Last week I celebrated a year and a half of being in recovery and of being scale-free. For a year and a half I have not used a number on a scale to define me and a year and a half ago I started the Hello Life blog—a year and a half of reminding people that they are never alone in their fight to recovery.
When I started this journey, I only knew myself as X pounds. That was it. At the time, I didn’t even know what made me happy anymore. I thought reaching a certain goal weight every week or eating as few calories as possible were elements of happiness. Originally, I decided to give up my scale for one reason: and that was to break free of my eating disorder. When I gave my scale to E I didn’t know what my journey would hold. The only words that came to mind when she asked me if I wanted to say good bye to my scale was, “hello life.”
And to this day, those two words are the best two words I can use to describe this journey.
Giving up my scale was about a lot more than learning how to recover from my eating disorder. It also meant finding out who I was without a number for the first time in my life. It also meant learning how to live without a label. There were times throughout my recovery that I had to use other labels instead of numbers to help me navigate through the gray areas when I wasn’t sure who I was without my weight. I would say I was a sister, a daughter, a friend. When I moved to Washington I said I was a reporter giving people a voice. If I wasn’t a number, I was a career. If I wasn’t a career, I was a family member. If I wasn’t the best family member at the time, I was something else.
And while those are all true, looking back on this year and a half, I can’t think of any one label that exactly defines me or this journey.
I started this journey living life as one label: a number. And I also started it in a hell controlled by an eating disorder.
I started it with a one-year goal that has far passed and yet here I am still dedicated to it.
I started it with a boyfriend who is no longer in my life.
I started it living in California.
I started it thinking that once I gained the weight I needed to gain, my journey to recovery would be over.
Everything I thought I knew I didn’t know. And every label I thought I needed, I no longer need.
My whole life, I was always the one with all the answers.
I created an outline of my life when I was eight years old, saying what age I would get married, when I would get my first job and when I would have my first kid (which by the way, none of it, and I mean none of it, has occurred according to my grand plan).
After a year a half of trying to find out who I am without a number, I can say this:
I am discovering that maybe self-love is about having the courage to love ourselves without titles and labels of any kind—to just love ourselves as is, no strings attached. Six months ago today I reached my one-year milestone and I smashed my scale to pieces on video for everyone to see. I closed that part of this journey not knowing what would happen next, or where I would end up, but only that I would continue to walk the path of self-love and self-acceptance.
That path changes every day.
Some days it means telling myself I love myself in the mirror 10 times in a row.
Some days, like today, it means celebrating with champagne and homemade tacos with a new friend.
Some days it means taking time to pray and thank God for everything I have.
Some days it means crying because I am lonely or because I am having a hard time. My path to self-acceptance changes day by day, sometimes hour by hour, and to be brave enough to let myself mold with those changes is a beautiful place to be.
When we live with an eating disorder, change is our enemy. It doesn’t even exist actually. We live in routine with rules and rigidity.
I now live in ebb and flow.
I live not knowing what I weigh.
I live with the unknown as my guide rather than my fear.
And I live without labels.
I am not the girl in recovery for an eating disorder, I am not a blogger, I am not a number, I am not a reporter.
I am finally the person who is just figuring it all out. And I like that.
I live in freedom from the grasp of my eating disorder that once kept my spirit, soul and heart isolated from the world around me.
Thank you to everyone for standing by me from day one of this journey. Thank you to my family, my friends, both new and old, E and to my girls in the Hello Life fighter support group—for all of you are my legs that keep me walking this path.
To all of us who continue to have the courage to walk the path of self-love, Hello Life!
This article first appeared at Hello Life.