I do this thing with my boyfriend when we talk where I will say “honesty hour.” Those words are my heads up to let him know;
- An important question is coming or something is going to be shared that has been heavy on my heart.
- I am about to be very authentic and transparent with him.
- One of my walls is being torn down.
- We are about to get deep.
- Tears are going to fall.
I do that to signify a transition in the conversation so he can prepare and know what to reciprocate on his end. He knows where he is about to meet me and what I will need from him as I share parts of my mind and heart I usually let go unspoken. It allows us to get on the same page which in turn means we connect faster. It changes the state of the atmosphere to be conducive to honor what is about to be said. A different level of safety and love and peace is created.
All that being said, I have two words to say to you; honesty hour.
It is time for me to get real with you.
I do not have the perfect recovery. I have never and will never claim to. It is messy and unpredictable and a wild ride of ups and downs that I can barely even keep track of. One minute life feels manageable and known and exciting. I cannot wait to wake up the next morning and get the privilege to do it all again. And then the next minute I am convinced I cannot handle it. I am wanting to run far in the opposite direction back to the disorder where it feels safer and more comforting and I can hide.
I think a lot about that life with the anorexia. My mind goes there quite frequently throughout the day in fantasies and what if's and should be's and could have been's and maybes. I wonder about it, about where I could go with it another time around and if I could do it better and if it is possible it could redeem itself and give me everything I believed it had the capability to. Even though the disorder seems so far away as if I lived it in another life, I still have certain thoughts that remind me that life is still present. I think about it as if it is not just one choice away from finding me in its grasp again. I dream about it as if it would not take just one bad day for me to return. I consume my mind with it as if I am in the clear to never relapse again.
Now it is time to get really honest. Those last paragraphs were just building up to this. They were setting the stage for what I really want to tell you, for what the woman behind the mask truly has to say, for the hard truth I have to admit.
The truth is that I am not in the clear. It is very much a real possibility that I could choose that life to call my own again. I cannot ignore the fact. I could post all the inspiring Instagram pictures that I want and make my Facebook statuses the most profound words of wisdom people have ever heard and I could speak endlessly on how great recovery is, and none of those things would diminish the fact that I am currently fighting a very large battle in my brain right now to not dive into a relapse. I am playing with fire allowing those thoughts of life with the disorder to be heard and acknowledged. I am going to get burned…or worse. At any moment, one of those matches could drop and ignite my mind. It will only take one. That is the fragility of the situation right now.
One almost dropped after last night.
Okay, let me rephrase that. It IS honesty hour. You deserve to know what those words really entail. One IS dropping after last night. It was a night of comparison and jealousy and hatred and fear. It was a night of crying over feeling trapped in this skin and being all too painfully aware of every inch of myself. It was a night of tremendous disappointment that I let my body become what it is. It was a night of memories and giving into ever growing temptations. Because of all those things, it is taking every ounce of my energy and strength and faith to not let that match fall today.
But I cannot sit here and say there is not a part of me that is tempted to let it hit the ground. There is a section of my mind craving that relief and begging me to take it home. There is a part of me crying out to be numb because all these emotions that come with actually living is too much to bear sometimes. There is a piece of this Jenna that feels really wrong calling this life hers.
I could judge and hate myself for those last few sentences. I could say those words must mean that I am not in recovery or that I am a horrible example or that there is simply no hope this will ever get better. I could use it all as evidence to justify why in this moment I could choose to watch the match fall and let everything I have fought for and worked for and cried and bled for burn as if none of it mattered, as if it was all replaceable, as if I never deserved it.
Or…(there is always a choice)
Or I could remember what I told you in the beginning of this blog. I do not have the perfect recovery. This is what imperfection looks like. And if we were all really honest with ourselves in this process, we would admit this is what RECOVERY looks like. I do not even have to put anything before that word to show that where I am and what I am battling is normal. 100% normal. It is not as if this is my first day like this. They happen; to this magnitude about once or twice a month and then the fantasizing thoughts sporadically throughout every day in small fragments. It is just my first time writing about it. It is my first honesty hour with you.
Because I know if I do not pour out this pain and use this trial, I will spend it on myself and the match WILL fall. If I want to survive and preserve this beautiful life with everything this journey has allowed me to own, I have to speak and I have to share and I have to expose the darkness. That match that could destroy everything also has the power to be used to light the way. It all depends on what I decide to do with it. Same match but two very different results because of one choice.
Because the world needs truth. People need to know they are not alone. Where they are and what they are feeling is okay. They are going to make it. This will all pass. Nobody showed me what recovery looked like, and I mean looked like without filters or well spoken words or sugarcoating. When I first committed to writing and making videos, I made a promise to myself I would be what I wish I had. No matter how uncomfortable it made me or how it made me look, I was going to be transparent with the knowing someone out there would find freedom in my authenticity.
Because I know I can share this with the faith tomorrow I will wake up and fight again. I know I have the choice to let the match fall, but I am more certain than anything else in my life that I will not let it. The burn from holding the match will heal, and I will have another story to share of survival. The flame will not consume me. I will not be lost in it. I will be built from it.