It’s been awhile since I’ve last written, as honestly, I’ve been relentlessly running away from God, rather than towards Him, because my flesh is weary of being “controlled”; however, God is showing me that what I view negatively as “control” is the opposite. Anorexia has instead stolen everything and is controlling every aspect of my life rather than providing the freedom it so appealingly promises. I’ve been so tired of entering treatment center after treatment center, where all rights and nearly all control is taken away. I’m tired of being told what to do, and so as much as others try to dictate or even suggest actions, I rebel and run the other way, doing the opposite out of my own fleshly stubbornness. I’ve been completely abusing my body yet putting on a “mask” or “front” that everything was ok, when in reality I was quickly dying inside. Recently, however, God has completely changed my heart and I want to tell you about it, as well as what He has been doing in my life!
Since returning from inpatient after four long, traumatizing months, I’ve begun teaching preschool Sunday School, which was intimidating at first but quickly evolved into my passion, helping to give me a purpose greater than myself. I absolutely adore preparing the lessons and coming up with ideas to make it my own, whether by adding art projects or fun interactive learning activities, as each child has a different way of learning. One thing that saddened me, however, was discovering how most parents simply throw away the child’s unique creations and papers, which I understand since these things tend to accumulate and take up space; I guess, though, on the other hand, it saddens me to think of how pride has, at times, taken over—with the majority wanting to appear “put together”, neat and organized rather than allowing for some “messiness” and creativity to be displayed and thrive. I personally believe these art projects, coloring pages, and all other unique creations give each child profound confidence when pride or approval in their “masterpiece” is shown; so, I made a goal to display these creations in the classroom, which makes for cheap decorations as well as unique and colorful beauty and appeal. I created an art wall, with the quote “Every child is an artist” hanging above the children’s strung artwork. I also purchased some vinyl rainbow colored polka dots to add around the room to spread the cheer and add some personality. One week we made spring flowers with cupcake liners and sequins, and the kids had a blast making them their own, as well as getting to use glue “all by themselves”. It was beyond neat to see how each flower was different and unique, yet equally beautiful. We also painted the Earth with waterproof paint and q-tips, which was a fun, sensory project that the kids enjoyed. I love how the lessons include unique, creative ideas to really solidify the learning points and I enjoy utilizing them, but also enjoy adding my own “twist”—I guess this is where my creativity comes into play!
On Wednesday, I finally “caved” and decided to allow myself to embrace a little self-care and change by getting a haircut. While away in treatment, a young, new hairdresser had offered to cut my hair for free, so I of course couldn’t turn her down. I chose to be spontaneous and “mix things up” from my usual bob style and went with a cute, trendy asymmetrical pixie cut. At first, it was new and exciting but quickly became difficult to style and manage, especially as we only had limited “mirror time” at the treatment facility. Over the months, it grew so long and simply had no shape, so I decided it was time to call up my trustworthy hairstylist to “do her magic”. I just love going into the salon and feeling pampered as someone else shampoos, cuts and styles my hair. I brought in a picture as an idea of what I wanted, but my hair ended up being too short on the one side, so she instead came up with a brilliant compromise, creating her own masterpiece. I am absolutely in love with her creation and it feels SO good to actually have some shape and texture to my hair—it’s amazing what a good haircut can do!
On Thursday, I had my first appointment with a Christian counselor who specializes in eating disorders, whom I’d been waiting to see for over a month. We instantly connected, which was relieving after the difficulty I’ve had finding a “quality” therapist I connect with that’s also covered by insurance—yet another answer to prayer! We began by getting to know each other and determining what I want out of therapy; it was exciting to discover that she has a different and unique way of therapy, different from the normal “talk therapy”, but instead includes artistic approaches such as painting and simply playing games. It was nice to know I wouldn’t have to come prepared every week to do extensive, deep talking but rather could allow healing to flow through different, artistic approaches that don’t have to be “perfect”, which is a challenge for me. I look forward to the weeks ahead and all the healing to come!
I then had an interview at a preschool as an assistant teacher, which at first was the exact opposite of what I thought I wanted to do but ended up appealing to the creative side of me that also wants to make a difference in the life of a child—our future! The manager was exceedingly friendly and ended up having a daughter who was also in nursing school at Kent, so we had something in common! She informed me of the job duties and expectations, as well as the reality that childcare unfortunately is an unappreciated and underpaid field to go into. However, it is also exceedingly rewarding, as well as exhausting, to forever impact the life of a child. I am excited yet nervous to hear back from her regarding employment but trying to simply sit back and trust God, allowing Him to make things happen if it is His will.
I also registered for Fall college courses, which begin in August. I decided to try a different approach, since insanity is “doing the same thing yet expecting different results”, and registered for 100% online courses, which allows me to focus more on my health rather than the high physical demands of clinicals. I’m excited, yet nervous, about being able to set my own schedule and work at my own pace, but also know that online classes require an exceedingly large amount of determination and dedication, as there is no classroom experience to really solidify the teachings and ensure understanding. I’ve also learned that procrastination cannot occur with online courses and you must also utilize and expand organizational skills in order to stay on top of all of the deadlines, which often run together. I’m taking two intensive writing courses, which will be demanding due to all the papers required, but also registered for an exciting, new course that helps you to develop a personal profile or identity on the web. I’m excited to see what this next semester has in store for me!
After seeing how all these positive experiences are occurring in my life and really feeling God’s presence with and purpose for me, even though I so often run away and fail on my own, I’ve decided it is time to take action and really pursue recovery, both physical, emotional and spiritual. A huge part of anorexia recovery is physical, so I need to be proactive and stop abusing my body and expecting things to just “happen”; God requires me to take action and won’t simply do everything for me, although I sometimes wish He would! In the past, I’ve tried a healthy, Biblically based way of eating called Trim Healthy Mama, but ended up becoming overwhelmed and obsessed with losing weight, developing my own “rules” which only increased food restriction and completely stole my joy. I really like the unique approach to eating and how it is a lifestyle choice rather than fad diet and doesn’t eliminate food groups but rather focuses on including whole foods and nourishing your body from the inside out, but it is a lot to learn! God is helping me to take a compassionate approach, embracing mistakes as learning experiences rather than failures. I sat down and read the book, then developed my own weekly meal plan with links and page references for recipes so I can have quick access to meals, snacks, drinks, etc. and eliminate the opportunities to go hungry, since there’s now no excuse to not know what to eat or at least give me an idea of what sounds good. It’s exciting to discover and try new recipes, experimenting with different flavors and textures and creating my own versions based on what appeals to my unique taste buds and desires. I’m also discovering that the more I step out of my comfort zone and incorporate rather than prohibit foods from all food groups, the fear becomes less intense and overwhelming and food becomes an opportunity to nourish and rebuild my body rather than abuse and destroy it. Here’s to all of the new and exciting adventures awaiting me!