nachos & beer

Last night, I went out for happy hour with a friend. We split fried cauliflower and chicken nachos with sour cream. I drank a few beers.

I went home and changed into my favorite pair of waffle-knit lounge leggings. Several years ago, I never would have worn something that fit so closely to my body, especially after eating. But last night, I didn't think about the food sitting in my stomach. I didn't sit on my floor and try to figure out how I would restrict my intake the next day to make up for what I ate. I didn't empty my stomach into the toilet and find relief in the burning in my throat.

I did look at myself in the mirror for a minute. Sometimes, I still get stuck in front of the mirror the way I used to. But what I see is different. I turned to the side and looked at my stomach, my legs, my hips. None of it was what you'd see in a magazine; I'm not perfectly toned or tiny or a "waif." But I look strong. Kickboxing and running have shaped my muscles and whittled my waist. Food has become to me what it is to most people: a source of energy, a celebration, a treat, a way to connect with the people around me.

I weigh probably 20 pounds more today than I did when I came home from treatment in March of 2009. 40 pounds more than I did when I entered treatment in December of 2008, when my jeans sagged around my hips and my skin was gray and my hair had begun to fall out in clumps, and my mom could hardly look at me without crying.

On December 15th, it will have been 9 years since I stepped foot into Mirasol. Sometimes it feels so far away. I feel like I'm made of different flesh; there is new blood in my veins. To quote a dear friend, I feel like I could pick up 17-year-old me and carry her through hell. The strength in me is something I could not have imagined then.

I am passionate, lively and full of all the piss and vinegar I had lost to my eating disorder, to my crippling battle with bipolar (which was admittedly still a huge battle up until less than a year ago when I finally got my shit in order.)

Ironically, the worst breakup I've ever endured was the thing that pushed me to really get it under control. I didn't even change my medication - I just needed to be honest with myself and grow up and take responsibility for my shit; something I really haven't done before, ever.

Today, the strength I feel from being able to finally stand on my own two feet - even when I feel like breaking down - is enough to carry me through almost anything. It's a foreign feeling but I'm slowly getting used to it... and I'm sure I'll have lots more to say as I continue to change. For now I'm just grateful to be able to enjoy nachos & beer.

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