I'm Hiding Behind My Body
Disclaimer: In this blog post, I use words to describe myself like “skinny” and “thin”. In no way am I suggesting that it is better to be skinny or thin, so please keep in mind that I am describing myself in reference to eating disorder thoughts.
The other day, I went to therapy.
I've been talking a lot in my sessions about the “block” I have when it comes to gaining weight. I realize, in theory, that I still need to gain some weight before I can consider myself to be in the “healthy” range. But I have been so resistant recently. I have convinced myself that gaining weight is wrong, and I have been trying to avoid it at all costs (although I am seeing more and more that it can be impossible to really control one’s weight).
I have been trying to understand where this block comes from, especially because I am motivated to recover, and I know that weight restoration is the missing piece. And I think I’ve found the answer:
I don’t like myself. And I am hiding behind my body because I am scared to face who I am when the eating disorder is removed.
Don’t get me wrong - I understand that replying to my strong emotions and situations that occur in my personal/professional life with “at least I’m skinny” is not a helpful response. Being thin doesn’t fix any problems at all, and if anything, being underweight creates more problems. But this specific reply has become automatic and it reassures me that I am not taking up too much space in this world.
I’ve also come to terms with the fact that my ultimate fear is letting go of the eating disorder completely and realizing that I am just… average.
When I was in school, I was not average. I worked my ass off to achieve perfection in every sense of the word. I drove myself to tears time and time again so that I could get that A or A+. I studied to the point of exhaustion, fearing that if I did poorly on a test, my professors would see me as stupid or at the very least, sub-par.
Now that I have graduated, I am almost at a loss. I am clinging so tightly to my eating disorder because I am scared to let go and amount to nothing. At least, for now, I can hide behind my skinny frame. But am I really hiding?
Like I mentioned above, I realize this is not healthy. We can’t hide from ourselves out of fear that we will not live up to our own expectations for ourselves. At least, that is what I’m trying to tell myself. I need to peel away the eating disorder, layer by layer, and come to terms with who I am as an adult. That part is scary… frightening, really… but it has to be done. I can’t hide behind my body forever.
So what is my goal in telling you all of this? Well, self-hatred is really at the core. I am not asking for pity, or for you to console me and compliment me. I realize that I have a lot of work to do in accepting myself for who I am, without hiding behind my “skinny body”. I need to let go of the control when it comes to my weight and really give myself a fair chance at discovering who I am supposed to be.
And this fear of being average? Well, that still needs work. Part of me thinks: is average really the worst thing in the world? But the thing is, I never judge anyone else as average/above average/below average… I see you all as, well, people. So why am I applying this judgment to myself? That needs work.
Do you have a shield you are hiding behind? How do we step out from behind it?