Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Moral of the Story (Recovery Week 14)

All this work that I have been doing has been aiming for something. Yes, I did do the work for its own sake, because I did want to stop torturing myself for an ideal that would never become reality for me, and I did want to stop scaring the Emperor and my doctors with my refusal to eat; and I did want to start developing a greater, fuller, and healthier love for myself (body included). But there's been a revelation coming too. A message that I could go on to share with the world, teach to other women and girls, and build something for all of us with that message which is:
"[compass 33]" lipstick & eyeliner on mirror
This revelation started coming about when I started listening to The Power of Now audiobook, and realized that what I had in mind for the concept of beauty existed within the idea of presence. I began practicing that thing called presence, and eventually realized that my important work was going to lie in this thing up here: acceptance. That is, "a person's to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition ... without attempting to change it, protest, or exit"*.

So what am I accepting? In the beginning of my recovery process, I started by accepting my symptoms. I accepted that I had these urges to deny myself food (and often times comfort), and I stopped putting a value judgment on it. Then I accepted that this wasn't a healthy way to be, and it was making me miserable, so I started down a path toward more normal eating. Since then I've faced the ups and downs of the process without** protest, and done the work on the inside to rewrite the inner dialogue that was driving me to thoughts like "I feel fat" or "I'm just gonna check the scale to see cuz I'm curious" (which would then lead to starting my cycle of denial, over-exercising, and bingeing all over again!); or the thought that I wasn't worthy of the attention and affection of my loved ones, and that my needs aren't important because someone else needs something or I have better things to do.

What I want to begin accepting now is my body. It's mine, after all, and I don't get another one***. I get to live in this body for the rest of my life, and I'm the only person qualified to take care of me! My body, that is I, me is fat. Has fat. It's not as much fat as some people have, and there is more than other people have. But it's mine. My fat is a part of me. My fat makes me soft, cushions my internal organs, fills out my shape (even though some people don't like that shape), makes my clothes look nice; it also means that if we have any really nasty winters, I'll be able to whine as much as I want without losing precious energy for things like breathing, foraging, and survival. 

None of that matters, however, because I can't really change my fatness, and my trying to be less fat is the only real thing that's ever been unhealthy in me. Which means that not only is there no reason for me to change my fatness and force my body to be something it is not, it also means that for health reasons, I can't. There is still a fear in me that I will one day be muuuuuch fatter, and that fear is just a shamey ball of shame trying to convince me that what I'm doing is wrong and I should keep with the whole eating disorder thing, cuz at least with that I was never over 200lbs!

But that is a very ugly attitude to have. If beauty begins with acceptance, then ugliness begins with shame. We've had it backward the whole time! You're not ugly because someone shamed your appearance, they're ugly for shaming you! Yeah, you or I may have physical characteristics that don't fit in with airbrushed models, or what is generally considered "conventionally attractive", but when we accept ourselves and love ourselves our beauty shines through. And that's true whether a person is considered conventionally attractive or not. Thin people have as much beauty to share with the world as fat people, and vise versa, because it's not about what you look like, but what you are like.

I don't think I'll ever entirely get over the shaming instinct, but as I continue to recover from 15 years of chronic dieting, over exercising, bingeing, and purging that instinct will be set at bay.This is what I'm working on going forward. This is what I want to help other people work on. Whether it's through my writing here, my friendship and love, or my work as a beauty educator and MK consultant.  

* I cut out the part about this often referring to something negative and uncomfortable because it's not appropriate in this context.
**with a little
***neither do you, for the record

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