A letter to my sister explaining the significant she had in my recovery journey and how she helped me flourish.
"The person you have become today has made me flourish. I’ve seen you find your confidence; your security throughout this time. I’ve seen you discover your motivations and pursue your dreams. And, I have seen you find your happiness."
I still remember with nostalgia the day you sat down at the dinner table with me. You stared at me for a pair of seconds, contemplating the increasing thoughts in your head. Finally, you decided to ask me, “did you eat?” You looked so sad; you looked at me with a face absorbed by melancholy. Sarah, I noticed the pain in your eyes, the internal wounds that were forming, but most of all, your fear of me fading away. However, you never gave up on me; you held my hand throughout every step and guided me to the light that I hid from for so long. Because of you, I am the girl I am today -- a girl who smiles so hard she leaves wrinkles on the corners of her eyes. You inspired me to take care of both my body and mind.
My first day at the eating disorder clinic, I was so worried about what you would think of me. My stomach was churning at the thought of me believing you inflicted blame on yourself -- you thought the eating disorder was mainly your fault. But it was not. It was never your fault. Nor are the relapses in my journey your fault. The reasoning behind my eating disorder was because I felt the urge to discover a way to numb my feelings; my depression. I was exhausted of coping and sought a dangerous gateway. Restricting was that way. Restricting was a way for me to manipulate my feelings and take control.
I recall one day when both mom and dad were forcing me to eat. They took me into their room and told me in a loud, stern voice, “Alyssa, eat.” My dog, cookie, laid down next to me and licked the tip of my knee. You, sat at the dinner table; paralyzed. A rush of tears began to come from the inner corner of your eye. You could not take the agony anymore and sprinted to your room; finding a protected and safe place to let out your feelings — to feel secure. But like I stated before, you never let me go through this journey alone. I was consumed by the throes of my disorder when I was admitted to the eating disorder clinic, I did not even want to see my family; not even you… However, you wrote me cards that had an added sense of humor to motivate me to move forward. Your cards contained such warm, inspiring messages — I read them every single morning when the nurses would wake me up at 6:30AM to shower and then eat breakfast. I read them to trigger motivation within me, to inflict purpose within me. To remind myself that I am loved; I am worth it; I have value.
The first time you saw me outside the hospital, when I was discharged from the clinic, I have never seen such a person full of happiness, a person with glow in their eyes or with such passion. You, Sarah, were that person. The person who made me feel extremely welcomed into a world that I was isolated from for such an extended period. The person who made me feel loved for the first time after years of not feeling it. Moreover, the person who motivated me to continue to pursue my dreams.
My recovery journey would have not been successful without you. As of today, I smile every time I see you at peace with your body and mind. I know you struggle, I know you have your insecurities, but because of you, I have been prompted to venture out and find that tranquility. Every day, I see you smile while you eat, I see you pick up that spoon or fork with such confidence. I observe you make yourself your famous oatmeal concoction and I see the happiness within you spark once you take your first bite. I analyze the way you consider the gym your happy place, but knowing when you reach the point where you need to take a break. Lastly, I notice the way you listen to all the negative comments and go against them. You, yourself, are so full of self-love and assertiveness. Because of you, I am the happiest I have been In years. Because of you, I look at my oatmeal with such joy, I eat lunch thinking of the way you eat your homemade “pizza” with cheerfulness. You were, and to this day, continue to be my motivation. Every time the thought of relapse occurs, I remind myself of the way you laugh your head off when you are sitting down at the dinner table. Or when it's 12am and you come into my room telling me out-of-the-blue stories. But most of all, when you smile with utter joy every time you see me.
I love the way you take care of yourself and that will continue to have a lasting impact on me. The person you have become today has made me flourish. I’ve seen you find your confidence; your security throughout this time. I’ve seen you discover your motivations and pursue your dreams. And, I have seen you find your happiness. Words can not describe how thankful, blessed, and grateful I am to have a person like you present in my life. Without you, I am not sure I would have made it out.
Thank you, Sarah, for giving me strength and for never allowing me to fade away. I will always believe in you and in your ability to achieve so much in life.
I love you, “Sis,”