One of my favorite poems is “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost (see bottom of post for poem). I remember hearing this poem fairly early in life, as reading has always been a favorite pastime of mine and my dad grew up loving poetry. I was potty-trained with reading (as was my daughter) and books have always allowed me a way to escape life and dive into an alternate reality that existed only to me. To this day you can always tell when I’m struggling in life because I will bury myself in a book just to escape for a bit.
Especially beautiful, “The Road Not Taken” touches on a very deep belief that what is best for us is almost always the harder path, not the one most easily traveled. We can all surely relate to this way of thinking, that the things with the most reward in life frequently are the one’s we fight the hardest to accomplish. Recovery, for me, is one of those things.
As I’ve mentioned in a few recent posts, a great deal of overcoming the obstacles in my recovery is changing the mindset or way of thinking when I have failures. For the last several weeks, maybe even the last few months, my therapist and my dietitian have both been pushing me to grasp the idea that in order to recovery I need to truly let-go of weight. The very thought of that initially caused me to go home and have an anxiety attack. As someone who has had disordered eating and distorted thoughts about myself basically all of my life, the very thought of having to give-up this ‘end-game’ of being thinner someday terrified me, and occassionally still does.
What if I get fatter?
What if I never lose weight?
What if my natural weight isn’t something I’m comfortable with?
Can I actually find peace with my body as it is, if nothing changes?
Am I destined to always hate myself?
All of these questions and more swirl in my head, day after day, session after session, until I feel ready to break-down. Why are they asking something SO hard of me, that I just can’t do? I was completely incapable of grasping how letting go of this one thing could truly impact me. Fortunately, they realize that they have to keep giving me guidance why this is healthy, and trust that I will eventually get there on my own with their encouragement.
The truth is, I’m going to have bad days. Days that cripple my ability to cope, and days where ED steps-in to offer me a sense of control in my chaotic life. The last several days I’ve had this sense of not being able to focus, which is about as opposite of my normal personality as it gets. In the midst of all the chaos I’ve felt especially lost, and ED has once again been a bit louder than normal. Not good.
For me, the fact that in these times I can count on one hand the number of moments I’ve allowed ED to talk me into purging is a huge accomplishment. I relish the idea that one day I’ll be able to feel confident that that number will be zero, but for now I am satisfied to know that I’m not taking the easy road. I’ve chosen the hard path, the right path, the path that is all about being a better me; a healed me.
In my life two roads diverged and I have chosen the road less traveled. To promise openness and expose my vulnerabilities to the world. For me, I believe this willingness to ‘put it all out there’ holds the biggest promise for success. You, dear reader, are my accountability and also my best friend through my journey. I’m as human as you, and I think that is vitally important.
When I read the posts on Facebook of others trying to recover, it inspires me that I’m not alone, and that the hardest part is letting go enough to allow others to grow with me. If I only wrote the failures, we’d have hundreds of posts, so I don’t. I write about the positive mindset, the behavioral changes, the things I feel are what keep me floating when I feel like I’m sinking hoping that it helps someone else stay afloat too. But do not think it means I am without failure or misstep. Every good adventure, every great story is built upon those failures, so I embrace them as building blocks to a full life, a better future.
My dad was my favorite person in my life when he passed away. The weekend before he died, he and I were sitting in the sun in our back yard talking about life. He told me he had always had so many plans and dreams, but always told himself that he’d get to them someday. That is what most of us do, we tell ourselves someday. I’m not saying living a reckless life outside of the means you are given is what you should do…not at all. What I’m saying is my dad said the one thing he regretted was not truly living, and always waiting for that someday. He regretted not taking the less traveled road. When we live our lives in fear of being vulnerable, and fear of taking a risk for our dreams, we tell ourselves someday. I think the biggest risk is getting to the end of my life and realizing that someday never came.
Take the less traveled road, open yourself up, risk it all for the dream because now is when we get to choose which between the well worn path or the one less traveled. If you wait until tomorrow, it will always be someday. Recovery will remain a dream never realized out of fear.
On an unrelated note, I am now seeking out opportunities to speak to groups about my story, my inspiration, and how to live your best life. If you know of any such opportunities to connect, please reach-out to me. I would love the chance to connect with all types of groups about how they can take their fears and failures and make them their biggest accomplishments. I would love a chance to speak to teenage girls, recovery groups, women’s networking groups.
The Road Not Taken
In memory of my dad, Bill, who passed away a week before his 52nd birthday. Talented at nearly everything he touched. Charismatic, with a beautiful voice, an artistic ability, and brilliant far more than he believed.