I struggled for a long-ass time with disordered eating, feeling broken and like a failure (and had such an experience I decided to write a book about it).
The holidays were something I both looked forward to and dreaded. I loved the lights, and going to different places got me outside of my pit of yuck with the change of scenery (at least for a little while). The cookies I remembered growing up were comforting, at least until I ate too many of them. I could distract myself by talking with family, listening to Christmas music, and wrapping presents. I’d feel okay for a while. Then the gaping inner hole would emerge, laughing and wondering why I thought I’d left it behind. You know you’re still broken, right? You don’t have anything together. Just wait until everyone sees the cracks, fraud.
I tried to fill that hole with lots and lots of cookies (and sometimes wine, egg nog, and/or hot chocolate). It didn’t work.
Where am I going with this today? I’m not totally sure, though know I want and need to write something about the holidays.
This time can feel hard. I think the festivities allow us more hiding places — but only for a while. Once the high from the cookies, parties, gifts, and alcohol wears off, the pit comes into view, asking how we could outrun something that exists within.
I don’t have any quick-fix pills or “it’s all awesome!” phrases to make it all better. They would just be distractions anyway. What I do know is that trying to outrun or hide from something within will never work. The way to the other side is through. You’ve got to go through the pit to come out the other side.
If you’re facing the pit this year, I want you to know that I see you. You are not alone, nor broken, a failure, or crazy. I’m sorry that you’re hurting. I see your hurt. And I know you’ve got more strength in your pinkie finger than you know.
If it helps, know that I am here, sitting with you and holding your hand. We can cry, laugh, scream, or run in circles. I’ll make cookies with you if you want. Or we can sit in silence. Let’s breathe. In and out. And then again.
Yes, you will make it to through this holiday season. You will. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll see a hint of something you didn’t expect. And it may be beautiful.