No matter what, even with the eating disorder I was still me....loud, attention loving, outgoing, smiling, inappropriate Becky.
With me still being Becky, I didn't want to ask for help [aka prideful]. I wanted to accomplish this on my own. I would read book after book about eating disorders, trying to piece the puzzle together why I couldn't get past this. I wanted to know why I couldn't I just put food down my throat and just be able to move on with my day. How do I not continue to fixate on that food for the next day or even the next hour or even the next minute? Maybe something from a therapist finally sunk in or maybe it was the realization I made...I no longer want this life for myself. [You are in control!]
My eating disorder humbled me. I realized perfection isn’t attainable. I didn't have it all together...I was reminded how important the little things are in life. I realized how essential it is for people to love who they are inside and out.
I met Rick during this turmoil and I don't think there will ever be a person in my life that will truly understand what I've been through...except that man [true saint material right there]. He was there for it all and inspired me to be a better person. He's my rock.
Slowly I started to gain the weight back. I went from about 115 pounds to 160 [Yeah]. I don’t weigh myself anymore...what for? If I feel good then I'm good...Rick loves it!
As a therapist, I would say that if you're focusing on the number on the scale that there's things that you think you can achieve if you get to that number...a vacation, that one bathing suit, those skinny jeans. Stop. Live simply without the gratification from the scale.
Oh...and people talked through my recovery...don't think it wasn't easy. However, I've learned throughout my life, because of the person I am, I just don't care. My life is my life. If you want to take time and talk about me, well go me! You have to learn a way to stop thinking about what others think at some point. This life is yours, not theirs, do not let the opinions of some unhappy people take your joy away. If things make you happy DO THEM...like this blog, this is something that I love, I love talking [WE KNOW THIS]. Doing this makes me happy, so I'll continue doing it. Hey, I might move on to something else that makes me happy because that's how I live. I must keep myself around that ‘inspiring, motivational, positive’ energy.
After 6 years of work, determination, relapses, and perseverance... I can now say I live the life I dreamt of when I would be crying at 3 AM starving.
Now after reading this, how is this relevant to you? This story is extremely relevant to any negative behavior your struggling with…
We all have pain and struggle at different times. I was desperate, I was in hole, and I couldn't see that the power I wanted was in my mind the whole time. You have to push yourself and rewire ways of behavior.
If you'd like to know the treatment facility I attended, I didn't. I was challenged and I never back down from challenges, I worked daily on myself and my behaviors. I kept treating my problems and boosted happiness by modifying my harmful behaviors and thoughts [also known as Cognitive Behavioral Thearpy]. At this time, I was just getting into the Graduate Program at Monmouth University for Mental Health Counseling, which honestly opened my eyes tremendously. That program did what it was supposed to do; it changed me for the better as a person and taught me my foundation in counseling.
I finally became aware of my worth. You have to see through your conflicts and move positively forward if you want to foster change. My whole way of living is 'being present' [click here for older post 'Becoming Present']
I tell my clients that being present is your best ally because you are taking life as it comes to you instead of looking back and looking forward. You are looking down, looking down at where you are right now.
No one’s closet is clean, I can tell you that as a Therapist, don't compare...'comparison is the thief of joy'...
Be happy for who you are, no wishing or money can change that. I can say I’ve reached a point in my life where I'm very happy in my own skin. I try and look good every day when I walk out the door because I feel good when I'm looking good. I also feel great in my husband’s long sleeve shirts with jockey boxer shorts on [which I’m sitting in right now as I write this]. I just go from to moment to moment in my life. I know that I'm 29 years old and I hope that I have many years to come, but I know in those years life is going to happen...good, bad and all the in-between. I know things are going to change, so I made the choice to love who I am and to choose to live in the present.
My eating disorder brought me to this moment. I thoroughly believe with these hard times comes a true beautiful perspective. I'm the person I am today from the pain and suffering I've been through...