I’ve talked a lot lately about how I’ve never had to fight so hard just to survive as I have had to these past few months but after looking back, I realize that that isn’t true. I remember feeling the same way months after placing my baby up for adoption. I would look at my life and the world around me and I just didn’t believe that anything had the potential of getting any better. But it did: slowly and with enough work. I try to remind myself of that now because honestly, everything feels so dark. I look at my life and it feels beyond my control. After years of therapy, I’m able to realize red flags when I see them and this is one of them: feeling out of control. In the past, it’s the excuse I’ve used to turn back to substances or to engage in disordered eating. It’s uncomfortable to exist in a place where nothing seems to make sense. It’s difficult for me to accept things as they are. But death and loss are two of the things we cannot change once they happen. Trying to make sense of something that has no apparent reason doesn’t make accepting the loss any easier. And for me, frantically trying to gain control of everything around me never works in the long run.
So for the past few days, I’ve just been sitting in this place where my emotions are up and down. Without having old vices to fall back on, it’s as if my brain has gone in over drive. I come up with scenarios that would “fix” everything. The funny thing is, the scenarios I come up with involve external change. “If I lose weight, if I change the way I look, if I change where I live, if I change who I live with… my life will get better.” It’s the motto I’ve lived by my entire life. When things got hard, I’d leave, or change something about myself. It’s taken a long time for me to realize that seeking external change will never bring about internal results, especially not the internal results you’d want. I can change any of those things but until I work through, and accept, my life for what it is, no true healing will take place.
Learning to meet myself where I’m at without trying to force change is difficult. I’m not where I want to be: emotionally, spiritually, physically or financially. But all of those things are so interconnected so merely focusing on the one aspect I usually focus on (physical/ weight), won’t bring the rest of those things into balance. I’ve been trying to listen to my body and allow myself to take what I need but it’s so hard when you’re used to drowning out your own intuition.
I haven’t been in a place of acceptance in a long time, if I’m being honest. And that is where most of the problem exists. I haven’t accepted that my dad is really gone and I haven’t accepted that Ethan’s dad is gone, either. I haven’t accepted that the loss of my dad has irrevocably changed my family and that no amount of “trying” can fix my mom or my brother’s grief. Trying to be strong for everyone won’t bring about the healing that they need, and ignoring my own emotions wont ever serve me. I haven’t fully accepted that I’m not okay right now, and I definitely haven’t allowed myself to process my emotions without judgment. I am terrified of what this healing process looks like because I feel so completely stuck in place. There have been days where I did not get out of bed until 5 pm and there have been (many) days where I’ve done nothing but binge on food and cry. Ultimately, though, I have to acknowledge progress where and when it occurs and although I’ve gained 10 (or more) pounds in the past two months, I haven’t relapsed into bulimia and more importantly, I rededicated myself to sobriety.
This post happened because someone messaged me a few days ago telling me how it seems like I’m dealing with everything so well. Another person had said the same thing. It was then that I realized how social media alters the way we interact. It has always been easy for me to be open about things that have happened, but being vulnerable and honest about things that are currently happening or how I’m currently feeling has been more difficult. But I know that our humanness is what connects us and that all of these human emotions inextricably tie us all together. I know that my vulnerability is what allows me to grow and that my true strength lies not in my ability to fake happiness, but in my ability to overcome adversity and build resilience. I think that if we all became a little more vulnerable, we’d become a lot more accepting of ourselves and of one another and maybe, that’s where true healing begins.
So no, the last two months have not been a tidy package of grieving. It’s been two months of messiness, laziness and an unwillingness to accept loss. It’s been a fight to keep my head above water and that’s a fight that some days, I’ve lost. It has been two months of merely existing and fighting like hell not to give into addiction or disordered eating. I can’t remember when the last time I fell asleep before 2 a.m. was and I long for a night of sleep where I’m not replaying my dad’s death over and over again in my dreams. But through these two months, other people’s ability to be honest and vulnerable with me has been the one saving grace I’ve found. Thanks to them, I know that this is all a part of the process and so, I am trying to do the same: live genuinely and vulnerably because only through our vulnerability will we find resolve.