I realize it's been a while since I have last posted. I honestly don't know who even reads this anymore, or if this post will even be read. I have thought about posting over the past several months, and nothing has really stood out to me. Are things going well? Are things going poor? But why do I even want to share that publicly?

It's recently become more clear to me that I have found my identity less and less in my eating disorder. Yes, I still struggle with the whole identity piece because many of my closest friends are people I have met through treatment, and a lot of people I currently know do know about my history. It is definitely something that's always a "fall back" in my mind. I struggle with an eating disorder, I always will struggle with it (I know that's debatable, but I personally believe this is something that I will struggle with for the rest of my life). If I'm lost and feel hopeless in life, my eating disorder is who I am.

But over the past year, while there have definitely been times where I have been deeply immersed in my eating disorder, I have slowly been able to distance myself from that identity. I have ambitions in life, I am passionate about a career in helping hospitalized children, I have a very planned out timeline of where I want to be a year from now. While my ED still lingers in the background and is still a struggle, it's not something I feel that I need (or even want) people to know about me.

During my volunteering at Children's National Medical Center, and during my application process for practicums, my ED was something I definitely tried to keep on the down low. I used to be very open about my struggle and my recovery, and while it's not necessarily a "secret," it's not something I choose to share unless the conversation leads in the direction of me appropriately sharing. And even then, I share it as a "past struggle," and try not to focus on current presence of it.

Today I had a conversation with another student at my practicum, and the conversation came up about how I really struggle being home around Thanksgiving. Without going into every single detail of the conversation, at first I had no intention of sharing why. I did not want that to be how I was viewed, or something that triggered a red flag. But eventually it just felt natural to share that I previously struggled with it. The conversation wasn't long, but it was somewhat relieving to have a brief conversation with someone who had a close friend who also struggled with this, and wasn't ignorant to the impact it has on someone.

All this being said (I know I tend to get wordy with my posts and go on tangents), lately it's become very evident that I do not want to be known for my eating disorder. Yes, my eating disorder, my struggle, and my accomplishments through it is a HUGE part of who I am today. Sometimes it's hard for me to accept simple comments such as how I seem natural talking with people without them knowing that 3 years ago I couldn't even acknowledge or make eye contact with my own immediate family - because there was a lot of work that was put into my current [amazing] relationships that I now have with them.

I'm learning to accept who I am now as I am. Yes, I had to create who I am now. Yes, I still struggle with self worth and confidence. Yes, I still have flaws. Yes, it took me a long time to get to the point of where I am now. But I do not need validation from others to recognize all the hard work I put into who I am now. Clinging to the ED identity, or even the "recovery" identity is an easy identity to fall back on. But I'm realizing there's so much more than me than that. That is a simple part of my story. Every one of us has a story as to what made us who we are now. We all fought different battles. We all still struggle with different demons. We are all a work in progress.

Living in the moment and accepting who I am now, and accepting my strengths in getting to where I am now, that's what makes me feel fulfilled. I have a long way to go, and I think we are always going to be growing through fighting our trials. But trying to hold on to an identity that kept me miserable and kept my world very narrow limits my ability to thrive.

So to put it short. I am NOT my eating disorder. I am not just someone who is struggling to overcome her demons. I am just like anyone else. I have struggles that will always be there, but I am also strong in many other ways. There's no harm in recognizing where I need to improve, but I have found that letting go of labels and identities is what truly lets me be human and live my life fully.