Hello. I never know how to eloquently begin anything like this once a lengthy absence has taken place, so...
H E L L O !
I suppose I could recite the better part of this past year in shining detail (because a little fun fact: I have a photographic memory), but instead, both you and I may only benefit from a wee summed up version.
I fell in love. Big time. Like, life time big time. Like, stop what you've ever done and rethink what you've ever thought and live your life right now king of big time.
There are so many cheesy things I could say. Really, though. Falling in love turns you into straight Parmesan (heh, get it? No? Heh...). What I DO want to tell you is that I fell in love with a boy named Collin DuPree. What I DO want to tell you is that I'm in an entirely polar mindset than I was a year ago. What I DO want to tell you is that my mind and my body are finding balance. What I DO want to tell you is that Collin saved my sanity and stole my heart.
Now, I wasn't planning on this. I wasn't looking for a knight in shining armor, nor a boy to open the door for me. If anything, I was looking for a way to somehow get through a semester of Art History without having paralyzing panic attacks while juggling a forty-hour work week at Barnes & Noble, not to mention maintain my recovery appointments with my psychologist, physician, and dietician. Essentially, I was trying to keep myself distracted from picking up where I left off before I was consumed in my disorder. I was postponing living my life and growing up and I was fine with it.
After our first few dates though, I began to lose it. I knew he was way too calm for me. I knew he was way too sweet. I knew he was way too talented. He was perfect, and I knew it, and I wanted to disappear. I wanted to disappear into recovery. I wanted to disappear and make him forget he met me.
I told him recovery was my number one priority. I told him life was crazy. I told him I was crazy.
He told me he understood and he didn't think I was crazy. He told me he was praying for me.
He also told me he loved Harry Potter and Sour Patch Kids (not to mention coffee, Mario Kart, the color green, Wes Anderson, Avril Lavigne, Shania Twain, watermelon, etc..).
I told myself we were just friends.
I told myself it would be fine.
But then I told myself he was perfect and that I was a goner.
Somehow, someway, I decided to take a chance and be present for my life for the first time since I dropped off the planet. I decided to show up and see what I was missing. I popped my recovery bubble and with the consent and advice from my counselors along the first stretch of the path, I hit the ground running.
If this is where I landed after recovery chewed me up and spit me out, then I'm completely fine with it. (As gross of a metaphor as that may be, it seems fairly accurate to how it feels).
Collin understood me and listened to me. He let me have my safe days and he pushed me to have adventurous days. I ate foods I swore off completely, I sat on my butt and watched movies for days at a time, I wore a swimsuit in front of people, the list goes on and on. He never once put me in a scenario of which he felt I couldn't handle. He never once told me I was crazy, or stupid, or weird, or skinny, or fat, or damaged, or broken, or anything I could've feared.
I guess "long story short" is just a cute way of saying I'm still going to tell you something in a lengthy manner, but it's impossible to describe how and who swooped in and changed your life in a 700 word blog post.
Don't misunderstand; the moral of the blogpost is not that a boy will solve all of your body image problems forever and ever, Amen. Someone else telling you that you're beautiful isn't going to undo the spool of negative thoughts that are woven in your mind since you were a tween. However, someone treating you like you have the most beautiful spirit will shift your entire outlook on yourself and how you perceive your appearance.
Self-worth isn't found in a reflection. It isn't found in a stick of lipgloss or a pair of jeans. It doesn't hide itself in comments on the internet or in the passing smile of a stranger. Self-worth is something you and only you cherish.
You just have to give yourself permission to feel your beauty, not see it.
Sometimes you just need a little nudge. Love was mine. Maybe this could be yours.