- Carolyn Costin
What is a person really worth?
Lately I have been focusing on what love has to do with therapy/healing and then someone I know who is on the last legs of the battle with her eating disorder, wrote the following piece and sent it to me. I told her I would share it as she hopes it may inspire others.
"We spend many of our days tethered to this ever-shifting idea of worthiness. We do not quite know where it lies, why its ever-changing or why the very idea of our being is so distasteful to it.
But I can figure it out. I know I can. It has been my life’s work. How do you define worthy for me? Do I bend it to your will? Or become your puppet? These thoughts flooded my tiny mind.
You do not get to define my worthiness. The sunbeam shining through the window onto my skin tells me my worthiness is undefinable. Powerful. It is hard to keep that thought as close as the warmth of the sun sometimes. I tried. I did.
My mind battles with worthiness. Is it found in how well my spine pops out when I run my fingers along its borders? Will my protruding collarbone ever give up the secrets to banishing shame forever?
Why do we seek answers in this way? Our beauty has been with us from the very beginning, attached to our very soul, a part of every cell in our body…never to be separated from our very being. We are innately beautiful. I am.
We just forget. We get lost. People who have been unable to find healing cast this dark shadow over our birthright of worthy. My mind thinks pain and denial will produce clarity, willpower will seer over trauma, a cultural product of “thigh gap” will bring acceptance. The thoughts are real. Captivating. Intoxicating in a way I was unprepared for.
You do not get to define worthy. He does not either. No one does.
This is an exciting thought if it can only be real. Is it real? How can I know for sure? I desperately need to be sure.
I see it through my own eyes of compassion with a wounded boy who took another’s life. I see that egregious act through the lens of unspeakable abuse at the hands of someone who was supposed to love him. When I look at him, I do not see a monster, I see pain that has not found a way to heal. I see worthy. I look for the door that unlocks it for me. I will find a way. I am worthy. I am love.
The thought of worthy shifted around me. I shaped myself to fit and not get lost. I thought that starving my body would bring love to me. I thought that if I ran my fingers along my body and felt bone that I was the proverbial good girl who could finally be seen. Be loved. Be enough.
To my forever compassionate body, I am so sorry. You held your breath and waited for me to understand love, grace, compassion.
I am worthy of love, even in the messy, in the out of control, in the light, in the dark, in hope, in hopelessness. It matters not. Love exists. Love just is. Love was our creator.
Anger, fear, unhealed places…these all planted the seeds within my mind and body. Seeds that took root deeply within my being. Seeds that made me believe lies were truth.
But I know better now, through the love of people…I know better. Though my mind is still a firestorm I cannot hurt my body in the way I have before. I cannot. I will not. The cutting. The starving. The purging. The hatred. Lies lay open, exposed. Truth is revealed. Love is allowed to flourish. Take over. Come into its time of rule. Rule in my mind. Rule in my body. Rule for good. Love wins. In the raw, open, exposed vulnerability…love is the only way out. I understand love even if we are the only two left standing. Love is not the tide. It moves in only one direction. I will go forth in courage. In hope. In grace. In the birthright of worthiness.
My eating disorder held me up when I was lost. I understand that now. It was a temporary vessel that kept me alive. Safe.
I am worthy.
I am not loss. I am not the whispering behind closed doors, “Did you hear? How could she?” I am not the presumption of events never proven. I am not the abandonment of a story that remains untold. I am more than my past. I am more than the abuse. I am more than an eating disorder.
I am that sunbeam that warms the skin on a summer day. I am a word of compassion to another human being. I am grace when someone messes up one more time.
I am unconditional love.
I am recovery."