It was one of those mornings. The sun’s warm rays gently touched my face in the early hours, waking me up. I squirmed beneath the sheets and was, once again, incredibly aware of my thighs. The rolls of fat on my stomach. My round face.
I sighed. My husband was in the bathroom getting ready for work. Caught up and sunk in thoughts about my body, I cringed. I turned over and sunk my face in the pillow. Perhaps He would leave and think I’m still asleep, then I could remain hidden in bed. The last thing I want is for him to see me. To see my thighs. To see my stomach. To know.
As if he has never seen me before.
Moments later, a large, gentle hand stroked the side of my face. I wanted to vomit. All I could feel was the fat on my face moving aside as he bent down to kiss me goodbye. Unable to control my nausea, my eyes snapped open. It was him. My groom. He sweetly said, “have a good day, I love you.” I mumbled, “I love you.” He smiled and began to tuck the sheets around my side, our tradition. His intent is to love. Yet I’m still anchored in the thoughts of self-hatred. I feel I don’t deserve this love. I should be thinner. I should be fit.
I climbed out of bed and threw on gym clothes and drove to the gym where I remained for 2 hours. There I thought. And I fought.
Hours later I sit at this coffee shop. Eating has been a choice today. Joy has been a choice today. I stumbled into worship after going to the gym. I needed my Maker to be the “Lifter of My Head” (Psalm 3:3). And I’m recovering. Bit by bit.
To blog journal this journey toward freedom from my Eating Disorder is scary. Only because I’m inviting people into a delicate and vulnerable place. An imperfect place. An imperfect process. I know I will be healed one day. But glory to glory and day by day I must cling to the hope that I am a princess in process and this is a journey. I need my mind to be renewed.
Some readers might think my experience this morning as I share it is a bit dramatic. Others who have experienced Eating Disorders know exactly what I’m talking about. Regardless, the impact these thinking patterns have had on my self-image and my ability to engage in relationships has been damaging.
The first time I remember this Eating Disorder stealing from me in a gut wrenching way was on my honeymoon.
It was no secret that my husband and I had saved sex for marriage. We were so excited for our tropical experience! We looked forward to good food, sleep, sex, and adventures. I still cannot imagine how confused my husband must have been when I went missing on the third afternoon.
I sunk into the bathroom corner, all tears. Mascara falling down my face. My husband found me in my puddle of tears. In the corner. He picked up my 105 lb frame and carried me into the room. He didn’t ask questions. He ran his fingers through my hair and waited for me to catch my breath. Once I calmed down, He asked “what’s going on?” I told him I hated what I saw. I hated my body.
My groom looked at me and said, “You are the most beautiful woman in the world. I don’t understand what you are seeing, but I see perfection. I see purity and beauty. You deserve the best.” I attempted to explain how difficult it was to receive love when I felt overweight. He was confused, but respectfully listened. My godly husband proceeded to spend our honeymoon scratching my back and praying for me. What selflessness. This pattern has not completely ceased as of now. He still finds me on the bathroom floor and ushers me to the bed. Filled with mercy and grace for me. I see Jesus in him.
One thing I did not expect was that while I was killing myself to look beautiful for my groom and the world around me, I was simultaneously losing touch with the ability to be present. To enjoy myself. To allow Love in.
I’m learning. Every day I have to consciously wake up and choose to let Love in by finding something about myself that I love. After all, the standard by which we love others is how we love ourselves. We are called to love other people more than ourselves, but if we don’t even love ourselves then we are missing something bigger. Today has been hard. I need to be content and proud of myself. I need to receive the Love my husband pours out. There is nothing more emasculating that throwing back the love he gives me everyday. So me learning to love me is not unholy. It’s not prideful. It’s not self-obsession. For me, it’s healing. It’s learning to step into the life God intends me to live. A life of passion and a life of Love.
To men and women who are on the edge of diving into an eating disorder, I warn you. Coming into agreement with the thoughts and behaviors that accompany that lifestyle is not worth it. It will result in you losing touch with life and Love. It will result in you having to go to battle daily just to enjoy intimacy and fearless living.
And this is me in process. A process of learning to enjoy life, enjoy passion, enjoy myself, and enjoy Love.
I’m broken, but I’m hopeful. Love can only grow better.