What is recovery?
Sometimes recovery hits you in waves, celebration unhindered by thoughts laced in disorder. Spontaneous desserts graced with laughter instead of mental belittlement. Family gatherings filled with connection, love, and freedom not tainted by numbers, performance, or insecurity. At times the sweetness of life in recovery is breathtaking and causes praise to swell up within.
Sometimes you sit in amazement and awe at the life you now get to hold.
I understand the reason these moments are shared. They stir up inspiration, tenacity, and courage. I love these moments in recovery. But sometimes it is easy to forget that recovery isn’t always instagramable.
Sometimes it gets messy
Other times, more often than not, recovery is less rosy and much messier. It is struggle and fight, determination, and spite. Filled with tears and cries, community, and isolation, it is outwardly calm while inwardly screaming. Found in the tussle and bustle and in the stillness, recovery is wild and peaceful. It is worth it and it is hard.
Sometimes it is found in big declarations notable to boast about. But, I have been finding the truest recovery is not discovered in the occasional big reveal but in the everyday decisions.
The everyday recovery
Recovery often is found in the mundane of life. In your day in day out way of living. You choose to make time to eat breakfast, you walk out of the house without analyzing the width of your thighs and the shape of your stomach. It is in the laughing when the weight loss ads come to your mailbox, the eating dessert and salad, hamburgers and tofu, and seeing caloric labels and going on about your life. Recovery is listening to your body, choosing rest, and choosing strength.
Recovery is not only in the grand moments of birthday parties and Christmas lights, but also (and I would argue most notably) in your mornings, afternoons, and nights.
I danced around my kitchen, thoughts of calories, food, and fears unthought of.
I cried when my stomach felt bloated.
I laughed at the shape of my cake as I struggled to get it out of the “non-stick” pan.
I shrunk back into old habits of counting and comparison.
I bought a size up in jeans today without shedding a tear.
I isolated myself from friends because of my body image.
I ordered the dish without judgement or critique.
I struggled to forget the fat grams in the treat.
I was present with the table conversation and involved in the enjoyment.
I grew angry at myself for being so weak.
I felt the need to rest and I listened.
I did a work out to burn away my shame.
I sat for hours without mentally abusing myself.
Triumph and defeat
Recovery is not linear, perfect, or on a time table. It is good days, bad days, victories and slip-ups.
It is being filled with audacity one moment and trembling with fear the next. Recovery is discovery and it is scary. It is not all success nor is it all struggle. There are days when the eating disorder feels like a distant memory and others a close companion. There are days of triumph and others of defeat (sometimes all in the same day).
The truth about recovery
Sometimes recovery is found in the big, post-able events of life. But, other times, it is at 2:04 in the afternoon and thats okay too.
You see, this whole recovery thing is sometimes so hard because it isn’t perfect, it isn’t rules and regulations- it is free to be interpreted and individual.
All this to say, that whether this is a day you feel free or imprisoned, victorious or defeated, beautiful or ugly, cherished or unloved, capable or incompetent, if you are doing the best you can and trying today, let that be enough.