In chasing shiny things, I have been building a list of commandments to live by. A common directive offered to me has been, “Lead with a Yes”. Saying “no” can be an easy route to familiarity and safety. As human beings, taking a risk is often against our nature; doing something new poses a set of variables of which we are often in the blind and uncertain. The series of “what if’s” arise as uncommon denominators block our vision and, naturally, our inner wisdom seeks clarity. We hide in what we know.
Staying still is comfortable, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Yet, staying still simultaneously means not moving forward, and I have made a pact to myself, my life, and those in it that I will stride on. So I am attempting to lead with a yes.
On Tuesday, I was sitting around trying to start up this very website. I had more to do, but the day was slipping through my fingers. I had gotten out of the house very briefly to go to a ballet class (another new adventure I’ve taken), but the majority of the day had been spent behind a computer screen. Another commandment I have committed to is, “Enjoy the process”. In recovery, I have noticed that, though my food is clean, I have a tendency to use eating disordered behaviors in places elsewhere. I binge on activities, or restrict them entirely. I so often overlook the practice of enjoying the process in the hopes of discovering the outcome. So, I stopped. There was no rush in finishing my blog. After all, that defeated the entire purpose. This project is to help me bring out the best in my life, not miss it.
My friend and I have been talking about getting tattoos for a while now. For about a year, I’ve known I wanted one. Ever since entering residential treatment last May, I knew the process of recovering from an eating disorder was a valuable enough thing to permanently put on my body. This road has not been a smooth one, and it has touched me far deeper than any needle could. In my journey, a particularly difficult task for me has been staying present. I often catch myself lost in the past or focused on the future. When life kicks my ass, I disconnect in my mind. A mantra I have strived to follow has been, “Be here”. Repeating over and over in my head, I have taken steps to enter reality, but it isn’t always easy.
Tuesday, when my friend exclaimed, “We should get tattoos today!” my initial reaction was to laugh and brush it off. Yes, we’d been talking about it forever, and yes my friend’s charming southern accent was convincing, but would I actually follow through, especially on such a whim? Probably not. Besides, I knew my mom was not totally in favor of it to say the least, and did I really have the right to make such a drastic decision? This would be permanent. But, I remembered, “lead with a yes”. I was making excuses out of fear that wasn’t even mine and I knew it. I had thought this out and it was me who wanted the reminder on my wrist. So after a long pause, I agreed. After all, if it was a mistake, I think I’ve made far greater ones by now.
I left my computer, draft open and all, and we drove down to Venice. I was antsy and nervous but we laughed the whole way there, listening to a new CD my therapist made for me and enjoying the view on PCH. Adrenaline pulsed through my veins as the thrill of change arose. Though there was certainly fear present, it was exciting. As I’ve learned, fear is excitement without breathing, so I took a deep breath (and squeezed my friend’s hand), as I plunged into the unknown, and it was so worth it. The excursion was well worth putting my blog on hold, and now I have a tattoo I’m totally obsessed with! (sorry mom!)