“Courage is to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.” ~Brené Brown
One weekend in January, two years ago, while in San Francisco for a workshop, I held a picnic for one in my hotel room. The spread was beautiful, but no matter how much I ate there was still such darkness in the hotel room and surrounding me. The next day, I completed the workshop, flew home, and found a therapist dealing with food issues, trauma and body image. At that point, I’d been a compulsive overeater and binge eater on and off for 10 years. I knew things were getting worse, and I’d never make it if I didn’t ask for help. The darkness was too much for me to fend off alone, and really, let’s face it, I was asking a lot of food to keep me functional and the darkness at bay.
A couple of weeks after San Francisco, I had the first appointment with my Rock Star therapist, and started a journey of healing, breaking open, integration and returning to myself. You see, I eat feelings and not food. How could I have a life of love, laughter, community and service, if I’m hiding and disconnected?
By now, you’ve probably heard of Brené Brown, her work with vulnerability and shame, and her fantastic book, Daring Greatly. You may not have heard of The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. In it, she writes, “We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t a zombie. I could feel, but over the past two years in my thawing, which is at times inconvenient and flat out hard, I have experienced deeper, richer emotions.
The identity I’m forging now is much stronger for having been broken. Owning all of me, the light and dark, is a moment by moment commitment. A life of radical self-love, joy and wholeheartedness awaits as I continue to show up for myself.