When you look into the mirror, what do you see? Do you see a gorgeous girl with a lot to offer to the world staring back at you? Do you see a curvy figure and a worthless human being? Do you see nothing but skin and bones? Can you truly trust the reflection looking back at you?
Even at my lowest point when I knew the humps on my spine were sticking out on my back, I still saw a curvy heavy worthless human being staring back at me in the mirror. When I was at the gym working out and lifting weights, I would stare in the mirror to monitor my form and body. I was so delusional that I thought the things I saw flexing were muscles but in fact they were my bones. My poor bones that were fighting to stay strong and alive before being eaten by my own organs because there was no more storage of fat and calories to take from. How can our reflection be so distorted? Society has created such a warped perception in order to be “accepted”; A size 0, with tall thin legs, 6-pack abs, big boobs and a nice booty. That is what is reconsidered these days to be “beautiful” and if you don’t have what it takes, don’t worry there’s plastic surgery to take care of it.
When I first started on my journey to “get healthy” it was to lose some weight but as time went on it got extremely unhealthy. I started with a healthy mindset but then I lost complete control of myself when the thing I was actually fighting for was in fact control. As my body became more unhealthy so did my mind. My brain was so malnourished that I behaved, said, and saw things that did not make sense. I performed dangers behaviors, I listened to ED and I saw a reflection in the mirror that was the complete opposite of what was fighting to stay alive and exist in the world.
Growing up I have never liked my body or wanted to see it. I was always extremely uncomfortable with it and acknowledging it. Even today when I get out of the shower I close my eyes, grab my towel and wrap myself up before ever walking even close to my mirror. When I was extremely underweight I still didn’t want to see myself because I still thought I was unacceptable and should not be seen looking as I did. When I did catch a glimpse of myself underweight I would find something wrong; my stomach bulging, a thigh too big or my collar bone not sticking out far enough for my liking. When I would wake up in the morning the first thing I would do is touch my hip bones and make sure they were still sticking out, as if they would disappear overnight. In my mind if they didn’t stick out then I wasn’t in control; I was too fat and I would have to restrict more that day to make up for it.
A couple of weeks ago I was in therapy and I said to my therapist that the past Saturday was a great day because when I woke up and went to the bathroom, my collar bones were sticking out and my stomach was flat so I knew it would be a good day. Why did I predict how my day would go based on what bones were sticking out of my body? Where did that even come from? And most importantly why in the hell did it matter? We talked about how we needed to re-associate a good day with more positive things like an activity planned, a beautiful sun shinning or the fact that I was awake and alive!
No matter what reflection you see starring back at you, treat it with kindness. You may not always like the image you see but it is YOURS and it is your body to love, cherish and treat as your temple. Your body is your home and it is our jobs to take care of it and be kind to it. A body is supposed to expand, retract and change. It is not going to look or feel the same each day and that is okay. It may be uncomfortable and hard to accept but hey isn’t that what recovery is all about??