The Cracked Pot

I would like to introduce you to my new roommate, Simon. Yes, I named my plant. I really like him so I clearly had to ūüėä

Simon has a special story to go along with him. It started on Monday when we went during experiential to pick out succulents. I really like the way this type looked and apparently it can also flower. We worked on the second half of the project yesterday.

If you look at the pot he’s in, you’ll notice that it looks cracked. We made them like this to represent ourselves in a way. K read us the following story and then we talked about what our cracks were.

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on the end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots was perfectly made and never leaked. The other pot had a crack in it and by the time the water bearer reached his master’s house it had leaked much of it’s water and was only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.” “Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?” “I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

I love this story and what it can teach us. It allowed me to look at some of my qualities that may be seen as cracks or weaknesses but can actually create goodness in my life and the lives of others. I am very stubborn, which can definitely be a bad thing if you’re my therapist and I¬†really¬†don’t want to do something, but I can also use it to pursue my goals no matter what. My eating disorder and mental health are struggles I never would have wished upon my worst enemy. Without them, I wouldn’t have a story to share, a drive to promote awareness, or a level of compassion and empathy that can only come from someone who has lived through very hard things. Being a perfectionist means I am hyperaware of how I do every little thing and that if it isn’t perfect, I can’t even consider it good. Dr. C often tells me she’s glad I have the detail-oriented traits because it will truly take me far in nursing.

I want to set an intention to embrace these flaws more. I am broken, but beautiful. So are you ‚̧

What are some of your cracks and how could you embrace them?

 

Perfectionism and blogging

I haven’t posted in a little over the week, but this isn’t due to a lack of ideas, time, or motivation. I have actually started¬†6 posts. Some of them I’ve gotten pretty much complete while others are mostly a list of points/some sentences I want to cover. I’ve spent more time editing and thinking over these than it would have taken to write at least 2 posts. If it isn’t something like writer’s block or time or anything else, why can’t I do this? The answer is perfectionism.

I am obsessive (or at least try to be) and check over each and every paragraph, sentence, and word I write. If it doesn’t flow the right way or seems to repeat too many words or sentence style, I give up. I scrap that version of the draft and attempt to do something different.

The worst thing (I believe) is when I write out basically an entire blog post (typically at work, in class, etc. and whenever I have downtime and paper) and then feel the need o restructure and reword the entire darn thing. This is exactly why I have at least 45 drafts at all times.

This isn’t really an update and it doesn’t have a ton of substance or length. I just want to remind myself (and any of you who might struggle with this too) that blogging isn’t perfect. There will be some jumbled thoughts, grammar errors, times you didn’t really get to all you wanted to say. Chances are, no one is reading a blog for how everything flows and using correct sentence structure.

I love blogging and that’s not the problem. I would write and write all day long if I could. If I want to continue writing, though, I need to make a change. I cannot keep blocking myself from talking about what interests me. Here’s to less overthinking and more genuine imperfect posts!

Stretch marks

Warning: this post is real and raw, as is the photo included. It is exactly what I see and feel everyday.

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I noticed my first stretch marks a few months after discharge from Forest View PHP. I was appalled and I remember crying for well over an hour. It sent me into a small spiral of restriction. Back then I felt like many other women: stretch marks and any scars or other “imperfections” are seen as disgusting and unwanted. That is why I couldn’t handle looking at my thighs for a long time. I closed my eyes anytime I was getting dressed. The only time I wore a swimsuit was with shorts on.

As time went on and I stayed a stable weight, thanks to mild restriction, my marks faded.I could barely see them which meant others couldn’t either. My body image improved in the slightest. Honestly I just forgot I even had stretch marks for around a year since I had so many other ED thoughts/body image issues/behaviors/etc to deal with.

Coming back form residential I couldn’t hide from it anymore. I gained more stretch marks than ever before and I’m not using my eating disorder to distract me. There are the old, white and subdued, and new, angry red and impossible to ignore. This is what I see every single time I look down at my thighs. Its my choice how I let if affect me.

I won’t lie, this has been HELL to get through. I have broken down and doubted my recovery over some imperfections in my skin. How incredibly sad is that?

My view of the stretch marks is slowly changing. I didn’t gain them for nothing. They are a package deal with my recovery, and I want that more than anything. My body has grown bigger and stretched in ways it hasn’t in years. I neglected and starved it and upon receiving nourishment it became healthy again. There is no way at all I could be so committed to recovery and life if my body wasn’t changed to the way it is now.

I have earned these stretch marks. All of the ensures I’ve downed, tears I’ve cried, emotions I’ve dealt with, thoughts I’ve overcome, and every ounce of strength has resulted in them. I am proud of the work it took to come here. My body is not perfect by today’s standards but it is healthy. It deserves my love.

My stretch marks will probably never go away on their own. I fully believe I can get to a point where I won’t want them to. They signify my struggle and resiliency. My entire recovery is represented in those lines. Its time to own it.

I may not be able to say I love these marks yet, but one day I will.