Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Identity Post 948


I was working on my manuscript yesterday and came across a section I thought was relevant to my previous couple of posts on change. 

I knew that it would be one hell of a huge ass change to give up the eating disorder.  But I don’t think I was prepared for what came after.  This is the part no one warns you about, and I think it trips up a lot of people and leads to relapse for some of us.  It certainly took me a few tries to figure things out. 

The eating disorder was this huge, all encompassing adjective, noun, and verb.  When I gave it up, I was left with me.  Except I had no idea who me was anymore.  And I wanted to find something to replace the eating disorder to fill me up.  That’s right–something not somethings.  I thought I could find one thing and *poof* have my identity all wrapped up in a neat little package again.  

I thought I could make that identity “a grad student.”  It was convenient.  I was already in the program.  I loved it.  I was good at it.  I had friends there. 

But those very friends taught me something without realizing they were doing so.  It didn’t take me long to realize that even the most talented, dedicated students of my department were more than just students.  During breaks during class, and in the lounge, people talked about other things–exercising, knitting, music, family, friends.  We had some campers in the group, some rock climbers, some fashionistas, some parents, some partiers.  Some of just about everything.  And each person talked about more than one thing. 

They weren’t Grad Students who lived, breathed, and ate literature and writing and studying.  They were multidimensional people.  They were interesting.  They were fun to be around. They were whole people not just one thing.  

It took me time to become a multidimensional person, to become well-rounded.  It took some exploring, some trying new things (*gasp*).  I discovered that “student” was just a small part of who I am,  just as “professor” is just a small part of who I am now.  I love that part of me, but it doesn’t make me who I am.  I am a writer, a knitter, a decaf coffee lover, a cat lover, a friend, a daughter, a sister, and aunt, a cardiac patient, a yoga student, a Harry Potter fan, and a Beth Orton fanatic.  And a lot of other things.  Not one of things defines me all on its own.  And I’m glad for that.  I’ve come to appreciate the many parts of me. 

All these parts of me make it easier to survive in the world, to be an active, contributing part of society.  I’m no longer this island of illness that can only only offer one thing to the people around me.  And I hope I keep growing and changing.  Life is more interesting and much more rewarding this way. 

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August 14, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. I so appreciate this post, you have no idea. I’m in the process of figuring out who I am in general, much less who I am without my eating disorder, once that is finally gone. I identify myself as my job, that’s it. The multidemensional parts? Um… yeah. Still gotta find something there. Was talking yesterday about how important it is to find the balance in life, and not be all consumed by one thing. Glad to hear you say that life is more interesting and rewarding this way, cause from where I stand, the idea of having a “life” in general is rather terrifying!

    Comment by apurpledreamer | August 15, 2012 | Reply

    • It really is more rewarding and interesting this way. And more fun. Try making a list of things you’ve always wanted to try or continue doing and then challenge yourself to try one thing a week, or one thing a month if you want to start there. It’s a good way to explore different things and find out which things you enjoy most.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | August 15, 2012 | Reply

      • Great suggestion, thank you! I feel like I’ve already “been there, done that” with so many different things, this is for sure going to be an interesting adventure!

        Comment by apurpledreamer | August 15, 2012


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