“i am an engineer and an artist. #iamnotmyweight” (@thisisMEssy)
I have favourited this tweet. It couldn’t be a more timely reminder, as I am struggling to figure out how life without an eating disorder works, that the words we use to define ourselves might help to change the positioning.
Given the name of my blog and the reason I started it (“this is the story of finding an identity and giving an eating disorder up”), you’d have thought I already appreciated this; but I have focussed so hard on what I’m giving up that I have neglected what I am finding.
It is important, I think, to have ways of describing ourselves.
It is empowering, I am beginning to see, to take ownership of who we are – and realise that we can be more than one thing.
From 3 to about 12, I was the violinist. From 13 onwards, I was the anorexic or the ill one. Recently, I have classed myself as lost -
@thisisMEssy has reminded me that I don’t need to put all my eggs in one basket. And that I can be far more than my eating disorder.
So, I am going to force myself to repeat the agonising process that I undertook when I listed the things that I like about me; and challenge myself, this time, to focus on some of the ways I could describe myself, and the different things that I am. Starting with the obvious.
- I am a woman.
- I am a brunette.
- I am a sister and a daughter; a god–daughter, grand-daughter, cousin and niece.
- I am an English Literature graduate.
- I am a copy writer, an aspiring ‘other types of writing’ writer, and a blogger.
- I am a reader; and, when I’m not too tired, I am a thinker.
- I am the kind of scrabble player that forgets it is a game.
- I am a join the dotter.
- I am, amongst others, a Florence and the Machine, Laura Marling, Amy MacDonald, Lady Ga Ga and Lily Allen fan.
- And a Lost and Family Guy one.
- I am a front crawler when I’m swimming.
- I am uncontrollably creative.
- I am a low maintenance no make-up kind of girl.
- I am a twitterer and an entranced social media explorer.
- I am an early bird, however hard I try not to be.
- I am, in the main, a people person.
- I am a book reviewer and a literary snob.
- I am an introvert, sometimes; and an extrovert, sometimes.
- I am a life long learner.
I am also lots of other not so great things, but they don’t matter quite so much when I don’t have to fit into one neat description….
It is strangely liberating to decide how I would like to call myself (rather than take what I think I have been given), and remember that the definitions are not set in stone.
It is reassuring to realise that I am more than an eating disorder -
and that there is still opportunity for me to find out who else I might be.
P.S. This has been a great exercise for me (so thank you @thisisMEssy!), and I’d love to hear how other people describe themselves and the things they’re discovering – or shrugging off – along the way…