This Is Me :: A Journey from Bulimia Towards Wholeness

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This Is Me

Kaela Settle, The Greatest Showman Ensemble

“I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are

But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me

Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Another round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away ’cause today, I won’t let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades and
Reaching for the sun (we are warriors)
Yeah, that’s what we’ve become (yeah, that’s what we’ve become)

I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me

Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me”

From the time I was little, I was well aware of what it took to be “beautiful.” You had to be tall, have amazing breasts, legs for days, and tight, wash board abs. It helped if you were blonde. Here’s how I looked:

To add to this, by the time I entered middle school, I was already a victim of sexual and verbal assault. I was wrestling deeply with depression. And if that wasn’t enough, I was the pastor’s daughter. (Yikes pressure to appear perfect!!)

Like so many teenage girls I would lose my voice and find my solace in bulimia, a thin shell of the person I was meant to be. 

There was pressure from all sides to be thin: home, school, culture. “If I could JUST be beautiful” I would think . . . then . . . THEN I could be enough. THEN I might feel loved. THEN I might feel like I have a place in this world.

I remember coming home from school one day. My Bible fell open and I read these words: “My grace is enough. It’s ALL you need. For in your weakness my strength is made perfect.”

What would that look like, I thought, just to surrender? What would happen if I one day became brave enough to let the  world see who I REALLY was . . . what was REALLY hiding behind that smile I’d plastered on.

Thus began my journey of healing.

I wish I could tell you recovery was quick, that after that verse I got my crap together and was healed. But truthfully, it would be many years (and a second go around with bulimia as an adult) before I would truly come to see I was worthy and lovely and ENOUGH.

Right where I am.

And here’s the reality. If we wait for someone to give us permission to be beautiful or worthy or whole or go after our dreams, WE WILL BE WAITING OUR ENTIRE LIVES.

I don’t know about you, but I sure am tired of trying to live up to the crazy standards the world has placed around us. I sure am tired of thinking this rat race will somehow fulfill my broken places.

I’ve thought a lot about what I wish I could say to other women walking in this journey . . . walking in any journey really. The reality is that addiction wears many faces. But all of it hides the same thing. For me it was hiding someone taking my innocence at a young age. It was hiding feeling unlovable and unworthy growing up. It was hiding all the times I didn’t measure up to the tall blonde Barbie dolls at my school. It was hiding the pressure I felt to “keep up appearances” being a pastor’s daughter.

And maybe finding true healing means letting all the insincere places in us fall away. Like the velveteen rabbit, we shed the things about us that were really just for “keeping up appearances.” We let go of all the things about us which look shiny and beautiful to the world but really and truly aren’t who we are. Actually, they’re holding us back from being who we are, keeping us from playing the notes we are meant to play.

We hide a million and one different ways, everyday don’t we? Whether it’s that extra glass of wine, that packet of Oreos, our need to control the people around us. Meanwhile our true self is SCREAMING to be seen. BEGGING TO be acknowledged.

And what if, my sweet friends (some of you I don’t know yet, but please, can we be friends?). What if we decided to get brave and get honest about our broken parts? What if we decided we were tired of hiding, tired of pretending, tired of impressing other women (who aren’t even cool and we don’t want to be friends with anyway. Seriously, what is that about?). What if we allowed our broken pieces to the surface and decided to heal?

How much better would the world around us be? How much stronger and braver would the next generation be?

I look at my girls (my students) everyday, and I could cry because I see how desperate they are to know they’re enough. I see how much they long to know they really are beautiful and worthy and talented and brilliant. And how can we expect them to know that when we don’t know that about ourselves? How are we going to help them with their broken pieces when we can’t look at our own?

They don’t need more lies about where their worth comes from. They don’t need to hear us body shaming ourselves or watch us binge eat every time emotions get raw. They don’t need us posting selfies on Instagram in order to feel OK about our value as women. They need us to know our worth is so much deeper than that. They need us to bring our WHOLE selves to the equation. They need to see us learning to walk through our junk so they have the power to walk through theirs. They NEED us.

I have no desire to run or hide from the broken places in my story any longer.  There isn’t time for me to keep apologizing for all of the things I am not and all of the things I will never be.

So instead, I will just be brave.

I will be honest.

I will show you my broken pieces in the hopes that it frees someone else to show yours.

I am brave.

I am bruised.

I am who I’m meant to be, this is me.


ABOUT OUR GUEST BLOGGER: Somer Sloan is a mom to over 100 kids (Ah!!! JUST KIDDING! SORTA!). She teaches Drama at two middle schools in Albuquerque (apparently one isn’t enough torture!) and runs Heartstrings Children’s Theatre in Rio Rancho. When she’s not busy teaching or directing, she loves being in shows around town, spending time with her family and friends, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and belting Broadway show tunes while driving (super safe). She is a big fan of Jesus and believes strongly in His message of loving people well. You can find her at Heartstrings Theatre (fb) and Heartstrings_Theatre (Instagram). 

 


Originally published April 2018