Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.


I am, by nature, a rather competitive person.  And, by nature, I want to do my absolute best 100% of the time.  As an athlete, both of these characteristics served me well.  I don’t think many people expected me to be a two-time All American my freshman year of college.  I certainly didn’t.  I don’t think I’m unique in these characteristics, at least not among the people I know who have struggled with eating disorders.  A lot of us are perfectionists, straight-A students, excellent athletes, and involved in our communities.  

Of course, we can use these characteristics against us.  I know I did.  I set my “weight goal” and I made damn sure I was going to get it.  I set goals and I reach them.  Very simple.  

Today I was walking at a local park.  Because of the recent surgery, and the nature of the reason for the surgery, I’m walking very slowly.  It will be several months before I can pick up the pace at all, and running is not in my future anymore.  But I’ve been working on looking at this a different way: that I am alive, that I know what is wrong, and that I can still walk.  So walk I will.  

But then this woman passed me, walking in the opposite direction, and she was working up a good sweat at a pretty fast pace.  If I had to guess, I’d think she could do three laps to my one, which is a significant difference on a 1.7 mile loop and given that we are both walking.  A few minutes after she passed me, I found that I had started walking faster, and I had to consciously tell myself to slow down, that I wasn’t racing her.  My recovery from surgery is not a race–against anyone else, against any time line, or against my preconceived notions about where I should be.

Recovery is not a race.  That being said, I’m not saying you shouldn’t always be trying to move forward.  But comparing your recovery to someone else’s can have devastating effects if you think that you’re not “up to par” or “good enough” or feel ashamed for not being better yet.  These thoughts and feelings can make you feel frustrated and make you think that trying is futile.  

We all have our own journeys to walk in this life.  Give yourself permission to walk yours.


July 29, 2009 - Posted by | Eating Disorders, health | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Alexis, I love this!!! I can totally relate to that feeling of “wanting to do more.” The very first time I got back into the pool last year, after a 7 year hiatus, I wanted to beat EVERYONE in the pool!! But it hurt and it was hard as hell, and I wasn’t always the fastest. But I felt almost “inferior” that I couldn’t keep up, because I too, was a 2-time All-American in college. That competitive part of me was taking over, but I had to tell myself, “Beth, you haven’t been in the pool in SEVEN years, so don’t expect to be as fast as you were!!” It was hard, and it is still something I deal with in the pool, although now I am faster.

    Hang in there!!! You’re doing amazing for just having surgery. You’ll get there–one loop at a time!!

    Comment by Beth | July 29, 2009 | Reply

  2. Alexis,
    All of your posts are awesome. I love reading them. Like I always say, you are so inspiring!

    Comment by Cheryl | July 30, 2009 | Reply

  3. Someone who I was in IOP with kept reminding us all, “It’s a marathon, not a race.”

    I love reading your posts! You have some great insight on these topics.

    Comment by Jen | August 4, 2009 | Reply

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