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Nay, Day 11: Signs of Life

Nay, Day 11: Signs of Life

Hi! I’m Nay. I love writing and playing guitar. Nothing makes me happier than my friends and good vegan food. And when I was 15 I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been very self conscious about my body. Even as a kid I worried, and I guess we all do. But these past few years, my worries have consumed me. These past few years have been the hardest of my life due to my depression, my eating disorder, and my self harm. My head has been a mess, I have felt my life crumbling before my eyes, I’ve despised every inch of myself. I was convinced I wouldn’t survive it all at points, but I am now glad I did survive, and that feels amazing to say.

For a considerable part of my life I was convinced I took up too much space in this world, and that losing weight was all that was important about me. Being smaller, both in terms of physicality and personality, has been my sole purpose these past few years; it’s been all I’ve thought about and all I’ve acted on. Western society so often associates weight loss with health and happiness, but over years of trying to lose weight I achieved neither. All that happened in reality was that I lost both.

In my mission of trying to take up less space, trying to lose weight, I lost myself along the way. It got to the point where everything felt dark and I saw no way out; there was truly no light at the end of my tunnel. I was plagued by suicidal thoughts and self hatred, day in day out. I don’t remember much from that period because I wasn’t living at all, only just about surviving. Healing from that low point in my life has been a process for sure. It has been a battle and a half since I first committed myself to recovery early this year, and it still is a battle - but it’s a battle I can now say I am proud to be winning.

Fighting my eating disorder felt like losing everything that had become comforting to me. I felt it was a war I didn’t deserve to win. But embracing recovery, despite all my fear and self-doubt, was the best choice I ever made. You are always deserving of recovery, regardless of who you are and where you have been. Because choosing recovery is choosing life. Recovery is learning to be happy with the skin you’re in. Recovery, for me, is having cake on my birthday and wearing clothes that make me feel happy in your own skin, even if it’s hard. Recovery is falling in love with the world again, and it feels terrifying at times but absolutely wonderful for the most part.

My past, my mental illnesses, my body: they don’t dictate my worth. I dictate my worth. I am a firm believer that all bodies are good bodies, and I have recently started applying that to myself too. I deserve the space I take up in this world, through my body but also through my loud laugh and my wide smile. For years and years I was obsessed with the number on the scale, but now I am learning to detach myself from that and see me for who I really am. Because what I am is my kindness, my activism, my ambition, my love of writing, my smile, my passion for good food. I am not my weight or my size, and to reduce myself to a number would be to forget all the wonderful things that actually matter about me.

So I am learning to love my body. To really, truly love it. To love it for its self harm scars, its stretch marks, its imperfections. Because the scars on my side are not beautiful, but they are signs that I have been in a dark place and I am no longer there - they are signs of healing. The stretch marks covering my hips are signs of growth, and they look like tiny lightning bolts in the sunlight. My soft body is a sign of happiness, and a sign of life. All my imperfections tell the story of who I am and where I’ve been, and I would not change them for a second.

Would I change what I’ve been through? I’m not sure. My answer changes daily. But what I do know is that I am eternally grateful for the strength I have discovered. I never thought I would even be alive to see 2018. But regardless, I made it to today, and the lessons I learned along the way have been invaluable. The people I have met and experiences I have had have been invaluable. Now that I’m fighting for my body, not against it, I feel more comfortable in my skin than ever before. Having the courage to exist and live loudly in a world that continually tells you not to is hard, and it’s even harder when you have a brain that tells you not to as well. But finding the freedom to feel the fear and live anyway is so, so worth it.

I am still recovering, maybe I always will be. But I know that despite it all, I’m alive - I know that I am still breathing and my body and mind are still healing. I know that I will be okay. We will all be okay.

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