Stretch Marks

Friends,

As much as I would love to just forget this past week, brush it aside, skim over it, I just can’t. It wouldn’t be fair to do that, because it would be as if I was denying myself the chance to grow, the chance to change, the chance to be proud of these new stretch marks I have acquired.

Part of my decision to stick with this blog (oh yeah, did I mention that?) is so that I can keep being true to myself. I love the emails you have sent about needing to write for me, not for anyone else. And that’s true. Having an “audience” tuning into my thoughts and sometimes even my secrets makes me vulnerable and sometimes causes me to think harder about what I should and shouldn’t say, but it’s not a reason to stop writing. So I won’t stop. But as I renew my subscription, I need to keep in mind that this is my diary screaming out loud. These are my thoughts, my dreams. And sometimes my thoughts are gonna cross the line between “publishable” and “not-publishable” and I will just have to accept the consequences of that. I can’t be afraid anymore.

On the topic of consequences, a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down and basically tell the whole story of my journey with bulimia from the beginning. I haven’t done that in a long, long time. As my friend patiently sat beside me and asked me questions I have forgotten the answers to, another piece of the puzzle snapped into place.

Christina+Consequences don’t go well together. At all. We clash big time.

When I was in the last few years of high school I got really good at getting myself out of trouble. I remember clearly Nicki being so frustrated with me because we would BOTH get grounded for something and yet I always found a way out of it and she never did. It’s like that with traffic tickets, too. Somehow I just find a way to sweet talk my way out of sticky situations.

And with bulimia, it was the same way. I made shitty choices about what to put into my body, and instead of accepting the consequences (of weight gain, etc) and digesting like a normal human being, I threw up.

But I don’t want to do that anymore (I mean avoid consequences). I want to allow myself the privilege of growing and changing and hearing hard things about myself. I don’t want to see those things anymore as getting “in trouble”.

It won’t be easy and I will fail many times. But I think I’m okay with that. I want to be okay with that. I want to realize and learn and accept that life goes on. It doesn’t end when I make mistakes or fall short of goals or other people’s expectations of me. And I want to embrace fully this gift of grace we’ve been given. Amazing grace.

On my very first shift at Pillow Pets back in November, I made a big mistake…I gave a customer her bag and let her go before checking to see whether her payment went through or not. It didn’t. I felt literally sick to my stomach, and although my “boss” (it’s hard to call her that because she is also a dear friend) was gracious and kind about it, I still fretted (unnecessarily) all weekend long. And you know what she said when she found out how worried I had been? She said, “So do you actually think you are better than the rest of us, then?”…I said no, I don’t, and she said, “So how come the rest of us are allowed to make mistakes then and you aren’t? Are you not just as human as the rest of us?”. Hmm. That kind of kicked my butt. I tried paying for the lost Pillow Pet but she didn’t let me because this is life.

This. Is. Life.

It’s messy. It’s complicated. It’s hurtful.

(I’m trying to remember where I was going with this….)

Right.

Today I had a gut-wrenching conversation with someone I love. And no amount of coconut oil (or whatever it is that pregnant women use on their growing bodies) is going to smooth away the stretch marks that that conversation has left. The damage has been done. My heart, my emotional skin, has been stretched to the limits. Some people think stretch marks are beautiful. Others find them repulsive. For me, they tell a story. A story of love and loss and countless years of growing and loving and living. So I’m gonna embrace them. Because they are mine.

A mark for every breath I have breathed. Every tear I have cried. Every song I have sung.

~C

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