aka Why do I sometimes think my eating disorder wasn’t ‘good enough’
aka The audacity of shame
Over the years, and as I’ve been writing this blog series, I’ve noticed a big gaping hole.
Where’s the sob story? The trauma? The drama?
So I got spat on; big deal.
And a so-called friend called me ‘the thing’; yeah, and?
My dad questioned whether or not a I looked good in a bikini. I felt different from my peers and wanted to stand out in a sport.
When I saw that therapist in NYC and her diagnoses was,’ you’ll grow out of it,’ I assume she was thinking the same thing, ‘Where’s the childhood trauma I can pin the bulimia to?’ And since she couldn’t find a good enough reason why I ended up as I did, presumably, she thought I’d grow out of it in the same way I grew into it.
I’ve listened to the stories of others with eating disorders.
Some were physically beaten.
Some were pimped out by their mom, or experienced some other form of sexual abuse.
Some were neglected by an alcoholic parent and were passed around to family members.
Some have been in and out of inpatient care for 20 years.
Some have been binging and purging on a daily basis.
Some have had multiple stomach staples to shrink their stomach and control their weight.
I hear these stories and immediately two thoughts come to mind:
- My childhood wasn’t traumatic enough to lead me to an eating disorder. What was/is inherently wrong with me that got me there?
- My eating disorder wasn’t ‘good enough’. It wasn’t extreme or dramatic enough to warrant me really bringing any attention to it.
This is what’s so f*cked up about shame. It can make you feel shame about your shame not being shameful enough.
Yeah, you read that right.
But this is what makes any shame-based living so isolating.
We think our story isn’t ‘bad enough’.
And our reactions not extreme enough.
Neither are headline-worthy news.
Once again proof that we, as a person, are not enough.
That is a lie.
To quote another Liberty Bain gem, ‘We can have very different experiences, but it’s in the feelings that we’re the same.’
Shame is shame, regardless of whether or not you end up with an eating disorder, addiction, or you find a healthy way to respond.
The same with fear and with vulnerability.
Each of us experience these things at one time or another. Some are able to respond in a healthy way. Brene Brown calls this ‘wholehearted living’. Others of us haven’t learned how to do that. Yet.
What I would ask of each of you reading this today is this:
Regardless of how much drama or trauma you have or have not experienced in your life, accept that you are the same as the person next you.
Stop comparing and judging your story, your external experience. You are not better than someone else because you didn’t ‘go there’ or get ‘that bad’, and they are not better than you because they did.
Our stories serve a purpose. They are windows into our souls. And from a meeting of souls, healing can happen.
Your story counts for what it is. It is enough. It is the exact window that somebody else needs to access and heal their own soul.
Own it. Share it. Tell it. Stop hiding from it.
Your story matters.
Your story matters. As part of ‘Bulimia Uncovered: 29 days to being your Quintessential Self’ we want to hear from you. How can you relate to what you’ve just read? Leave a comment below and share your related stories and pictures however you do best. If using social media use hashtag #bu29days and tag me so we can follow. We’re also inviting stories to feature on The True You Project. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like yours shared there.
Feb Food Fun giveaway! Want more tools to overcome judgement and shame, and be your quintessential self? Join the True You Project community and you’ll receive Your True You Journey, an 8 week self-coaching e-guide that will give you the tools to navigate through the mud and peel back the layers covering up your True You.
Nourish your Quintessential Self. The Nourish Circle, a private group for women to support each other’s journeys with food, body and self, is starting soon. Join Liberty Bain and I on Wednesdays from wherever you are. A place to experience first hand that your story matters. Join us this February.