I struggled with whether or not this was something I should include on my blog. Then I remembered that there’s nothing to be ashamed of about getting better…I wrote a goodbye letter to ED:
We’ve been in this for the long haul–to be honest, I can’t remember where or how we met. I do know we’ve been through a lot together and you’ve changed right along with things, staying right there wherever I’ve been. In the past, I’ve kept you close, always giving you the final say in the really important decisions I’ve made: where to go to school, what to take, to name a few.
I need to start by thanking you for the good things you’ve done. You were always there for me when I’ve been lonely. You’ve been an awesome distraction when I get worried about school, whether or not people like me, the weather–everything! You’ve given me the perfect things to focus on when I start to get anxious about my future and all the unknowns.
They say time changes everything, ED, but I think you have to change it for yourself. I think it’s time our relationship changed, and I know you’re fighting with all you’ve got right now to stay with me. Deciding to leave you has not been easy.
If leaving you means I have to get lonely now and then, so be it. If it means I have to feel scared about where my life is heading after I graduate in the spring, let me feel scared. If it means I feel rejected because some guy doesn’t call me back, stupid if I fail a midterm, abandoned because my family is far away, lame because I have to go to the movies alone every once in a while–that’s fine. I’d rather be lonely, scared, rejected, stupid, abandoned, and lame all at once than be with you.
For so long, I was convinced being with you was better than feeling any of those things. What I never realized was that, while you gave me relief and gave me a feeling of control and numbness to these emotions, you also took away every other emotion I might have otherwise felt. Happiness? Not here. With you, I was never allowed to feel excited about anything, proud when I’ve had something published, smart when I aced an exam, or special when someone’s told me they love me. In the end, I’ve felt worse than anyone should and it’s all because of you.
Right now, you’re telling my I still don’t deserve anything good. That I’m lost without you and that I am going to be fat, miserable, and alone if I give you up. I’m telling you to shut up. Every day is a chance to do a little better, to start living again. You might have stolen my dreams for a decade, but I can find them again. I might have built walls, but they can come down. I may have pushed people away, but I can bring them back.
Starting now, I’m ready to move on. There are truths that I know: I won’t always feel so tired, I’m not meant to be alone, I deserve to be happy, I’m not meant to be fat, I’m not too late to be someone amazing. I’m choosing to get excited for my trip with Bonnie. I’m choosing to run when it feels good and rest when it doesn’t, to answer the phone when a friend calls, to eat a piece of chocolate and call it a night, to sleep in instead of forcing myself to work out in the morning, to tell people the truth about where I am, and to feel anxious and nervous and excited all at once for the possibilities in my life (I could be an editor by this time next week, I could be in journalism school by this time next year, I could be anything I want to be in a decade).
With all that you’ve taken from me, I could stay angry and hold a grudge. I’m not giving you that much credit, ED. The truth is, I’m grateful for all that you’ve done to me. You’ve taught me that I am stronger than you, that I deserve all the happiness in the world, and that I can overcome anything. You’ve allowed me to start from scratch. The best part of recovery is that I get to decide exactly who I want to be and then make it happen. I am in charge of my life now, not you, and that’s a beautiful thing.
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I believe them.
Peace out, ED!
And now for a little dose of (necessary) cheesy inspiration:
- “Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.”
- “If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again.”
- “We acquire the strength we have overcome.”
- “Rock bottom is good solid ground, and a dead end street is just a place to turn around.”
- “Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.”
- “There are times in everyone’s life when something constructive is born out of adversity… when things seem so bad that you’ve got to grab your fate by the shoulders and shake it.”
- “Never mind searching for who you are. Search for the person you aspire to be.”