February 1, 2017

Dear Body, I am Sorry.

I have spent years fighting a standard I didn’t realise was out of reach.

I have spent days battling a war I saw no resolution to. I have spent minutes, precious moments, tugging and pulling at every surface. I will no longer.

Hi Body,

It’s me.

There is something I need to say, something I should have said long ago.

I’m sorry. 

I’m sorry for the words I spat at you. 

I’m sorry for the times I tugged at you.

I am sorry for the cuts, the tortuous exercise, the bruises.

I’m sorry for it all. 

I was closed off to the love I received from you. You fought daily to keep me alive. You offered me forgiveness through healing and constant support despite the abuse. I’m sorry for it all.

It started off harmless enough, didn’t it? We were on a journey, a plan to reach our goal of standing on stage, showcasing our hard work. Our first body-building  competition was going to be swell—wasn’t it? I thought we were okay. I thought we could handle it all. I thought wrong.

I had so many emotions, so many thoughts, so much I needed to process, but I didn’t know how to cope. You became my outlet. I moved you and you helped me manage it all, but I didn’t see how quickly I turned on you. And I am sorry, I really am.

All of the hateful words, all of the disrespect—I am sorry.

All of the restriction, all of the gorging, all of the forcing—I am sorry.

I had my tunnel vision set.

I wanted so badly to reach that stage, and I did a few times.

And everything was fine, until the lights turned off, the makeup was removed and the sparkly bikini put aside. Because once I left the stage, and the tan was washed away—all that was left was me. My thoughts, my words, my self destruction…just me.

The deprivation I endured was suppressed for so long, it came bubbling to the surface, not to be silenced any longer. I was hungry. I was hurting. I was harming.

I had ignored my emotions for months, and more soI had ignored my warning signs. My old friend binge-eating had shown up for unexpected visits along the way and I chose to let her in for old times’ sake, now and again. But without the pressure of a competition date looming, I could hear her banging and silence her no more.

It started with a single binge, which grew into many.

Fast forward 12 months and three shows later, I was binge eating every day, on the hour. I spent my days at work with boxes of bars in my drawer, constantly eating one after the other.

I spent my train rides home, hiding in a corner with bags of chocolate, cookies, protein bars, jars of peanut butter and anything else I could sneak into my bag at lunch.

I spent my nights huddled in a ball from the cramping of my swollen body with tears silently falling. I spent the next morning swearing it wouldn’t happen again, until it did.

I would find myself night after night on the cool bathroom tiles, trying to settle the hot flushes from the spike in food I just consumed.

I would find my fingers dancing down my throat, ramming harder each time, trying to get everything out—every last crumb out of my body.

Tears would rush from my eyes as I would sob again and again, swearing that I couldn’t do this anymore. My all too familiar oversized black shirt would rub against my swollen body in an attempt to hide the shape I was quickly taking.

My life had become a vortex of the binge diet cycle, with me gripping the sides for dear life, but I could not find a life-jacket.

I was miserable. I was lost.

I could feel my life slipping away with each day filled with more binging and drowning. I didn’t know what to do. So I turned back to another old friend.

I found self-harm sneaking her way back in. She came unexpectedly one night, when I realised I couldn’t stop the hurt or silence the thoughts without food—food had replaced my old friend self-harm.

“I could handle scars,” I told myself. The scars would fade but the weight gain, my swollen body and the cramping were all too much.

So I cut. I bonded with my blade again, and it worked.

I felt nothing. I only heard silence. It was me, the metal, and the blood on my skin.

But the second I closed my eyes the reality sunk in: I had relapsed, again.

They say when you hit rock bottom the only way to go is up. I believe we have a choice at rock bottom, we can choose to rise or stay defeated.

My self destruction brought a choice, I chose to rise.

Soon, I found myself at the hospital and I made a commitment to myself. Here was my final cry for help. I wanted to do whatever it took to get better, because this was not a life I could continue living.

I have risen and fallen a few times, but this time I had reached my lowest point. I knew I needed to heal internally before anything externally could help me.

I needed to face my demons through talking, journaling, yoga, movement—whatever allowed me a safe space to feel everything.

I wish I had the magic formula to tell you how I rose up from this, but I don’t.

What I do have is what I have learnt. And the biggest lesson I have taken from it all is that the biggest role in recovery is the one we fill ourselves.

We cannot seek an external fix for an internal battle. We need to be self-aware and learn what we need. Because when we can see what we need, we can band together. We can hold each other up while we fight our fights, together.

The who I am writing about above was drowning. Her eyes were shut to the truth before her, she needed help and she needed to heal. This was only 14 months ago. And I can now comfortably say, I am healing.

My old friends still knock on my front door occasionally, and they likely will for years to come. But I am aware of their presence now, and when they show up I simply ask, “Why are you here?”

I become curious about their visit and delve deeper into who invited them along. Because for me, self-harm and disordered eating were simply messengers, showing me loud and clear that I was suppressing something I needed to face head-on. They served a purpose, and that purpose was to release and heal.

Everything in life serves us at different times for different things. We need to be aware of what comes up for us and be curious about why.

Hi Body,

It’s me.

There is something I need to say, something I should have said long ago.

Thank you. 

For every fight fought.

For every wound healed.

For every second chance given.

In times where anyone else would have left, you stayed.

Regardless of the hatred I felt towards you, regardless of the attempts to destroy you, regardless of the self-destruction I attempted—you stayed.

Thank you for fighting for me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for healing me.

Body, I now choose to see you with acceptance and appreciation. I move and lift heavy weight to remind us that whatever weight we carry we can rise from it. I soothe and nourish our skin to show us that every wound can and will heal. I choose to celebrate our strength and capability over how we look. I choose to live, and to live fully.

My body is mine, and I celebrate it, all of it.

Body, I am excited for our current journey together, hand in hand I know we will succeed.

Body, it’s me, we are strong, we are capable, we are worthy. We are enough.



Author: Lauren Darlington

Image: Author’s Own

Editor: Deb Jarrett


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