Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

I Will Not Live a Wasted Life


Every so often I look at random friends’ About Me pages on Facebook.  I like learning about people, and I like reading the quotes people have posted.  I came across this one last night:

“You never come back, not all the way. Always there is an odd distance between you and the people you love and the people you meet, a barrier thin as the glass of a mirror, you never come all the way out of the mirror; you stand, for the rest of your life, with one foot in this world and one in another, where everything is upside down and backward and sad.” -Marya Hornbacher, ‘Wasted’

Just to answer some questions ahead of time: I’ve read Wasted.  Both while I was still sick and while I was in recovery.  I have very mixed views on whether this book is beneficial to the general community, and I won’t go into all of them here.  I do think Marya Hornbacher is an excellent writer, gifted at putting the internal experiences into words.  

But this quote?  I honestly wish I could not somehow delete it from all copies of her book.  I feel it does a great disservice to the eating disorder community.  I think, in a lot of cases, it can take away someone’s hope, and without hope, what are you left to fight with or for?

I once thought I’d never fully recover, that the anorexia would be there, in some form, for the rest of my life.  And it was so disheartening.  So defeating.  And then I met someone who told me that until I let go of that idea, I wasn’t going to fully recover.  But that person had never had an eating disorder, so I pushed their advice to the side.  What could they know about my battle?  But then that person introduced me to someone who would become one of my closest friends.  This person knew about my struggles.  She had been there.  She had fought them.  She knew what hell I was going through. 

And she came out on top.  Not a few feet from the top, but she climbed the summit of the mountain and stood in glory, savoring the feeling of succeeding at what would be the toughest climb of her life.  And seeing her, knowing her, and hearing her story gave me hope. 

I am here to tell you that while Marya described the hell of an eating disorder quite well, she is wrong in the conclusion, that you will never truly be free. 

I am here to tell you that you can be free.  Completely, 100% free.  You can stand on the summit of your own personal mountain and bask in all the glory.  The hell, the pain, the fears, the struggles–you can beat them all and they will disappear.

The world does not have to be upside down and backwards and sad.  You don’t have to see the world through any type of barrier.  You can be part of the world.  Wholly and freely.

Your relationships with others will be healthy.  The distance between you will fade away, and you can interact with people on a level that is rewarding and fulfilling. 

This all takes time.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes patience and faith and perseverance.  But all of this is possible.  And it doesn’t mean that life will be all smooth and wonderful for you.  Life will still throw nasty stones in your direction, but now you will be strong enough to handle those stones in healthy ways.  And you’ll continue walking with your head held up with pride for not succumbing to eating disorder symptoms. 

You can be part of the world instead of a pale observer.  You can interact with the world.  You can make goals and watch those goals come to fruition. 

With both feet firmly plantedin this world, you can live without being pulled in two directions.  You can be free.  100% free.  Forever. 

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September 15, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

4 Comments »

  1. Thanks for this post. It’s great to see someone share that optimism about recovery.

    I think of myself as ‘in recovery,’ but really, to most people, I’m ‘recovered.’ After years of sickness and an IP stint in my early twenties, and with years of regular therapy and time spent working on making my life what I wanted it to be (by going to college and living on my own until it wasn’t scary anymore)… I have arrived in a place where I am happy most of the time, at a stable and healthy weight that doesn’t bother me 99% of the time, and with a real career where I do something I’m proud of. After years of struggle, I am now a Psychiatric registered nurse. I work in an in-patient hospital. My patients can’t know these things about me, because of professional boundaries, but I think it makes me a better nurse. I don’t work in ED treatment, but I do approach my work with a firm belief that with support, determination, and time, my patients can recover, and I hope that belief comes across as genuine to them.

    Anyway, I wanted to share that because I agree with you that the idea that you can’t completely recover can hold people back from allowing themselves to believe it… and our thoughts determine our reality, so we must believe in a healthy and happy future for ourselves.

    Comment by C | September 15, 2012 | Reply

  2. You speak the truth, Lex!

    Comment by Lauren | September 15, 2012 | Reply

  3. I was wavering on whether to read Wasted or not. I am stuck between knowing full recovery is real, and not being 100% positive it will be real for me. Hopeful, but not positive. I very much appreciate your post as it not only helped me make a decision on the book, but you are proof, yet again, that full recovery IS real, IS reachable, and IS possible. I look forward to being on the other side of the mirror, fully whole and present in life.

    Comment by apurpledreamer | September 17, 2012 | Reply

  4. Thanks for this. I think it’s important, too, to remember that Marya Hornbacher was early in recovery and pre-relapse when she wrote that, wasn’t she? Anyway, I wholeheartedly agree and appreciate the reminder/hope.

    Comment by givebackyourheart | September 22, 2012 | Reply


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