the post that took two years to write


i've honestly been trying to write this for two years now. every time I've tried to get it out of my head, it just hasn't felt right. it just never seems to come out faithful to what it looks like inside my head. this morning i was supposed to be packing but i guess today was the day it wanted to get out of my skull and onto the page. so here goes.

there's a lot out there about anorexia/eating disorders/whatever label you want to give this unhealthy, self-destructive lifestyle. I didn't want to just come to the table that is the interwebz with yet another post about how I went through that and what it was like... i wanted to share that, but yet i didn't. it makes me feel extremely vulnerable to talk about it period. it's taken me almost two years to be able write something remotely coherent. but you know what makes me feel not-vulnerable, and not alone, and not isolated? when other people are honest, and open, and vulnerable. and i guess i've decided over the past few messy years that i want to be that person who is honest, and hopefully maybe, in that honesty, i say something that runs a wrecking ball through someone else's isolation. 

still, i wanted to share from a place of healing-- rescue, increasing-healthiness. day-by-day getting better, happier. working on it. not from a place of darkness, where i was still lost and wandering. that was a season for feeding on other's words, and on His word. which has honestly become deeper a way of life. it's become my salvation.

i can't speak for everyone, i can only speak for me. but i know that my case was not unlike thousands and thousands of others. it's a big, deep, messy, complex, sick, confusing subject. it is a hell that you, on some level, consent to live in. you make it for yourself and you convince yourself to stay. 

i stayed too long.
i ate the food.
the food was poison.
it made me not want to eat anymore food because it made me believe that i was
a mess up.
never mind masterpiece, i was
the eraser smudge.
not good enough.

 
i wasn't a flesh-blood-bone girl, i was a controller of a body that i compartmentalized. i was sick. i was dancing with darkness, i was deeply unhappy. everyday was a weight on my heavy eyelids in the morning. it was burden to get out of bed, because my feet would hit the ground running; obsessively. running scared of what? of beauty, of peace, of that glorious avalanche that is life; rolling, rolling. i was scared of all that goodness because i wasn't good. no, I was chronically not good enough. the world told me i had to be x y z and i didn't feel like i was x y z yet, so i fought for that paper-thin cause; meaningless flag hoisted, charging into a battle that could only end it fatality. 

i am convinced that i wouldn't have made it out alive if it weren't for the fact that someone made me and bled out for me and dove in after me, and dragged me to the surface for air. i wouldn't have made it out without Papa. He is the only reason i am here. my life, my heart, my lungs, my air, my head, my sometimes air-head, it's all his his his. he saved it, and he saves it everyday from the madness it tries to resurrect.  and i wouldn't have made it out without so much love love from my parents, who are basically my lifeline. and i can't even put into words without crying what they mean and what they've done to keep me here. they are superheroes, loves of my life. my sister, a fighter herself, my better half. i needed them.

but there was one thing that i did for myself, it was really one of the only things that i personally took the initiative to do that really helped me. i've been doing yoga for about two years now, and almost every time i do it, i think about how much i want to share it with you guys. because i know that some of you are fighters, reading and commenting. and if i could give you one thing as a gift, to help you make it through the day, one thing you could actively do, it would be yoga. and here's why.



1 - you're making a decision. you are doing a thing.

there's this violent cycle of go, go, go, do, do, do. so you can be better, so you can be better, so you can be better. you're not good already, you're not pretty already, no. you have this massive list of things you have to do, non-stop all day in order to obtain any feeling of validation by the end of it. you are literally validating your life by this messed-up list. you are measuring your life by how far you can run, how many reps you can do, how little food you can fuel yourself on. you're super woman. unless well, you can't accomplish all those things on that list-- accomplish MORE than yesterday. in that case? scratch those superpowers. you are an actual failure. you ate a slice of actual bread? you only ran four miles, not five? your validation, your esteem, your sanity? it's gone.

it's like quicksand, this kind of thinking. it's a disease. a real, actual disease. through this, yoga was an active thing that i made a  daily decision to do that helped tug me loose from the death grip. yoga breaks the cycle. or at least i've found that it can help. it's this designated quiet time, alone with you and your coach (mine was on youtube). you're forcing yourself to STOP. even if only temporary at first, all this schizophrenia comes to a grinding halt. you're giving your body, your soul, your dizzy brain a break. even if only for a half an hour or so at first? it's pressing 'pause' on all this madness. 


2 - you are thinking about breathing. you are not thinking about everything. you are not thinking about yourself.

you're consciously keeping your focus on your breath, on your movements, on your posture. you're paying attention. you're listening carefully to the instructions, and you're consciously making the decision to be an observer of your practice. not a critic. 

you're not thinking about the work you have to do, or how little you've eaten, or how you will proceed further into this abusive hurricane you're spinning around yourself. no, you're thinking about your next inhale... your next exhale. your movements. your limbs and ligaments, tendons slowly growing stronger each day. growing under your skin, like you are your own child. you are outside of yourself, looking in....and after awhile it becomes harder and harder to keep feeding that self-loathing animal living behind your skull bone. i've broken down crying on my mat before. i've cried because i've felt the ability to hate myself and hate my body being tugged gently from my white knuckled grip. i've heard a voice that says, soft at first, then louder as time goes on, "let go, love." 



3 - it's not about reps, bikini bodies, or who can twist themselves into the most complicated pretzel. it's about who can breathe; who can stretch and feel good.

"it's never about how deep you can get into a pose... it's just about feeling a stretch."**
 
the beauty is that you are not flexible..not at first. in fact you are inflexible in every way. you refuse to let anything move you. you will not be moved. YOU are in control. YOU. you control your body and how much food you eat and how much exercise you do. you control it-- YOU. I can't even express how tight my hips and joints were... don't think your body doesn't hear all these cutting words your eyes (and maybe lips) tell it's reflection. 

it's not about the pose. it's about the stretch. the stretch in those tight joints, and the stretch out of that dark comfort zone your unhealthy thoughts have created. 



4 - yoga is not just exercise. it's the no violence/self-respect zone. 

if something hurts, you don't do it. it's a hard concept to swallow when normal life has become this repetition of intentionally doing things that you know are hurting you. don't do something if it hurts you?? why?? i do that all the time. i do that everyday.

it's a new concept. it's a bold objection to the destructive, loveless way you are treating yourself. it's an echo of respect, of honor, of tenderness in your hollow, hungry mind. the dark places where you chain yourself and deprive yourself. it's a contradiction to the hate. it's a bullhorn through which someone's screaming about love love love.

5 - you are already beautiful, love.

yoga is a reminder of the fact that you don't have to look like the girl on the cover of the magazine. in fact you never will because guess what??? you are two different people. and people were not made to try to look exactly like one another. you don't have to look like her. you were not made to look like her. guess what, love? you were made to look like y o u . beautiful, beautiful y o u , with skin, blood, bone, ligaments, tendons, and an amount of body fat that is healthy for your specific, unique body. you are beautiful. you are necessary. you are not silicone. you do not exist to look a certain way, no, your purpose is waaaay bigger and better and far more important than that lion-heart. you are bigger than the numbers on the scale, the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the amount of exercise you do. no, you know what you were made for?

joy.

massive, freaking huge amounts of, dancing, twisting, late night drives, lip balming, ice creaming, singing punk rock songs really loudly, re-watching disney movies, wearing concert tees, getting pink milk from convenience stores, licking the beaters, laying on the floor and playing with your dog, watching the deep sky, picking out shooting stars, picking out bright coloured shoes, learning how to skateboard, or how to dance, or how to play the ukulele, going for runs, doing healthy, body-friendly workouts, smiling at yourself in the mirror, love, love, loving you and spreading that love love love to the person next to you on the bus, at the concert, in the class, at the kitchen table. you were made for so much j o y , love. joy.

"...I have yet to see a scale that can tell you how enchanting your eyes are. I have yet to see a scale that can show you how wonderful your hair looks when the sun shines its glorious rays on it. I have yet to see a scale that can thank you for your compassion, sense of humor, and contagious smile. Get off the scale because I have yet to see one that can admire you for your perseverance when challenged in life..."**



and so i come to this topic hesitant and fumbling; still wrestling. I feel awkward writing this, but i also feel awkward sometimes at checkout counters, and i still do that. so i guess i can do this too. this may be something i write more about, or write less about, or never write about again. but i wanted to share one of the bright patches. yoga is something that helped me and continues to help me so much, and if i can share that balm with someone else with a sore soul, it would make me happier than i can articulate. 

i love you guys so much i could have a seizure over it.
know that i'm always here, okay?




x o
stay brave
brave
bRAVE
kATE



/tiny reference area/

this is the yoga channel i use here. i practice at home. on a side note, none of this refers to specific religious aspects some incorporate into yoga. i am talking exclusively about breath/movement/and whatever restful or meditative qualities you personally incorporate yourself based on respect for your own beliefs. :)
quote 1, Lesley Fightmaster




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44 people commented on this post.

  1. This post is extraordinary. Everything about it is unique in it's own way, sharing this does put you in a vulnerable position, but it helps so many more people going through something like this. Thank you for putting yourself out there, exposed. This is very admirable.

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    1. that is my hope and something that makes my heart strong; that someone else might be made strong through the sharing. Vanessa, thank you so much for your comment. It really means so much.

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  2. I love how open and honest and completely RAW this post is. Kate, you are amazing. Keep fighting, dear heart. I am so grateful that you shared this...it was just what I needed to hear right now.. ♥

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    1. megan, thank you so much... you have no idea how much your words encourage and strengthen

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  3. wow. wow. you are amazing. this is wonderful and this needed to be written and gotten out there. it may have felt awkward but it is /so beautiful./ i admire your bravery and honesty and hope of destroying others' isolation - it's inspiring. <3 that paragraph about joy made me smile a lot and reminded me to take joy in things and made me want to sing along to punk rock songs instead of just listen to them ;P i'll have to check out the yoga channel!

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    1. thank you, thank you, thank you andrea :') you don't know how much that all means to me. go sing to that punk rock music!

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  4. this means more to me and more to the entire freaking world than I could ever say. this is a balm to so many souls. thank God for the gift of your words and the way that you are choosing to use them. those two years were worth it. this is good good good. you have the most beautiful soul. I'm rambling. I don't care. I love you. thank you.

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    1. i love you too olivia :') like you have no idea how much your comment made my heart so much fuller. can't even describe. thank you ♥ blessed by you

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  5. basically I'm not exactly what I can say other than I feel super empowered...like I can get over the hump I'm dealing with.

    thanks Kate!!!

    btw, I love yoga and really want to get into it. <333

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    1. julia you can do it ♥ we're all here with you. we're rooting for you. we're cheering you on. keep your head high, supernova.

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  6. Oh Kate, I really want to thank you for opening your heart, being unbelievably real, and sharing this. You really are amazing and such an inspiration, I admire the strength you have. Beautifully written <3

    Also, yoga, yes! I totally agree, it's so helpful and has helped me shuffle on through some of my hardships too.

    Elizabeth

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    1. isn't it just a healing balm?? soo grateful for how God has used it in my life. our papa is amazing. and your comment flooded my heart full of joy, elizabeth, so thank you ♥

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  7. I'm glad you finally got it out <3

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  8. Kate, I literally started to cry when I read this because a) you're so brave and you have so much love, and b) I may never have experienced anything so painful in my life, but I realize that I have treated myself and others with impatience and fear and a great lack of love, not realizing that THIS, me, myself, is enough and more than enough because my Creator spoke and it was so. And it IS good.

    Also, thank you so much for sharing how yoga has helped you. I've always been hesitant about the spiritual aspect of it as a Christian, but this channel sounds like a perfect way to become more healthy and positive and loving.
    <3
    Lizzy

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    1. lizzy :') first, your comment...literally it means so much to me. thank you so much for your words. they just make my heart so full of joy.

      and i couldn't agree with you more. when you think about it, even like the problem i talk about in this post just stems from love-lack. the key: waking up each morning with bigger and bigger doses of decisions to feel Papa's love deeper and deeper. and to just fill your life with it in conscious ways.

      there's also some amazing explicitly christian yoga channels on youtube as well. I would definitely recommend checking those out too

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  9. wow. Just wow. Thank you for being brave enough to share, and to encourage. I was crying while reading this. <3

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    1. ♥ so much love for you, girl. thank you

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  10. I uh

    I just...

    I don't know what to say.
    This was beautiful but also really haunting and almost brought me to tears.

    "massive, freaking huge amounts of, dancing, twisting, late night drives, lip balming, ice creaming, singing punk rock songs really loudly, re-watching disney movies, wearing concert tees, getting pink milk from convenience stores, licking the beaters, laying on the floor and playing with your dog, watching the deep sky, picking out shooting stars, picking out bright coloured shoes, learning how to skateboard, or how to dance, or how to play the ukulele, going for runs, doing healthy, body-friendly workouts, smiling at yourself in the mirror, love, love, loving you and spreading that love love love to the person next to you on the bus, at the concert, in the class, at the kitchen table. you were made for so much j o y , love. joy." >>>THIS. yes.

    brb I have to dry my tears and run to VT so I can hug you for five years.

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    1. *HUGS YOU BACK FOR FIVE YEARS* :') you are beautiful and such a blessing to me & this big world, Aaliyah

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  11. Katie. What do I say?

    I read this last night but didn't want to comment right away. It was one of those posts that I needed to try on first before I could rejoice with you. I've struggled with insecurity and eating bad-habits (it didn't get to a disorder for me). I constantly try to calculate my calorie intake and how much I should exercise. I want to look like a cross between Taylor Swift and a Russian ballerina.

    But this is such a dissatisfying, ugly way to live. " i fought for that paper-thin cause"

    You know, I've been meaning to ask you about yoga for around a month now. I've dabbled in it but never got hooked. (I'm more of a Pilates girl.) But I just did one of the video from the channel you recommended, and I have to say I want to give it a try. I always work out so that I can get the desired body, but what if I worked out because I ALREADY HAVE A BEAUTIFUL BODY AND I WANT TO TAKE CARE OF IT AND LOVE IT????

    These thoughts that you've planted in my mind already work for grace. At ballet, I was so tempted to compare myself with my younger self, glancing at the mirrow with critical eyes. But then I remembered this post and decided to love myself in that moment.

    Like, this post is so powerful.

    Thank you.

    Praise Jesus, who has saved us completely and makes us beautiful.

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    1. Princess Hannah.

      Your comment impacted me *so* much. hearing your thoughts and also just your encouragement and that this meant something to you and that you USED THIS IN YOUR LIFE. Like...can i just sob...? because honestly you don't even know how full of hope that makes my heart. hope hurricane. thank you, thank you.

      and you know what? it's hard... it's so hard and i know where you're coming from. it's a rough road and we need to be holding His hand, because He's there for us all the way through. ALL THE WAY. and taylor swift/russian ballerina ain't got anything on YOU; beautiful, unique, fashionista, wide-eyed, filled-with-His-light, Princess Hannah. You keep doing YOU, girl. You are *awesome*.

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  12. Kate,

    I think I know why it took 2 years for you to write this post. Because clearly I was supposed to read this today. T O D A Y. I want to say so much, but I have no words. This post is powerful. It both is a kick in the pants for me to "wake up, kid" but also so tender and so gently written. I'm going to start and try doing little bits of yoga, slow to start. I REALLY needed that reccommendation. I seriously feel like you wrote this post just for me because everything you said seems so familiar because I'm living it. The run, run, run; do, do, do. The "can't measure up." The comparison. And then that poetry at the end about joy....that's exactly what I needed. I prayed for joy just this morning.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Needed this. Have a feeling I will be revisiting it many times.

    Thank you for letting God use you!

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    1. erin. your comment made me tear up.

      i feel this. i'm with you. we're there together. and guess what? darkness is GOING DOWN. because we are made in the image of someone soooooo much GREATER. honestly, just....your comment brought tears to my eyes because everything you said is a gift that means so much. makes me stronger.

      thank you dude ♥

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  13. Oh, Kate.

    I read this the day that you posted it. I had just gotten back from a trip, and I read this on my phone, sitting on the steps of my house. And as I read it, I honestly was almost crying. I feel like a lot of people comment that on posts, like, "OMG IM CRYING", but this wasn't like that. I really was sitting there, trying to keep myself from losing it. And that's why I didn't comment, because I knew that I probably WOULD lose it, and I really didn't want to be asked ten minutes later why I was crying into a bowl of soup.

    Thus why I'm just now getting over here.

    Even now, three days later, it's hard for me to put into words how deeply this whole post resonated with me. I have not struggled with an eating disorder specifically, which is something that I'm very thankful for. But I've gotten close, oh I've gotten close. I understand those thoughts so well. I mean,

    "never mind masterpiece, i was
    the eraser smudge.
    not good enough."

    That is one of the best ways I've ever seen that feeling put. The eraser smudge. Not a fun feeling, that's for sure.

    What you said about feeling like you're stuck in a cycle- go go go, be better, be prettier, do more- ouch that hit me. I've been there. I'm still there, if I'm going to be completely honest. It's the most vicious cycle. But when you manage to break out of it? It's the best feeling in the world.

    I think that I'd really like to try yoga. The way you described it, how it's helped you, it kind of reminded me of what dance has done for me. Except, it seems like in the end that even when I dance, I end up comparing yet again. So maybe yoga would be the perfect thing. I'm going to look at some of those videos and give it a try. I'll let you know how it goes:)

    "massive, freaking huge amounts of, dancing, twisting, late night drives, lip balming, ice creaming, singing punk rock songs really loudly, re-watching disney movies, wearing concert tees, getting pink milk from convenience stores, licking the beaters, laying on the floor and playing with your dog, watching the deep sky, picking out shooting stars, picking out bright coloured shoes, learning how to skateboard, or how to dance, or how to play the ukulele, going for runs, doing healthy, body-friendly workouts, smiling at yourself in the mirror, love, love, loving you and spreading that love love love to the person next to you on the bus, at the concert, in the class, at the kitchen table. you were made for so much j o y , love. joy."

    Just reading that gave me so much joy. And that quote you included after it? (decided not to C&P because heaven knows this comment is long enough as it is.) One of the truest things I've ever read. I feel like I'm rambling so much in this comment and it probably makes absolutely 0% sense, but I just wanted to thank you, Kate. Thank you for sharing this. Thank you for being vulnerable and wonderful and amazing. Thank you for bringing light out of the dark. You are beautiful and I love you so much. ♥♥♥

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    1. Wow that was even longer than I realized. O.O Sorry about that. ♥♥♥

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    2. first off, no apologies needed, ever ever ever, because your comment honestly made my week, Grace Anne. hearing all of your raw, honest, hope-filled thoughts is making *me* want to cry over here! and this is why we need to live closer, so we can all just like, go out for coffee and cry together :') that would be really nice.

      I find that, especially in today's world and messssseedd up culture, comparison comes SO easy. scary easy in fact. the world wants us to compare ourselves to others. it's EVERYWHERE. in commercials and magazines and in movies and stores, and just everywhere. I honestly think more people that ever are struggling with eating disorders or just huge amounts of self-consciousness because the world puts out this stereotype and announces that "everyone should look like that." which is such a damaging, dark, unhealthy way to look at a world that was created to be diverse and full of different, beautiful, hope-filled people of God's design.

      You are a light-filled, GRACE-filled, lively, gorgeous, gifted writer of beautiful and MEANINGFUL and POIGNANT words, Grace Anne. God has big, big, big things he is doing in and through you. never forget that! ♥

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  14. I have so many things I want to say to express how beautiful and lovely this is, but words would honestly just ruin it. So, I'm just gonna say I love you, okay?

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  15. you're a supernova. just like you tell us all time and time again. thank you for baring your soul and reminding us that you're human, we're human, and He is Love. He is IN US, FOR US, and WORKING WITH US.
    thank you Kate <3

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    1. ....reading your comment made me cry. and I don't usually cry easy?? thank you, Eve...like...:') you are the supernova. so much love for you

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  16. It's taken me days to know how to write a comment in response to this. (And I still don't know, to be honest, so excuse my incoherent thoughts..)

    Thank you for being brave and vulnerable, and putting your experiences out there. Your honesty really has smashed isolation. It's so encouraging to know that no one has it altogether. There are no perfect people. There's only grace and love and truth that mends broken souls. And we're all in the battle together.

    This line though: you are literally validating your life by this messed-up list. Wow, that spoke to me, because that's what I do. I write the lists, and seek validation from productivity. And I fail. But then you wrote about being made for joy, and that was such an eye-opening reminder. Seriously, thank you. I wrote that out, and I'm going to put it somewhere where I can see and remember what life is meant to be about.

    I believe yoga has a spiritually dark side (and I'd encourage you to look into it; it surprised me when I found out), but I really appreciate this post, and your heart to encourage, and bravery in sharing. So, thank you, and stay strong! xx

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    1. Jessica, your words are so full of His light. Just know that. every time you comment, you always say things that encourage me in deep ways. It's amazing to see how God speaks through you.

      the validation list...yes...man, I hear you and feel that, and YES. It's something we're all in together. Be it in different ways, or sometimes the exact same ways. it's a powerful, beautiful thing.

      Thank YOU so much ♥ keep speaking his word

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  17. wow...i feel like whatever i'd say would just be a repeat of someone else, but i have had this tab opened on my computer for the last few days. i'd go to it, and i never knew what to comment. it's so..raw. and authentic. two rare things to find in the world.

    God gave you a gift of writing, kate. like no other. your writing is powerful. it has depth and it grabs the mind. never give up on it, the world needs it. and in a sense, i see why this took two years. but i believe you posted it now for a reason. it is impacting people. me. His salvation and word is my life. it took me out of darkness. without it, life is nothing.

    thank you for these words <3 they are life changing dude.
    i personally don't do yoga at all...i do get that it is relaxing and all, but when i researched it i didn't feel right about it's origins and stuff.
    but this post is so inspiring and gahhh <3 you are one amazing person, katie.

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    1. & YOU are one AMAZING PERSON, Autumn Raelin.

      "His salvation and word is my life. it took me out of darkness. without it, life is nothing." ...I can't say amen loud enough. you nailed it. that is the daily. ♥ wow.

      your words and the amount of thought and time you put into your comment touched me more than I can say. Love you, girl. You're a blessing.

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  18. "I feel awkward writing this, but i also feel awkward sometimes at checkout counters, and i still do that. so i guess i can do this too." tbh this line resonates with me more than anything else in this post and i went through the exact same thing so lololol <3 you are a precious moon rock museum piece bae :''')

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    1. Idek what bc u r honestly moon rock moar ❤ 😭 ily

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  19. This post is so darling. I've been recently getting into yoga, so I found this post inspirational. I actually have the same yoga mat as you.

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  20. Thank you for sharing this. That's so brave, and it really struck chords with me <3

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    1. thank you so much, Hannah. ♥ I feel so blessed that this meant something to you

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  21. Katie. Today is the first time I have read your blog. I stumbled across it through your sister Aimee's blog, and I'm glad I clicked the link. I am glad that I read this, because it shows me that I am not the only person battling monsters. It heartens me to know that you were able to lean on the people you love to help you heal, and they were there to lift you when you needed it. It gives me hope that I may one day defeat my demons.
    -Esther

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comments are like dark chocolate and they make this kid way happy. I love hearing from you guys! (check back because I reply...and I love checking out your blogs, so don't leave me without a link to yours!) ♥