i started hating myself in february…

i started hating myself in february, 2005. i was 35 years old.
the reasons are irrelevant, the consequences critical.
i committed to swimming and speed walking everyday.
i wanted to lose ten pounds by my check-up in august. because ideal weight was too much.
and i lost it.
life-altering change hit me head-on in the fall
and i stopped eating altogether.
i lost 20 more pounds.
and ed (eating disorder) had grabbed right hold,
crippling my hands to keep me from reaching for food
crippling my mouth to keep me from chewing
crippling my mind, handing me over to the deepest, darkest fears of my life.
i told some friends, thinking i could fix it by saying it out loud. or googling it.
exercise addiction. i wouldn’t say anorexia.
but my husband would. and did.
but my doctor would. and did.
and then i was in therapy. a christian.  a teacher. a mom. in therapy. for a mental illness.
it lasted forever it seems – the refeeding. the mothers bringing lunch to my classroom.
the weekly weigh-ins. the crying sessions about fat.
25 pounds. i gained that. i was proud. i was horrified.
then the therapy was about okayness. which took longer than gaining the 25.
i began loosening the rules.
the clock no longer dictated when we ate.
the food pyramid no longer dictated what we ate.
i allowed my children, my boys, my hank and jack, the freedom of choice.
i touched dirty dishes.
i touched meat.
i ate doughnuts.
2008 and i was better. mostly.
and writing. listening to the god call to write it.
2009 and i published.
so i had to tell the boys.
by then hank was 14 and jack was 10,
and i had kept it all from them.
i knew they wouldn’t understand – i didn’t understand,
and i was ashamed.
i mean, good moms don’t fall.
but i told them,
and they didn’t get the why.
and they asked but you’re okay now?
yes. yes!
and we all believe it.

(thank you, dear kendal, for guest posting today… kendal blogs here, and her book, ‘Full,’ can be purchased here… tomorrow, i will be starting a series on What it means to be made in God’s image… join me?)


49 thoughts on “i started hating myself in february…

  1. Thanks to both Emily and Kendal,

    Kendal, every time I read your words I’m thankful. Thankful that you are real enough to put yourself out there. Thankful that your family circled around and supported. Thankful that you beat ed and you continue to beat ed every day.

  2. oh, good to see you here sharing more of your story to more people…I think it’s really significant your talking about ‘ed’ and your experience happening later in life–I think that more people struggle at this point than we imagine…love to you both!

  3. beautifully written
    how long did you fight it?
    i sank way deep into ed (have always had ed) after having a broken foot in oct. and am still fighting it of course therapy, nutritionist, dr, etc., are helping me see the light little by little i still fear giving it up and being normal — let’s put it this way my 10 year old weighs more than i do and he is shorter
    i pray and pray and try to follow God’s path for me but i am ashamed to say ed wins most of the time still
    any words of wisdom would be welcomed

    • victory is for everyone. i used to believe that it was for other people, not me. it was a slow change of mind. i had to learn to live out romans 12:1-2. paul says “do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renweing of your mind.” i consider ed to be the pattern of this world for me….praying for you this minute and will email you.

      • dear tam… thank you for sharing part of your story with us. i believe eventually your prayers will win, but it is key to pray out of a desire for healing, and not out of obligation… do you truly want to get better? and this getting better, it starts by learning to forgive and to love yourself… praying for you sister. xo

  4. Such a mystery, how we listen to the deceiver whose only desire is to destroy the beauty that GOD has created. Kendal, my heart hurts for your painful journey. I pray that GOD will use your painfilled story to lead others to truth and healing.

  5. emily, thanks for hosting kendall! and thanks for sharing your own story. i was particularly struck by this: “desire to help parents know how to inspire soul and body image in their children”. i have NO idea how to do this and would love any words of wisdom you can share!

    • dear jenny… yes, this is my heart’s cry. i actually started a series today on this blog called “what it means to look like God” in which i’m hoping to uncover what it means to be a woman who reflects Christ, and how to teach this soul image to our daughters (and sons). seeking alongside you, sister. xo

    • keeping negative body image talk out of the home is a great place to start. we have to be so careful with our words. the young lady i am mentoring has learned so much at the treatment center where she resides right now. she has taken the word fat out of her vocabulary – she doesn’t use it for herself or anyone else. just a thought.

  6. In this, I see God’s amazing redemption and the jealously that He has for us, for that when we fall, it is Him who can swoop in and save us.

  7. Kendal, you are so incredibly big and brave in my eyes, girl. I couldn’t hold back the tears when I got to the place where you told your sons.

    And to have published about that journey! Blessings on you.

  8. Kendal, I am so thankful for your healing and and your desire to help others. You are a beautiful woman with a tender heart. Thank you, Emily, for sharing Kendal’s story!

  9. You are brave real and raw and I value that. I know there are so many who are and will be helped by your sharing. I know many live this life in secret shame and feel they have no one that will understand.

  10. So thankful for your words and for your healing. “and ed (eating disorder) had grabbed right hold,
    crippling my hands to keep me from reaching for food
    crippling my mouth to keep me from chewing
    crippling my mind, handing me over to the deepest, darkest fears of my life.” I love the way you describe an ed here-it can be hard describing it to someone that hasn’t experienced it-the power that it has, the evil, dark disease that it is, and the incredible fight it takes to crawl out of it. But so thankful that Jesus is more powerful.

  11. since about 2008, i’ve had to go on birth control & prozac for a debilitating problem called PMDD. I’m now struggling with my body image cuz one I’m about 15lbs heavier & also for yrs b/4 PMDD & taking meds struck I was naturally thin. I say negative things about my body & i’m sort of obsessed with losing these exta lbs. Do y’all have any advice so that I can let the extra weight go & learn to say positive things about my body?

  12. hello friend… thank you for sharing your story so vulnerably. it is hard to just immediately stop saying negative things about your body unless you truly believe you are lovely, and it’s hard to believe you are lovely unless forgiveness happens… forgiveness towards all the hurt you’ve experienced, forgiveness towards the people who’ve hurt you, forgiveness of yourself… and a willingness to see through new eyes. i don’t think it can happen all at once, but slowly… with God’s strength, not your own. a book i really recommend is lisa bevere’s “you are not what you weigh.” xo

  13. I like your 3 ideas & thank you.
    1. Forgiveness towards the hurt, the ppl. & myself
    2. A willingness to see through new eyes
    3. Lisa Bevere’s “you are not what you weigh” xo

  14. Such truth and inspiration in your words. Thank you for sharing! A severe bout with post-partum depression threw me into an eating disorder that I first also labeled an “exercise addiction.” Six years later and fully recovered, it is so nice to know that the pain is not in vain. We can help others with our stories. Thanks again for sharing yours.

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