I have always hid the parts of my life that I deemed "imperfect." That included my fears, struggles, worries, and insecurities. They all were brushed under the rug and forgotten.
For example, while I lived in Paris, my friends and family would see pictures of me having dinner with champagne under the Eiffel Tower or strolling into the expensive beautiful shops along the Champs-Élysées. My life "appeared" very glamourous, which is exactly what I wanted to portray to the outside world.
Meanwhile, I hid the fact that I lived in fear of getting fat and the temptation to gobble up every croissant and binge eat terrified me. I never told anyone that I would go to the boulangerie on my street every few nights, get every pastry, cookie and delectable treats I could find, and devour them in 5 minutes, because tomorrow, "I'd be good and eat properly." I'd feel sick, cry out of frustration at my lack of will power and was utterly ashamed of my behavior.
I never bothered to question my behavior. After all, this wasn't a one-time occurrence but rather happened weekly till earlier this year. Perhaps I was too afraid to be honest with myself.
I never wanted to acknowledge my 10 year battle with anorexia as a way to gain control. I hid my recovery and my entire past. Unfortunately, I also never forgave myself and allowed myself to really heal. So while I was no longer anorexic, it had manifested itself in many different ways over the years, including binge eating.
I never talked or shared the parts of myself that I felt were "imperfect." The parts of the me that are raw and relatable. I always thought that was "faux pas." Who wants to hear all my fears and get emotional....that was just nonsense in my mind!
While I was writing my memoir last year (updates on publication coming soon), it became evident how much of a role eating disorders had on my past but also my present. I was shocked to say the least. I never acknowledged that part of my life – so it should not exist.....right?!
For those of you that have read some of my other posts, you'll know I started to write more on eating disorders. It was quite difficult because it forced me to dispel the idea that being vulnerable and sharing my fears and struggles did not make me weak – a belief I held for many years.
I wasn't prepared to talk about it with anyone other than my editor.
But in June (2017), I was asked to share my story at a Gala Event for Sheena's Place. I knew I had to do it, but I was terrified. I'd be on stage in front of 100's of people! I had never even said the word "A-N-O-R-E-X-I-A" out loud before.
I practiced my speech in the days leading up to the event but would get a ball in my throat every time I tried to say it. What if I cried? What if I just wasn't ready to vocalize my past to a crowd of people.
On the day of the event, June 8, 2017, I'd like to say I was calm and collected but that was far from the truth. I was scared, fidgety and just praying I would be able to get the words out.
After my speech, I was absolutely amazed at the kind words and how many individuals wanted to share THEIR own stories with me.
I got home that night and felt an overwhelming sense of relief. The weight I felt that was always on my shoulders was now lifted. I could be ME. I realized that I no longer needed to pretend I had a perfect life and brush everything else under the rug.
It's only now that I can see the power and strength of vulnerability. It's only now, that the healing has begun.
My video clip from Sheena's Place is below: