Go Sit in Your Love Bubble

Dear Kidesign (16)mber,

I am so scared right now. Of myself, of gaining weight…of letting go.

I know what my body needs and craves. It craves to be loved and taken care of. But somehow my brain has convinced my body that I don’t deserve love, food, or any combination of both.

A few years ago I got “help” from doctors, but they were never able to get to the bottom of my issues. I can stuff food in my mouth, but my mind and my feelings aren’t on board. And if I don’t feel good about what I’m doing to myself, why continue doing it?
On one hand, it’s uncomfortable to eat and feel full. On the other, it makes me tired, weak, and thin to not eat.

My mind is playing tricks on me, and has been for as long as I can remember.

Once, early on in “discovering” my eating disorder, I ended up in the hospital with pancreatitis and was hooked up to an IV. When I was released, I ate like a normal teen. When I saw something that looked good and I was hungry, I ate. But slowly I slipped back into my old habits. Soon I was restricting like before, and maybe even worse.

Several years later I’m still struggling.

I long for the freedom of allowing myself to eat whatever I want. I mull over the reasons why I don’t eat the things my body needs…why am I so afraid? Why does my weight bother me? I know I’m too thin, so shouldn’t that spur me towards my so-called goal of gaining weight? I wish I could learn to love my body and give it what it needs, but I don’t know how. I am stuck in the little rituals I find comfort in. Even thinking about changing fills me with anxiety. Thank you for listening and caring.

Lydia

Dear Lydia,

Your fear and confusion come right off the page. I see you and the pain and the sadness your seeming inability to feed and love yourself is causing. I know what it’s like to be in that place where you don’t love yourself enough to take care of yourself, and in not caring for yourself, you love yourself even less.

I want to send you a big love bubble to crawl into, a place where you can see yourself the way I see you. A place where you can feel total relief. Sitting curled inside its iridescent walls, you’d feel the truth of who you are: beautiful to your core, wise deep in your cells, and loved down to the marrow. Held like this, you hear the thump of your heart and realize the soft animal of your body is crying for you. You are its mother, its partner, its sister, its beloved. You are the one who holds the key to its happiness and to its very life. It knows your sadness and your pain. It’s been with you all along. It knows why you’re here, how you got here. And no matter what you’ve put it through so far, it loves you. It’s always loved you. Its whole life is about loving and caring for and tending you. It wants to live. And hearing this, you want it to live too. You answer the tender aliveness of your body with a reassuring yes. Yes, show me how to love you the way you love me. Without restraint. Without fear. Without conditions. Yes.

And maybe as you read this you can feel yourself inside it, right now for a few breaths. Let yourself sit there for as long as you need, feeling how loved you are, feeling your ability to say yes to yourself. Imagine this love bubble can shrink and grow as needed. You can sit inside it when you need to, and you can carry it around with you in your heart.

It can be hard to feel like you and your body are worthy of the love you’re both craving. I remember wishing my body would disappear and trying not to let myself feel its needs… and sensing the whole time that my body desperately wanted my attention even while I wanted nothing more than to avoid it completely. I got so used to turning away from my body, it felt impossible to turn towards it.

It feels like a huge leap to respond to your body the way it needs you to respond. And yet, it’s a leap towards yourself, and away from isolation and pain.

You are turning towards yourself. You are listening to your body. You know what it needs and what it longs for: your love. You are asking for help–from me and from others. Give yourself full credit for how much more aware you are now than you used to be, and how even though it feels like you’ve taken steps backwards, there’s no “unknowing” what you know about yourself. Keep listening to your body, keep asking for help, keep going, keep trusting, keep leaping. That little voice that tells you that your body is worth listening to? Keep turning towards it, ask it to guide you back to yourself, back home.

And when it feels too scary, go sit in your love bubble, and let yourself feel held in the reminder of your own worthiness. You are worth loving. You deserve your own caring and attention. Even when you fall short. Especially then. Practice holding your fearful self with love and see what happens.

With love to you and your body, Kimber