two months ago i cried outside an ice cream shop on a crowded sidewalk. wanted the ice cream, didn’t want the crippling anxiety that would subsequently arrive afterwards, like clockwork. the thing about an eating disorder is that it’s like an invisible injury. it wrecks, mentally and emotionally and physically. it makes you someone you’re not. It says “no” to social outings, it says “worthless” in fitting rooms, it says “slow” on starting lines, it says “selfish” when consuming. the words to articulate the monstrosity of an eating disorder will never be expressed properly. but i wish i could tell 15 year old Chris, back in 2011, so many things that 24 year old Chris knows now in 2019. i wish i could tell 20 year old Chris that her body is not meant to look the way it did at 12. i wish i could take back the years of running i lost because i supplied myself with enough just to survive, and not to thrive. just enough to sustain, but not enough to excel. the consequences dig deep. they’re not always obvious, and sometimes they lurk in ways that show up years down the road. i decided months ago after yet another crash and burn training cycle i’d change. and i did. we are nice to others when we find out how they’re really struggling. we have empathy when stories like Mary Cain’s are made known. but it shouldn’t take that. it should be an every day act, the every day behaviors, every day open heart. be kind, we are all doing our best. you are doing your best. i’m doing my best. and forgive yourself for not knowing then what you know now.
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THE STORY OF TWO WOLVES
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”