I don't really remember being so over weight. It's taken me ten years to lose close to 100 pounds, and I can't remember it. It's as if I blocked out the time period that I was 250 pounds on a 5'3" frame.
And then someone sends me a picture that reads. "I don't remember you ever looking like this. Hope that doesn't offend you!"
And it all comes racing back. Oh those feelings of shame that made me feel like I was drowning and there was no way out. All those days of self-hate and wishing and wishing that I could just stop binge eating. How I never felt good enough or that I measured up. And how most of my friends and family were thin and I wasn't. I felt like an outcast and failure.
I felt hopeless and defined by my butt size.
And if I could go back and talk to me--you know give myself some advice that could possibly make the journey a little easier, I would say this...
Go there Carla. FEEL IT ALL. Own the shame.
Because the shame of who I thought I was and wasn't paralyzed me. You can't accept that which you don't acknowledge. And what I refused to acknowledge was shoved so deep down that I wasn't even aware that it was there. Shame covered me and the more I covered it up, the more it grew. For all those Stranger Things fans out there, think of the black thingie in the upside down that is growing out of control -- that's what shame does. It grows and takes over everything in it's path. And suddenly you find yourself somebody that you never thought you'd be.
Childhood sexual abuse was the root of my shame, and what triggered my eating disorder. The shame it brought on me was as deep and wide as the Grand Canyon and at times felt like it would never heal. But eventually I chose to go there. To stand and look in the mirror and say "this happened to me, but it no longer will direct my life." Shame is the driving force behind most actions. That's what I've realized-- that fear is just a sub-feeling, but the root my food addiction was shame.
The minute, and I mean the MINUTE, I acknowledged the abuse and named every single feeling that I believed about myself because of the abuse was the minute that shame fell off like a winter coat. I no longer needed a fat suit to hide in. I no longer felt the desire to hide period.
And if me telling my story helps even one person in their healing journey than it was worth it. Acknowledge and own the shame and then toss if off. And see the true you start to emerge. It's a beautiful thing.
P.S. (And an even Stranger Thing is that when someone reminds me of where I have been and how far I have come, No I'm not offended. It is a great reminder of all that I have walked through and how much grace I need to extend to myself on a daily basis. I am proud to say I have walked through hell, and fought hard to come out of it.)