reentering the world without the familiarity of my anorexia was much like emerging at last from the depths of a frigid sea. after fighting so immensely for so so long, i had finally broken the ice that held my breath panicked in my chest and my limbs numb within my shimmering prison, and yet when my head rose to the surface with my whole being screaming for air, i could no longer feel my icebound body. and as i crawled with fear away from the depths i had known much too well, my body began to thaw. and as my body began to thaw, as the feeling in every inch of my vessel returned and began to burn piece by piece from raw and excruciatingly unexpected aliveness, i looked to my body and realized that i was not at all something that i recognized.
and that unrecognizable body terrified me to no end.
as i thawed, i saw a body i had never inhabited in the entirety of my life. as a soul who has been overcome with an eating disorder since the age of twelve, a woman was nothing i have ever been. these parts of a woman’s body that i have been consciously starving away for years finally began to exist amidst my own physical vessel, this body that i decided i could no longer diminish into desolation without choosing to also end my life and yet this body that i knew could never house a woman nor a man nor anything so extreme as the thought itself made me sick, and it was a paradox of more fear than i can describe.
as i thawed, i was presented with a badge of health that bound me crying on floor of my room with shame, and never got easier. with each new month, my body was filled with disgust and betrayal, this secret caught inside of me that i could never speak of to another soul. weeks prior to every every occurrence, nightmares would flood the hours before dawn. dreading, dreading, dreading. i knew i could not endure this every twenty eight days for the remainder of my life.
as i thawed, i was choking on my own wrongness. my god, could this soul that the universe was seemingly demanding me to be simply be mistaken? who am i, if i am not who i am?
i wondered and ached and loathed and searched for answers. am i betraying my own recovery, i screamed within myself, if i choose to identify as something that i am not? is this, this way i was born, what i was meant to be? how could the universe make a soul so uncomfortable in their own identity, their truest home? is there nothing more to this life besides accepting what i am becoming, even if it makes me sick inside? is this what ‘self-acceptance’ is? how can ‘self-acceptance’ end up becoming simply yet another prison?
but my goodness, no.
self-acceptance cannot be simply another cage. self-acceptance is not just one more constraint on the soul. self-acceptance is the holding with grace of all that we are, all that we are not, and all that we may one day be.
therefore, i have decided that until my soul speaks loud enough for me to hear, until i am graced with my own quiet knowing of how my soul yearns to identify in this confusing world, i am going to continue on as a human, simply a human, in the kindest manner i am able.
though i am unsure, i am riddled with shame, i am overwhelmed by my differences and burdened with the immeasurable weight of my ‘off’ pieces, i am going to continue on as the authentic human being that my soul has ceaselessly continued striving to become.
so here i am, existing in my humanness, honoring my discord yet leaving no room for retreat, as this soul will never be anything less than my own single and precious soul, no matter how many labels and identities i must cast off.
i am holding onto hope that it is not me that does not fit the world, it is that i simply have yet to find where my truth shall lead.
and when i am afraid, when the thawing is painful beyond measure and i seem to be leaving myself behind, let me remember that ‘self-acceptance’ is never at the cost of my own ease. if i relinquish my own ability to exist in this skin that is my own, then it is the path to contentment that i must reevaluate, not my soul. let me wear my fathers sweaters if that feels right, and let their warm cotton keep me safe. let me bind my chest if that feels true, and let that release of shame bring me gratitude. let me allow myself to sleep as long as my body yearns for during the days i am overcome by the femininity that i so dissociate from, and let that rest provide the strength to continue fostering this life. let me drink tea and shed salt down my cheeks and allow my soul sisters to remind me that i am still me, my soul is never too broken, or too different, to survive.