If you know me, then you know that I am pretty obsessed with pictures. To say I love them would be an understatement. I love both looking at and taking photos and my room at various times has had huge amounts of photos plastered all around them. These days my walls are not plastered with photos but don’t by any means think that I still don’t love them. Part of my fascination with pictures is that you are capturing a specific moment in time, one that can be remembered for many years through a photo. Another of my favorite things about photos is seeing people smiling. I love seeing others genuinely happy in photos and seeing them smile. However, I also know that behind these photos and smiles there can be a lot of pain and suffering. Unfortunately, pictures do not always portray the most accurate representation and I know that all too well…
Today as I was sitting listening to my pastor, he said something that deeply struck me. He said, “We live life exposing ourselves through a series of snapshots…carefully edited snapshots that we let others see.” And as he said that I not only completely identified with the statement but I also thought back to my pictures or snapshots and how I used to live my life in a manner that only showed a nicely edited photo. And it was only this nicely edited photo that I let others take a quick glimpse at because I was too afraid they might see the real raw negative version of me if I let them see me for too long.
I have talked a lot about my perfectionism and my relationship with Ed both of which are intertwined. Both of these fed off the desire to appear to others as a nicely portrayed unrealistic snapshot of myself. For years, I only allowed others to see the perfect snapshot and so it is no wonder that most had no idea the internal suffering and pain I endured daily. Even those who were closest to me didn’t know for a very long time how truly bad off I was.
You see, to go along with the perfect image I showed everyone, I had carried around a set of rules in my head that I lived by. Never tell people that you aren’t doing okay, in fact tell them how great you are. Always look your best, never ever leave the house looking like a mess. Never show extreme emotion in public or in front of anyone unless it is a big smile. In fact, you should always wear a big smile. Try not to ever say anything about problems in your life, always minimize them. Don’t cry in front of anyone…and the list went on and on. Sound absolutely ridiculous and crazy?? It truly was and even more it was suffocating. I didn’t want anyone to know the real me because I wasn’t nearly as glamorous as I seemed in fact I was really, really messy.
As I began my recovery I learned that those rules were going to have go straight in the trash and the only snapshots that people were going to see were snapshots of the real me. Some of that wasn’t too bad. In fact, I didn’t mind going out in sweats, no make up, and a little disheveled if I was having a bad day but other parts of showing the real me weren’t so easy. I had to learn how to re-feel and express emotion outwardly and to people who cared about me. I had to be real. I had to ask for help. And I had to lean on others and it wasn’t until I did this that I began to heal.
It is so easy to skate through life letting others see the glamorized, photo-shopped versions of ourselves. It may be easier but it is not worth it. For me it meant accepting that people loved me as I was, the real me and that my Savior would never love me any less no matter how messy I was. And here’s the deal, the same is true for you too. No matter how messy how awful, how desperate, you think you are right now there are so many people who love you for who you are and will love that person so much more than the glamorized snapshot you show them. And I can guarantee that there is one girl who loves you for the crazy, messy, real, version of you that you are when no one is looking.
Last week, I got to do an interview for my boss Lori Hanson at Learn2Balance. She is an amazing woman who in so many ways is a true Ed survivor and warrior! She has started an incredible online on community for those with Eds, who are seeking hope and a community that understands. Not only, should you check out her website at http://www.learn2balance.com but also you should also check out her Finding Hope website. “This interview was recorded to be shared by members of the Finding Hope Online Community to provide inspiration to individuals with eating disorders. If you know anyone who is struggling with an eating disorder, or concerned parents who are desperate for help, please share the information about this community with them. http://www.FindingHopeEDSupport.com.” So after you listen to the interview and hear how messy this girl was go to the website http://www.FindingHopeEDSupport.com because this is one amazing way that you can begin to show people real snapshots of you and find support from others who understand and care. So hear is the interview that I want to share with you so that you know you are not alone and that I too am just as messy as you but also that there is hope and let me tell you there is a beautiful picture waiting to be shown under all that messiness. Here is my interview I promised: http://www.byoaudio.com/play/WK8TQlVx and ALWAYS REMEMBER…
YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!