When struggling with anorexia, all I wanted was to disappear. I didn’t feel worthy of taking up space, being seen, or having a place in this world. I shrank my body into near nonexistence. I shrank my dreams to fit only what I knew could be done sick. I shrank my goals to what the disordered self wanted.
I shrank my potential, my love, my hopes, and my worth.
Every pound lost meant another element of my future and my authentic self fading away. I got comfortable with watching all I wanted, all I was, and all I had disappear into the hands of mental illness. It was safe. The negative thoughts that bombarded my mind were proof that disappearing was what I needed to do.
For years, I physically, mentally, and emotionally wasted away.
I attempted on numerous occasions to bring myself back to life, but the pain of growth scared me back into the comfort of disappearing. It got to the point where I believed I was going to shrink myself into the end of my life.
But my authentic self had other plans. Right at the moment I was about to give up, I heard my soul whisper, “one more time.” So, honoring my heart, I decided to give recovery one last chance. Despite the pain, the fear, and the unfamiliar, I was going to fully commit this time and not back down.
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I had to transition my mindset from shrinking myself to growing into myself, which was uncharted territory to dwell in.
I visited the thoughts, but never allowed myself to live there. That was evident as I looked at the life awaiting me.
It seemed everything in the life of committing to recovery was a size too big; my wardrobe, my dreams, my goals, the area between who I was and who I was going to be. It was not designed for a person with an eating disorder. It was constructed for a person ready to live and to make an impact on the world.
I knew my biggest challenge was going to be the restoration of my body. That was the piece that always had me running away from recovery. To prepare for that aspect, I rid my wardrobe of any clothes I clung to as my identity in the disorder and kept the disorder alive. I let go of the fabric I let define my worth. As a result, I was left with pants that were a tad too big.
I used to avoid this dilemma because it petrified me to actually feel and see myself slowly fitting in them as I continued to pursue health. But what was I really scared of in the process?
It wasn’t about the body. It went much deeper.
The fear was all built off of my mindset that I was not worthy to fit into those pants and be seen. The fear was constructed from the feeling I didn’t deserve the life a healthy body could give me. I felt I didn’t merit the right to fulfill the too big dreams I found when I committed to recovery. The fear developed from the apprehension over the power a healthy body had to accomplish my lofty goals, and the potential it had in making me someone who could change lives. I had to transition from living in fear into living in faith so I could progress forward.
I had to believe there can be great joy and hope found by growing into the pants, when looking at the process in a different mindset. It is not about the pants themselves. It is about becoming more me than I have ever been. It is about filling the empty space in the world that was designed for my presence. It is about believing I deserve to be seen. It is about seeing that there is more to life than being confined in a space too small for my spirit.
I was trying to force myself into a shape that was not big enough to contain my past, present, and future.
I was squeezing myself into a size that was a mere fraction of what my personality was designed to fill. I shrunk not only my body but my heart, my soul, and my spirit, to fit into pieces of fabric.
I sacrificed all I could be for the sake of a pant size. I risked my potential and a better tomorrow, so that I could wake up and not have to worry that I grew out of my clothes. I stifled my internal growth for fear over what an external increase would do to my life, who would leave me for it, and what it would feel like. I stunted the expansion of my spirit, so I would not have to face my fear of taking up space the disordered self convinced me was too good to be touched by my body. Growing into the pants was about giving myself the beautiful gift of life.
Those pants allowed the room for my heart to speak. It wanted to grow, and I was willing to follow its desire. I silenced the thoughts, the negativity, the fear, the anxiety, and let my spirit lead me through every decision to guide me to health. I am growing every day into myself and those pants, and that is beautiful and required.
It is healing. It is living. It is faith becoming tangible. It is hope coming alive. It is the birth of self-love and acceptance. It is the start of a new beginning.
We cannot become what we are meant to be by remaining what we are.
The transition into becoming was not without pain and struggle. But seeing who I allowed myself to grow into, I do not regret a minute of it. Unconditional self-love is worth it all, and I am deeply in love with this Jenna.
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