Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Life In Recovery

I haven't weighed myself in eight years.

I have stepped onto scales at my doctor's office, but I always request they never tell me my weight. I leave it to them to monitor it and make sure I stay within a healthy range and, other than that, my old scale is just a piece of crap sitting in my closet.


I like it that way.

For the majority of my life, I let a piece of plastic dictate how I was going to feel. There were, in fact, mornings where I woke up happy and excited until I saw how much I weighed. I know I am not alone in this -- men and women alike deal with it daily -- but how unsettling it is to stand back and realize that a number can change how we feel about who we are.

I wish they made scales with words so, instead, they could tell me, "Do you feel strong? Do you feel healthy? Can you pick up your nephew for a hug? Can you go for a run with your dog? Can you laugh loudly and effortlessly? Yes? Then who the hell cares what order of numbers show up?”

But it's hard not to care. Every day people and things and our minds tell us to care. Mental illnesses like anorexia and bulimia cannot just be out thought. Self-confidence and self-worth cannot just be switched on. Saying my worth is more than what is on the scale is easy, but that does not change how hard it can be to believe it – especially when the world continues to say something different.
I cannot change the world, though. I cannot change what they seem to value as a whole, but I can take the power away from what they do.


At the beginning of my recovery (which involved many other things like therapy, a nutritionist, etc.), I promised myself I wouldn't rely on a scale anymore. I don’t remember why exactly, I just knew it wasn’t serving any purpose for me. At least, any purpose that was beneficial, which was proven by how terrifying it was to let it go. And, as time went on, this proved to be truer than anything I could have imagined. Without that scale, I was forced to look at other things in my life and issues I had to work through. Without a number to fall back on and “blame”, I had to learn to identify my feelings, why they were there, and deal with them.


But, more importantly, the absence of those numbers has given me a freedom to choose my own strength and my own power. In the space they left behind I am able to value myself in action, in courage, and in love.


I haven't weighed myself in eight years. I don't know my weight and don't care enough to check like I once did. It is up to me to be my own force now – and, instead of looking down at a scale, I hold my head up and make the world look me in the face.



S.E. Carson is Irish, can say the alphabet backwards, dances while making dinner, is ridiculously terrified of snakes, and is happily convinced her life might just be a single, long I Love Lucy episode. One of her proudest moments was when a child mistook her for a very tall leprechaun.

A Colorado-native living in North Carolina with her husband and dogs, Carson is writing a book about her experience with, and defeat of, anorexia. 

www.secarson.com
www.secarson.com/blog






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