sometimes i feel broken.
sometimes i feel like i cover myself in armor.
sometimes i feel like i'm the only one.
sometimes i feel crazy.
and then today happens.
i hear a young man say "everyone's a little broken; we wouldn't be people if we weren't."
--i feel some armor slide away.
i get an email from someone i don't know telling me that she read my blog and mentioned "I had a particularly bad day today and am feeling quite alone, and although there is no purpose to my email other than to tell you that I really admire your courage, typing this out makes me feel a bit more connected to the universe."
--i don't feel so crazy.
the email i received was from a young woman with an eating disorder and talked about how she felt alone, about some of the shame she carries, and about how she didn't feel courageous enough to tell some of the people in her life--specifically those at work.
the email made me feel so many things: empathy, sadness, admiration, gratitude... and kind of like i was a fake. yes, sometimes my blog feels courageous. but sometimes it feels like i get to hide behind it because i'm being so open here. like i have built some armor up through all the baring.
she complimented me on my career status and about how open i was with my eating disorder. it's true that i talk about my struggles and recovery status with people at work i barely know. but there are also things i don't tell them. like when i'm late to a meeting because i had to run a little longer to make my mind feel sane before i was allowed to shower and go to the meeting. or like when i schedule things around a yoga class i feel like i just have to get to or my soul will freak out. these things could be termed "taking care of myself," or they could be termed "selfish," or even, dare i say it, "characteristic of someone with an eating disorder."
there's STUFF. there will probably always be stuff. i've let go of a lot--and i am very proud of that. but there's still the little broken pieces i keep finding under the rug; the little shells of armor stuck to my skin that haven't all chipped away. and finding them can be hard.
in some ways, i don't know where this blog is going. am i trying to build up more armor for later? am i trying desperately to feel as courageous as this lovely reader portrayed me to be? what am i trying to do?
it's only talking, sharing, and giving a face to a health issue that can de-stigmatize it. my shame disintegrates when i don't give it any power. when i told my mom about bulimia, when i told my co-worker about my bulimia, when i told my yoga class about my bulimia, when i post a blog about bulimia on Facebook, i lose the shame. it disappears with the broken pieces under the rug, it hides under the small pieces of armor still remaining.
i can't fix the world; i can't even fix me. but i also know that i don't need to. i can let go of the armor; i know i'm already whole. and i have hope that the world is ready for that.
and, to every blog reader, but especially L: the world is ready; i believe in you.