I am not at war with my body. I am not at war with myself.
No, today, I am at war with the voice in my head that tells me I am not enough, that I am too much, that I can’t do anything right, and that I am a failure at everything I try. I am at war with the voice that has held me captive and led me to hate the body that I live in and the girl who lives in it.
We’ll refer to this voice as Ed, or my eating disorder. And even now I am fighting with myself over adding this part because I don’t feel like I’ve earned the right to talk about eating disorders as I’ve never been formally diagnosed or spent time in a hospital or care facility being treated for an eating disorder. But I have an eating disorder, and it messes with my head and my heart and everything I believe about myself and I am sick of it.
For years, I have fought my body. Hating every inch of the space I live in, wishing it away and wishing for something I could never biologically have. And the hate didn’t stop at the surface, it went deeper into the very core of me. I hated me, and I hated that I hated me but I couldn’t stop hating me. I would fight myself daily because there was a disconnect between who I was and who I thought I should be/who I wanted to be. I would get so upset over anything that didn’t fit the “who I think I should be” plan. Anything that I didn’t deem as cool or the right way to be was hated and suppressed.
To deal with the disconnect, I placed strict rules on myself. I controlled how I could feel, how/when I could eat, what I could eat, how I could treat others and myself. If I broke any of my rules or messed up in the slightest I throw everything out the window and binge; on food and on emotion. I didn’t want to be me and honestly, I couldn’t have been me even if I tried. It was too foreign, too strange, to accept who I was and actually be that girl. I had too many rules and too mean of self-talk to ever try to love the girl I actually was.
This disconnect started when I was little. Honestly, I’m not sure when exactly, but I know that I always felt out of place, and I always wanted to fit in. I remember being 10 and beginning to be self-conscious of how I looked. I remember being 12 and actually starting to hate my body because it was changing and I was changing and I didn’t like it. I’m almost 21 now, and I’m just beginning to work to undo the patterns of 10 years.
10 years is a long time to hate something. 10 years is a long time to live with an eating disorder that I just realised was a thing a few years ago. However, 10 years isn’t too long to be hopeless. I am not a lost cause, I am not too far gone. There is so much hope to be found because I am learning to love myself and care for myself now. And maybe I couldn’t do it in high school, and maybe I could get very upset at myself for that (and believe me I have gotten mad at me for that), but that would be such a waste. Because I cannot go back, only forward. And forward looks like self-love, acceptance, grace, and forgiveness.
Forward looks like embracing the girl I am, and learning about her because I don’t really know her.
Forward looks like a war; not one against myself but one against lies and shame.
I was never meant to live in shame and hate. I call myself a Christian and believe in Jesus, and He called me redeemed, brought out from sin, no longer a captive to it. He called me loved and beautiful and looks at me with grace and love. I do not have to be trapped in lies and shame because Jesus has called me and rescued me and is continuing to redeem me daily.
Redeem is a strange fancy word, and I never really understood it before, but I heard it put a beautiful way once.Rescue is needed, but it is the one-time act of being taken out of a situation. Redeem is the ongoing act after that, it’s the long haul and it requires love, lots of love. So I have been rescued, but I am continuing to be redeemed. And I’m not sure how accurate of a description that is, but I think it’s a pretty lovely image of my Savior who loves me so much that he rescues me and puts the love work into action by redeeming me daily if I let him.
So my loves, do not live at war with your body.
Do not hate the person that you are, because hate is hard and tiring. Hate takes so much from you, and it’s so easy to continue to hate because it’s all you know. But it’s so rewarding to begin to not hate yourself anymore.
So do not live at war with yourself, live at war with the lies. Live at war with the shame that tries to hold you captive, and do not let the voices tell you that you are not enough to win.