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Get Upside Down in Your Recovery

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

Woman hanging upside down on outdoor jungle gym

Sometimes you've got to get upside down to see things right side up. Kind of like the process of healing your relationship with food and body. In a world that teaches that the only way for a body to be *good* is to be small and healthy (and white and heterosexual and cisgender and male....), it's hard to conceive that any other body is capable of being worthy.

Were you a *good* learner like myself? I was a *great* learner. I lapped up all the many messages around me that taught me my value was in how little space I took up, in how quiet I could make my voice, in how fuckable I could be, in how likable I could be, in how perfect I could be.

But I kept coming up empty.

I wasn't always *likable.* I was (am) often weird and awkward. Saying the *wrong* thing at the *wrong* time. Missing social cues. Not playing nice.

I wasn't *fuckable* according to the expected standards. I had hair in places I wasn't *supposed* to. I had curves in places I wasn't *supposed* to. I didn't dress or act in the ways I was *supposed* to be desirable in (or at least, so I was told).

My body didn't want to be small. And when I made it smaller, it fought back to become bigger (Btw, thanks body for doing that. I owe you...big time. BIG time. I promise to keep trying to make it up to you by listening to what you're asking for and by feeding you when you're hungry and by letting you rest when you're tired).

I didn't want to be quiet. I had so much to say, to express, to share, to shout out to the world. I wanted to be heard.

I wasn't perfect. I had flaws. Made mistakes. Fell short. Missed the mark. Didn't always care. Didn't care enough. Cared too much.

I didn't want less. I wanted more. More food. More connection. More comfort. More information. More experiences. More than trying-to-be-something-I-wasn't could offer me.

To heal, I had to flip the way I saw the world. To get upside down in my recovery. I had to start believing that my worth and value isn't tied to my size or appearance. I had to start owning my wants and needs. I had to start questioning the messages and lessons I had paid such good attention to all my life and start seeking out different kinds of messages. Ones that offered a different way of seeing the world. Ones that offered a different way of seeing myself. Ones that told me my worth and value and goodness were not linked to an unattainable expectation set out by and policed by forces outside myself.

Recovery is hard (but possible). It's especially difficult because we live in a culture that has an eating disorder. Until that changes, our perception of what is *normal* is going to be skewed. An upside-down world is going to seem *normal* if that is our only reality. Until our culture radically shifts away from normalizing disordered eating and away from policing bodies and policing body autonomy, recovery will require an active, conscious, deliberate turning upside-down of our current perceptions.

Brave ones, you can do this. Today, get upside down. Whether that means questioning the idea that you are not enough OR the idea that you are too much (or both). Whether that means considering (forget believing for now...just consider) the idea that you and your body are NOT broken. NOT needing to be fixed. NOT less than. NOT too much. NOT not-enough. NOT to blame. NOT someone else's.

Your body is your own and you get to decide its worth and value. Its hunger and fullness. Its wants and needs. Its enjoyment and satisfaction. Its space in this world.

Brave ones, you got this. Get upside down.

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