Your Reality is Real

If all you did today was wake up, I am proud of you.
If you brushed your teeth for the first time in days today, I am proud of you.
If you took a shower and then crawled back into bed for the rest of the day, I am proud of you.
If you ate three meals today and were scared of each one, I am proud of you.
If you resisted urges today, I am proud of you.
If today all you did was show up to work and barely did your job, I am proud of you.
If your mind was full of worries today and you made it through the day anyways, I am proud of you.
If your day had the potential to be great but your pain got in the way, I send you love.
If memories of the past were infiltrating your mind today, I send you love and hope for closure.
If your day was foggy because you got two hours of sleep but your pushed through, I commend you.
If you cried today and didn’t know why, I feel for you and I know the frustration that comes with inexplicable emotions.
If today you had plans that you had to cancel and you feel like you let someone down, I forgive you.
If today is the worst you have ever felt, I remind you that tomorrow cannot possibly be worse.
If dark days have turned into dark weeks to dark months, I am here to tell you that there is always a possibility of light.
If the thought of living another day seems like too much, I implore you to believe that something will eventually be worth it.
If today, you felt that no one was in your corner and you felt alone, I remind you (and always will) that you are not and never will be alone.

Love Letter to Myself

Dear You,

I know that you have become a master of the “smile and nod” and at polite humility when receiving compliments. I know that you told yourself years ago you would never be good enough and that it wouldn’t matter how hard you tried but today I am here to tell you you’re wrong. I am here to tell you that compliments given to you can in fact be sincere and genuine. I am here to tell you that you are smart, that you are beautiful, that you are kind, caring, empathetic, and funny. I am here to tell you that putting things in the past is okay to do; it does not mean that you are pretending things never happened but it means that you are giving yourself the freedom to move on from them. I am here to tell you that you are wanted and that you are needed by so many people. You are loved beyond what you ever thought possible. I am here to tell you to stop selling yourself short because you never should have learned how to do it so well. I am here to tell you that the things you have been through and the things you have felt are valid. I am here to tell you that they made you this amazing, sufficient and valued person. I am here to tell you that you may not be in love with yourself yet, but you have made leaps and bounds from the girl you once were and I know that one day soon you will love yourself more than anyone else in the world. I am here to tell you that when you get to that place to embrace it and remember that not only is it okay to love yourself, but it is good. When you finally learn to fully love yourself, regardless of what others say, think or do, and regardless of your size, shape, job status or title you will realize that you never needed this letter because you had the power inside of you all along just waiting to be brought out. I am here to remind you that you are so much more than the places you have been, the mistakes you have made, and the demons you have fought. You are so much more than the sum of your past. You are who you are because of those things, but you have gone places you never thought you could, and that proves moreover just how little you are defined by your past. I am here to tell you that you are worthy of the love and kindness that you so readily give out to others. I am here to tell you to stop smiling and nodding and being politely humble, because you deserve so much more than that.

Sincerely,
You.

Caged Beauty

There is a difference
between being lonely
and being alone.

I enjoy being
alone,
but knowing that I have
people, if I need them.

Being lonely
scares me,
because it means that
if I need someone, I have no one.

I find comfort
in solitude,
in being alone.

But being without
the option of turning
to someone,
is paralyzing.

A Termination Letter to my Eating Disorder 

Dear ED,

It’s been a long run, but fortunately, I have decided that it is time we part ways. Certain events have led me to decide that you are no longer an asset to the organization that is my life. You have been with me for much longer than I initially realized; we first met when I was a young girl. But despite the length of our relationship – dysfunctional as it is – I stand firm in my decision to let you go. I am going to explain this in detail to you, in hopes that these specifics will avoid me letting someone else like you into my life.

An eight year old girl should not live her life sucking in her stomach. A ten year old girl should not think that the amount of love she receives is correlated to her size. A twelve year old girl who grew very tall very fast should not have learned to fear stretch marks the same way people fear violence. A thirteen year old girl in Florida should not go to the beach in shorts and a tank top because she was scared to show her skin. A nineteen year old girl should not be throwing up her meals. A nineteen year old girl should not be on the verge of passing out in her office because of how hungry she was. A girl on the eve of her twentieth birthday should not have been looking up the calories in food at the restaurant she was going to tomorrow. A twenty year old girl should not have an Internet history full of diets, workout plans and eating disorder communities. A twenty year old girl should not cry at the thought of trying on clothes in a fitting room at the mall. A twenty year old girl should not become paralyzed with fear at the idea of going swimming. A twenty one year old girl should not avoid seeing her friends and hide in her apartment because she thinks she is too fat to be seen in public. Yet these are all things that I was. These are all things that I did because of you.

I made a realization recently, and it was one that brought to light just how long you have been a part of me. I realized that I do not remember a time where I have not felt as big as I am now. The weight I have gained since we began drifting apart may be visibly new, but I have long felt that it was a part of me. Why? Well ED, this is where you come in. You brainwashed me into thinking seeing a false reflection when I looked in the mirror. You told me that losing weight that wasn’t there would make me happier, more liked, more deserving of love. But no matter how much weight I lost you always told me to lose more, or that it wasn’t;t enough. I realize now that the happiness, popularity and love that you promised me were nothing but false promises.

You stole something from me. You stole confidence that I never had the chance to develop. Before I ever had a chance to feel good about myself you were there telling me I had never been good enough and would never be good enough. You were there telling me that everyone around me was judging me, staring at the fat I did not have but you made me believe was there. You were there for birthdays, graduations, prom, school, happy moments, sad moments, embarrassing moments and moments I should have felt proud. You stole memories from me.

I never realized these things at the times they occurred because you made me think that I needed you. You were constantly reinforcing the notion that one day I would be worthy of thinness and all the joys that came with it. But what you did not tell me was that one day would never come. You never told me that you were the most abusive relationship I had ever been in. You never told me that you were a master manipulator. You never told me that you could tell a lie with the ease of an Academy Award winning actress. You never told me that I could have a life without you and now I finally see that I can.

I never thought I would see the day that I would be able to leave you behind. I never thought I would be able to tell you these things. I never thought that I would be able to walk away from you. I never thought that I would love myself enough to say, you’re fired.

I renounce you of any power you held over me. I free myself of any holds you had on my mind, body, and spirit. I am in control now, the way it should have been all along.

Goodbye, and good riddance,
Emma

 

Liar, Liar

The biggest lie I 
have ever told is 
one I have lied time
and time again. I looked
you all in the eyes
and I told you not
to worry, I said “I
am okay” or “I will
be fine.” These are 
lies I have become all
too good at telling. But,
the truth is, that I was not
okay, I never knew if I
would be fine, and you
probably should have
worried about me. The
truth is, lies became easier
than honesty. The truth is, I
told these lies so often that I
stopped knowing what was a lie
and what was the truth. If I am
being completely honest,
I was rarely okay. But saying I 
was became habit, and I hoped
that if I said it enough, then maybe
one day it would be true.

Plain as Red

You’re a kid and
your mom shows you
a photo, “One of these
things is not like the
other,” she sings. Then
she asks you to 
find the odd one
out. You stare at
the photo, an aerial view
of hundreds of people
all carrying umbrellas. You
look for a while, searching
for something that stands out
but also questioning why difference
equals oddity and why any of
it matters. And then you see
one red umbrella amidst hundreds
of black umbrellas. You see the way
it is unlike the rest; you see the
difference and the oddity, but you 
still do not know why it matters.

You’re twenty-three and
you look at your life. You 
examine it the same way your
child self did that photo, searching
for something that stands out
something that is different –
an oddity. You examine your life
and you see it as plainly as you did
in that photo;
you are the red umbrella
now.

Eraser

It will never make
sense to me. The insults
you hurled at me and the
vicious names that you 
called me are stuck to 
me like ink on a page.
The part that confuses 
and hurts me is that out in 
the world, I can get rid of 
ink on a page. But no 
matter how hard I 
try, I cannot erase you
or the marks you left on me.