9. four years

Today snuck up on me.

It really did.

I’ve been so focused on the end of the school year chaos that I forgot about the significance of today.

Exactly four years ago (May 29, 2009), I was sitting on a plane about to embark on the hardest, scariest, but most meaningfully life-changing journey. I can remember exactly what I chose to wear, what I pretended to eat at the airport, and EVERY SINGLE emotion that was running through my head and body. I remember trying to write this entry in my journal and struggling to find the words to describe exactly how I felt.IMG_2744

Four years ago today, I made the decision to change my life. To live my life. To free myself from the disease that I described as “viciously deceitful.” Four years ago today, I surrendered my false sense of control and power, entered into eating disorder treatment on my own free will, and became the person God intended.

As I look back to that person I was four years ago, I’m both saddened and proud. Even though I was held captive by the invisible chains of an unrelenting eating disorder, I still had the courage to fight for ME. All odds were against me and yet I was resilient. Was it easy? I smile and shake my head as I write that question because it couldn’t be any further from the truth. It was probably the hardest 2.5 months of my life. The next year or so that followed was a constant battle. But when people ask me if it was worth it, I couldn’t be more sure of my answer.

Yes. Fast forwarding to where I am today, I am in awe. Four years ago, I honestly believed that a life like the one I live now wasn’t in my cards. Wouldn’t be possible. Just wouldn’t happen for me. I’d smile and nod when I’d hear successful recovery stories but “knew” mine wouldn’t sound the same.

I was right. Does it sound the same? No. It sounds BETTER. I made the decision on my journey to always do the next right thing. If I made a choice that wasn’t necessarily supportive to my health, I just knew that the next choice I made had to be healthy, no matter how difficult.

I’m so lucky. My life is better than I could have ever imagined. I have a loving, supportive family. I landed my dream job, inspiring and educating children to be their best self in a school that feels like family. My boyfriend is the most genuine, hard-working, sincere, (insert positive adjective here), man I have ever met. My best friends are truly a gift. I have become involved in CrossFit which in itself has been life-changing. I’ve traveled to many countries, eaten many delicious meals, and laughed countless times.

Here’s to that scary, nerve-wracking, anxiety provoking day four years ago that was the catalyst for my life to become the way it is today. I have now lived longer WITHOUT an eating disorder than I did entwined in it. I am forever grateful to the wonderful people I met on my journey and pray each day for those still fighting their battle.

I am blessed.

8. you can’t always wear a turtleneck

When I was younger, I HATED when my mom made me wear a turtleneck.  I was extremely embarrassed when my mom wore a turtleneck.  When I opened my Hanukkah or Christmas presents and I pulled out a snowman or heart printed turtleneck, I shuddered with horrifying dread.  I was NOT going to willingly dress myself in that.  They made me claustrophobic, were itchy, and are still a sure form of social suicide.  

On Friday, my sister and I were having a serious conversation about some situations in my life that were/are causing me an immense amount of stress.  She stopped for a moment after listening to what I had to say and spoke these words: 

You can’t go through life always wearing a turtleneck. Take it off and live a little.

I immediately laughed after she said that as I imagined myself wearing a turtleneck all day every day.  CrossFitting in a turtleneck, teaching in a pencil & apple patterned turtleneck, on a date wearing a turtleneck.  I laughed at just how ridiculous that looked and sounded.  But all the sudden I stopped. After allowing her seemingly light-hearted, humorous words to sink in, I came to the realization that what she said was true.

I go through my life ALWAYS wearing a turtleneck. 

I am so hyper-focused on making sure that every decision I make, every single one of my actions, and every word that comes out of my mouth is responsible, “right”, and will make everyone happy.  I care SO much about pleasing others, not saying the wrong thing or making waves, and making others happy that I am truly limiting myself.  I’m putting on my metaphorical turtleneck each day that I overanalyze each thing that I do, say , or think.  I’m sacrificing true happiness for the impossible, unrealistic chance that no unpleasantness will ever entire my life. 

I reflected for a just a second and made a mental list of all the things that wearing a turtleneck has done for me.  While there are some positives (avoiding dangerous situations, having good control of my finances, etc), the negatives immediately surpassed them.  I’ve put aside my own happiness to please people that would never do the same, I stopped blogging because someone told me it was dumb that I thought people wanted to read what I had to say, I have missed out on so many experiences because I felt that I needed to do the “right” thing, and I’ve kept things to myself that should be shared in order to “keep the peace.”  

So I figure, I owe it to myself to take off my turtleneck. It’s summer time.  I’m ready to live my own happiness. Be my own person. Say things I need to say. Start caring about what I think/feel and not others opinion of me. Start feeling carefree & not claustrophobic.

Bring on the tank tops, the bikinis, and shorts. I’m ready.