Warning: This post is raw. Not like, fresh sushi kind of raw… but like, expired, left in the sun, maggot meat kind of raw. I am not ashamed. What you’re about to read is who I am. This is my life and why I find meaning in what I do. This is my long-grind transformation story. I’m sharing because I know people struggling. People struggling with weight, with being a parent, with being a spouse, with money, with life…
Sometimes a transformation isn’t about turning into a butterfly. Sometimes a transformation is about just sorting though a pile of mail and passing on an office donut. Lasting transformations don’t happen overnight, they happen in the long-grind everyday. Anyone who tells you differently is lying. Maybe you’ll believe the lie because it’s easy. Prediction: You’ll be back to where you started as fast as you can spend $100 at Target.
Listen closely. Everything. In. Your. Life. Is. Connected. You CAN NOT transform into a buff/beautiful/successful/happy butterfly, if you are late to work, eat crap, have loads of debt… and disorganized closets. How do I know this? Because I’ve seen it time-and-time again in myself. It wasn’t until I decided to address the small everyday tasks, that I was able to see some transformation in the big picture.
Sometimes you don’t bing and purge chips because you’re hungry and afraid of getting fat. Sometimes you eat until you make yourself puke because you have ZERO control over the everyday. I’m a recovering anorexic + bulimic. I spent two decades with one eating disorder or another; It started because I had control issues and it ended because I learn how to control my control issues. It was never about weight or food. This is important because while the symptoms were the same throughout the years, the context was always changing… so transforming from empty to whole was ALWAYS out of reach.
In middle school, high school and college it was easy to function; my parents took care of me. For the most part they paid all my bills, bought my clothes and food, took me on trips… I just needed to pull it together enough to get good grades, shower, dress, play sports and stay out of trouble. Simple. After college things got complicated. It’s hard to hold a job, balance a checkbook, be a good human and stay attentive in relationships when you are overwhelmed by EVERYTHING. When everything is loud + screaming and you’re not sure why.
I would wakeup exhausted, disgusted and defeated everyday. I was angry, resentful and jealous of everything. I drove myself into over ten-thousand dollars of secret credit card debt. Most of that, food I was eating and vomiting minutes later. This didn’t help my anxiety + stress. All my friends were planning their future. Getting promoted. I hated them.
My life was a web of lies. I’d quit jobs because I was bored or they didn’t fit with my bathroom schedule. I’d procrastinate about leaving the house, cancel therapy sessions, dump my Prozac. Drink instead. It was hard to see the benefit of doing anything when you’re flush-faced hugging a toilet bowl. I’d put on shows; forcing myself look alive + alert. Side note: I could make some serious mess at wedding receptions and dinner parties. Speaking from experience; self hate, alcohol and zero nutrition are a recipe for disaster.
During the eye of the storm I was living with Mr. Eats in New Jersey. I’d seen LOTS of therapists and nutritionists – Nothing worked and at that point, I don’t think I even cared. I didn’t care about anything… Certainly not about self-help. I remember one day, home alone – I had just scoffed down an entire loaf of white bread with butter. It wasn’t mine, I had stolen it from one of our roommates. This was common; I’d go on a binge and then have to re-buy and carefully portion out the food I’d eaten. It happened daily.
This particular day was memorable because, alone, in the bathroom, I was choking. I could feel myself unable to breath (white bread is basically glue) – I remember panicking. Not panicking because I was afraid to die but panicking because I didn’t want anyone to see me dead on the bathroom floor with generic-brand white bread lodged in my esophagus. I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed because my parents had broken their backs to pay for my eduction. I was embarrassed because my boyfriend was blindly supportive – Getting nothing in return. I was embarrassed because I had friends + family who loved me. And here I was… I would be found dead on this F’ing bathroom floor full of stolen bread. NO! NO! NO! I remember thrusting my arm down into my throat and pulling out the obstruction. Gasping for air and crying I remember thinking… “You spoiled brat! What the HELL is your problem?! FIX THIS!” And so the long-grind transformation began.
It started with finding a therapist I could talk to. It stated with slowly trusting myself to tell the truth and ask for help. It started with opening my mail, mapping out a plan to pay off my debt and working. Working even if I didn’t like it. Getting into a routine. Going outside. Getting exercise. Creating manageable to-do lists. It started with taking one painfully slow step-at-a-time, falling, trying again… Falling even harder but knowing I needed to stay the course. Learning I kind of liked the new me. Learning I kind of liked the process.
And this process took years. YEARS!!! I’m still working on it. I work on my mental and physical self like it’s a full-time job. I show-up for myself! I’m on time. I understand that if my closets are messy and the dog isn’t listening that I can’t recoil and eat a box of cookies. I take responsibility. I break it down. I own my mistakes and give myself permission to celebrate my successes.
Transformation isn’t always a graceful before + after. It can be messy. It can be intangible and irresolute. No one is going to throw you a parade for being better than you were yesterday, or last week, or last year. Transformation isn’t just for the Tuesday hashtag – It’s your LIFE. Change is nothing without a purpose and unfortunately your dress size, children, parents, partner and bank account can’t tell you who you are and what you need to be.
Anything you have done or said lives by the power you place on it. If you are choking – Find the obstruction! If it’s important to you (like breathing important) you will MAKE it happen. Probably Opera or someone just as successful said “Find your why” – I’ll repeat it so you hear me… Find your why.
Conclusion: This is my why.