It’s always a joy to start a weekend with a绿色复苏story. This beautiful tale from CR reader Claire (who’s currently reading and sharing with us from Vienna!) almost made me cry when I read it for the first time. It was so honest, authentic, and insightful. I know that Claire’s story will strike many chords, and I hope you’ll all read and respond with your thoughts.
A word about the lovely drawings that you’ll see throughout this post: I asked Claire for some images, and she sent not only a photo of herself, but these as well. She told me that she hadn’t mentioned it in her recovery story, but she used to do life modeling as a side job in London. Claire said that “this was also such a helpful recovery tool, to see that people could make beautiful art inspired by a body I didn’t always find beauty in.”
当我开始写这篇文章,我只是不知道w where to start. I felt extremely emotional, and almost gave up after writing three lines. Not a great start. Or maybe it was great, because it reminded how deeply intertwined eating disorders are with our personal lives: our experiences, the people we met on the way, as well as the one that were left behind, the habits of a lifetime and the traumatic triggering events which all combined create our unique story.
This is a short extract from my own story, and I hope with all my heart that it can somehow resonate with some of you, and give some hope, encouragement and maybe even a little faith to some readers.
So, this first love opened the door to many firsts: the first time I didn’t eat for 3 days straight, the first time I made myself sick, the first time my tight jeans needed a belt, the first time I went to a store just to buy food which I knew would end up down the toilet, but also the first serious lies, to myself and to my close friends and family. And that secrecy became a habit, as if I knew that what I was doing was wrong but I just couldn’t bear to be exposed, I couldn’t ask for help, I was fine, I still functioned, it was ok, maybe just a bad habit I took I told myself. And I became so good at hiding it that not even my family with whom I lived everyday realized what was really going on.
One thing that I feel like I should mention is also that I had been training in (mainly contemporary) dance for my whole life, and even though I don’t believe that this is the reason why my eating disorder developed, being in front of a mirror every day, especially at that time of my life was definitely a struggle. There is however a strange balance of priorities in the dance world, and a huge dose of hypocrisy when it comes to body image, and how sometimes the word “fit” replaces “thin” but is actually used as a synonym. I have encountered this misunderstanding in many other practices such as yoga and fitness, but this is another topic.
回来我的故事，我现在18岁，在伦敦我的梦想舞蹈学校已被接受。因此，我搬到一个新的国家，语言，我没有说话，从任何东西，我知道。那时我已经开发贪食，忠实地陪伴着我在国外的一个非常严重的情况下。然而，正如我现在住远离家乡，不得不面对我自己的食品购物，准备所有我吃饭，我自己以及培训在竞争激烈的环境中吃它得到了更坏。我记得这个时期既是美好和痛苦。奇妙的，因为我遇见了一些令人难以置信的人已经在我的两个恢复过程中，我的生命一般是至关重要，并发现我的方式作为编舞，一份工作，让我今天太高兴了。痛苦的，因为我几乎每天都让自己生病，有时不止一次，把自己通过激烈的体能训练时间，努力“行为正常”的学生生活的社会事件中，主要我是在我自己的皮肤如此不满它有时太硬假装。我没有发现任何食品实际安慰了，但我不知道还有什么地方可以求助，我真的不做饭，是什么，因为大多数的这是反正要血本无归的地步？我也很害怕烘烤，曾经被认为是这样的安抚活动成为主要焦虑的来源，因为我只是担心我会自己吃了整个事情。 I hit a point when I just accepted that there was no way out. I would feel like this forever and I’d just get by. Those thoughts would always be with me and I had to learn to live with it. I was hopeless.
I opened up to the physio-therapist of the school and she was the most incredible support I could have asked for at the time. She mentioned that she guessed something was up with me, but understood that I was not ready to act upon it at the time. I was extremely grateful for this because it made me able to trust her. And there I decided, I was going to fix it. The thing is, I had decided to fix it many times before. I had told myself I would not do it anymore, that this was the last time I was hurting my body in such ways, that from now on I’d eat three healthy meals a day… But that day was different because now that she knew and was going to check up on me almost every day, I had to stop lying.
Extremely slowly, I started to open-up to more people, my housemates, my brother, my friends… It was tough but their support was invaluable. At first, not purging after a binge was the hardest, I felt so uncomfortable in my body. But also the coping mechanism that I had been familiar with for so many years was not reliable anymore, and even though I still wanted to give in, I knew it was not worth it. Though I didn’t know yet how to cope differently. My physio recommended I tried a high protein diet, since I was mainly binging on carbs, it seems like eliminating them entirely would make things easier. She was not a nutritionist and was just trying to help giving me the advice she believed would make this process easier on me. And in some ways it did work as I was so addicted to refined sugars by then, that anything cake-like I would eat, would trigger an urge for me to surrender to the binge and purge cycle. On the other hand, it created severe cravings and another unexpected phenomena: I was the only French person around who was terrified of bread.
Time passed by, and I my body started to heal as I finally ate more regularly, I was so proud when I finally counted my first year without making myself sick. My mind however, even though I gained a lot of self-confidence by getting better, was still not at peace. I knew that I was on the way of recovery, but my relationship with food was still fearful, food was still something I should control, regulate, and be careful with. In some ways, I still didn’t trust myself and my diet enough to believe that I was safe again.
When I turned 21, I finished my bachelor with surprisingly high grades considering the chaotic ride those three years had been, and moved to Austria where I still live today. There I kept studying dance but focused on choreography. It seemed like that year would finally allow me to digest (interesting choice of word, aaah the unconscious!) my experience in London and I think I was ready for a change: it was time to grow up.
那年也是在我的故事与食物的一个重要转折点：我遇到尼格里塔，我的第一个素食主义者的朋友！我在学校成绩很好，但后来我得到了再次受伤。就好像我的身体告诉我，我还没有应用。于是，我再次试着听。我不练了好几个星期，而且花费的时间只专注于舞蹈，而不是我自己的运行实践。给我的这身破远离日常舞蹈班可能是我有生以来收到的最珍贵的礼物之一;它让我休息，它让我呼吸。与此同时，尼格里塔和我成了非常亲密的，花了相当多的时间在一起。我不得不承认，我讲她的饮食时是完全持怀疑态度。威廉app但她敢我尝试了一个星期“刚看到”。 I honestly was sure that I would crave a steak by the end of those dreadful 7 days, but I promised I’d do it. I was still not dancing anyways so I didn’t need protein right?
Often people ask me if I was vegetarian for a long time before going vegan and it makes me smile as I can’t believe myself that I changed from one day to the next (well I made a few exceptions in the first few weeks but within a month I was completely vegan). But what I do know is that this process was much longer: I struggled for years to find a healthy relationship with food, the search was so long and tedious and exhausting, sometimes it seemed so hopeless. I’m not saying that being vegan is the ultimate miracle, I think that I was ready to finally embrace a lifestyle that was good to my body but also good from an ethical point of view. It gave my everyday choices an even more important purpose and thus I felt (and feel) at peace with what I eat. Sure I still have bad days every now and then, but it is nothing like what every day felt like a few years ago. If you had told me at the time that I could ever feel this good, I would not have believed it. But now that I am writing this I actually realize I have recovered. It’s a long road and I don’t think one can find a perfect solution right away. Baby steps. But with a lot of patience and kindness to yourself, when what works for you will come by, you will be ready to recognize it. And then you’ll become good at recognizing those positive things around in general: a healthy meal, a good friend, a loving partner, a job that makes you thrive. It doesn’t just get better from there. It also gets great.
At the start of her post, Claire said “I hope with all my heart that it can somehow resonate with some of you, and give some hope, encouragement and maybe even a little faith to some readers.” I’m positive that the post will do just that for so many people who read my blog. It was difficult for me to read about Claire’s realization that her body was deteriorating; it reminded me of my final relapse, when for the first time I looked in the mirror and saw how frail I’d actually become, and I felt such a sense of pity and sadness for what I’d put my body through. I also felt a sense of elation as Claire described her journey into plant-based diet. I so relate to the experience she had of recognizing that food can be a source of beautiful nourishment. I’m happy that a plant-based diet has anchored her recovery and allowed her to move forward.
我很想听听发言给大家。Thank you, Claire, for sharing with us. If you’d like to learn more about Claire’s work and life, you can check out她的网站。
I’ll be back on Sunday for Weekend Reading. Happy Friday!