Look at me now! Who would have thought that 11 months ago I was so absorbed by my eating disorder that I did not know how to live my life. I always judged my life by the accomplishments I did and more importantly, I celebrated my failures because it allowed me to remain stuck in my eating disorder. I have had many ups and downs this year, but I am so proud of all of the changes that have happened in order for me to believe that recovery was possible. I am just sad that I have wasted the last 30 years of my life but looking forward to the next 30.
One of the big changes in my life is the fact that the scale no longer runs my life. It was not unusual for me to weigh myself up to ten times a day. I am happy to say I went two weeks without even touching a scale. It is very freeing to know that I am capable of making choices in my life without knowing the number. During this journey, a friend sent me a picture that said “you are more than just a number”. I allowed that number to hold me back from living my life to its fullest. Now, I am not even sure what the number is and I am totally okay with that.
This leads me to today. I am now in Week 5 training for my first Half Marathon. I will be running the Tinker Bell half at Disneyland in January. I am running with a charity called TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors). I am part of the Run and Remember Team. So today I was out doing my 4.5 mile run. Today, I decided to change up the route I had been running. My first mile was the same, but I decided to run in the nearby cemetery. I turn in and continue my run through the windy roads. I begin to notice all the headstones that have American Flags. I begin to read them as I pass. It hits me that even though I do not know if these were Fallen Soldiers, there are many headstones from members of our military. I am running for all of these men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom – motivation to keep running!
My mind drifts to Spc. Joel A Ramirez. This is the Fallen Soldier who I am running in honor of. He died of wounds suffered on April 16, 2011 in Ahmid-Khan, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Two other soldiers were killed in this attack. How can I quit? Joel never got to quit, he sacrificed every day – motivation to keep running!
I turn the bend and the wind is in my face. It can be very difficult to run in Chicago. They do not call it the windy city for nothing. I begin to think about all of the brick walls I have run into and eventually overcame to get where I am today. I remember all of the negative things I would normally tell myself to make me quit. Now, I find that I talk to myself a lot when I run alone. I am constantly telling myself not to give up, do not quit, or other motivational phrases hoping they work. I realize that even though I still have eating disorder thoughts, I have learned how to live my life! My eating disorder does not control me anymore – motivation to keep running!
I believe at about 3.5 miles I start to hallucinate as I started talking to a butterfly that seemed to be flying along just ahead of me. I told the butterfly “I’m coming. I am trying to keep up”. I realize I might seem a little crazy talking to a butterfly, but it seems to work for me – motivation to keep running!
Before I knew it, I had reached my distance for the day. Maybe the distraction is all I needed to achieve success, but I feel like previously distraction is what I counted on to justify keeping my eating disorder. Oh how times have changed. I realized again today that there are so many things that are more important than choosing to keep my eating disorder. Many Americans have given their lives, definitely more important. I have overcome so many obstacles to get here, definitely more important. Living my life and not cowering from it, definitely more important.
I truly can say, I feel like I am going to be able to “Triumph From TED”!
PS: I have set a goal to raise $1000 for TAPS. Please click the link below to donate to a good cause. http://www.tapsrunandremember.org/tinkerbell2013/angel4joelramirez