Don’t Give Up in the Middle

“Life can’t be about being good enough, but instead believing there is God enough – God enough for whatever our own humanity needs grace for… The questions is can I believe that when the suffering and the grief comes? And if I can – will it make me feel any less alone? – Ann Voskamp, this book (which is the only book I’ve ever wanted to read slowly because I don’t want it to end.)

Isn’t that the question though… I’m fine now. But would I ever be strong enough if  I faced the pain of the past again? Great that I’m fine now, I found myself telling one of my uncles one day, but I could have died. Don’t you get that? I don’t mind that now I’m through it, but do you realize how bad it was? Nothing was stopping me. And you can tell me I’m different all day long, but would I be strong enough if I felt that hurt again? Because this life offers no guarantees, and if I risk loving again – there is the risk that I could be broken again.

“Relationships are the realest reality – and the realest risk… and the worthiest risk. Because in sacrificing ourselves, we are guaranteed to discover the depths of our best and realest selves.” – Ann Voskamp (can you tell I’m obsessed?)

And the truth is that the risk I’ve lived has helped me find the reality of my humanity. I’m more alive than I was pre-anorexia. (Is there really a pre-anorexia? – The pain was there… I just carried it in other ways.) I see the goodness that God has brought in my life and the lives of others through something SO PAINFUL and SO DIFFICULT.

“Love means holding your tongue when your heart is hard… Or when it is breaking.” – Ann Voskamp

I was too afraid… didn’t know how… to let my heart break as a child. No one showed me that the heart breaking can be one of the most healing things ever. But I was too stubborn, too afraid… No one was there to let me know the end of the story if I let my heart break. So instead I broke elsewhere. I broke my body. I broke my spirit. I was terrified to feel the pain of my heart breaking.

“Anorexic children display more mature defenses, contrary to all expectations but in accordance with the already well-known conscientiousness, high achievement, high conformity and overt compliance with demands of others… This kind of functioning is a unique adaptation to maternal disengagement when the child prematurely takes responsibility for their own self-regulation.”

Yeah, I’d say that could describe the dynamic between myself and the unstable home environment.

But here’s the thing, my panic about if it could happen again or that I could have died fails to take into account two things:

1.) It didn’t! I know not everyone gets that outcome. But all my desires to love, to give, to trust in God that were there since I was little – those did not let me down. God did get me through. To stay stuck in the middle and the horrible period that I lived is to close the book without getting to the ending. It is prematurely giving up on that faith, hope, and trust that I did have… that was real… and that got me through.

2.) And here’s the second thing – I’ve learned my heart breaking will only bring good things. I’ve learned that as long as I can be brave enough to let my heart do the breaking… the heart is capable of breaking and bearing that pain. The heart can transform through pain.

The story wasn’t over. Stick with it. You, who are in the middle of the darkest night, your story is not over yet.

 

 

 

 

Tears

I drove home from the city today with a baby screaming… not crying, screaming… for the whole way.

I so rarely cry anymore. How many days and nights I cried… and before that how many days and nights I held back or refused to cry…

The other day I was watching Cheaper By The Dozen 2… Steve Martin… and the tears spilled over. It was the dumbest scene ever. Steve Martin’s movies are hardly known for their emotional depth… but there I was.

I no longer fear tears.

There will surely be a day in the future when I cry more. 

But I never imagined I would make it to this place where I am no longer holding back and no longer crying daily…

Tears have helped me heal. They’ve helped me feel and express what I couldn’t express with words. They’ve washed away the barriers revealing the heart below.

Picking…

My New Year’s resolution is to stop picking at my face. It is a bad habit and an unhealthy coping mechanism… a way to hurt and to be angry at myself all in one… Sound familiar anyone?

But here’s the thing, once you pick at a pimple if you don’t get it all out, it gets worse before it gets better. It gets red, painful, and scaps… and you have to get the root out.

That has been healing… digging and digging… often hurting myself worse… but knowing it has to come out in order to heal.

And when you find that root, it can start to heal… slowly and surely and with scars… it heals.

Today as I prayed I realized that all that is surrounding, all I built on top of that root is real… it has to heal and reform… but my skin above that pesky root was fine… my dreams, goals, and desires were not marred but the underlying lie that I am not loveable… but they were influenced. And now they are healing.

Recovery

I haven’t written much… partly because I don’t have time… Partly because this process has many stages and some of them are to be lived and not written about.

But I look back and  I can’t believe how far I have come.

And this post is for all of those (who may not find this or read this) who are googling “eating disorder recovery.” That was me one day. I wanted to know if this was possible. I wanted to read a story of someone who had made it through. Because I wanted a story of someone who understood the battle and made it through. So many stories of “you will live with this forever”.. and I always preferred to believe in this impossible.

And I’m living the impossible. And I believe in something even better than what I’m living today. It hasn’t been perfect. There are still triggers. But I am living something that I never thought was possible.

It does get better. It is worth digging to find the root. Because finding the root – the hole you are trying to fill… It is painful… But when you find it, it does get better. It is scary as s***… It feels like it may break you. But it won’t. You are strong enough.

I found the root. It hurts. It still does. But it is healing.

And finding the root has changed the path of recovery. It took a lot of time. I had to dig through a lot of layers. I reached a point at which I thought I would never reach the bottom layer. I was tired. I am tired. But I have reached the bottom layer and it is healing…

And the recovery is happening… it takes time. But when you face the hole – you no longer have to try to fill it with food or the pain of hunger.

It does get better. And the journey changes you.

Too Much

Sometimes there is too much to write about.

Sometimes you just have to live it because processing is a luxury that will come but has yet to arrive.

Sometimes emotional bandwidth is to short, so you just hold on for the ride.

Sometimes you resist the waves.

Sometimes you let them flow over you.

And sometimes – you know that in time it will all settle.

But in the meantime, you wait. And just let it happen around you.

The eye of the storm – that is where I hung out during my brother’s wedding a few weeks ago. Because the dichotomy of something so incredibly beautiful matched by the incredible pain of being all together again and the triggers it provoked was too much to try to sort out.

And it still isn’t there…

So for now I’m hanging out in the eye of  the storm… waiting for it all to calm.

(And go figure – of course now would be when some guy decides it is a good time to pursue me… oh and that person I had to say goodbye to in the summer came in town to visit (hello emotions!) )

And the longing to reach for control is so strong… but I know that isn’t the answer…

So I keep waiting… Oh and hello holidays, bad timing – once again! So we are skipping town for the holidays… Because sometimes it is too much and that is okay. And sometimes we have to give ourselves permission… acknowledge that it being too much is not a mistake.

My spiritual director told me something a couple months ago – “N, you’ve got to accept your humanity.”

And the tears come… as I try to accept it wasn’t my fault I got hurt. I didn’t do something wrong that led me to get wounded. I wasn’t supposed to handle it all better – the high expectations, the perfectionism, the sensitivity, the bipolar parent, the unpredictability, the unpredictable environment, the lack of support, the emotional unavailability, etc, etc, etc… I wasn’t supposed to be able to handle it. It isn’t my fault I got hurt. I am human.

A year ago I started blogging again… sometimes I do… sometimes I don’t.

Tonight is one of those sometimes…

What seemed like the end…

I had to say goodbye to discover…

I had to rip the wound open to let it heal…

I had to face the darkness to find the light…

I think it must be something like childbirth. They say time lessens the pain but you never forget. (I wouldn’t know… at least not yet.)

But I do know that in my life turning upside down… many times over… I found things I never wold have imagined.

And tonight lying in bed, the wind whistling through the leaves on this Indian summer night… a little more crinkly now that they’ve begun to change…

Like I’ve changed… 

I’m not who I was a few months ago. I’ve gone through a lot of growth and transformation these past years… but always it has felt like a steep slope I could slide back down at any moment. But this is different. I don’t think I could go back if I wanted to.

These are new beginnings… but for a new beginning everything had to end… and that was the hard part…

But now, even as the pain is fresh (like new shoes) I also know I’m never going back.