Yesterday, I learned that one of my dear friends is in the hospital for complications due to an eating disorder and diabetes. I am really sad and scared for her, but also empowered with a good kind of anger that I have the power to affect positive change so that this doesn't have to happen to as many people anymore, most of all my friends. I am resolved.
I know that I have mentioned here and there on this blog tidbits about my struggles with body image and an eating disorder, but I haven't really told my story in full. That will come in time, but it is a truth that I have faced in life and one that I cannot hide (and should not hide) from the rest of the world.
I have never had a friend come so close to death before, and the reality of this disease and the lives that it takes has hit me hard. Something that can start with bullying or bad eating habits as a child or young adult can quickly turn into a terrible sickness that robs you of love, health and life for many years. It lived and controlled my friend's life for 45 years. How horrible.
It's difficult for me to reflect on what little I knew about eating disorders before I sought recovery, and the truth that there is a lot of misjudgments and lack of understanding concerning the problem in our culture. Difficult because I bet that I have so many friends and loved ones who struggle with similar issues but hide them because of shame, even those these issues can be healed with grace, community, and time.
I am really sad. And I needed to share that.
A week before she got sick, my friend told me through words and actions about bravery. She told me that fear needs to get the hell out of my life. She didn't yell that at me, she screamed it at fear. She stuck up for me. She said that my bravery has always been inside of me, and then she stuck her two fingers into my chest, looked me in the eye and said, "It's in there." She gave me a big hug, and told me she loved me.
And for all of you out there who feel that fear is running your life, I want to tell you that the bravery is in you.
Believe it for me. Believe it for you.
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