Before and after

I was reading the blog Dances With Fat earlier and I stumbled across this quote:

Also consider the possibility that there’s no such thing as “before” or “after; maybe there’s only “during” and maybe we are all perfect exactly where we are right this minute.

It's something I struggle with--wanting things to be finished and complete.  I don't like the idea of being "in recovery" or "working on recovery" because it's so nebulous. Exactly what's my status here?

I like things in my life (not surprisingly) to be nice and neat and even. Considering myself to be in process or en route is a much less defined category. I want the end result, not the half-finished product. It's much eaiser to report on something that has happened or will happen than something you're just "working on."  It's unfinished.  Messy.  I don't like that.

In reality, though, we're all works in progress.  Life is really never finished.  Yes, things start and stop all the time, but there's never really an "after," at least not a definite one.  There's just "now."  And now has to be good enough.

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Anonymous said...

I feel this exact same way and love your blog. I can clearly remember living in the "now" when I was a child, but seem to be unable to pinpoint the time or how I shifted to the mindset I have now, which is living in the past or worrying, stressing and constantly fretting over the future. Congrats on a great post!

Hannah Siegle said...

Yes, we really always are in progess. If we look to be moving toward a certain ideal, looking to the past or the future as benchmarks, we find that we rarely get there and live in turmoil. We only have the now, wherever that is. Before and after is black and white, something ED's love to reside in!

hm said...

There have been a number of articles posted (here and elsewhere) that talk about the long-term effects of anorexia. The heart is never the same, the mind is never the same, etc.- they made me want to say, fuck it, and throw in the towel. What's the point of putting in all this work if I've already done so much damage that I can never be "all better"? But after wallowing in self-pity and depression over that for a while, I realized that: 1. I don't have the "right" to be all better- there are lots of people in this world with chronic illnesses and 2. There was a part of me (a very exhausted, sick of recovery, missing my ed part of me) that was looking at those articles as an EXCUSE to throw in the towel.

So I got off my sorry ass and kept on recovering. Because, regardless of what I've damaged in the past, or what that damage will bring about in the future, today I can live life in a healthy way. And maybe, if I'm lucky, it will add some good years on to my life down the road.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful way of looking at it! We are all in the process of changing somehow, and no matter where we are, it is where we are and it is OK!

You are absolutely amazing :) hope you have a wonderful Friday!


HikerRD said...

Yes, like Balancingontwofeet, the black and white reference comes to mind. Gray is certainly a challenge.We are all works in progress in many regards. But it is possible to be DONE with recovery, as in recovered, past tense.

Jessie said...

You're right. Maybe there is no 'before' or 'after' but someday, I will get a point where my NOW is a now without anorexia.
You can do it Carrie, I know you can!

Anonymous said...

And, as I am constantly being reminded by my husband and my psychotherapist : Life is a journey, not a destination. I've been dealing with anorexia and/or bulimia for more than half of my life. I'm 51. There's no magic bullet or big red button to push to make it all better. You just keep doing the best you can do and that should be enough for anyone, including ourselves. This isn't advice because I'm clearly not qualified, but I can't stop my life to make all this crap go away. We are all works in progress.

HungryMac said...

I was just ruminating on this today as I hit my 6 month "anniversary" of starting treatment. It weighs on me that there may not be a need and tidy, "OK, do this and then you're in recovery" sort of moment. I like neat and tidy and order. But obviously that hasn't been working so swell for me, so I'm trying to give up to the here and now as well. It's hard.

Scarlett said...

Although I'm not even "in recovery" yet, I definitely identify with this post; in some ways, I think the undefined nature of "in recovery" (and knowing that I'll probably never get to a point of Recovered, Full Stop) encourages me to stay sick. It's easy and comfortable for me to know I fit into the neat little box of anorexia or bulimia, and "working toward recovery" is uncharted territory.

I adore your blog and admire your strength and insight. Please keep writing!

Bailey said...

I find your blog so inspiring. I, too, am recovering from anorexia, and I hope that you will check out my blog as well.


Ariana said...

Bailey, while I think it's great you've created a blog which can assist you in your recovery, I wanted to share just my own opinion. I took a look at your blog and found the numbers to be very triggering. I notice Carrie does not reveal #'s for that very reason. Just wanted to let you know.

IrishUp said...

- "Life is really never finished."

Oh, so true. I'm reminded of some Judaic wisdom; the Hebrew is "Lo Alecha HaMelacha Ligmor, Velo' Atah ben Chorin Le'Hibatel Mimenah'"

It was translated to me as "It is not yours to finish the task, nor are you free to set it down." I love it; it reminds me that The Multiverse or G*d or The Powers That be do not require perfection from me. Just that I keep trying as best I can.

Bailey said...

I'm so sorry Ariana...I didn't mean to trigger anyone. Thank you very much for pointing that out. I have done some revision since.

Ariana said...

Oh, no worries Bailey :) I just wanted to point it out to you in case others may feel triggered as I did. I wish you the best in your recovery :)

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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