That wasn’t me

They gave us a three ring binder. It has everything in there from what not to send in the mail to how and when you can visit. It includes the therapy model and medical team along with the meal exchange system from the nutritionist. The practical nature of the binder along with the human connection brings an anchor to the process or steps, but also the validation and hopefulness to all the emotions we are experiencing. Every Friday night we have a two hour session that includes parent education and a parent support group. Our first Friday was such a blessing. We listened and engaged with others on the same journey. This brought us out of isolation and guilt to validation and support.

In the binder materials, they make these statements and personal challenges–

Stay the course…

To create a life worth living…

To build capacity for freedom and joy…

These statements run through my mind often especially the last one. What does freedom and joy feel like? It’s been covered up by survival, crises, and fear.

As we sat with Valentina for our 30 minute session outside in the sun, breeze, and sounds of nature, we were able to begin to taste a little bit of what a life worth living, freedom, and joy will be like as we face our future. We know words like circle back, regression, “it gets worse before it gets better”, but today we felt hopeful for the first time. So many God winks happened on Saturday. The rain clearing for our visit, getting her outside for our visit and the TA helping her to get “patio time” for future activities. She needed to get fresh air and sun. I did so much better in conversations-skills already learned, and oh the hugs, sweet hugs. One of my favorite things to see in nature is a single flower trying so hard to bloom in the poorest of conditions. “Bloom where you are planted.”

What a difference a day makes.

When I listened to the parents who are further along in the journey, I honestly shared with them my fears and concerns of what they are telling us to do to help our daughter and set boundaries. You have to take the personal out of it. Your work is directly focused on the eating disorder not the person or your loved one. You are speaking, acting, and helping the impact of the eating disorder. Or, the eating disorder is talking to you, not your daughter. We’ve had difficult exchanges that need a better way.

After I shared with them my concerns of failure and fear, the therapist leading the group asked us to consider listening to the song by Brandi Carlile, “That Wasn’t Me”. I listened this Sunday morning.

Who or what in your life needs “to be loved like a song you remember, even when you’ve changed?”

Oh–that truly is amazing grace. To be loved. We are all wrong in our ways–not a single one of us has not hurt or needed forgiveness. How do we live within what has been done and look towards better days? It’s waking up every day anchored to grace and choosing to love when you’ve been hurt, or you’ve been the one that has hurt.

I challenge all of us to walk in the freedom of this way of living.

Dear daughter–I can see you. I know that wasn’t you talking. I pray that you forgive me when my fears and anger get the best of me and words tumble out like an unexpected avalanche-heavy and cold. Whatever you see, that wasn’t me. Who am I? Your mother who loves you forever and always, and I will be by your side in this journey through all the ups and downs. A woman who is equally angry at the sexualization and “be thin” culture of women. A little girl who experienced similar pains in her youth. I see you. I know that little girl.

Lyrics and music video below.

Hang on, just hang on for a minute
I’ve got something to say
I’m not asking you to move on or forget it
But these are better days
To be wrong all along and admit is not amazing grace
But to be loved like a song you remember
Even when you’ve changed

Tell me did I go on a tangent?
Did I lie through my teeth?
Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?
Did I bring shame on my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
Whatever you see, that wasn’t me
That wasn’t me, that wasn’t me

When you’re lost you will toss every lucky coin you’ll ever trust
And you’ll hide from your god like he never turns his back on us
And you’ll fall all the way to the bottom and land on your own knife
And you’ll learn who you are even if it doesn’t take your life

Tell me did I go on a tangent?
Did I lie through my teeth?
Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?
Did I bring shame on my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
Whatever you see, that wasn’t me
That wasn’t me, that wasn’t me

But I want you to know that you’ll never be alone
I wanna believe do I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet
When you fall I will get you on your feet
Do I spend time with my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
When that’s what you see, that will be me
That will be me, that will be me
That will be me

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