And that ought to be acknowledged.
During the last fortnight I have been teaching in an international summer school. The purpose of the school is to help students from all over the world improve their English; as a native English speaker and in possession of experience in teaching, I am well equipped to be of service.
It’s been busy, it’s been hectic, it’s been challenging.
But I couldn’t be happier. Some of my lessons have flopped, some pupils were challenging at times but I have also been thanked, high-fived and laughed with. I have met, danced, drank, worked and chatted with other staff members from all over Europe.
I haven’t breathed a word about my anorexia. Not to anyone. At home and university, I am fairly open about my struggles. The people around me know my past with anorexia and they know I still have days where I can fall back. Here though, I have been silent on the subject. Instead the people here know me as me. Not someone with an eating disorder.
And I cannot believe how well I have been doing. I eat 3 hot meals a day, tried new foods, embraced the variety and enjoyed it. I’ve only missed one meal in the last fortnight (and that was because I slept through breakfast oopsies). I haven’t weighed myself in two weeks (hurrah) and my anxieties have been quashed by the day’s work. I haven’t had time to be sad, to be preoccupied with my bad body image, instead I have been out clubbing, meeting new people, planning lessons, attending meetings and running classes.
There have been moments where I wanted to go back to my room and miss meals, because of a bad lesson or a deteriorating mood but I got the better of my thoughts. Instead I dealt with it, I managed it, no matter how loud my thoughts were.
I didn’t run away.
In a job like this, where you are helping people, it doesn’t matter what you look like. It doesn’t matter if you’re a size 6 or a size 16. It matters that you are kind, helpful, intelligent, respectful and confident. I have been priding myself on those qualities recently and I feel so much better for it.
Things are just going so well!
I am looking after myself properly and I’m happy and smiling and grateful and PLEASE if you have an eating disorder I am here to tell you that it does get better!
You can live and eat and be happy and comfortable in yourself and your body.
IT IS POSSIBLE.