Final Post: We’ve Come a Long Way, Kid

Look at where we are

There may be one person in the world who’s surprised I’m quoting Hamilton here. That one person probably isn’t you.

Yes, this will be my last post on The Body Pacifist.

If you hadn’t guessed this was coming from the title of this blog, the almost literal years I have been going between posts probably tipped you off.

But I’m making a concerted effort to shoot for closure where it’s possible, and so I wanted to put up one last blog before ghosting off into the sunset.

I started The Body Pacifist in February of 2013. I was a junior in college, I was in the first few months of serious eating disorder recovery, and man, I was scared. Everything was scary. That’s what I remember most from those days, and what jumps out at me most reading posts from the first year.

Although I try not to read those posts too often anymore, really. It’s not a past that’s particularly comfortable for me to look back on. Those blog posts were valuable in that stage in my life, though, and so I leave them up for others who might be in that stage too.

When I started blogging here, I don’t think I ever expected anyone to read anything I wrote. The point wasn’t to gather followers or to make millions in ad revenue.

(Which is good, because you know how many dollars in ad revenue I’ve made four years later? Zero dollars.)

Writing was a way to get my thoughts out of my head and onto a screen where I could look at them. Analyze them from a distance. Figure out where I was, and where I needed to go next.

And the fact that so many of you joined me for that ride, and that so many of you found my close-reading of my own thoughts to be helpful, has been a never-ending and incredibly gratifying surprise.

Fast-forward to January 12, 2017, and let’s take a quick look around before I vamoose.

The last time I weighed myself was in February of 2016, at a doctor’s appointment. Just a twinge of anxiety, and then I went along with my day.

I’ll probably get weighed at my appointment next month, but I am genuinely—and I mean it—not worried. My clothes fit, I feel healthy, and I know I’m probably in the ballpark of where I was last year. Read some posts from back in the archives, and you’ll see I seriously doubted whether reaching a static weight was even possible. Well, I’m here to tell you it is, and I’m at mine, and man is it nice to have one less thing to worry about.

Once I finish writing this post, I’m going to go have dinner. I have leftover Indian food that I cooked last night in the fridge, and I’m going to go heat it up, and I’m going to eat it while streaming season seven of Mad Men.

Stress level thinking about that: Zero.

I still deal with anxiety and depression on occasion, although whether it would still be diagnosable or not at this stage is anyone’s guess. (Well, actually, I guess a therapist could make a pretty educated guess, but that’s a decision for another day.) But food is not a source of angst for me anymore. It’s not a source of anxiety.

It’s just…

Not.

For the past two Thanksgivings, I’ve had seconds, hung out with family, and watched my football team lose spectacularly with a beer after the meal. Two years in a row, I’ve forgotten that I have a reason to be anxious.

I genuinely do not have a reason to be anxious.

Writing that sentence is strange. I never thought I would do it. But here I am, writing it, and it rings true.

I haven’t thought about my eating disorder in months.

I assume I will, now and again. I’m not setting myself up for a “perfect recovery,” because the only thing you can do with perfection is disappoint your expectations of it.

But in terms of my eating disorder, this place I’m at right now feels pretty damn close to perfect.

I won’t be writing for The Body Pacifist anymore, and I’m also no longer working for Adios Barbie, although not quite for the same reason. But this isn’t the end of my writing life. I’m focusing more and more on my fiction writing, and slowly but surely I’m starting to get a handful of things published in a handful of places. Check me out on Twitter @AllisonEpstein2 to see what’s new—including more shameless plugs just like this one. And if you’d like to get in touch with me personally, still feel free to do that in the usual ways.

But whether you’re stumbling across this blog now or you’ve been with me for a while, there’s one message I want you to take away from the four-year journey recorded in this blog.

I want you to write this message on a beautiful piece of paper and tape it to your bathroom mirror, and every morning when you wake up, I want you to look at it and read it out loud.

I want you to believe this, because it is the truth, and I am living it.

Recovery is possible. And you can do it.

I believe in you.

Now get out there and keep going, one step at a time, one day at a time.

Love,

-Allison

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2 comments

  1. Allison, I just stumbled across the Body Pacifist this morning, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this post in particular. I’m the mother of a 12 year old girl who was diagnosed with anorexia last September, spent some time recovering at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and is now home recovering through the Maudsley method. The world feels so dark right now, I’m sure for her, but also for her dad and me, who most days have no idea if we will ever be able to help her have a normal life again. How did our happy little girl become so desperately and deeply unhappy? This disease has become, on some days, an almost impossibly heavy load for the three of us to bear, but reading your post just now eased that horrible tightness in my chest just a little bit — a ray of light broke through, in the form of the thought that one day, she could be standing where you are today. I’m going to read this post again and again, I’m sure, every time I feel like it’s so dark that we’ll never find our way.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Sara. I know things feel dark now, but I really do believe that there is hope. I’m keeping you and your daughter in my thoughts, and hoping that soon the moments of lightness will start to outweigh the dark times. Take care, and be well.

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