I’ve been thinking a lot about anger lately, I guess how could you not with the current state of affairs we find ourselves in. As with any concept that is huge and overwhelming on a grand scale, I’ve found it helpful to take a look inward, before worrying about all the noise that surrounds us, and what our part in it plays. I was surprised at what I found though. The past few weeks I’ve been treating myself and my body more gently and with kindness. Which seems pretty simple and straightforward, but in reality has really shown me just how much anger I've carried around my neck like a dead weight. My whole life I’ve heard the phrase “I’m not angry with you, I’m angry at EB” (my disorder). I’ve always wholeheartedly agreed, Yes! It’s my disorder to blame to, hate, beat up on. And with this came the split, the idea that myself (Corinne) and EB were two different entities. I’ve always been proud and held strong to the identity that I am not my disorder, it does not define me or limit me. However, I've just now come to the realization that actually duh we are one and the same. You cannot have me without my disorder and everything both “good” and “bad” stem from it, because it is the lens in which I experience the world.
I have always taken “great” care of myself. I follow doctor’s orders, I go above and beyond to constantly strive towards better health- to never give up and stop searching for a way to help myself. However I have always, whether I knew it or not, done so with a measure of resentment. I have done it out of anger and frustration, internalizing the message the whole time that I have to be hard on myself, push myself, do the things that hurt, because there is no other way. And I sat here thinking that “Corinne” was getting away scot free. That I was pounding on the EB beating it back into submissiveness, unaware that all along the only thing I was tearing down was-Me.
I always thought that the whole “love yourself” kumbaya tree hugging way of life was great as an idea, but just not something I had the luxury of experiencing. This shift these past few weeks has been scary, and yet something that I never knew I was so desperately craving. I’ve become much more aware and able to observe almost as if I am hovering outside of my body, the way in which I treat and talk to myself.
A good example, was something I noticed on Sunday. I was with my friend Steph (hey girl!) at a yoga event over the weekend. We were being led through the poses and I immediately found myself pushing my limits, trying to submit my body to act like everyone else’s, to do the poses no matter how much pain I was in. And then I realized, um- who exactly is it that you are trying to prove yourself to? What is it that you think you gain by hurting yourself all in the name of being “normal”? And so I watched the struggle. I would push and push and then, pull back. I took myself out of the pose and took a beat, only to find myself cracking the whip again. Each time though I was able to witness more quickly when I was doing so, and gently self correct. During one of the last poses I stuck it out longer than necessary and finally took myself out of it and sat back on my mat. When I did, I looked up and one of the assistants was right by my side, she asked if it was ok to touch me and then gently started massaging my neck and back. My gut reaction was to tense and guard against this touch, and then a voice deeper within said “relax” And so I did, I let myself be cared for briefly. And it was beautiful. The thing is if I had kept listening to the enforcer part of me, I would have missed this interaction completely. But by “loving” myself, and choosing myself I allowed for the space for others to step in and care as well.
EB, Corinne, whatever name is used at the end of the day we’re describing one and the same. Anger towards parts is anger towards all. Conversely, love towards parts bleeds into all. And how can we expect anyone to show up for anyone else, if we can't first do so for ourself? We’ve heard the phrase “put on your oxygen mask before helping others” and the words hold up. Self-care, Self-love it’s not selfish. By giving to ourselves we are then much more able to give to others.
As I sit here and realize that being mean, angry, and having hatred toward my disorder in essence is really hurting all of me, I can’t help but think of our society. Whether we want to admit it or not at the end of the day we are all one. What hurts some of us, hurts us all. Gabby Bernstein says “show up or it will keep showing up.” I think we are all faced with this idea currently…I don't have the answers to the large issues we find ourselves collectively in and I certainly won’t pretend to. I don't know what will come next, and what my role in it will be. I do know that without having empathy and loving kindness for myself, my totality, that I will never fully have it for everyone else that so needs it. I want to show up for my fellow brothers and sisters, but it all starts with one small decision first. Will I show up for me? Will you?