Tidal waves of never-ending, all-consuming thoughts knocked me down. There was no calm in my ocean – just an overflow of terror, shame, and guilt.
I couldn’t carry the weight of my fear or the weight of my body. No matter how hard I tried to float… I kept on sinking.
I ran out of breath. I reached for the surface. I clawed at the sand. My sadness, like reckless seaweed, entangled me and pulled me down farther.
I held on for dear life. I was drowning.
And I didn’t know how to save myself.
Binge Eating No Longer Defines Me
What I ate, how much I ate, how much I weighed, and what size pants I wore were the only questions I used to ask myself. Obsessive thoughts held me hostage inside of my own head. I was a prisoner of my own body – a body I punished, a body I didn’t take care of, a body I hated… a body that stretched itself to its limits in order to keep me alive.
I was trying so hard to cope with my demons, shrink my size, and feed my emotions – that I couldn’t find the energy to focus on anything else: my dreams, desires, and ambitions. I was exhausted.
I wanted to be good. I wanted to be important. I wanted to shine. And I thought that if looked a certain way and wore a certain size, I would finally matter… to others and to myself.
I couldn’t stop myself from turning to food. The force was so strong that I felt powerless. I am not to blame. I did nothing wrong. I survived.
But I also put myself down, shamed myself, and defined myself in a way that kept me small.
And until recently, I had no idea what I was capable of – what I could do, who I was, removed from my identity as a binge eater.
But that’s not all I am. In fact, I am not a binge eater. I am a person who used to struggle with binge eating and who still emotionally eats at times when life comes crashing down.
I am so much more than the definition I placed upon myself.
I am so much more than what I eat.
And I think, for the first time, I’m finally starting to believe it.
I am a survivor, blogger, poet, master organizer, jewelry connoisseur, girlfriend, daughter, sister, aunt, problem solver, four-star planner… I am weak and unsure at times but then other times… I am fierce and fiery.
I am Jacki. And I am Jace.
And I am definitely… more than what I eat.
I didn’t choose this path. But it’s where my life took me and I believe that things happen for a reason. The tines on the forks of life lead to different paths, yes, but no matter which one we choose – we’re going to end up where we were supposed to be all along.
Over the last two years, I’ve learned more about myself than I have the rest of my life. And over the past 6 months, I’ve come to realize exactly what I’m capable of as a woman – at any size.
With the help and support of a few key players, I survived a bed bug infestation, moved out of my apartment, moved into another, got laid off, became employed, started jogging again, leased a new car with no-cosigner…
What I eat and how I look didn’t help me with ANY of this.
I conquered these milestones.
I ran the race.
I jumped the hurdles.
I am more than what I eat.
But it still doesn’t always feel like it’s enough…
Society, You’re Not Helping
I talk about society A LOT – but where we live, the cultural laws that are placed upon us, and the social order that we follow – play an enormous role in how we are viewed and how we view food.
I was unable to balance my life because I was terrified that if I put one ounce of effort into anything aside from my food choices and my body image, I would fall apart in a society that would that rather have me “pretty” and dysfunctional than “average” and let’s say… useful?
So, I stopped myself from progressing and moving forward. I used excuses, reasons, and justifications to hold myself back. I was scared of failing – so I just… stood still.
Going on job interviews, at the stage in my life, was mortifying. I was more concerned with my appearance than my skills. “They won’t hire me if I’m fat… because that automatically makes me unintelligent, lazy, and disorganized.”
(Because… that my friends is…. math? Woman + Fat = not good enough?)
So what do we do when we feel like we’re not good enough? We eat! And around and around it goes.
But – we are SO much more than what we eat…
It’s About WHO We Are
My value is not based on what I look like, what I eat for lunch, or how much I exercise.
My value is based on WHO I am.
There are a few things about myself that I know for sure. My heart is enormous. I would jump in front of a Lamborghini (I’m in LA, wink wink) for someone I barely know, I would split my “whole” right down the middle for a loved one.
As my boyfriend’s grandmother says, “What is enough for one, is half enough for two.” (Although when it comes to anything edible… I haven’t always had an easy time applying that rationale!)
I also know that it’s not about the food. It never has been. It’s about figuring out which type of hunger we’re hoping to satiate. Physical? Emotional? Mental?
Lately, I’ve been hungry for life and I’m feeding myself with tastes, sounds, textures, goals, conversation, love, and companionship.
It’s a delicious combination that fills more than my belly. It soothes my soul.
And when my soul is at peace, it’s easier to remind myself that…
I am more than what I eat.
Until next time,
If this post spoke to you, please share your comments below. This safe space is for us – to read, to share, to simply be…