When I was thinking about who my role models are for this post, I kinda got stuck. I could do the Harriet Tubman's of the world, or Maya Angelou, or Mother Teresa, or someone like that. And don't get me wrong, all of those women are amazing and made such an impact, such a difference in this world.
In light of the fact that this blogging challenge is about eating disorder recovery and raising awareness, I wanted to talk about my role models - my heroes - in recovery. So here goes:
Role model roll call...
My hero is S, who told me yesterday that when she was in treatment, in order to gain weight, she was on the highest mealplan they offered, and in addition, had to drink SEVEN Ensure Pluses a day. That isn't easy, not even close, even for someone who has never suffered an eating disorder. I look up to you for doing that, for doing what you needed to do, in order to kick ED's ass and get weight restored.
My role model is SL, who, one day in group therapy while in treatment, finally broke down and cried about the death of her mother. She had never EVER let herself cry. But as she finally allowed the tears to come, recovery came, soon after. She faced her pain, rather than run away from it.
My hero is M, who left her 5 year old son to go into treatment. I had just left Cade, at 4 months, and we would talk non-stop about our little mini-men, and when she would talk about her son, her whole face would light up, her countenance would glow, and I knew that she was going to get better for him. And then I knew, if she can get better for her son, then I can get better for mine. And then we both did. It was hard, but we did. And she led the way.
My role model is my good friend B, who always, ALWAYS, desperately wanted a child. In treatment, she was always talking about the baby she didn't have, that she wanted desperately. She knew she needed to recover so her body could handle and make a baby. And she did. Her beautiful son, G, is one years old, and my beautiful friend, B, is in recovery. And she is vibrant and beautiful and happy.
For someone who has never suffered and eating disorder, or maybe a related addiction, my role models may seem silly, or trite. But I know first hand, what every single one of these women went through, and that is why they are my heroes - because I know how damn hard this is. The weight gain, the endless Boosts. I know death, and I know how it feels as if your whole world is going to end, and like nothing is ever going to be right again. I know what it is to leave a child to go to treatment, and the guilt you feel, and the utter loneliness and grief you feel for missing their smiling faces and their milestones. I know what it is to have a child, and to get better for them.
None of these things are easy. None of these women let the disease win.
This is miraculous.
And that is why these beautiful, wonderful women are my role models. And why so many of you are, too.