At this point, I am unsure of the numbers of times I have tried to begin writing my first post after treatment. I have been away from home, and also from this blog, for two months now. I just got back last night. This is by far the most intimidating post I have written. This is harder than many of the posts from the past that have caused my heart to skip a few beats. By now, I have returned from treatment numerous times, and I have shared about those experiences before. Yet – my fear has never been this large and seemingly powerful. Tonight, fear feels like a demon standing over me, breathing down my neck, daring me to follow it.
I wish that I could say I am sitting here kicking its ass. I wish that I could say I am able to have good body image days. I wish I felt strong, powerful, brave, and capable. I wish I had solid plans for my life back in my home state.
And, I do not.
Somehow, that is alright. It is the most uncomfortable place to be. Sitting here feels like an electric buzz throughout my body. Not the right kind where I feel energetic, but instead a buzz where everything feels a little too sharp and a little too real. Perhaps – I misspoke, and that is actually not “alright.” No. It is honest. These days, the idea of fear being gone seems to be an obsession of ours. We tell each other to be fearless, yet I am growing to believe that is truthfully foolishness. Because I am afraid. And, so are you, and so is everyone you will ever meet in life. We are all afraid because we are all human.
On my first day and last days at IDC, I wore a shirt printed with the words, “I WANT TO SEE YOU BE BRAVE,” lyrics from Sara Bareilles. I have worn that shirt over and over again. The letters are beginning to fade. Those words live in my head, swimming around in a rocky sea of thoughts, and for far too long I have let the idea of being brave, truthfully, keep me trapped. I was living in the idea that brave days consist of moments absent of fear. Annoyingly and exasperatingly, those days rarely occur. There is a reason they rarely occur. That is not the definition of brave. Look up brave in the dictionary, and you will find another definition –
“Ready to face and endure pain; showing courage.”
I think about all of the pain that I have endured during this journey (and I do not do that self-righteously). I reflect on all of the pain that my family has endured. I think about all of the pain that my loved ones have endured. I think about all of the pain that others have endured throughout their own journeys.
I think about that endurance far outside of the community of those touched by eating disorders and other mental illnesses. We all have our stories.
Today, I will not choose to be fearless. I will not choose to dissolve my fears and worries. No, I will choose to be brave. I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that you will follow suit.