Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bloom Where You Are Planted

I received some incredibly helpful feedback on my previous post and as a result, that week long bad mood has finally lifted. If any of you are struggling with you current place in recovery (or life in general, I suppose) today's post is for you. 

The concept of "blooming where you are planted" was introduced to me two days ago and it has really changed my perspective on a few things. I may have heard it in the past, but it really resonates with me at this time in my life. This phrase actually originated in the bible (1 Corinthians 7:17-24). Essentially what it means to bloom where you are planted is to make the most of your current place in life regardless of any unpleasant circumstances. Don't wait until something better comes around - start now!

Lately I have been so caught up in comparing myself and my current place in recovery to the lives of others. We are constantly bombarded with pictures of smiling faces and seemingly perfect lives on facebook and other social media sites, which makes it easy to feel badly about ourselves. I am 25 years old, back in school, recovering from an eating disorder, and living with my parents. Those aren't exactly ideal circumstances compared to most people my age, but ya know what? I can let that bring me down or I can continue to bloom. The choice is always mine.

It's easy for me to forget that I have not even been out of treatment for a year when I begin comparing myself to others. That first year for many is by far the most difficult; there are many up and downs, slips and falls, and more mistakes made than I am willing to admit. For me recovery has been a process of completely rebuilding my life from rock bottom up.

As pointed out by one of the comments on my previous post, I have been given a different and very difficult path in my late teens and early 20s. One of the beautiful things about life is we don't have to take the exact same path as everyone else. Life would be incredibly boring if we did. So why am I continuously getting caught up in the idea that I should be further along in life? 

After quite a bit of self reflection these past few days, I have realized that this recovery process is putting me further ahead than most people in some parts of life. My level of self-awareness continues to increase dramatically and I have been given the opportunity to go back and follow a career path that fulfills me, while some people are stuck in a job they hate forever. I'm learning to take care of myself, be assertive, put my needs first, building a healthy relationship with food, improving self confidence, rebuilding relationships with those closest to me, and the list goes on and on. 

I'd say I have been blooming where I have been planted more than I give myself credit for. Recovery has given me the opportunity to face some pretty scary things at a very young age that some people can't even imagine. In the long run "blooming where I am planted" will make me a much stronger, well rounded person. 

One final piece of advice I received was to make two lists: one with the 10 things I hate most about my eating disorder and the other with the 10 things I hate most about recovery. After completing these lists, I was shocked to find how much better my worst days in recovery are than any day in my eating disorder. This little exercise was a great way to shift my perspective when I needed it most. 

Unfortunately, bad days are a part of life. The good thing is, however, I have learned that my bad days are always the greatest opportunity to learn and grow - or "bloom" - if we take the time to acknowledge whatever is causing the pain. Today I am grateful for all of the support I received during a time of need. I have been "blooming where I was planted" for the past year or so, I just forgot for a few days. 

I'm not 100% happy with my current place in life, but that's okay. I still have the opportunity to make the most of what I have been given and continue to bloom.



  1. Wow - this is exactly what I find so hard to explain to others. While I wish I never had an eating disorder and never had to go through recovery, I feel like it matured me and made me more self aware. I know more about myself and am more in tune with who I am as a person than someone else my age. No one seems to get that but it is so true. Love the list idea, it is true. I think we all still have those bad days, I know I still do. But noting can compare to those bad days in the disorder.

    1. Yup, exactly. In a weird way I'm almost thankful for my eating disorder because of all the things it has taught me about life and about myself. I agree that not many people understand that, but that's their loss I guess. ;)

  2. I'm beyond excited that you gained this perspective! I hope that you find that with time, the bad days decrease in both frequency and intensity while the good days become more and more regular. For me, each bad day would lead to a slip. Each and every one. And now, I'm better able to move past them. It's empowering to see the changes happen.

    And I agree about our EDs setting us back in some areas, but magnifying the areas in which we excel. Personally, I would FAR rather be self-aware and able to read the emotions of myself and others than to be at the top of a competitive field working 80hrs a week and raking in the big bucks. To me, that isn't what life is about. Life is about appreciation of all things, and having the time to spend with myself and my loved ones.

    And just as a final thought -- we need to think of our recoveries like children. You and I are the proud parents of infant recoveries. Not able to survive without constant supervision and care. Soon, they will become toddlers, and won't be quite as high maintenance. After that, they'll leave for kindergarten and we'll be able to leave them alone for hours at a time without worry. It takes time for recoveries to grow and be independent and not require the constant vigilence. Until then, it needs to be a focus if it will be sustained.

    Glad to see the positive attitude re-emerging!!

    1. Thanks Chelsie! I nodded in agreement with everything you said. Working 80hrs no matter what job you have is no fun - I have been there. You are so right, life is about appreciating the small things and being present. I love the recover like a child analogy. It helps to break it down into stages like that, rather than looking at recovery as one big, long, never ending journey. Step by step, day by day. Yay for the return of positivity! :)

  3. Glad to see you are emerging from a tough week!! I really like the phrase bloom where you are planted. It is so easy to compare ourselves to others.I have a really hard time with it too though, especially having an older brother and sister who never went through anything outside of transitory and minor issues growing up. I was always the one my parents worried about. I still sometimes feel like I have the word "loser" stamped on my forehead, and it is a struggle some days to find my sense of self worth.

    You are so right about recovery being a gift in self awareness though. I'm actually really glad things got as bad as they did because if they wouldn't have, i would not have had the opportunity to get treatment and completely change the way I thought about my weight and food and myself. I would rather make a journey out of hell than be stuck in limbo for my entire life, which is what would have happened. It is truly a blessing that I am escaping the generations of weight cycling my family have all gone through.

    Also it might not be ideal, but being 25, back in school, and living with parents is far from unusual anymore. I know a ton of people in their mid to late twenties living at home - I would do it in a second if I was single and if my parents lived close enough. It's just not that easy to be living independently as a 20 something anymore unless you are in the few lucrative fields with jobs out there. I'm making $12.50 an hour as a post-bacc and will no doubt be back in school again at 25. It is so easy to say "I'm a loser because I went through this and look where I am and look how much further all of these people are in life..." but if your friend or family member were in the same place you are even without suffering from a life threatening illness, you'd surely feel more sympathetic to them because it's hard to know what you want to do and it's hard to find jobs and being an adult is just difficult in general these days.

    You should really celebrate the place you are at, Kelsi. I know very few people who have made such huge progress in the first year - and who can so eloquently describe the both the wonderful things and the difficulties and all of the nuances of the recovery process. You are going to go far, and I think the next few years will be even more revolutionary for you. :)

  4. "I would rather make a journey out of hell than be stuck in limbo for my entire life." That might one of the best statements I've ever heard. :) It's so true - I can't imagine living my entire life in a place where I was constantly battling weight or other inner demons. Maybe this whole thing really is a blessing in disguise!

    I also really like the whole, if a friend or family member of mine was in my situation (eating disorder or not) I would be much more sympathetic. I probably wouldn't even think twice about it, honestly. How sad is that? If you ever figure out why we are so hard on ourselves but can sympathize for others, please let all of us know.

    Thanks so much for your kind words, Lindsay. You know I always look forward to your comments. It is hard for me to believe I'm still in my first year of recovery. Sometimes it feels likes YEARS have pasted since I was at RCC. I always appreciate your support and insight. I hope I can be like you someday. <3

  5. This made me smile! Those words need to sink into my heart as well. My family was just uprooted and we have a new place to bloom!

    Our pastor said something today that particularly grabbed my attention: "if you feel like you're going through hell, whatever you do, keep moving! Don't stop!". Whatever "the next thing" is, we need to do it and we will be a step closer to where we want to be.

    Your words and heart sounded very encouraged and hopeful--it's contagious! When you bloom, you help those around you to grow!

    1. This post is dedicated to you, ya know? :) Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and spreading your positivity. I really did a lot of thinking about "blooming where planted" over the past couple of days and my perspective has honestly shifted. Best of luck with your move! I agree that the best way to go is to keep moving - stopping doesn't help anything.

      Thanks again for inspiring this post and sharing your insight with me and whoever read this post. I'm lucky to have you along this journey with me!

  6. Thanks for the kind words...I am honored! --Alison

  7. What an amazingly strong and beautiful group of woman. You all have SO much to be proud of and always remember God’s Grace! 💚💛