Monday, September 22, 2014

Seeing Life in Color


This past weekend I spent two days exploring the Lake Michigan shoreline in the northwest part of the state and was blown away by the beautiful scenery. I wish I would have counted the number of times I said, "We are still in Michigan, right?!" 


Let's flashback five short years ago to when I also spent time in the same exact region of the state, but hardly remember any of it. I don't remember the views being as spectacular, the water being the same vibrant shade of blue, or the adorable shops downtown. All I remember about those trips is how anxious I was because I couldn't control my food intake like I normally could at home. The people around me were constantly watching me eat. I was so caught up in counting the calories I ate and then finding ways to burn them off, that I was barely able to enjoy the moment. 


 These two pictures were taken on the same trail, five years apart. Yet somehow I completely forgot how special this part of the state is. 

People in recovery from eating disorders often talk about "seeing life in color" as they continue to get healthy and maybe this is what is meant by that. Five years ago my vision was blurry because I was unable to see things beyond my disease. I lived in a world of black and white; either I was restricting my intake or I wasn't. Either I was being good or I was being bad. Everything else seemed insignificant. 

But now, two years after leaving treatment, I think I am realizing how spectacular life in color actually is. Don't get me wrong, my life is far from perfect and I still have many things to improve on, but I am no longer living with an eating disorder, nor do I ever want to again. Wow, I need to soak those words up.

I know it's been awhile since I have written here, but I felt like this was a moment worth sharing. I think when we are sick, our worlds become so narrow; all we see is the disorder and nothing else, no matter how incredible our surroundings might be. It is also possible that I have had many of these "seeing life in color" moments recently, but haven't had something this concrete to compare them to.

Empire Bluffs 2009 and 2014
Pyramid Point 2012 (just before entering treatment) and 2014

I needed this. I have been really hard on myself about not being further along in life recently, which seems to be a reoccurring issue for me in recovery. By looking at these photos and thinking back, I am finally able to see just how far I have come in five years. It's weird to admit that I am actually quite proud of myself. 

A brief update - I am currently in the social work program at the school I am attending and absolutely loving my classes. I am looking at a graduation date of April/May 2016 and then will continue on to get my Masters degree. I feel like I am at home in this program... Finally. We are discussing topics that I am passionate about and researching treatment methods and interventions. Who knows if I will actually end up working with eating disorder patients; at this point it doesn't matter because I have found my niche and can easily relate to others in vulnerable positions.

I may have seen the world in black and white five years ago, but I am thrilled to say I am finally seeing in color again thanks to this weekend trip up north and my continued efforts in recovery.

Progress.


8 comments:

  1. This provides so much hope and inspiration that it makes me cry.

    Thank you so much for sharing, Kels!! xoxo

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    1. Aw, I didn't mean to make you cry! Happy tears I hope! ;-)

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  2. I'll be 22 by the time I get into university, and it's definitely difficult to remember that that's okay. With a society that demands entering university at 18, doing so later already feels like a failure before the chance to succeed is even offered. Now, I know I'm going to kick ass in university next year, so there's no problem with my own personal motivation, but sometimes the messages I receive from family and society drag on me a bit. Thank you for this gentle reminder that it's okay where I'm at =)

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    1. It is difficult to remember, but please do your best to remember that it's okay because it really is. Society can be tough, but you are tougher. <3

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  3. Absolutely fantastic!
    From the whole way across the globe you are such an inspiration!
    I am so glad you are now reaping the rewards of all ur hard work!
    U saved my life and u saved ur own!
    Love
    Triona

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    1. You're too sweet! So great to hear from you! <3 <3

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  4. Kelsi,

    I can relate to this so much! In fact, I felt like I could have written it. For a while when I used to read your blog, I looked up to you and hoped I could one day get where you were. Now I feel like I am in a similar state of recovery and can relate so much to you, although I still admire you so much. I still hope to meet you eventually because I feel like we would really get along! ;)
    One school I am applying to is in Toledo….so that would be kind of close, right?

    Oh, about the school thing! I know how that is. I graduated undergrad at 25 and was certainly not the conventional college student but that's okay. I have been trying to come to terms with the fact that my life didn't take the same path many others take and that it's OKAY that I will go to grad school as a 27 or 28-year-old and not as a 22-year-old like we're "supposed" to. I am the same way about constantly being so hard on myself about not being further along! If it's not school I am beating myself up about, it's why am I not engaged or married or having kids like other people. Frankly, it's exhausting and i am trying to learn to just be okay with where I am…but it's hard and definitely takes work and time.

    Body image is the one thing I still really struggle with and don't know how to fix that or when that will improve but I hang in there because I,too, am seeing color again. I eat ice cream and french fries,laugh again and also am in a relationship and am happier than I have been in years.

    Much love<3

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    1. Thanks so much for the comment! :)
      Toledo is about two hours from me.. So yes, pretty close haha.
      I'm so glad to hear you have found a solid place in your recovery. Success stories often make me emotional because they are so rare, so keep up the good work! I sometimes struggle with body image, but honestly, what girl doesn't??! I try to remind myself of that every single day while I'm getting dressed. I think body image and self-love go hand in hand. Let's work on it together! :)

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