Before you get started reading, this is a longer post. Feel free to browse, read at once, or break it up in chunks. Whatever works for you. I'm grateful you are reading!
I love doing my "best nine" post to see which posts had the most likes throughout the year on #instagram with the #2018bestnine website. I thought I would reflect about each photo and share my intentions for 2019. If you haven't seen my video for EDCare about New Year's Intentions instead of Resolutions, you can find it on Facebook at EDCare or on EDCare's Empower Me Blog.
It is so fun to look back and remember all the wonderful times I had in 2018. As I write, I'm going to go back to each post and reflect. I'll go left to right from the top.
1. This hands down is one of the coolest trees I've ever seen and coolest picture I've ever taken. I loved looking into the leaves of this tree during the fall. I even wrote a blog post on it. It was a powerful reminder of the rhythms of life. I was grieving a difficult time with two members of my treatment team moving on to different jobs. Today, I see how their move was such a blessing in my life. I think I was stuck in a comfortable rhythm but going nowhere. Their departure has helped me to trust myself, Jesus, and my community more. I also know hard times will come again and so will great JOY-just like the seasons and rhythms in life! And you can't miss, those #hotpink leaves!!!
2. Every year and a half, I donate my hair. I'm really lucky and grateful after all the damage I've done to my body that my hair still grows. It grows so fast. I love that I can sleep on it wet and I wake up with curly hair. I do miss my long braids during ski season! I cut 13 inches off on Sept 29, 2018. It's already grown so fast. Last picture is from December 14, 2018.
3. This year, it has become more natural to not use eating disordered behaviors to cope. This is what I wrote in June of 2018 on Instagram. "One of the most difficult things in my recovery has been the feeling that 'being in recovery' means that I need to never have eating disordered thoughts or behaviors to cope with life. For many years, I believed recovery and perfection were the same thing. Recovery is about honesty. Recovery has the expectation of slips and that expectation isn’t an excuse to slip. This is something I constantly remind myself. In order to regulate without eating disorder behaviors, I drove towards the sun setting in the mountains with rap music blaring...windows down, tunes up. The feelings passed and they will return at some point. And when they do, I will have this choice again and again and again."
4. Exercise addiction has been a big part of my eating disorder. It was extremely out of control the first 5 years. The past few years it's looked more like over exercising in spurts and then backing off. I was proud of myself when my workout turned into sitting in the hot tub. I was so proud of listening to my body, leaving the gym, and enjoying the hot tub. It was cool to honor my body and not have any guilt whatsoever. Definitely a milestone in recovery and one I'm still working on every day! Love the freedom to move as I want no matter what I do or do no eat!
5. I had the MOST AMAZING day in September on a jaunt at Cross Creek Trail off of Tigawon Road just outside of Minturn. I wrote in my "How's Your Aspen?" post:
" Recovery has many seasons. I am currently in a new season. I can relate to an aspen tree. My leaves have caused me to pause in awe of their beauty. The beauty of working through hard issues and coming out on the other side. The beauty of forgiving myself. The beauty of releasing those places of hurt. My leaves are falling away much like the aspen tree. More and more pieces of the eating disorder fall from me. "
6. In honor of NEDA week back in Feb: "Today I can celebrate where I am in my recovery without shame and stigma. My eating disorder has stolen years off my life that I don’t remember. Recovery has given me a new appreciation for the present moment. My eating disorder destroyed some of my friendships. Recovery has brought me new relationships and in some cases restored broken ones. My eating disorder convinced me that my worth was defined by the miles I ran daily, the less calories I consumed, and what a number on the scale read. Recovery has taught my that by the grace of God, I am who I am - no numbers needed😁. My eating disorder put me in the hospital multiple times. Recovery has taught me to be grateful for my body at any size. My eating disorder made me fear food and my body. Recovery has taught me there are no bad foods and I can trust my body to let me know what it needs. I could go on and on. For those of you who have been with me for years, months, or days of my journey. Thank you! I appreciate you! For those of you I have hurt, I hope one day for restoration, grace, and forgiveness in our friendship. 😇😘 Recovery doesn’t mean it’s easy now. Recovery means I don’t HAVE to use eating disordered behaviors to cope. Instead, I can express anger, joy, sadness, disappointment, hurt, happiness, fear, and the list goes on... If you’re struggling or have questions, feel free to message or text me."
7. A common experience with eating disorders is for the shape of bodies and weight to change. I went from being in a thinner body from anorexia to a bigger body after recovering from anorexia and bulimia. I struggle to wear shorts and swimsuits because of my body. I'm learning more that there is nothing wrong with my body! I am healthy! What I am learning is that diet culture is DUMB! Diet culture teaches us that all bodies are not good bodies. Diet culture says that to be somebody you need to be thin. Well, I'm here to tell you that's a bunch of bullshit! Here I am rocking my shorts on a walk and loving every minute of it! No one cares what my body looks like and if you find yourself caring and wanting to comment on my body...that is your own issue and not mine! Please be curious why my body matters to you if you want to pass judgment?!
8. The top of the mountain is my HAPPY place, specifically VAIL! Vail was home to me for 10 years. I still consider VAIL home. In therapy or if I need to get grounded and stay present I use a few specific spots winter and summer on top of Vail Mountain to help me feel safe. I feel like JOY exudes out of me when I'm in the mountains! The picture on the left is Poppyfields in China Bowl and the second picture is the top of Born Free just off Chair #8. It is always a great photo spot to see the Gore Range. #15000verticalfeetskied
9. Last but definitely not least! I love that I'm closing with the photos from The Eating Disorder Foundation's Gala! I have been to every gala since they began. Here is information on the 2019 Gala! I volunteer at each gala and I'm starting as a group facilitator at EDF in 2019! I'm so excited. EDF has been a huge piece of support in my recovery. They offer free drop in open support groups throughout the week and have expanded groups to Boulder, Colorado Springs, and other areas in Colorado. When I lived in Vail, I had no support except for my therapist. I would drive to Denver every Saturday to attend a free (We all know therapy and treatment are so expensive!) group at EDF. That's how AMAZING the community at EDF is and how vital driving 4 hours round trip on Saturdays was for me when I had no support in Vail.
Thanks for taking the time to walk through my #2018bestnine photos! I can't wait to see what I learn in 2019 through the process of setting intentions, continued growth, change, pain, and joy! See ya next year!
Big loves and hugs!