Each one of us has a defining moment in life.
One that puts everything in perspective.
If we are lucky to live long enough, we have many defining moments that allow us to live our life with purpose and meaning and end up exactly where we are supposed to be.
It is with time and reflection that we can learn and go "Ahhhh! That’s why this happened."
My defining moment was looking in the mirror at 42 years of age and no longer recognizing myself.
I realized I had crossed a line and knew I needed help.
This was my wakeup call.
I had just binged again but, this time, I couldn’t keep it in … I had to throw it up.
I was scared, this was different.
With all the other emotions shame and feeling really empty came and sat right beside me.
How could I have gotten to this stage?
If I may, let me share my story.
Growing up middle class I thought all was well with all my needs met. I had a mom, dad and brother. My father drank too much. My mom was ill for months at a time but I never thought it affected me.
I didn’t realize that it did and my comfort to deal with the turbulence would be food.
It was a reward, for something good. It was a comfort when things were not.
Food, never let me down, until I started being teased because I turned out to be the chubby kid in grade school.
Kids have no filter, they call things as they see it, and I was fat.
I was bullied, pushed, even had my name spray painted on the school walls saying,
“Vita is fat” and "Vita is a pig”.
Not easy to handle at 10 years old. It only made me want to eat and console myself more.
This rollercoaster continued until I was 15.
I was 50 lbs overweight and miserable.
And so the ride begins.
I stopped eating. Slowly the weight came off.
Over the summer holiday I lost 30 lbs and I was about to enter high school.
People started to notice that I looked different and I got compliments on my new look.
And by the end of the year I was 50 lbs lighter.
By the time I was in grade 10 I was looking like the other kids and the kids who teased me treated me differently. I was one of them. Interestingly, I knew I was the same person and it was they who lost their lustre to me.
This was the most valuable lesson I learned at an early age.
I was the exact same person, yet, how I looked dictated to others how I should be treated.
I also learned another not so positive side effect ... I thought ... If I am accepted at this weight, maybe if I lose more, I will be loved more and THAT is the slippery slope.
When is thin, thin enough?
The magazines, tv, models all told me that thin rules at any cost.
And it did cost me. My only thoughts revolved around how many calories I consumed.
What new diet could I try? How did my clothes fit? It was a constant judgement in my every waking moment.
I started to run and exercise to the extreme. The calories had to be calculated because my worth was wrapped up in these numbers.
I am sad to say, this went on and accelerated until that day I turned 42.
I never spoke of this to anyone. It was my secret - one filled with shame.
I speak now of silver linings in everything so let me tell you - this story has many silver linings.
I now realize that I was not ready to deal with my emotions or my eating disorder. I never even really thought it was a disorder, because society suggests that skinny is the only acceptable way to be.
All of this happened to me and for me so that it would bring me to this blog.
To share my story and be honest and open. So I can move forward and do what I am supposed to.
To bring us together, share our stories and learn from each other honestly and openly.
We are more the same than different.
That is what I know for sure.
Whether it is a drinking issue, eating issue, gambling issue or drug abuse we are all flawed, but it is these flaws that bring us hopefully to some common ground.
As with any addiction or illness the scars remain as a reminder of where we have been.
It’s not a judgement. I consider my eating disorder a badge I was given. To make good of and to learn to live with. It’s something I am proud to say does not define me. I have through therapy and hard work learned why this happened and how to put it in its place. It no longer rules my life. I can say that I have great respect for the power we give away when we try to control.
When we surrender to the weakness that is where we can find our true self and our purpose.
This is my fuel now. I have little shame of what I went through now, because, I am going to use my voice to allow perhaps maybe one little kid to avoid the pain and focus the good on the path you’re on.
It all intertwines into beauty is difference.
It’s the differences that we need to really wrap our heads around.
If we can start to take small steps to catch ourselves when we make a judgement on the difference - fat, skinny, black, white, old, young, rich, poor, smart.
And it is with time I now realize it to be the blessing it was meant to be and has brought me here, to write these words and share my experience.
Love and gratitude