I learnt the hard way to not get my hopes up. Always let down, always dropped, always left a little bit more broken than before. Family, friends, coaches, GB team staff and, of course – boys, would remind me why I was ‘stupid to think that this time would be any different.’
So yes, I learnt the hard way not to get my hopes up. I learnt to not look too far into the future, to not see ‘meaning’ in anything and to expect the worst until I saw something confirmed on paper.
And yet, deep down, my hopes always remained high.
And I suppose my hopes are still high. My optimism gets commented on frequently and those who know everything will comment they can’t understand why.
Why, after everything would I still be the girl who is still so full of happiness and hope that one day, everything will be okay?
Thing is, I could easily be the cold-stone-hearted-ice-queen after everything and everyone would understand but it would be allowing those experiences to deprive myself of potential happiness. Yes, people have hurt me in some of the worst ways imaginable but I don’t want that to prevent me from finding future happiness and inner peace.
But the beautiful paradox continues to exist. I still fear the worst. I simultaneously drag my hopes down just as I start to put my faith in them. The thing is, what I know and what I feel are unfortunately two extremely different things.
I know developing an eating disorder wasn’t ‘my fault’ but I feel ashamed and disappointed in myself for having one.
I know my friends would do anything to help me but I feel that I’m a burden they will wish they didn’t have.
I know my boyfriend wants to be with me but I feel that he’s bound to prefer someone with less issues. Less damage. Less of a past she couldn’t control.
I know that three meals a day won’t make me gain weight but I feel incredibly fat for wanting to eat, let alone even eating.
I know I’ve not purged for more than four weeks but I feel like that doesn’t truly mean anything.
I know in the past I have found ways to purge in secret when surrounded by others but I feel like that doesn’t mean anything regarding these last four weeks.
In his words, I’m ‘kicking ass’ and I know that I am but I feel like I’ve achieved nothing.
I’m still working on developing my self-compassion that my therapist and I worked on. Allowing myself to appreciate that there will always be days where I do get hurt and need support, or days I fall down and need people to pick me up but none of that makes me a failure. Loving myself for the things I know rather than hate myself for the things I simply feel. And of course it’s difficult to not believe the awful things people have made me feel, but if it was easy then it wouldn’t be holding me back right now…
It’s potentially the hardest part of my recovery (in the necessary circumstances) feeling what I know rather than only knowing what I let myself feel.