Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ghost story

I think I’m being haunted.

Seriously. For the past few weeks, I’ve been seeing a ghost. Her:

December 2009

I’m not sure where she came from, but she’s been persistent. And she’s been staring back at me from the mirror.

I’ve shown this picture to people who didn’t know me when I was at my heaviest. People have expressed disbelief that it’s really me. I look at the picture and don’t know how they can’t see me immediately.

Because sometimes—like recently—she’s all I can see.

I’m not sure why my old self has been haunting me so much lately. Perhaps it is because I’m so close to my end goal. Maybe it’s because I’ve been dating, which already brings up so many insecurities. Maybe it’s because there are honestly some days where I can only see how far I’ve got to go, rather than how far I’ve come.

I don’t know the answer. But I’m over it. Why can’t I just see myself for who I am? Will I ever be able to do that? Or will 300-plus-pound Erika always be mocking me?

My only thought is that I hated that Erika. I hated her body. I hated her emotional weaknesses. I hated her dependence on food. Her laziness. Her hopelessness.

And maybe that’s where my answer is. Perhaps I need to remember what it was like to be that girl, and instead of seeing myself through eyes of self-loathing, I need to look through eyes of compassion. I need to accept the old me in order to love the new me.

Easier said than done. But the old me who was so paralyzed by an eating disorder was in pain. Food helped me cope. It helped me get through some of the hardest times of my life—my mom’s death, a great heartbreak, family crises and other losses. Maybe I should try to be grateful that I got through those things at all—that I got to the other side.

All I know is that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully love myself as I am now unless I love myself as I was then. Until then, I’m pretty sure this ghost will continue to haunt me.

And to be honest, I really need her to give me some peace.


Greg Willits said...

I used to beat myself up for stupid sinful stuff I did back in my youth. Even decades later, I still harbored guilt from actions from years before. One day I went to confession, and afterwards I went to Eucharistic Adoration. As I sat there, supposedly clean, I still felt guilty. I continued to mentally beat myself up. Then a small voice suddenly said, "Not only did I die on the cross for you, but I already carried the cross of your sins, as well. You've got other crosses to bear. Let me carry the cross with the weight of your sins."

I'm not comparing your one-time weight to sin, but the answer is still the same. You carried a lot of physical as well as emotional weight for a long time. You've been cleaned of the physical weight. You don't have to carry the emotional weight anymore.

You're awesome. I've been struggling to lose just 40 pounds and just haven't been successful. Every time I look at your website, you inspire me to try again.

cd said...

Erika - love your deep self analysis. I hope that you can look at your "previous self" with compassion. You understand "her" better than anyone - I don't think she needs to be loathed. You can loathe her habits and the way she coped with things and not actually loathe all of her. You've come so far. I think we need to take this to radio - a radio show - you're helping SO many!!! You're awesome!!!!!

Anonymous said...

i see your point about the things you dislike about the old erika, but in so many wonderful ways, you are still yourself. try thinking about what you do appreciate about yourself that has remained consistent through these past few years. the old erika was not all about hopelessness and dependence. as long as i've known you, you have always been cheerful to others, caring, thoughtful, and pretty fun! you have always had so many qualities to embrace, i'd hate to see you throw out the baby with the bath water :)
<3 abo