Schools out for my little people. Which is equally awesome and chaotic. There’s all this running about to summer and football camps and babysitters leaving on vacations and all of the ways that we attempt to keep kids active, entertained, and useful all summer long. So I feel a little disconnected from my second life as a would be blogger. When I started blogging, it was initially a place for the journaling that I began during what I thought was just recovery of an eating disorder. A few months into that process, I recognized (through the help of costly professionals) that my behaviors were more of a symptom of issues rather than *the* issue itself. Ultimately it became evident to myself and probably anyone around me that I really needed to work through something greater.
Recently I was asked the question “but how are you now?”. And I understand that that’s what anyone living through trauma, addiction, or body issues is wanting to know. What does it look like 6 months down the road? Two years from now I’ll be better right? Surely 5 years from now I’ll kick ass. When I began writing more recent posts, they were usually motivated by strong emotions that were still so intertwined with my underlying trauma. So today, I’ll attempt to give a status update of sorts. One that will shed light on the regular parts of healing and recovery.
In a very general way, I’m ok. It’s been just over a year since I began earnestly trying to kick my eating disorder. And I can honestly say that for the last 4 months, ED hasn’t been a driving force in my life. I spent so many years telling myself that this time was the last time I’d find myself hovering over a toilet. I don’t even think I could see a future where it wasn’t just this really annoyingly disgusting habit. And now I’ve gone months. Months, people! This is craziness. But also, I’m no longer measuring my days in calories ingested or expended. I’m still mindful. Summer is a little harder to find acceptance for my newer self. There is still a lot of self-care required to maintain, hell even find, balance. I’ve been able to continue to stave off the crazy even while being back at the gym. I have yet to have a week where I could actually go daily. And maybe that’s a good thing. I make it a priority to go, but no longer at all costs. I try to get my weights in and hopefully some cardio but if I can’t spend as much time then I don’t force it. A year ago, this would have been an indicator of failure. And now, I’m taking it as a good sign that I’m present, I’m aware, and I’m consciously trying to focus on my health. I would even say I’m cautious. Cautiously checking in with my thoughts to insure that I’m not judging my body or my progress and trying to actually be in my body. I am hopeful. Hopeful in a world in which I can love my body where it’s at, for what it can do for myself and others, but also still work towards health and fitness goals that are completely unrelated to weight.
As a mom, I love the relationship that I have with both of my children right now. I didn’t want this life. Clearly I wanted to be married. I made desperate attempts to keep my family together. But, if I’m being honest, my unwanted situation has given me this really incredible opportunity to have my focus completely on my children. I don’t have to build and maintain a relationship with a spouse. Every decision, be it chores, vacations, or dinner, is based around what the 3 of us want to do. Dinner and bedtime conversation is dedicated entirely to those two little ones. And as much as I prayed for my family to be whole, I’ve been gifted a different opportunity that is growing into one of the most beautiful lives I could have asked for. The 3 of us rely so heavily upon each other. The Boy has had to step into a role that most 12-year olds won’t ever know. On top of his chores, he works alongside The Girl to see that hers are completed. He plans and prepares meals, family devotionals, and teaches The Girl to throw a ball. If he hears me cry or sees me struggle, he sits down by me, wraps me in his arms and wants to know how he can help. I don’t want to burden my preteen with my hardships, but I appreciate and value the conversation and lessons that come about because of these hard times.
Through my recovery, I’ve learned how important it is for our children to actually see us work through trials and understand that it is ok to recognize, accept, and express emotions. But more than any of this, I am excited to see the kind of man, husband and father he becomes as he grows from both observing and experiencing hardships. I see the need in him watching me both fail and start over in my effort to heal and thrive. I want him to know that his humanness is beautiful, his flaws endearing, and his mistakes will serve as the foundation for his convictions and passions.
And G, she too will get to see a mom who worked hard in her career, her home, in loving self, and helping others. She will learn the value of being self-reliant but also the power of vulnerability. My children will learn service both through what we have been able to give but also through the countless number of people who have not just offered their help but have stepped in and kind of forced it upon us. They see that prayers are answered in the number of friends, family, and coworkers that are ever present in our lives each day. Late night and road trip conversations are just us. Just us learning from and leaning on each other. I know this doesn’t replace a typical family unit, but it does come with its unique blessings. And two years later, I can’t imagine things any other way.
And now the kicker. I still get emotional leading up to the weekends without my kids. And when it nears time to exchange The Girl with #3, anxiety is still my companion. My heart drops momentarily when I hear my phone’s specific notification that I’ve received a text from #3. And I still have to redirect my thoughts when they want to remind me about the years of deceit and betrayal. I’m surprised when someone stops me in the grocery store to tell me I’m pretty because surely if that were the case, I wouldn’t be where I am now. When someone notes that I’m funny I wonder why *he* didn’t think so. And I still work to remind myself that it just doesn’t matter. I can’t say that I’m ever really ok with my kids being away from me, but I do make use of and enjoy the time it allows me to get caught up on life and give time to others.
I like discovering the things I love independent of another person.
I will say that I do feel like I’m getting a good idea of who I am at the core without the pressure of my previous identifiers. I like discovering the things I love independent of another person. I feel like this hell and alone time has allowed me to more clearly identify those things that actually bring me true joy. So basically, where I am today, is not too far from the rest of you. Striving each day to do my very best with the resources I have. Sometimes I find myself at the end of the day and recognize that laughter and joy dominated. Other days I’m startled at what memory triggers the tears. But mostly, I’m ok. And if tomorrow takes a different route, that’s ok too. After all, history tells me I make it through this and hope promises me it gets infinitely better.