No More Strip Search

At Remuda, weigh-in day involved a strip search. Every fold of clothing, baggy sweatshirt or rubber soled shoe held potential. Girls at The Ranch were receiving treatment for eating disorders. And a girl with an eating disorder is nothing if not sneaky. I learned the tricks of the trade from more experienced friends.

Wear a water bra.
Drink tons of water within an hour of weigh-in.
Some had managed to hide books in the pockets of their hoodies.
Stuff your pockets.
Put sand in your shoes.

But the staff caught on, and hence forth, weigh-in day began with a strip search. Susan, the kindest nurse I remember, always turned her back while I undressed. When I was ready, she stepped close and slid the indicator down the bar. Did I mentioned that everyone weighed backwards? Some of us tried to count the clicks as the indicator slid.

Susan was sharp. She noticed the clench of a thigh, and if I tried to sneak a toe off the front edge of the platform. “Stand still.” After the traumatic, twice-weekly event, a small clump of nervous girls trudged back to our rooms to get dressed and then head to breakfast.

Before I got sick, I only vaguely knew my weight. Who cared? Occasionally, after swim team practice, I stepped on the scale and just as quickly forget the number.

When I left Remuda and progressed through aftercare, I terminated my relationship with the scale. I don’t own one. I refuse to look at them, staring straight ahead when I pass one in the gym locker room. Until yesterday, I couldn’t tell you within five pounds what I weighed. I only knew that my clothes still fit (and I think I look sexy). I can honestly tell you that I like my thighs, my stomach, my arms. I am proud of my strength. I can even knockout more than the minimum number of pull-ups for a female marine!

So what’s the big deal?

Yesterday, the nurse at the doctor’s office weighed me. There was no fanfare, no strip search, no one aware of my discomfort with the scale. Quite casually, she pointed in the direction of that frightful piece of equipment and turned her back to make notes. Hesitantly, I lined my toes up on the outline of a foot. I tried to stare straight ahead, but my eyes fell on the digital number when it beeped. Oh.

I weigh as much as I did before the eating disorder.

The shadow of belief that I am still skinny disappeared in the light of the glowing scale display. Normal. Is that OK? Am I ready to be normal? The naked truth is that I hadn’t realized that a sliver of my identity was still lodged in a belief that it’s better to be too thin that too fat, and that I was on the ‘good’ side.

Truthfully, I think I am ready. I didn’t do a crazy, compensatory workout this morning. I still enjoyed a beer with my husband last night. I have to admit, the new knowledge has continued to linger in my consciousness.

But, yes, I can handle the truth. I personally know the Creator of this good body and I trust Him to direct me in how to care for it and to show me what size He wants it to be.

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Mirror, Mirror… Am I Ugly?

I admit, it’s sickening and addicting at the same time. “Am I Ugly?”

There’s a new trend in self-loathing: Ask the world, via the internet if you are ugly or fat. 

When I began my battle with anorexia, the conversation resembled Snow White, “Mirror, mirror on the wall…” Believe me, the mirror alone was convincing enough. My own reflection defeated me. It was painful enough to compare myself to my own sisters whom I believed were prettier, smarter, more likable. Imagining the stares of strangers on the street critiquing my body – too thin, too fat, plain, boring, stupid – lies I concocted in my own head replayed like broken records in my mind. It didn’t take a world-wide community to persuade me that I was unlovable and evoke behaviors that nearly killed me.

I did covert jumping jacks in the bathroom after midnight. I counted, tallied, re-counted, calculated, re-counted, looked up and recounted every calorie consumed or burned. The image of my own face seemed burned into my retina every moment I was in public. I imagined what others saw when they looked at me. My emotions swung from suicidal over my failures as a person, to jubilant and haughty that I was thinner or more self-disciplined than those around me.

Enter YouTube. What if you gave nearly everyone on planet earth the opportunity to confirm your private fears? What if 1,200 people thought it was their business to shape your self image. Apparently, a new community has evolved, one where youth, especially those 11-13, invite the world to either affirm them or destroy them.

I don’t know what to make of this. It is disturbing no matter how you look at it. Kids come home at night to hide in their bedrooms with their cellphone cameras, critically slicing and dicing themselves and then splicing the images into videos for world-wide publication. How narcissistic. Why do we believe that everyone cares what we look like?

Or, from the other angle, why do these kids believe they need everyone’s approval? And who are the self-appointed evaluators who believe their looks are superior enough to warrant criticism of another person?

As  much as I would like to sweeten this story by promising all little girls that they are indeed beautiful, I can’t. Obviously all our talk about “beauty being on the inside,” doesn’t really have much impact.

Maybe we need to be reminded that the Bible didn’t tell us anything about Jesus appearance. The only verse that borders on description says, “He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” Isaiah 53:2

To this day, I’m not convinced that I am beautiful. There was no turning point in my recovery from anorexia when I suddenly saw my internal beauty, or began to admire my eyes, appreciate my hair or be content with my figure. But I can suddenly, almost surprisingly tell you that I FEEL beautiful. Even in the morning, when I am praying and tears streak down my unwashed face and bed-head tresses drape around my ears – I feel beautiful. Somehow, someway – heavier than I have been in 15 years, I FEEL BEAUTIFUL. Oh to share that. Oh that Jesus would present himself to these little ones and express His beauty from their hearts, through their eyes and expressions and ultimately through their words and key strokes. That God would be glorified by the beauty He created in each of them.

Mentored

Let me share with you some wonderful wisdom from two of my mentors. This is unadulterated, straight from their emails. The thoughts are a little scattered, but they are sincere and meaningful nonetheless.

Often we picture mentors as older and wiser. Don’t forget the people you are walking with. Usually our struggles come in surges and we are rarely caught under the same wave simultaneously, so we are able to lift each other to crest of the wave behind us. The Bible warns us against looking only to our peers and forsaking the counsel of those who are older and wiser, but we can learn and should treasure the companionship and empathy of our friends.

I love you Faithful Four!

 

 

Totally goes along with what I did in my bible study today. In the book of Matthew when Peter gets out of the boat and ten begins to doubt, Jesus rebuked him, but put HIS hand out and grabbed Peter! Matthew 14:31 “Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?'” The latter part of this verse is often quoted but the first part is even more powerful. “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand” What you shared Chrissy was a very nice supplement to our lesson today and I passed it along! 🙂 Praise the Lord that even though we doubt, He first grabs us, then rebukes us!!!!
I thought you would like this verse: In the book of Jeremiah, God called him to serve as His prophet. He spoke these five words which I know work in my temp situation as a single mom and I think can help you. I have them taped to my fridge. “Now, get ready. Stand up” Jeremiah 1:17. In other words…we are where we should be and it’s make it or break it time. I choose to bring it and I know you do as well!
Love to you all! Deployment sucks big time, but amazingly enough, despite flooded garages, canceled insurance, electric company mess-ups, Preston’s wanting his daddy, neither one of my kiddos sleeping, and full-time school…I can honestly say that I am happy!!!
Deuteronomy 33:27  Underneath are the everlasting arms.God–the eternal God–is himself our support at all times, and especially when we are sinking in deep trouble. There are seasons when the Christian sinks very low in humiliation. Under a deep sense of his great sinfulness, he is humbled before God till he scarcely knows how to pray, because he appears, in his own sight, so worthless. Well, child of God, remember that when thou art at thy worst and lowest, yet “underneath” thee “are everlasting arms.” Sin may drag thee ever so low, but Christ’s great atonement is still under all. You may have descended into the deeps, but you cannot have fallen so low as “the uttermost;” and to the uttermost he saves. Again, the Christian sometimes sinks very deeply in sore trial from without. Every earthly prop is cut away. What then? Still underneath him are “the everlasting arms.” He cannot fall so deep in distress and affliction but what the covenant grace of an ever-faithful God will still encircle him. The Christian may be sinking under trouble from within through fierce conflict, but even then he cannot be brought so low as to be beyond the reach of the “everlasting arms”–they are underneath him; and, while thus sustained, all Satan’s efforts to harm him avail nothing.

This assurance of support is a comfort to any weary but earnest worker in the service of God. It implies a promise of strength for each day, grace for each need, and power for each duty. And, further, when death comes, the promise shall still hold good. When we stand in the midst of Jordan, we shall be able to say with David, “I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” We shall descend into the grave, but we shall go no lower, for the eternal arms prevent our further fall. All through life, and at its close, we shall be upheld by the “everlasting arms”–arms that neither flag nor lose their strength, for “the everlasting God fainteth not, neither is weary.”