No Longer That Girl

There are days, no matter how far removed I am from behaviors or how long it has been since I have been out of treatment, I look in the mirror and still see Jenna of the past. I still see who I once was. Who I identify with is that of the hurting girl. I have to pause, close my eyes, and begin the process of speaking the truth into myself. I have to remind myself that girl is gone.

I am no longer that girl.

Who cries in the shower as she stares at herself exposed with her hair falling toward the drain washing off of her aching, trembling body. Who brushes her once luscious mane to see handfuls of strands of brittle hair gathering in the brush, descending onto the floor below her, accumulating everywhere but her thinning scalp. Who sobs with each strand lost, begging for it to stop, praying no more would fall with the next brush through her hair; knowing each one was another piece of confidence stripped away, another ounce of her freedom robbed, another sign she was losing. Who stares in the mirror unable to recognize the girl reflecting back at her, screaming into the universe out of pure exhaustion why she could not see what the rest of the world saw.

I am no longer that girl.

Who measures her worth in numbers. Who defines her beauty in the size of her jeans. A meaningless contraption determining the fate of her day. What she eats, how she treats herself, who she allows to love her rests on an object. A piece of metal and plastic is her fortune teller. She runs to it with the opening of her eyes, praying it works in her favor but knowing whatever it displays back at her will never be enough, will never quiet the mind, will never satisfy the soul. Who worshipped an item that had her literally looking down to find her worth to distract her from gazing upward to the One who already knew what she was. Who identifies her life and herself numerically. Her success rests in what she weighs. Her days revolve around the calories consumed. Her peace rests in what she burned that day, what pieces of herself she withered away to be closer to weightlessness.

I am no longer that girl.

Who puts her destiny in the hands of others; the words spoken to her at 5, at 9, at 12, at 15 determining who she becomes and what she does. Who lets those who do not know her heart, who do not know what God has planned speak pain and failure into her life. She let lies become truth. What Satan fed into others mouths to speak into her became her reality, her reflection, her identity. So insecure and yearning to feel accepted, she took the words and broke herself, shed herself, lost herself to never have to hear them again. Who allowed every word to seep into her heart, to be tattooed onto her skin, to be put on replay to be her alarm in the morning and the lullaby to put her to sleep at night. She let every word be a turning point in her life to run to darkness and fear the light.

I am no longer that girl.

Who believes bones equals love, means being seen, equates to being heard. The less of her there is, the more people will value her voice and acknowledge her presence. If only she is thinner, she will gain the ability to be loved. Whose mind convinces her the more you lose, the more you gain even though her heart knew it would always be a losing battle.

I am no longer that girl.

Whose strength is measured in how little she can eat. Whose will power is determined by how long she can hold out without letting food touch her lips. Who believes her life’s greatest achievement will be to be the weight of a toddler and still be alive. Goals went from climbing a mountain to climbing the stairs; a feat that once became impossible and then transformed into whether she deserved to sleep that night. From obsessively wedding planning to obsessively meal planning. From organizing her birthday parties to organizing her funeral. Dreams became nightmares. Hopes faded into impracticalities.

I am no longer that girl.

Who puts herself in isolation. She is afraid to be touched, to be held. Who denies herself hugs; hugs from people she will never get the chance to feel again. Who closes her heart off to love, put walls up to keep others out, uses her body as an excuse to keep people at a distance. Who turns her back on her family and friends to live in a world of rules and rituals. Who fears spontaneity but craves freedom. How she eats was meticulously calculated. What she eats was particular and obsessive. When she eats is structured. Where she eats never left her room. Her food cannot be touched by another. Her day is planned to the very minute, all revolving around when she earns the privilege to eat.

I am no longer that girl.

Who lives in a place of no. Who turns down precious memories to never leave her comfort zone. Who loses time with people for the disorder to win. Who repeatedly refuses her right to freedom, to joy, to laughter, to health, to hope. Who believes she had plenty of now’s left to experience in which to say yes so one no would not make a difference. Another no would not mean never.  But one day that girl learns the power of her no’s, the lies in that last statement.

I am no longer that girl.

Who relies on quick fixes. Who runs to the immediate relief, the instant satisfaction to ease the pain, to numb the emotions. Who darts to the familiar to counteract the unknown. Who keeps returning to what breaks her, praying this time will be different, this time will fulfill the promise of relief. Who retreats to a world where everything makes sense but nothing does at the same time.

I am no longer that girl.

Who plays the victim. Who cannot take ownership over her actions and choices. Who believes she is helpless, incapable of change, completely controlled. She strips herself of her power, fully handing it over to people and a disorder. Who believes she has no strength to deny them, to call out their lies, to just stop it! Who accepts this is as good as it is going to get. She doesn’t deserve better. This life in suffering is her destiny. Who closes her eyes off to see tomorrow, to believe there is more beyond the ache of today. Who cannot catch a glimpse beyond the now to witness a day in glory, where the present emotions are in the past, where purpose is constructed from the pain, where all of the puzzle pieces fit together. Who cannot trust in a new beginning, a fresh start, doubts a chance to be reborn. Who gives up every morning, at every meal before she even begins, believing defeat is inevitable.

I am no longer that girl.

Who lives in fear; fear of food, words, people, opinions, truth, happiness, health, light, love. Who lives in ambivalence; always on the edge of stepping back or moving forward, so scared of the outcome of either direction. Who lets the sheer terror of flying stop her transformation, never allowing her wings to grow. Who is afraid to see beauty, fighting to let it seep into her. She hides to not let the sun touch her skin. She covers her eyes to avoid seeing the rainbow, finding it easier to only remember the sky crying just moments before. The world became dark, and it makes sense to her that way. Healings did not exist in her world. One day in one moment God could touch that girl and say it is not over yet, the ending is a new beginning but she denies that truth. Although she is a walking miracle, she wants to reject it. She does not want to be one because it symbolizes living; a feat she tried hard to prevent. She is a girl constantly so close to going home yet so far away.

I am no longer that girl. That girl is gone. I choose to live in the future glory God has promised, waiting to be revealed in me. My past and present sufferings are not my destiny, my identity, or my truth. No matter how many times I must repeat this to myself, reread this post, stare at the mirror reciting it, I will let every word speak into me. I am free.

Love, light, and bravery,

J.L.