Today, like every Friday, we have a special guest to tell her story. Today’s story is from Ashley, mom to a 2 1/5-year-old boy and wife to an incredibly loving and supportive husband. When she’s not taking care of her kidlet and hubby, she’s chasing after four chickens and enjoying a (very large) glass of wine. She blogs at It’s Fitting, where she talks about her adventures as an urbanite who found her very own Green Acres.
For the better part of the past 10 years, I have woken up and fought the same battle. A battle for control of my body, a battle to stop hurting myself and to love the skin I live in. Sometimes I win, many times I have lost, but still I fight to maintain control.
For the past 10 years I have fought to control an eating disorder.
It started so long ago that it’s almost hard to remember the origin. Just out of college, new town, new job, surrounded by the glamour of a star-studded, beautiful industry, it was hard not to compare myself. And while my athletic body had always served me well, I didn’t feel like I fit in, or that I looked the part I was supposed to be playing. I wasn’t in control anymore… and like most others with the disease, I grasped at anything that was within my reach.
As the years flew by, the intensity increased. What was an infrequent occurrence started happening more and more. Special occasions filled me with dread, as I counted calories, counting every morsel that went in… until eventually I stopped caring because I knew I could take care of it, make it go away.
Hundreds of dollars spent on food, only to have it go to waste. The hiding, afraid that anyone would know. Emotionally I was a wreck, unhappy where I was and what I was doing to my body. I was distressed with my family life, my professional life, every aspect of my life that I couldn’t control. I drank too much, partied too hard… spiraled down…
So I took myself out of the situation and ran home for myriad reasons, most of which I didn’t tell anyone. And, sadly, that wasn’t the answer. Running away didn’t fix the problem, it just relocated it to the hypercritical eyes of my family.
It got worse. I saw therapists and doctors and never quite made the connection I was looking for.
And then I met my husband.
As cliche as it sounds, he was my life preserver, dragging me out of the murky gloom and keeping me afloat. As we got closer, I told him the truth and for once there was no judgement, only acceptance and support. He told me that he loved me, that I was beautiful and perfect to him.
I tried to believe him, but that other part pushed back. That part that counted every pound gained as a failure, a sign that I wasn’t working hard enough, being good enough. That I wasn’t worthy of him, or of anything.
But I fought. Somewhere I knew that it wasn’t true. That I was worth it, and worth him and worth love.
I fought that nasty bitch in my head every single day until the day I got pregnant….
And then I realized that it wasn’t just me anymore. That there was something bigger than me and someone who needed me to be stronger.
That baby is 2 1/2 years old now and I would be lying if I said I was 100% better.
Disordered eating is an addiction, something that lies in wait for moments of weakness, a monster under the bed.
But I am strong.
Strong enough to know that having a child means I have a responsibility to my family. I have a responsibility to my body to cherish what it has done and what it will hopefully do again. I have a responsibility to myself, to recognize that I am worth every ounce of life that I have and every ounce of love that I receive.
I am a strong woman, mother and wife… and I am worth the fight.