Saturday, March 1, 2014

Things I don't talk about

**Edit: I went back and forth all weekend about deleting this. Because maybe I lied when I said I wasn't embarrassed about it. It is embarrassing to reveal all the dark, ugly things about your insides. But maybe it's better to bring the dark parts out into the light. I don't know. Maybe some people will think less of me after reading this, but that's their prerogative. I know I'm not going to be everyone's cup of tea and that's ok with me. But if only one other person reads this and feels just the tiniest bit of comfort or understanding from it, it will be worth it.**

The road to Awesometown is not all sunshine and giggles. There are struggles. Sometimes you have to go through some deeply personal, existential crisis type struggles. There are certain things I don't talk about. Because I want this to be a place of lightness and love and awesomeness. But it's also a place of honesty. So this shit is about to get real. (If you want to skip it, that's totally cool. Tale of awesomeness and hilarity will resume tomorrow.)

As cliché as it sounds, I used to be that overachieving valedictorian runner with the eating disorder. It happened when I was in college, triggered by stress and change and family problems. Under-eating and over-exercising were my coping mechanisms, my outlets for all the negative emotions I didn't know how to deal with, my way of regaining some control. It's not that I'm ashamed of it or afraid of judgment. Judge away if you want. There's nothing anyone could say to me that is worse than the shit I've said to myself over the years. It's just that it dredges up painful memories that I'd rather leave in the past. I was never hospitalized but I had to go to this outpatient treatment center at Strong. It was the worst, most humiliating thing ever. Wearing nothing except a hospital gown, I had to stand on the scale backwards, because of course they'd never let me see how much I weighed. It was like some terrible judgment day where the doctors would come in and tell me it still wasn't enough. It was never enough. Whatever I was, it was not enough. I couldn't articulate it at the time, but inside I was screaming. This is a really fucked up thing to do to someone. Why do you think I'm here? It's not because I think I'm fat. Sometimes I can't sleep at night because my bones protrude so much it hurts when I lay down. I know I'm not fat. I know I'm not enough, so much so that I can't even feed myself properly. That's how little I think of myself, you fuckers.

If you were to ask me why I run, I would say because it makes me better, stronger, happier and saner. Which is true. But really it's because running saved me. And probably continues to do so. I call it the day I got stuck in slow motion. I was about 20. I wasn't supposed to be running so I'd get up in the middle of the night and run in the dark (I was always very stubborn. Nobody was going to be the boss of me). One morning, I suddenly felt like I was moving in slow motion. I had run a couple of miles and then I literally couldn't run another step. I was so thin and anemic that my body physically had nothing left. It was scary. I'd been on the edge for a while and that was the moment I knew I had to decide which side I was on. I chose life and running, I chose me. I'm not going to say it was easy, but once I made up my mind there was no stopping me. I already had all that willpower and determination, I just had to focus on using it for me instead of against me. A Jen divided against itself cannot stand, cannot run, cannot go on amazing adventures.

So those are the things I don't talk about, the ugly and dark parts of me that I try to leave further and further behind every day. But still, they happened and I can't change the past now. I don't want people to think of the bad parts when they see me or define me by past mistakes. But sometimes I wonder...where I am today - everything I have, all the amazing people I've met, this life of awesomeness and adventure I've been lucky enough to stumble into - was it in spite of the struggles or because of them?

Everyone has their own struggles, and while I may not have walked in their shoes, I understand how the pain and sorrow and darkness can get you down. So I try to live with compassion and love and open arms. As the saying goes "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

So if you are fighting your own hard battle, I get it, man. That shit sucks. But keep going. You are an infinitely beautiful and lovable soul and the world is so lucky to have you.

Lyric of the moment: "Oh, why you look so sad? Tears are in your eyes, come on and come to me now. Don't be ashamed to cry. Let me see you through 'cause I've seen the dark side too. When the night falls on you, you don't know what to do. Nothing you confess could make me love you less. I'll stand by you..."

1 comment: