I have been writing this blog in secret. I haven't told anyone about it, but I wanted to write down my experiences and feelings in the moment, because they are impossible to replicate once I have (hopefully) moved past them. However; lately I have been verbalizing my story to more and more people, and I find it cathartic and helpful. It has really precipitated my thinking about opening up on a larger scale, but I'm scared shitless. There are a lot of reasons not to: I'll be labeled, I'll be judged, I'll be misunderstood, I'll be worried, I’ll be isolated, I'll feel uncomfortable. But the biggest reason is that I'll be held accountable... and that scares me, but it's also pushing me. See, right now there are people I can still "pretend" around. I still feel like I have always felt, but I know for sure that is keeping my stuck where I am.
This weekend I went back to Raleigh, the scene of the crime. It was weird... It felt like home; I felt safe; I felt accountable. It was also hard. I saw some great friends from treatment and how well they're doing, and I immediately began to judge my recovery. "I'm struggling so much more than they are," "I'm failing" "Why'd I even bother going to treatment? It didn’t work" All of this is bullshit. Well, most of it; there are always things we could be doing better in our recovery, and shit, in our whole lives, but let's not "Should ourselves to death" (the immature part of me loves that quote :)
The judgment is another thing that keeps me stuck, and another is my inability to ask for help. Even after all that time learning how to ask for what I need, I still have a hard time. I'm so wrapped up in seeming strong. This is something I am trying to work through in therapy, but as I sit here writing this article, I am being more and more pushed to publicize my struggle. I should be vulnerable. I should not be ashamed (there's that should again!) But screw it, here it goes. I'm scared, but I need to do it. I have faith that I will be met with compassion and grace from you all, and I just want to be transparent; because I have been opaque for the last 10 years of my life
There will be some of you who are completely and utterly shocked as to what I have written,and for that you can thank my disease. It was so good at hiding, manipulating, and lying that I had you all fooled. Sorry. I hate it too. I still struggle, so I guess I’m here asking for a bigger support system to help me be my best self. I am worth it, and so are you. I struggle, you struggle, we all do. I have lived in shame for so long. Don’t do it, you don’t have to. I’m here to listen to you if you need me to, and shit, you better be here if I fall apart :)
I am an actress. No like, literally, I am an actress. I have an agent, I go to auditions, I have even graced a few sets with my presence. I love the craft. I love being me in a different form, and then me not at all; but for YEARS, my craft suffered. I was uncomfortable, self conscious, embarrassed, and forever afraid that I would be exposed. I was always living in the shadows, hoping that no one would notice my behaviors or see my true colors. This is a deadly combo for an actress. One needs to wear her heart on her sleeve to be successful, and that was NOT happening. Since seeking treatment for my ED, there are a few things that I am coming to terms with: I need to embrace where I am in this moment, and not obsess about where I want to be. I need to realize that I have body dysmorphia and see my self very differently than others (I am extremely uncomfortable in front of the camera). I need to realize that I am WORTH being seen, and I need to own my shit! All of these things are a work in progress, and to be honest I fail a little bit everyday, but what I have learned is that it's about moving forward. I have been battling these demons for over 10 years. I continued to think that they would eventually go away and I would become a normal person, but that didn't happen because things don't just happen, we make them happen. I tried becoming a Personal Trainer to fix me; that didn't work I tried becoming a yoga teacher to "fix me"; that didn't work. I tried becoming a hard core vegan to fix me; that didn't work. And I tried full blown denial to fix me-- we all know how that turns out. Thank God Im not normal. I mean, I could do without the ED, but the rest of my neurosis I will keep; I just needed to learn how to manipulate them in my favor.
I have a great group of people who support me, and the also trigger the hell out of me, but we're working on that. I am learning that my voice is powerful, and it is ok if I want to use it, and I am working on that. I am learning that it's ok to give myself what I need, and I am working on that. I have learned so much about myself throughout treatment, and that directly comes through in the craft of acting. There is a saying in acting, "Actor, know thyself." I'm trying to start.
To finish up, I had an amazing acting class tonight, and pictures were taken. I had a hard time looking at them because I didn't like what I saw, but I came back to my DBT skills and my self-realization--Fuck ED I'm awesome!
We are all awesome, and we are all struggling. lets build each other up