Even my friends I usually speak openly about this stuff with, I had to back off. And it was good. I didn’t chew/spit, didn’t overeat, didn’t over-exercise … just “was,” and it felt nice.
I thought long and hard about this, took into account what all of you shared (online or offline) and it means a ton to me to know how much support there is out there.
The thing is, I love to write, and so I am ready to be back, but perhaps on different terms. What I mean is, I might not write every day, five nights a week like I have been, but I am not going to stop Tales; life doesn’t stop and therefore my blog — a form of art imitating life — … shouldn’t stop, either.
Unless it’s what I want.
And this blog means too much for me to drop cold turkey. Plus, I think more often than not, talking about things here is beneficial, even for me, even when it seems I am not making progress, in some way, I do believe I am.
It seems like other bloggers tackling similar subjects question this, too — just how valuable is it, and when does it become harmful vs. helpful. It’s a blurry line, for sure.
When I began my blog, I had no idea what it would become. I’d kept a journal every day sine 7th grade — but the topics in there are all over the place, random streams of consciousness.
I hadn’t ever done something so targeted, so specific (not even in my professional life) until I began my blog, when the mission was simple: to write about overcoming disordered eating issues, and raise awareness of an often taboo subject.
I wanted to get people talking, about what happens when you’ve been heavy your whole life and you lose weight — often, your identity changes, you change. That’s when the disordered eating behaviors began for me: when I finally “got thin” and then became quite darn obsessive in my effort to “stay thin.”
Unhealthily, obsessively exercising. Not journaling in moderation but rather doing WW, journaling on Sparkpeople and then keeping an Excel spreadsheet. And then the chewing and spitting began years after living in my “new” body.
And now, as you’ve read on my blog, I have gained some weight and am uncomfortable in my own skin a lot of the time, because I know this isn’t a healthy or happy weight for me.
Sometimes I dwell on it, which makes others think maybe I am not progressing as I could/should be … but I am making positive steps to change my body image too — seeking out a trainer to help get me into better shape (when I lift I feel strong); journaling only on Sparkpeople so I can focus on the nutritional content of what I’m eating vs. just calories (when I eat clean, I feel my best). And then there’s therapy, which has helped, too.
It’s hard sometimes because I’m at a whole different place than I was when I lost weight for the first time, or when I was in the throes of my obsession. But I am willing to get back there, the healthiest way possible. Blogging hasn’t helped me lose weight, no … but that wasn’t the intent of my blog in the beginning anyway, and sometimes I forget that.
And it’s gotten so much bigger than I could have imagined. I mean, when I began blogging, I had no idea that I’d be writing guest blogs, be asked to review a book (which I still need to do), be considered to be part of a panel at the BlogHer conference (more on that later, if it pans out!).
I also had no idea that I’d get the kind of e-mails I do from my readers; people who might not have otherwise commented in the posts themselves, but still wanted to talk.
And so I know my blog has helped many people, and that makes me feel so, so good. There are so many readers I’ve “spoken with” offline who have sought therapy since, or who have started blogging on their own.
Of course, I don’t mean to toot my own horn or imply that I alone was the catalyst for these readers to get help. But I like to think that maybe my honesty and transparancy here contributed to their desire to take the next steps.
I like to think I have a voice, and the ability to make a difference through my blog. When I slip and fall, I love knowing I have support.
But sometimes I wonder if my falls and slip-ups might trigger others to engage in that kind of behavior, and in no means do I want to promote such behavior.
I guess so long as I can continue to strike a balance between real and getting better (tangibly — fewer and fewer incidents until there are none, which I do believe now is a possibility) and helping others along the way, then my mission will be one in progress.
And so on that note, to answer Hamlet’s soliloquy … for me, it’s “to blog.”. It’s up to me, it’s in my hands, and I am in the driver’s seat. I really hope to be making a difference in the blogosphere, and believe that, in time, I will.
Thank you, as always, for your support, and for challenging me to think outside the box.