This is Freedom

I don’t talk much about eating disorder recovery…partially because I think nobody wants to hear it, partially because I’m afraid I won’t be taken seriously (as I was never underweight or overweight according to the medical establishment’s guidelines), but mostly because the term falls short. It doesn’t encompass what recovery actually feels like. In fact, for me, it still carries with it the pain, shame, anxiety, hopelessness, and overwhelm of the struggle with food.

So I talk about freedom instead, and I talk about adventure, fun, play, and pleasure. I talk about treating my body with respect, sweetness, and unconditional love. I talk about getting out into the wild, far away from the toxic influence of the media. I talk about giving a big middle finger to the beauty industry, the diet industry, or anyone/anything else that says my body should look a certain way.

I didn’t set out seeking recovery. I simply wanted to feel better, to escape my own repetitive patterns, to explore the natural world, and to see things in a new way. I started spending time in the wilderness, and somewhere amongst the adventure and the challenge, the play and the exploration, recovery happened on its own.

This is the Hot Buttered Rump Waterslide in Sequoia National Forest…and this is freedom.

If you struggle with food, know that you aren’t alone. There are many ways to start feeling better, to learn to trust yourself and to take care of yourself. For me, wilderness was the answer. It could be for you, too.

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