Outfit Post: The right to say yes

The word no is fundamental to my eating disorder. No dessert for me. No, you don't need to worry about me, I'm fine. No, I can't possibly wear that pencil skirt, it'll make me look fat. No thanks, I'm not hungry. No, I'm okay. No, I'm busy tonight. It's a lot about avoidance, crippling negative body image,  and refusing to have needs. That extends beyond food. When in relapse, only the complete and total refusal to acknowledge my needs would make me feel in control. The idea was to need nothing - friends, love, clothes that exposed my body, support, food.

I went so long experiencing this numbness that I developed quite a few methods of deceiving myself that I was being authentic. I had no clue what I wanted, and the submission of my needs lead to an inability to recognize them at all. What I ended up doing was turning "me" into a slave to the eating disorder. I was nothing beyond it, and nothing without it. Ironically, I also became really, really good at faking a non-ED self to everyone around me. It's surprisingly easy to just go along with what everyone else wants to do. You simply stealthily observe, check body language and tone of voice, and easily conclude what someone wants before they even express it. This has the added bonus of making the other person feel happy, keeping the peace and thus ensuring your security in the relationship.

I'm coming to a point in my recovery where I find myself saying yes more than I ever have. It goes way beyond yes, I do want some ice cream tonight, or yes, I can wear that pencil skirt. It's about letting go of the embarassment I feel over having needs. Saying yes makes me feel vulnerable and weak. And shameful. I feel ashamed for asking for what I want, for having dreams, for saying out loud how I really feel. Saying yes makes me feel greedy and indulgent and selfish for wanting. Saying yes to food is hard enough - I've gotten to the point where I can accept that I have to eat, but saying I want to is an entirely different concept.

It's true that I often don't know what I want. I still find it challenging to recognize if I'm truly enjoying myself, or just putting on an act to make those around me happy. Take the following example: Last spring I accompanied my husband as he played golf. He'd wanted me to go with him for years, but I always put him off, imagining the experience as entertaining as watching paint dry. But I agreed, and sat in the cart reading a book while he shot his 18 holes. He was really, really happy to have me with him - he even said he played better than he ever had. But the whole time, I kept asking myself - am I happy? Am I having a good time? Is this fun? Even now, nearly a year later, I have no clue.

But I see this as progress. I'm questioning whether I'm being authentic or not. I'm refusing to keep my head in the sand. And I'm giving myself the permission to finally say yes.

Thrifted Tucker For Target blouse; vintage thrifted skirt ($.89!); Target belt; H&M sandals; Forever 21 pyramid bracelet; Forever 21 rhinestone earrings; Loft coral ring; Betsey Johnson watch






11 comments:

  1. LOVE this...you are adorable!! I have the dress version of that blouse and I have been wearing way too much this season!

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  2. Good for you for posting this Elissa! You're inspiring me every day that I read your blog! :)

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  3. Brava! A beautifully written, courageous post, and very authentic indeed. I respect your journey, and thank you for sharing it with us. Keep saying yes to what matters to you!

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  4. I always appreciate how honestly you write about your experiences with your eating disorder. I hope it helps people in the same situation. Loving this outfit -- an 89 cent skirt? Holler!

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  5. THis outfit is so cute...say yes to Pencils often!!

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  6. And you ROCK that pencil skirt, girl. ; ) Thanks for being open and courageous about your life. My good friend, Addi, has a blog where she discusses her recovery from an eating disorder, too, if you're looking for camaraderie or encouragement. http://labellevie29.blogspot.com/ You aren't alone girl. xo

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  7. So fascinating. I've always known that EDs are about control, but hadn't thought of the needs-based part of that equation. Thanks for sharing your story so frankly and earnestly.

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  8. That outfit looks so great on you ;). Thanks for sharing about authenticity. It's so hard to be true to yourself in this busy world.

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  9. I still think this outfit is FANTASTIC on you! And, for what it's worth, I think you're fabulous. And I think you should say, "Heck yes I am!" :)

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  10. Through blogging I can tell you are being very authentic. This must be such a great outlet for you! I think you're awesome in person btw! I didn't get to tell you but I thought your outfit was fabulous. I love the cut & color of that top on you and I need to steal your shoes. pronto!

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