Updated: Jan 20
The dark blue jeans caused nothing but negativity -- torture, pain, and suffering. But, freeing myself from the presence of those dark blue jeans liberated me from many vile thoughts and, most importantly, encouraged the concepts of self-love and self-worth
"I knew relapse meant torture and as much as I desired to feel in control, I could not undergo that pain again."
The Perfect Jeans:
The jeans were a dark, rich blue - perfectly sewn and put together. The negativity they possessed further encouraged comparison and heightened ghastly thoughts. I constantly thought to myself, "what extremes would I have to go through to achieve that perfect, put together look? How could I, in a way, be perfectly sewn?" I put those jeans on daily -- almost as a ritual -- to measure myself; forcing more empty space to consume the area between my hips and the fabric of the jeans. I stretched the jeans, habitually, as a way to convince myself I had lost weight in a matter of seconds. However, I knew that was not physically possible -- only leading to extreme panic attacks and intense episodes of yelling or crying.
One year passed and those jeans were perfectly hidden in my dresser -- perfectly folded, just like they always were; perfect. I disregarded them for such an extended period of time. I knew I could not let myself return to the vicious cycle and the harm that the eating disorder caused. Recovery constantly reminded me of all the joy that was impossible to experience when I was absorbed by the disorder but, above all, recovery taught me the purpose of life.
It was a Sunday afternoon when the rays of the sun were streaming my face. I knew it was time to clean the disaster of the closet I had piling up. The plan was: to begin with the shoes and end with the dresser sitting in my closet. As I got to my dresser, I slowly opened the drawer and, immediately, I became overwhelmed with the sight of those dark, blue jeans. The jeans with the perfect hem, the perfect structure. I froze at that moment while I let my body become consumed with distress and horror. As tears began to form in my eyes, the negative thoughts started to configure in my mind. I instantly started to think about the routines I could utilize to drop 10 pounds every week. I so deeply desired to wrap my fingers around my biceps and have my fingers touch each other to form a complete circle. An urge in me wanted me to take both of my hands and squeeze them around my waist. Unfortunately, I gave in to these urges -- the appalling, dangerous urges.
Nothing but negativity had gone through my mind as soon as I had given into the urges. My mind immediately distorted my body and thoughts. I instantly started to isolate myself. I even went as far as not eating dinner that day. Even though this pattern had occurred for various days -- close to a week -- I had to stop this abusive cycle. I had to remove myself from such a dangerous situation; I knew relapse meant torture and as much as I desired to feel in control, I could not undergo that pain once again. After conversing with my parents, I realized it was time to toss all the clothes I had bought during the time when I was sick. It was not healthy. It was not fair to my body to continue the atrocious abuse. No, it was not easy nor was it a task I could easily forget about. The jeans were perfect. Something I desired to be. How could I throw away one of my goals? One of my “role models”? But, it had to be done. I could not continue to break my barrier of healthiness, because breaking the barrier meant continuing to live in abuse; in agony; in pain.
The truth is: recovery is NOT simply a journey full of happiness that blocks out all the negative thoughts. It is also NOT a journey that guarantees 0 relapses, nor will it instantly make you feel better. It is a process; a strenuous, exhausting journey. However, this does not mean recovery is deemed to be impossible. Every single individual who has been through the abusive cycle of an eating disorder is more than capable of starting the journey. But most of all, everyone has the ability to move forward; to break that cycle; to end the exhausting, terrible pain. Yes, recovery is more than a hard journey - it is tiring. It causes internal fatigue. But, recovery is a journey that triggers purpose and unforgettable happiness.
I remember when I was about four months into recovery, I looked in the mirror and I remember feeling a wave of confidence that I had never felt before. I began to cry. I, myself, told my body that it was the most beautiful structure I have ever seen. It was in that moment when I decided that a number, scale, or measurement of any kind does not define my value. It had never defined my value. I am Alyssa. I am a girl who did not need perfect jeans with the perfect shade of dark blue. All I needed was to simply remember the fact that nothing. Nothing. Could ever define such a beautiful, graceful shape - the body.
I urge every individual going through the recovery process to conquer this challenge: throw away every single item that provokes harmful thoughts. Yes, I know it is noting near easy, but by doing so, you will be closer to freedom and true happiness. And that gift of true happiness is a gift that you will forever be grateful for. I know it may seem that life itself will not get better, but trust me, the more items you have that remind you of the disorder, the harder recovery will be. Getting rid of the terrible toxicity caused by the disorder is just one more step to obtain self-love. And recovery, while being extremely difficult, is such a life-changing journey. It is a journey that once you have gone through it, you will constantly thank yourself for never fully taking your eyes off the finish life. I promise you there is light; there is hope; there is happiness. There is purpose.