I’m not sorry.

I’m not sorry.

I’m tired of being sorry.

I’m tired of apologizing for being in the way, for taking up space, for existing.

Why am I apologizing to people simply because I exist?

Don’t those people exist too? Why aren’t they apologizing to me?

Because it would be dumb if they apologized to me for merely living their lives.

So why the heck am I doing that?

I’m a college freshman living in a dorm building. I love it. I love the independence, I love being around friends 24/7, I just love the atmosphere of a dorm building. But I’ve found myself apologizing all.of.the.time.

I round the corner just as someone is coming from the opposite direction. I say I’m sorry.

I open the door to walk in the building just as someone opens it to walk out. I say I’m sorry.

I step out of the bathroom stall just as someone walks past. Again, I say I’m sorry.

And each time I say sorry, it isn’t an “oh, I’m sorry!” Really quick and bubbly. No. I say it barely above a whisper, as if I have done something so horribly wrong that I need to feel guilt for.

But now I’m asking myself,

I am simply walking, so why am I apologizing?

Why don’t I just say hi and move on with my life?

Why do I have to feel as if I’m in everyone’s way?

I’m tired of believing the lies that I’m not as worthy as everyone else. Those are the lies that created my eating disorder and self harm and every other little thing. I’m not giving into them anymore. I’m not going down that path again.

So I’m done with apologizing for living.

I’m not sorry anymore.

I’m not sorry for walking down the hall.

I’m not sorry for opening the door.

I’m not sorry for stepping out of the bathroom stall.

I’m not sorry for existing anymore.

I deserve to be here.

So I’m not sorry.

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Weight Gain.

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FAVORITE THING EVER, RIGHT?!?!?!

Lol. You don’t even have to be an eating disorder sufferer to hate weight gain. Our society has created such a negative stigma around it, acting as if it something only to be lost as quickly as possible. Why on earth are we celebrating weight loss, no matter someone’s size, but never weight gain? Why is one change in the body celebrated, but the other detested? WHY ARE WE EVEN LABELING CHANGES IN OUR BODIES AS GOOD OR BAD?!

But I digress.

When I went to Carolina House, I knew that weight gain was going to be apart of the process. But I highly underestimated how much of the process it would be.

It was a long two months as I painfully endured each meal plan increase, each dessert snack, and each [blind] weigh in. I was terrified of gaining weight. Everything in my head screamed no. I thought that weight gain meant zero self-control. I believed that I deserved my own version of My 600 Pound Life. 

But eventually, I got over it. Or so I thought.

When I left Carolina House, I didn’t know my weight. I knew I had gained weight, but I had no idea how much. I was fine with not knowing my weight. I had just gone two months without seeing the number and I was loving recovery, so why did my gravitational pull to the earth matter?

Fast forward to the first day of college classes.

I was sick. It was horrible. I felt like I was dying and all I wanted to do was run home to my parents and lay on the couch forever and ever, but I was at college and had to go to classes and be a grownup. Being the very adult person that I am, I went to the nurse on campus. She took me to the back, and like any normal doctors office, she had to weigh me.

*panic sets in*

Me: Can I weigh backwards so that I don’t see the number?

Nurse: Sure, of course!

Nurse after weighing me: Great, you weigh ___!

In that moment it literally felt like I had just been punched in the stomach by a sumo wrestler. My ears started ringing because I did not expect to hear that. Everything after that was kind of a blur. All I could think about was the number that the nurse told me.

After my appointment, I began to become obsessed with my weight. I followed my meal plan and ate all my exchanges, but I begged my dietitian to give me a decrease. I was obsessed with not gaining any more weight. I didn’t care about losing weight, I just didn’t want to gain any more. I wanted to maintain.

It took me a while to realize how disordered that thought process was. I thought I was being reasonable. I thought I was being “healthy” (let’s just laugh at this for a second, ok). I was telling everyone around me that I was perfectly okay with my weight, I just wanted to be sure that I didn’t gain more.

But my mind was being so controlled by my eating disorder.

WHY did it matter if I gained more weight? Why did I care so much?

Because Ed cared.

I shouldn’t care what the number is. There’s no part of me, Sarah Beth, that sees my worth as synonymous with a number. That’s only Ed who sees it that way.

So who freaking cares if I gain a pound or two over my weight restored weight? I’m going to eat my meal plan how I want to eat my meal plan. And sometimes that means having a spoonful of peanut butter as a protein instead of 16 almonds. I’ll eat a cookie for a starch instead of 8 saltines if I want to. I’ll eat what I want to.

And let’s just be honest here. Eating does not mean weight gain.

Let’s say it again.

EATING DOES NOT MEAN WEIGHT GAIN.

I have to continually remind myself of this one. I feel like if I eat all of my exchanges, that I’m destined to gain weight. But it doesn’t work like that. If I eat all of my exchanges, I maintain my weight. I don’t magically gain five pounds overnight.

That’s something my eating disorder always liked to tell me. If I ate one meal, I’d regain in one night all the weight that I had lost over the past year. Eating disorder logic, y’all. 

You can eat cookies and not gain weight. But if you did, what does it matter?

It doesn’t matter.

It never has, and it never will.

That dang little number on a screen does not matter at all.

So if you’re like me, and you’re afraid of gaining weight past your maintenance weight, don’t be.

It doesn’t matter.

You are worth more than anything a three digit number could ever tell you.

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I’m Tired of Making Myself Small

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Literally and figuratively.

But this time I’m talking about figuratively.

Right now I’m at the beach with my boyfriend and his family and his sister’s boyfriend. So basically, it’s a family trip + the significant others. Kinda awkward, but fun overall.

Except for the fact that I’m trying to keep myself in a nice little box in order to not disrupt anyone at all.

Here’s a prime example of me trying to make myself small: the bathroom situation.

There are two bathrooms in our beach house – one upstairs and one downstairs. The two boys are in the bedrooms downstairs so they share that bathroom, and my boyfriend’s sister and I share the upstairs bathroom with their parents.

Of course when you’re staying somewhere for a week, you unpack your things. You put your shower stuff in the shower and you leave your toothbrush next to the sink. You hang your towel on the rack. You make your house for the week home.

Well, at least that’s what my boyfriend’s family is doing. I’m not.

All my bathroom things are kept in the closet. In my luggage carriers. Each time I take a shower, I unpack my shower stuff, and then when I’m done, I dry my things off and then pack them back up. Same thing with my toothbrush, deodorant, face wash, everything. I even fold my towel up and put it in the closet. Because I’m scared.

I’m scared of being in their way (as if my travel sized bottle of shampoo is really going to hinder their shower abilities much). Since I’m not family, I feel as if I need to be an outsider – only allowing myself to look in, not join.

I think that’s because this is how it’s always been for me. At school I alway had to stay out of everyone’s way – if not, I got pushed aside or received dirty looks. I couldn’t go where I didn’t belong. My school taught me that the only place I was allowed to be was inside myself, and even then I had to shrink to the smallest size possible (again, literally and figuratively).

I’m sick of living like that. Living like I have to be the smallest version of me possible. I want to live a life that’s big. A life that matters. A life that rocks the world. And I can’t do that if I’m continually shrinking myself down.

I want to be able to leave my shampoo in the shower. Leave my book on the coffee table. Unpack my suitcase. I want to be able to say hi to someone that is “popular,” go into a bathroom at school without being afraid, ask someone to borrow a piece of paper.

I’m tired of pretending that I don’t matter.

That’s the bottom line of it.

I’m freaking tired of believing that I don’t have a place in this world. That I don’t belong. That I’m not as good as the rest of the population.

I’m not sure why I’m writing this. Maybe because I just want to rant. Maybe because getting it out on paper (or a screen) makes it more real. Or maybe because I know that we all struggle with believing that we aren’t good enough.

Regardless of reach reason why I’m writing this, I know that that last reason is so true.

So you who are reading this, please know your worth. Know that completely as you are right now is enough. It’s not too much or too little. You are perfect. Exactly right where you are supposed to be.

You don’t have to shrink yourself so that you don’t shake the earth.

You were meant to shake the earth. 

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“fly” – a poem

to learn is to

become.

a caterpillar did not know who it was

until it learned its strength

and became a butterfly.

learning does not diminish who you were before,

but takes you where you are now

and grows you to greater than you have ever been.

i am learning.

i am growing.

i am becoming a better me.

a stronger me.

a more radiant me.

i am sitting,

but now i am learning to crawl.

i am crawling,

but now i am learning to walk.

i am walking,

but now i am learning to run.

i’m still running

because soon i will

learn how to fly.

i’m not there yet,

and i don’t quite have my feet

off the ground,

but i will continue

to run

and to jump

until one day

i learn how to fly.

 

I wrote this poem during an Expressive Arts group in treatment. It’s not very good, but somehow writing it that day opened so many doors for me. It was like a breakthrough happened in my mind. It’s when I realized that freedom was a process, and it’s okay that I’m not there yet. I’m continually getting closer and closer everyday because I’m constantly learning who I am more and more.

 

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i’m not anorexic

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I know what you’re thinking.

Of course, you’re anorexic, Sarah Beth. That is what this whole blog is about. Your journey from your eating disorder, aka anorexia. You didn’t just go to treatment for nothing.

Wow, thanks for reading my mind!

But that’s not what I meant.

Yes, on all my medical forms that my entire treatment team have, there’s a diagnosis next to my name.

Anorexia.

But that’s the thing.

have anorexia, but I am not anorexic.

You’re probably wondering what the difference is. You probably think I’m a little crazy. But let me explain.

I really don’t like diagnoses. I know that they’re necessary for insurance reasons and whatnot, but I don’t want those labels coming off the papers that they’re written on. I don’t want to put those labels on myself. Those labels [anorexia, depression, anxiety, etc] are so negative and I don’t want to allow those negative words, thoughts, and feelings to be extended back to who I am as a person.

As a person, I am kind. I’m compassionate and strong. I like to laugh and I sing a little too loudly (Annie, anyone?). I love Jesus and I am just completely in awe of the fact that he loves a sinner like me. I hate cooking, but I try to do it anyways (and normally end up with a burnt mess). I don’t like driving with the windows down because it messes up my hair and the wind is too loud. I just turned nineteen, but I still love getting stuffed animals. And I’m recovery from an eating disorder.

My eating disorder does not define me. Yes, it has taken up so much of my life, but it is not who I am as a person. I will not always have the diagnosis of anorexia next to my name on my current medical records. One day it will be in my medical history and on that day I will rejoice.

So yes, I have a diagnosis. And I fully admit to having said diagnosis. But I am NOT my diagnosis.

I have anorexia, but anorexia does not have me.

So I’m not anorexic; I am Sarah Beth, a girl who is learning to make life without her anorexia.

There’s a difference.

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