A Brilliant Disguise
*This blog was written anonymously. This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences on the road to recovery.
“In the 27 years I’ve been alive, I have found only one truly dependable source of guidance, support, validation, and motivation.” – The Bruce Springsteen Discography.
Over “The River” and through the “Badlands,” Springsteen has always been a faithful companion on my journey to “The Promised Land.” As with all lengthy journeys, tribulations inevitably arise and when they do, if I listen closely, The Boss has left me a little hint on how to make it to the next leg of my expedition.
Recently, my thoughts have been wondering about weight. It consumed my thoughts for so long I forgot who I was. I avoided mirrors at all costs, refused to be in photos, and eventually stopped participating in things I enjoyed because I didn’t see myself as a person, I saw myself as a weight and nothing more.
Just when I thought there was no way out, I heard Bruce’s gravelly voice ask, “Is that you… or just a brilliant disguise?” A-ha! This was another hint from my trusty guide!
The truth is, eating disorders are not about the weight. They aren’t about the food or the exercise. Eating disordered behaviors truly are a brilliant disguise. The behaviors consume you and take over your thoughts. They demand your full attention so you don’t have to touch the true source of pain and dis-ease.
My wheels started to wearily turn again. While I still felt my identity was strongly intertwined with my weight, I was willing to consider that perhaps I was something more.
I began to make a list of what made up my “weight.” I began with things other people see in me (besides my body shape) that are observably true or blatantly clear.
Then, I began to think about what shaped those characteristics: the books I’ve read, the music I’ve heard, the experiences I’ve had. By the time I finished my list, I began to feel pieces of my character and vibrancy peeling off segments of its “brilliant disguise.”
To say that I immediately returned to the passionate, spirited person I’ve always been would be misleading. In fact, even as I write this, I’m still not quite that person. As I continue to expand upon my “I Weigh…” list and practice recognizing the traits I do have or want to have that make me human, the more I begin to feel like I’m so much more than just a number. When I started to think, I realized that…
I weigh quirky
I weigh compassion
I weigh understanding
And I weigh fear and bravery.
I weigh popsicle kisses,
hand holder, and tear wiper
I weigh curiosity, loyalty,
and the ability to love
I weigh fragments of Bruce Springsteen,
Simon and Garfunkel, Karen Carpenter,
Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones,
Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Tom Petty,
Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie,
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin,
Creedence Clearwater Revival,
Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan,
Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and
I weigh pieces of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’,
‘Trinity’, ‘The Lords of Discipline’,
‘Beloved’, ‘Nine Stories’, ‘Angela’s Ashes’,
‘The Awakening’, Sylvia Plath,
Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and
Edgar Allan Poe.
I weigh The Yoga Sutras, The Yamas and the Niyamas,
The Hanuman Chalisa, and the yoga asanas.
I weigh memories and loneliness
I weigh gratitude and longing
I weigh anxiety and exuberance
I weigh sarcasm and wit
I weigh moons and midnights,
thunder and rain.
I weigh more than my body could ever
reflect in experience, perception,
thoughts and wondering.