I am often told that my honesty in discussing my eating disorder recovery journey is impressive. While I appreciate the compliment, I wish, quite frankly, that it wasn't impressive. Vulnerability, especially when it comes to an illness or emotional problem, is so stifled in our culture that the sheer act of telling the truth feels like an earth-shattering declaration. It is precisely this stigma that we place on naked truth that keeps people quiet as they travel the road to wellness and recovery.
And it is precisely for this reason that I am so radically honest about my own experience. Many in my network and community know me first from my accomplishments and external achievements. I landed a gig at the magazine of my dreams, I teach yoga, I wrote a book, and I've been a contestant on a national cooking competition. But those "fun facts" are all just small parts of who I am. I am also a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a nurturer with a richly patterned inner life. There is so much going on beneath the surface for all of us, that a few bullet points could never adequately describe essence of who we are.
So if I refuse to be defined by a past job, a line on a resume, or a relationship — but if I still allow the honest story surrounding said events to surface and shape the person I am now — why wouldn't I do that with my eating disorder recovery journey?
The fact that I am a bulimia survivor is an important detail, but not the only defining factor, about the woman I am today. And here's the real kicker: Through recovery, I have become more compassionate (to both myself and others), more thoughtful and intuitive, and kinder and calmer. Those are all beautiful qualities, and feel it is my responsibility to respect the process that helped me attain them.
We all carry with us the burdens and baggage from past hurts, and it is only when we stop trying to shove them into our already over-stuffed suitcases that we are able to bear them with grace. It is only then that we are able to receive the support of others.
Be good to you. Tell your truth with honesty and grace, and watch the magic happen.