“Don’t live by worldly standards. Choose to be real, authentic, and thrive without expectations.” – T.R.
It’s been quite some time since my last entry and there have been several reasons for that. Anything ranging from family/friend conflict, job implications, legislative commitments, personal struggles, and even advocacy have left me wanting to scream, “I’m not who I was!”
Have you ever felt as if a comparison to who you may have been may be holding you back? I can certainly relate. I’m not the “happy-go-lucky” senior; I’m not the stereotypical high school athlete six years ago and I am definitely not the ghost of a man I became in my disorder. In fact, I never carried any of those labels in the first place. To tell you the truth, I am thankful I’m not. I am, however, thankful for the insight, perspective and drive I have attained through each of those labels that supposedly defined me as a person.
Since the beginning of my eating disorder battle, I am healthy enough to state that I am more grounded than I ever have in my life. Contentment comes with a price. That price may indirectly hurt others in order to save and eradicate the demons that keep from living the life were meant to live. It’s interesting to me that in my (our) efforts to re-assess living, goals, and what I (we) want out of life and what I (we) can potentially give back to others is viewed as being selfish, guarded or withdrawn. We’re often instructed to “take care of yourself first in order to become healthy,” yet, the very people you may surround with often formulate resentment during the most burdensome time.
I’ve come to believe there is not-and never will be-one way that everyone “should” treat suffering, no matter the form it presents itself. To be completely honest, we all know that there isn’t a chosen method of recovery that fits all. I find it humorous that there is though, a time when both those suffering from an illness and their families simultaneously want to scream, “GET OVER IT and MOVE ON.” Too many support systems for those whom have suffered cruelty, life disturbances, who have eating disorders, and engage in self-harm do not know how to, or want to, let go of the fact that it isn’t by CHOICE they are going through this experience.
Over the past two months I have encountered resentment from both family and friends Certain family members have proclaimed that I have changed for the worse; utilizing my blessings as a blogger and ignore my family for personal gain. Friends have also expressed their opinion that I have lost sight of my faith that has gotten me where I am today. However, I have news for all of my “support systems:” Those closest to you are not “changing” for any other reason than to finally discover who I am, why life’s events have gone the way they have and I’m trying to figure out how to get past it all. In fact, I’ve never known who I was to begin with.
I embraced my faith at 19 and have never looked back, until now. I’ve come to believe that there are definitely “rights” and “wrongs” in what a person does in life with regard to their beliefs. It’s interesting now to see how various beliefs can bring about terribly concrete views that mold a person’s thinking as life progresses. My faith is certainly not to blame for my misconceptions or pitfalls for I was the one who perhaps interpreted my beliefs wrong and held myself to an “unattainable” standard. Is my faith any less important than it was at any given point before? No.
How many times must I explain the situation when locked-into or suffering from an eating disorder? I understand that I made a “choice” to begin a lifestyle change; I made the “choice” to exercise more than what is considered healthy; however, I also need to clarify to someone unfamiliar to eating disorders that if I (and millions of others) had known that biology, developmental environment, and life experiences would lead me down the road I’ve gone; I would have CHOSEN to “snap out of it” a long time ago. Those of us who are enduring hardships with our disorder completely understand that we hurt those around us, and we understand that we ultimately are engaging in behaviors that break-down our body. The “choice” of letting go of everything becomes all-consuming and even hazy to say the least. We are educated that “black and white” thinking isn’t healthy, but there is definitely polarization of the decision to get better. Suffering is not black and white and the resolutions for them don’t tag along the same path, either.
I won’t hesitate to proclaim that I’m now open to all people’s experiences and that I now have respect for others in different circumstances. It frustrates me that merely listening to an alternative perspective whether it aligns with the “left” or “right,” equates crossing over to the “dark side.” Whatever happened to listening to a different viewpoint? We all have helpful qualities despite what we’ve endured and our choice to simply listen doesn’t mean we abandon what we hold as our own truth.
Find certain qualities, don’t be afraid to step outside our comfort zone and feel free to practice what makes you happy. However, be proficient at dodging the gush of negativity if you don’t pursue the “rights” or the “wrongs” according to someone or something else. When we are certain of and are comfortable with where we are; any negative remarks will fall like “water off a duck’s back.” Trust me, when people see the authentic, what is real, and what’s really at heart will tend to listen more easily, and will ultimately be thankful they did. Ultimately, they will appreciate the honesty you give them.
I don’t know if I speak for anyone else out there who is going through something traumatic event in their lives. This post was ultimately to proclaim “I have changed”! I now have a different outlook on life, and I know I am a better person for it. Each day brings along different problems for each of me to deal with, and I am not anything close to an exception from it. My eating disorder and addiction to exercise still lurk in the back of my mind and probably will stay there. Life experiences change people. They bring about a respect and empathy while providing the possibility that another viewpoint is perhaps, better? Don’t base life on someone else’s standards, viewpoints, or expectations. You are you. A copy never shines as bright as the original.
Make a difference. Make an impact on others. Free to be yourself. The time is now. Look inside yourself and find who you really are.