Dealing With Others' Voices in Recovery
"Are you pregnant?"
"You look so different!"
"You gained weight, did you?"
"Are you expecting?"
For a while, it felt like the entirety of my recovery would be explaining to people why I suddenly looked larger. Everyone was concerned about my body, and most felt the need to voice it. I waded through life cautiously, watching people as they spoke to me and bracing myself for the moment their mouth would form the words, "What happened? You blew up on me!" (Yes, someone actually did say that to me).
People, for whatever reason, feel entitled to speak about others' bodies - especially women. And we, the owners of the bodies being spoken about, sometimes feel the need to listen, never taking into account that these opinions don't fucking matter.
"I'd rather look in the mirror, be happy who I see." This line from Logic's new album stuck out to me, very specifically in relation to my eating disorder. This is the sort of thing I had to tell myself to bring myself to choose recovery. I thought to myself, People are going to talk and it's going to make it worse. I'm going to feel awful, like I want to die. But I'm recovering to get better, to give myself another chance. And in the end, I'd rather look in the mirror and be happy who I see. Not because the reflection is skinny or aesthetically appealing, but because I'm beautiful. No matter what. I wanted to know that; I wanted that to be fact.
When recovering, people are going to ask you really stupid questions, because you're going to look very different. But what you don't realize is, this has very little to do with weight. The weight we gain is largest in our heads and doesn't make too drastic of a difference, but what really changes is your entire energy. Your aura begins to glow again, and others recognize that. They see something is different, and the only thing they can chalk it up to is the change in your weight.
The first time someone asked me if I was pregnant, I went crying to my therapist. I was incredibly upset and didn't know if I could keep going. I felt disgusting, like a complete outcast. But my therapist sat there with me and slowly helped me realize the reason I was being asked this question. "Pregnant women have this glow about them, which makes other people, specifically women, able to tell they are pregnant just by looking. I see that in you with your recovery."
More than you are growing, you are glowing. Recovery is so incredibly beautiful, such a burst of life from within. It's a true testament to the lengths our bodies will go to in order to protect us.
You cannot place any more importance on how your body looks. I'm not saying don't be proud, but don't condemn yourself because your shape isn't the stereotypical model for "perfect." I used to think it sounded cheesy and cliche to say "Love yourself the way you are," but it couldn't be realer. The first and only thing you should want for your body is health, no matter what that looks like. Everyone wears it differently, but you don't truly glow until you are nurturing yourself in every way.
So maybe you're going to look pregnant for a few months, maybe even a year. So what? I did it, and I never thought I could. I never thought I'd see the end, but here I am. I feel better than I ever have in my entire life and I'm accomplishing things I never thought possible, and it's so simple. I'm just taking care of the body I have.
Let them think you're pregnant, let them think you've gained a lot of weight, but more importantly let them see you happy. Wear your joy and your pride like a sash because you got yourself to this point. That's a recovery baby growing in your stomach, and it's about to change your life forever. It is something you will never regret.