The Choice Is Mine

It has been a while since my words have touched this blog. In the perfect world I would tell you it is because I got so busy living life. I was tied up in extravagant adventures newfound freedom allowed me to take. I was so caught up seizing opportunities of bliss and fulfilling lifelong dreams.

Unfortunately, this world is not perfect. Life does not present seamless transitions from one day to the next. Recovery is not linear.

My hiatus was a result of a mind taking too many trips back to the past to focus on building a present worth writing about. My time away was a consequence of choosing the road more traveled despite every sign warning me against it. I slowly crept backwards from the pristine path my feet were learning to navigate through onto the familiar beaten one already covered in tear stained prints. The silence was the product of me deciding, choosing, agreeing to align back with the disorder.

This will not be a post written in a victim mentality. I was not helpless in this situation. I was not stripped of control. It was an active choice to say yes to the thoughts, to the behaviors, to the emotions. Regardless of how loud the disorder yelled or how alluring its promises were, I never did not have the will to say no. I never did not have some ounce of strength to turn my back on it. I never was powerless to not let my authentic voice decide to choose life, to choose health, to choose change. I had the control. I just chose to hand it over to the part of my brain that creates peace out of pain and calm out of chaos. To the half of me that calls darkness home. To the section of myself that is too scared to feel life in her veins, blocking out any experience that will teach her what it means to truly be alive and free and loved.

I chose as I stared at myself in the mirror in the H&M dressing room to actively fight to change what my mind was showing me. I chose that I was not going to learn to accept a body moving forward in recovery. I chose that what my reflection showed me was shameful and hideous and needed to brush up on its disappearing act. I chose to give the disorder just one day of it never hearing no from me to see how it would feel again, if it still could transport to that place of euphoria and relief. I chose to skip that first meal and unite with the disorder, returning to its rules and reprimands and rituals, setting the cycle in motion. I chose to not stop on that one day and continue going for many more. I chose to turn a blind eye to all the signs a hurricane was forming, skipping right into the eye of the storm believing this time I could make it through unscathed, conveniently forgetting how strong its winds are designed to ensure you do not make it out alive.

I chose to cover up from the rest of the world what land I was calling home again, taking advantage of my gift of word manipulation to fool people so I could keep the disorder close. I could easily make things appear better than they really were with a simple use of creative language. One word change or an added inflection or an embellished expression and I could turn a sad story into a very happy one. I have learned the right words to say and the proper lingo to use to pull the wool over my reader’s eyes. Anything I have written in the past six months has been a clever clover up to the truth. I was not willing to have the disordered exposed and have it threatened to be taken away. I had to keep people in the dark even though I was painfully standing in the light of truth of where I was heading.

I have been at this long enough to know when I am making decisions based off of the guidelines and lies of the disorder. The ability to fool myself is long gone. I can act oblivious or naïve to defend the disordered part of me but no amount of lying to myself or the world can negate the inner truth I know that what I was doing was not moving me towards life. No masks or words are strong enough to convince my heart and soul those choices were warranted or normal. It is like telling the grass to grow blue. It instinctively knows it was created green and will fight to stay that way. Authentic Jenna knows what she is meant to be and disordered, lifeless, passionless is not in her description no matter what overplayed, obnoxious, sword bearing thoughts her brain rattles off to attempt to kill her spirit. She spent the past six months praying I would let her grow green, but disordered Jenna kept choosing to paint her blue.

I chose every step on this trip. I used my free will to choose to walk the path of self destruction. I chose to make my past the present again and repeat history. And that could have defeated me, had me feeling hopeless or as though I failed, but I chose to not let it.

I came to understand the beautiful part of it being in my control is that it serves as a reminder; a reminder that that if I had the option to choose to return to the disorder, I also had the option to choose to return to a healthier lifestyle. If one decision to commit could put me back in the disorder then one decision to commit could get me back out. With one choice to change the ending proceeding a prefix, I could turn relapse into recovery.

And this week I made that choice. And every second of every day I make it again. I do not say yes to an hour from now or tomorrow or a week. I take it one moment at a time, deciding in this guaranteed second I am living in that I am going to move forward. You can only live one choice at a time much like you can only write one word at a time. This life is a story and every second you are penning something new on blank pages. With every choice you are writing a different word. It is all in your control if you make it something worth reading.

J.L.