Ralph Waldo Emerson said:
“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.”
The greatest wisdom I have acquired in this lifetime is that most of the time we are the biggest obstacles to our own happiness. The warnings we give ourselves that actions are too risky, too time consuming or too difficult are just manipulations of our own fears of inadequacy. Face these, because without the possibility of failure there can’t be the even greater likelihood of success. Don’t ever let your own limitations hold you back. When you let go of deep-seated feelings of weakness the rewards are sweet.
Hi, my name’s Kendra, I’m 32 years old and I live in Vancouver, BC with my husband and my dog. I share my life and thoughts on my blog www.sunshinefromshadows.com in the hope that my account of this journey of life can help others realize that they’re not alone in this world. My posts range from warm and fuzzy, to political, to humorous, to sad, but they are always honest and from the heart. So feel free to check it out and join me in the adventure that is my life.
Today, I’m excited to share the feelings of my heart here on Striving Onward. And after reading about Lacey’s powerful journey with her body. I wanted to offer a glimpse into my own journey.
First of all, I don’t own a scale. The ritual of weighing myself is a practice, along with many others, that I abandoned several years ago when I decided I wasn’t going to let my eating disorder define me any longer. I have been relatively successful in my endeavor; I remain in remission. If I focus on my attributes I can think of several. I am a highly intelligent and accomplished woman with a successful career as a pharmacist. I am quick-witted, have a good sense of humor and many enjoy my company. I have a lot of good friends, am very close to my family, and have a very loving husband. I don’t have a lot to complain about.
But yesterday when I slipped on my favorite pair of jeans they felt snug, and I hated myself for the whole day. No matter how much time passes, despite all of my achievements and the plethora of good fortune bestowed upon me, I still can’t escape my disease and the notion that self-worth is determined by body size. And I’m not sure that I ever will. The waistband of my size 26 jeans pushing into my flesh is like a physical reminder that I don’t measure up, and I am left with a bad taste in my mouth and feeling empty inside. It would be so easy to stay that way. Empty. I have been down that road before. Refusing to eat, binging and purging, a cycle of self-abuse that left me nowhere but a whisper of myself and hopeless. Soulless. There are no answers there.
I wish sometimes I could bottle up the rationality I possess on most days to counter the madness that overtakes my mind on these occasions. I would tell myself that my happiness doesn’t depend on the size of my pants or the width of my hips. I would tell myself that at 5’7’’ tall and 115 pounds, though bounds and leaps from where I once was, I am still quite thin, and could probably stand to put on a few pounds. I would tell myself that the people who love me love me for the person I am, and not for what I look like, a fact evidenced by all of them staying by my side through the entire time that I looked like a walking skeleton, a fashion which I now realize was only coveted by me. As anyone who has struggled with this affliction can tell you, you will never really be free from its clutches. But I make it through the hard days knowing that there will be easier ones ahead. And there are. Every day that I ignore the voices in my head telling me that I’m not good enough, or pretty enough, or thin enough means that there is another day that I feel stronger and more accomplished and more proud of myself.
It helps to know that I’m not alone. There are millions of women all over the world who suffer from eating disorders. I know several of them personally, friends of mine who have shared their stories with me. There are many celebrities who have bravely told their stories publically. Unfortunately many others suffer in silence. I feel sad a lot of the time, but mostly I feel angry. I feel angry when magazines discuss a celebrities’ weight as if it is their right to comment on how a woman should look. I feel angry when my friends comment negatively about their bodies because they don’t measure up to an unrealistic media ideal of how women should look. I feel angry when a man tells me I look “fit” when I have starved myself down to 100 pounds because this is what ‘Women’s Fitness’ magazine says a healthy woman looks like. I feel angry that, out of shame, I feel compelled to order a salad at dinner when I really want the steak. But I’m glad I feel angry. Why? Because my anger makes me feel compelled to take action. It makes me want to speak out. It makes me want to start a conversation. It makes me want to make a difference in this world. And I hope that means that if I have a daughter, when that daughter grows up, she just might live in a different world.
I know we can create that world together.