My divorce and bulimia were in actuality a starting point for a new life that makes me happy
By: Lindsay Shack
I grew up in New York City. I did all the right things (by society’s standards): went to a private school, dieted and over-exercised, dyed my hair, dieted and over-exercised, straightened my hair, tried really hard to not to do anything to upset anyone, did all the cool things to fit in, dieted and over-exercised, went the extra mile to go to a top-rated college (struggled to find direction), dieted and over-exercised, did a stint in the corporate world, got married before the age of 30, bought a house before the age of 30, tried to start a family soon after because I already felt way behind, and dieted and over-exercised a little bit more…
None of it made me happy. None of it made me love myself – let alone like myself. Instead – I just felt lost, frustrated, and defeated.
What I came to realize was that sometimes the things you think you want are the very things holding you back from discovering what your heart truly desires. So then life ends up deciding for you…
For me, that was December 3rd, 2016. At the age of 33, that was the day I thought my life was over. After enduring 3 miscarriages and 3 fertility-related surgeries over the last year and a half, that day was the beginning of the end of what I “thought” was my “happy” marriage. I never saw my divorce coming.
What followed was extreme grief, exhaustion, loss, change, and the shattering of a dream: how I thought my life was supposed to be. The idea of starting over at 33 was daunting, hence thinking my life was over. I had no confidence, no hope, my heart was broken and my self-esteem was shattered.
I had no idea how I was supposed to ever like myself, let alone love myself. For most of my life, I’ve tied my self-worth to how I felt about my body. As you can imagine, being left by your husband does not help this in any way. I started to turn to food since I felt SO alone, uncertain, and uneasy. And then I started to purge.
Some days it was all I could think about during my day. I couldn’t wait for that use of control – I longed for the release that it brought me. I numbed my feelings with food, my drug of choice-which is so screwed up because, well, you have to eat. It was around me everywhere.
I looked forward to thinking about all the foods I was going to get to eat, and not worry about eating because I would just “take care of it” right after. In the beginning, the word “bulimic” didn’t even cross my mind. I mean, it didn’t count if it was just once in a while, right?! Wrong. I had a problem. I had bulimia. And I had so much shame.
Through some miracle, I had the will to know I deserved better – that my body deserved to be treated better. In December 2017 – about 1 year after my whole world was turned upside down, I decided that 2018 was going to be different, dammit. Different in how I treated and respected my body.
Grace, love, and compassion were to be allowed if I was having a bad day and I wouldn’t punish my health over it. This meant if I overate, then so be it. I didn’t deserve to call myself fat or a failure or unlovable, or disgusting, etc. etc. etc.
I started to open up about my story and my struggles and found solace in connecting with other people and community, including regular therapy sessions as well as my “movement” therapy – aka my treasured workouts. Fitness has been my saving grace, and I consider it as a form of therapy, too.
Today I can confidently say that *I am enough* *I am worthy* *I love myself* – AS a work in progress. I always have been and I always will be. We all are. And don’t trust anyone who says otherwise!
Part of it is because of what they say is true – you don’t become happy WHEN you reach your destination. You learn to be happy along the ride SO THAT you CAN reach your destination.
I now know I deserve everything my heart desires. Not because of how I look, if I’ve done enough with my day, or because of what another person thinks of me. Just because I’m me. And I know I can get it. I believe you can, too.