As a young girl, I never believed it was ever okay to just “come as you are.”
I became really used to wishing I was different and hoping that I could shrink my personality, my mind, and my body to a stature that would be loveable. Little did I know, I was always worthy of being loved.
I wish I knew how okay it was to show up with struggle. I figured that my complicated relationship with my body and my love-hate connection with food was a failure. I remember telling myself I was probably the only girl in the world like this, except maybe someone else in a faraway country. I’m so grateful to the recovery community and NEDA for showing me that there are so many warriors like me everywhere. My disordered life started at 10, and I did not find any hope for recovery until I hit 22. I remind myself, it’s always better late than never.
For years, I truly wasn’t ready to change and really did not have an interest in letting go of my struggle, even though it was ruining my life. Why? Because my eating disorder had really become my best friend. Through thick and thin, food and my struggle preoccupied my mind and gave me a toxic and cyclical, yet very comforting and “safe” place to escape to. In college, buried in exams, an internship, and washing dishes in the dining hall to pay off my debt, I hit rock bottom with my secret eating disorder life. That was the first time I decided to see a therapist that specializes in eating disorders. That was the first time I really felt the feelings I needed to feel. That is the first moment in my life I felt the pain and fear I’d been avoiding by eating my feelings and burying myself in body shaming.
It’s really easy to beat yourself up for not being able to pursue recovery. It’s almost easier to spend your energy continuing behaviors you hate and hating on yourself than it is to force yourself to abandon all of that. But recovery is not about an overnight change. It’s about finding true compassion, understanding and love for your struggle, and letting go of the coping mechanisms you’ve realized are just that—coping mechanisms. An eating disorder ran my life until I realized that was not the life I was meant to live.
Reaching out and finding the love and support, and healing my mental health was the key to the life I was always wishing for. Recovery is yours to have and one thing you deserve. Choose more of you every day. That is all, my warrior.
Kelly Uchima is a body positive mental health advocate. Known as @_kellyu, she created the phrase “self-lovespo” to show her transition from her past as a “fitspo” account. Kelly created a ‘My Recovery Diary” series on Youtube to document her recovery and strives to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. She is incredibly passionate about encouraging to dig deeper into their feelings about food and their bodies and cares deeply about sharing her journey from struggle to strength and encourages all to pursue healing and true comfort in one’s body and mind.