Even before she named it out loud, I suspected its presence.
Even before she said the words, I heard them spoken in everything she did.
She was disappearing before my eyes. Vanishing. Carving out the soft curves of her body. The edges of her bones becoming visible beneath her skin.
I felt powerless. Helpless. Confused.
To confront or not to confront? To ask or to let go? Be patient or inquisitive?
We talked around it. I shared articles I thought would interest her about self-esteem. Self-worth. I talked about my own healing journey from abuse. Wrote my blog and purposefully wrote about body image, self-concept. I know she read what I wrote. I know she heard the words. Saw the love shimmering.
But what I couldn’t know was how no matter what I said, what I did, how much I loved her, how much I cherished every cell of her being, she could not hear nor feel nor acknowledge nor see the beauty I saw. She could not hear the words, take in the truth, feel the Love. All she could feel was the pain of being lost in the maws of a monster insisting she was unworthy. A monster who consumed every thought she had, every morsel of food she took into her body, everything she did.
ED held the reins of her existence. ED decided her destiny and she was lost in his vicious insistence that the only way to become worth, to be free, to live was to be less, get smaller, become invisible.
It is Eating Disorder Awareness Week in Canada.
Alexis, my eldest daughter is one of EDs victims.
She works everyday to be a survivor. And one day, she will be its victor.
For now, it is a daily journey of one breath at a time. One conscious choice of LIFE over ED. Of choosing worthiness over worthlessness. Of picking up a fork and eating that last piece of pie, of taking that forbidden bite of fruit without throwing her hard won progress away in the name of EDs insistence he is the master of her body. The keeper of her life. The holder of her destiny.
As a mother of a daughter with an eating disorder I too must stay conscious. I too must choose LIFE over ED. I too must choose to be Loving. Informed. and Fiercely Embracing of my daughter exactly as she is.
I cannot shy away from this monster who would consume her. I cannot turn my back on EDs power to speak lies.
I must stay committed to the truth.
She is not ED. And ED is not her.
ED is a mental health disorder that has taken up residence in her mind and body.
ED can be conquered. ED can be outed.
As long as we speak up. As long as we stay conscious. As long as we stand in the light.
ED has no power in the light. Though ED would like me to keep dragging the past forward, scouring my memory banks searching for that one clue, that one moment in time that would say, ‘here’s where it started’ so that I can retrace our steps and unravel the source of EDs presence.
That’s when ED wins. When I step out of the light of this moment to live in the darkness of my fear.
I will not do it. I will not let ED have his way to believing he owns my daughter.
I choose LIFE over ED. My daughter deserves it. I will not waver in my resolve to love her, exactly the way she is. To speak truth. To speak up. To speak out.
ED cannot survive when we let go of silence. ED does not like anyone to have a voice.
I cannot oust ED from my daughter’s mind and body.
I can speak up and in my voice, and all the voices of its victims, survivors and victors, joining together we can shine a light on the darkness so that everyone can one day see their way to freedom.
It is Eating Disorder Awareness week in Canada. Let’s all play a role in lighting up the darkness. Let’s choose LIFE over ED and any other disorder that would have anyone believe they are not worthy.
We are all worthy. Of life. Of love. Of joy. Of freedom. We are all worthy.