All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. -Anatole France
Change it’s what we do in this life.
It’s what happens to us when we learn new things and stretch ourselves to become better. Change can be really scary, and hard, but I think sometimes the hardest part is knowing you are worth the journey.
It will be 4 years ago this coming June that I started my journey of recovery from anorexia. I was 29 when I started treatment at The Center for Change. I was a wife and mother to two little boys. I had a life that looked really beautiful on the outside, but what was on the inside of me was far from beautiful. At the early age of 12 I learned to put on masks to hide what was underneath. No one knew what was down deep and I fought really hard to keep it that way. The more masks I put on, the thicker the layers around my heart and soul became. I thought I was protecting myself from the harsh world. I thought it would keep my tender heart from hurting and being broken. In the end it did just the opposite, it ripped my heart out, leaving it exposed and broken.
With each new layer a part of me was lost until one day I no longer knew who I was. I knew my name was Kallie and that was about it. I had lost my voice, the one thing that made me, ME. I never externalized how I felt about myself to anyone. I remember screaming at people in my head to look deeper, to see me, to see that I needed help, to see all the things I was not saying. I still have a hard time externalizing how I am really feeling. I still find in my dark times that I am screaming at others to really see me, to look deeper, to see that I need help.
I have learned that if you take the time to really look at people you can see the invisible signs they are carrying around hoping that someone will read. Signs that say “please be kind I am going through something hard”, or “treat me gently I am broken and need love”. The signs are there you just have to take the time to look. Through this journey I have come to see, there are people out there who really see people, and most of the time it is because somewhere on their journey they were wanting someone to see them. I am lucky to have a few people in my life who really see me but for a long time the only person who knew what I was carrying around was God and me.
I am not sure there is a worse torment than being in constant battle with yourself. The devil, the eating disorder on one shoulder telling you, you are not enough and your voice, the angel on the other telling you, you are. Eating disorders are NOT glamorous. You don’t stop eating, become skinny and life suddenly becomes awesome. You stop eating, your body starves, you become ornery, controlling, agitated all the time because you never feel good. Your hair starts falling out, you have a hard time focusing, or carrying on a conversation for that matter. You are defensive and mean. You are controlled by a number, the calories, the number on the scale, a pant size, a voice in your head that never shuts up- spewing negative thoughts that fuel your self hatred. You shut everyone out because you are afraid of what they will say. You are consumed with guilt. You become shame. People tell you, you look amazing but you don’t feel amazing, you feel sad, tired and your brain no longer functions- you forget things all the time. You start reasoning with yourself…Only 5 more pounds and I will be happy with what I see in the mirror but the reality is IT WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH because the real problem is not the image in the mirror but the poison in your heart.
I recently shared my story with a group of women and at the end I asked for questions. One lady raised her hand and began to tell me about her daughter who has gained weight, and how it makes her sad because in our society pretty, thin people get ALL the opportunities, have great dating lives and live happily ever after. She is afraid her daughter will not have all those things if is she is overweight. My heart broke in this moment for this mom and also for her daughter. This woman’s heart has been poisoned with the lies the world sells and she is passing those lies onto her daughter. I quickly asked her why her daughter’s looks were such a concern. The first 2 words were all I needed to hear- “I’m afraid.” She was acting out of FEAR and I empathized with her because I have lived in fear. I want you to think about fear for a second. I want you to think about where fear comes from. The answer is simple-NOT FROM GOD. If you want to love yourself, if you want to find happiness, you will turn to God. In him you find peace. In him you find love. In him you find purpose. In him you learn to see yourself differently, with more love, and more happiness for what the mirror shows you. In him you find what it is like to be enough.
If we want to change anything let it be the world’s definition of beauty and not our daughters themselves. Let’s teach them about being healthy. Let’s teach them about being kind. Let’s teach them to live life without fear. Let’s teach them confidence. Let’s redefine what beauty and success means in our own homes. Let us stop poisoning peoples hearts with lies.
I cannot go back and get a do-over on those 18 years. I will never get those years back but what I can do is create awareness for this disease. I can share my story in hopes that a mom stops telling her daughter she is fat, a teenage girl will choose to focus on who she is vs. who she is not, or maybe even inspire the girl who is battling an ED to reach out for help and provide her with hope that change can happen. I can share my story so no one ever has to say the words ” I had no idea”.
Eating Disorders are real. They are dangerous, not glamorous. The number of cases continues to rise each year and the only way to fight back is to create awareness that then creates change.
Be the change you want to see.
If you would like to read my full story you can find that here: http://www.smittenby.net/category/post-topics/my-story/
Story written by: Kallie Dalley
Follow Kallie on her amazing and inspiring blog: www.smittenby.net
This story was seen first on Real Imprints.