I minimize my prep and collegiate athletic experience because I wasn’t the best. But I worked incredibly hard to get to where I did, even if it was barely anything. Throughout the recovery process and tearing apart my identity I actually thought for a while the eating disorder part of me ran the show for everything related to athletics, drive, and competition.

But you know what, it doesn’t get that much power.

I am competitive by nature. I enjoy competition and athletic challenge. I like feeling strong. It feels good to run. I don’t have to win to feel accomplished, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love putting effort into trying to win.

I feel inspired to be brave.

To put more trust in God, and his plan for me. To take a baby step toward relying more on faith and allowing others to remind of this.

I’m inspired to really separate myself from the eating disorder, which tried with all its might to take over this week. Though it did not, it was a taxing struggle to keep going at the rate of recovery (ie. eating all three meals adequately) I feel I’ve generally been at and know I need in order to be present and live life.

I’ve mourned the loss of being in “race” shape over the last year. At the very beginning of recovery, I was running faster times than I even did in college, after having two children, and I was proud of that. But so much of it was eating disorder fueled and then I literally ran out of fuel. My recovery-oriented mind questioned all of my motivations. But I was outwardly defensive of my motivations each time a member of the wolf pack would merely suggest maybe the only reason I got up each morning at 4:45am to run was to satisfy the eating disorder. I scoffed when I was told I had to stop (temporarily) running to heal my mind and body. I panicked when I got injured.

I felt so much sadness and grief over losing the identity of being a runner (and being the kind that wins races) that I’d begun to assume I’m not even a competitive person at heart. All of it was gone when the eating disorder part of me was shredded to pieces and evaluated to death.

Today competitiveness came out of me in a rather unpredictable way that I feel hopeful and surprised by. My therapist murmured something along the lines of how hard it would be to follow a meal plan and if I could she would jump out of a plane. She immediately regretted it. I don’t think she thought I would take the bait. I don’t think at most other points of my recovery, I would have. The eating disorder was too strong and too loud. But I heard enough of it to run with it. I felt immediate excitement at this proposal that wasn’t an actual proposal. I wanted it to be an actual challenge. I will follow my dietitian’s plan for me, if she skydives. Equally anxiety-inducing things.

That’s me attached to a certified skydiver, jumping out of a plane in 2008.

But it’s like she was saying, I know how hard this is for you, it’s insanely difficult but I want it so bad for you that I will do the thing that scares me the most, too. We will do this together.

I don’t know that I’ve ever had anyone in my life make that sort of commitment. The idea reaches me a bit more than other things because it hits so many of my needs. It’s coming from a place of love and care, it is creative connection. It’s an act of kindness, really, because she doesn’t want to do it, but she wants me to have adequate nutrition and if having a deal encourages that than it’s worth it to her.

All to say this isn’t actually happening. I not-so-secretly hope it does happen, but I also don’t want to be responsible for pushing someone into something they’re not comfortable with especially for my sake.

However, I’m glad it triggered my competitive nature and inspired me to keep going today. I feel so uncomfortable in my skin and fearful I am growing or will begin to grow like Alice in Wonderland at any second. I needed a change of pace in therapy this morning. I needed to be inspired to take a leap of faith.

I can jump into recovery, knowing that my wolf pack will catch me, and God will catch all of us. Even when the process becomes frightening.

One thought on “Competitor

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