"For the first summer in years, I am at a healthy weight and today, I was able to feel confident and attractive in a bathing suit for the first time in years, which is huge. I am not fully comfortable with posting this photo for my friends to see, but tonight I am saying "Screw you!" to my eating disorder and all the lies that tell me I am not attractive or good enough. This is me (and my favorite, most supportive brother) and this is my body. My body is perfect and beautiful and awesome because it is healthy and it keeps me alive.
Eating disorder: 0"
My anxiety was crazy high when I posted this because, well, I am not happy with how my body looks. It would be a lie to say that my body image has miraculously switched from feeling like shit about how I look to loving every inch of my skin. I do not.
Earlier that day, I had felt attractive and even sexy in my bathing suit. I felt so good about myself. And then I saw this picture and began to critique every flaw I saw. I took a picture from almost five years ago and sat for hours comparing my eating disordered body to this photo, almost crying because the difference is so unreal to me. But I took a chance and posted it to Facebook...
The support I received was unbelievable.
"You go, girl! You are gorgeous, inside and out, and a true inspiration!"
"I am crying reading this Sarah- I had such a horrible body image day and your beautiful words have really touched me! I am am SO SO SO proud of you!!"
"You are an inspiration to everyone including myself who struggles with image. I love you, my pretty friend!"
"You are a doll, Sarah. And you do look beautiful. Really proud of you to step out, for we all need to think more like you do. Hugs."
"So very proud of you missy!! You ARE beautiful in every single way! You are on the right path. Xoxo"
"I loved reading this post Sarah! It's a great picture! THANK YOU for posting it! I'm sure that posting this will help you and it will help others struggling with the same issue. You are a Beautiful, Brave, AND Intelligent woman."
"Confidence = beauty! You are both! Stay strong Sarah, you are amazing!"
"You are such an inspiration in so many levels! Proud of you for coming this far, and knowing you will go further! you look wonderful!"
"Your message is beautiful. You are beautiful. And most importantly, you're confident! Love everything about you, my dear! You inspire me every day."
"Hell yeah! You are beautiful, Sarah. The voice of that eating disorder is a lie. It does not exist. You are Sarah and you are a soldier. Very inspiring!"
These are just a few of the comments I received from friends and family. No matter how many times I read it, I still can't believe it. I have amazing and supportive friends and family, who bless me every day with their love for me and encourage me on my journey. I still am completely blown away by this.
But I wasn't feeling better... Until one comment hit a nerve.
"You deserve all of this and all of the confidence and positivity you are receiving. I love you girl."
In my mind, I don't deserve any of this love and support because I am not enough for it. I am not deserving of it. I disappoint people, I screw things up daily, I don't perform as well as I should. I'm finding it really is true that "We accept the love we think we deserve." I struggle to accept it because I am not yet sure I deserve it.
This is okay. I am allowed to struggle with this.
I read in a book once that "The truth doesn't have to be known, or believed, to be true," and that line has stuck with me because of the inherent rightness that exists in it. I don't have to believe I deserve any of this love, positivity, and confidence for it to be true that I do deserve it. I don't have to believe the words of my friends and family for them to be true.
But I know the truth.
The truth is that my body is healthy.
The truth is that my family and friends are proud of me.
The truth is that they think I am beautiful and an inspiration.
The truth is that my weight and shape in no way affect whether I am beautiful or not.
The truth is that my weight and shape in no way determine who I am as a person.
The truth is that I have worked hard to get myself back to a healthy weight.
The truth is that I deserve all of the love and encouragement and positivity given to me by my loved ones.
The truth is that I deserve to be confident about my body because it is freaking beautiful how it is now--healthy.
Maybe one day I will believe all of this as truth. But for now, I am glad I have supportive and loving family and friends to speak truth into my life.