Boy, this is sure a crazy world. After an unforgettable conference this past week in Los Angeles, I’m actually finding myself creating more questions than I am finding answers; although, I know it has been in a positive way.
Being present with individuals who’ve walked in my shoes, share the same perspectives, and have felt the intense pressure of a similar past, have actually helped me realize that I was possibly sliding into a slippery state of content. Work, graduate school, advocacy, community initiatives, and mere “normal life” slowly pulled my focus from where it “should” be, to where it “could” be. I use quotes around the words “could” and “should” because I’ve finally learned there isn’t a need for them in our lives. Those two words often generate regret, doubt, shame, and guilt. For lack of a better phrase, “It’s okay not to be okay.”
People from my past and present have been with me on both sides of the coin of satisfied, and an opportunity to work with youth provided an immense reality check for why I am here and why I cannot sit idly on the sideline. The teens that I encountered were absolutely phenomenal. I was given the opportunity to help them realize their innermost potential and aid them in bringing home initiatives to their own communities. However, these characters had me wanting to be in the passenger seat. When it comes to former struggles of my eating disorder and the present obstacles I have now, believe it or not, even if I had a magic wand to wave over myself and “perfect” the thoughts that swirl in my head that restrain me from living the life that I want, can, and need to be living, I wouldn’t think twice in turning that option down.
My day-to-day actions have become monotonous as of late, and I’ve been questioning my life’s direction. “Is this meeting THAT important? That phone call can always be placed at a different time.” To be incredibly honest, I’ve even felt that my entries here have become uninteresting, as well. However, this past week opened my eyes for the first time in a very long time. The light bulb once again went off, the fire was lit under my tail, and I discovered how badly I wanted to connect with my emotions again.
A question I have to ask you is this, “Are you in-tune with how you are feeling, genuinely?” The beliefs we hold in our minds often reflect what our hearts are also trying to reveal. However, we all have times where our hearts become “mute” and, as a result, our thoughts become toxic to the people we truly are inside. We’ve got to be proud that what we have in our hearts we aren’t regularly listening to is most often the truest, most authentic power that we are able to make use of in our lives.
Do you accept yourself as you are, flaws, illness, past and all? We actually don’t accept ourselves when we aren’t in-tune or are “muting” the thoughts and feelings at our core. We often hate the barriers in our lives and we hate what it does to pull us down, but we believe that’s who we really are when we aren’t truly listening.
I think in this day and age that many people just compromise when our minds and hearts aren’t really making a connection. I often receive feedback that suggests that because I’m so committed to eating disorder awareness that I must be completely “recovered” or without slips and stumbles. Perhaps I am wrong, but there may be an assumption that because I keep insistent to grow that I must be sacrificing the self-acceptance side. I don’t believe this is the case. In fact, I believe it’s actually aiding the process of repairing the disconnect from the feelings and thoughts of my heart and mind.
In terms of healthy decisions during recovery from my eating disorder and exercise addiction, I’ve had to decide how much ambition I want to put forth to improve my life. Think about it, we all struggle with events, obstacles, illness, and more throughout our lives; but we eventually get to a healthy enough place to choose to live or move on. We’re given the opportunity to accept where we are as “satisfactory” and merely sustain it, or we can try to realize a better life for ourselves. Here’s the kicker, did you know that we have the chance to believe that our lives are largely out of our own control? I know you’re saying, “Troy, I already knew that was the case.” But, there is a large difference between recognizing that things are out of control and learning to accept whatever comes our way.
The more you accept where you are (I have been content in my own recovery without knowing it), the less motivation there is to grow. The harder and unhealthy way we push ourselves to attain what “may be” will only lead to less satisfaction we’re to develop from where we are now, and where we will be when we do reach that next goal.
I know I’ve been writing about my “newfound fire” following a conference and a fresh sense of urgency to do as much as possible for the eating disorder community, but, I pondered a question about myself a week ago. The question encompassed the day I will no longer be an advocate during my life, or at the very least, not being as active and vocal in my efforts. Will I be “okay” with just being Troy? If I’ve found purpose in a life I never thought I would promoting change and learning to put myself and my thoughts on the line in this work, would I find myself to be “enough” without all of what surrounds me now?
I know that I have an issue with looking for the “next big thing” in my life. I believe that most humans, too, are always seeking the same. Think about this for a moment, don’t we all look forward to vacations, weekends, and holidays? In this terrible mindset, I know that I’m spending much more time looking forward to “what I can do next,” rather than enjoying what is in my life now.
All I can do at this point is hold onto the notion that life is incredibly gray and there are far too many options to find peace or satisfaction. We simply don’t have to choose either the “black” or “white” options on our road to recovery. To sum it all up, I don’t need to worry about any of that now, because “as long as I’m breathing, man, I can’t complain.”
What is recovery? For some, it’s going months without engaging in an unhealthy behavior; for others, it’s merely getting out of bed in the morning. In my opinion, I don’t believe that you are able to define exactly what recovery means; recovery is almost like trying to define strength, the definition is different for everyone. This leaves each and everyone of us with an opportunity to shape our future, our goals, ambitions and recovery our OWN way. By listening to the thoughts of our hearts AND minds, we can be sure that the connection between the two is a sure-fire step towards finding our core and the “imperfect” person in us all.