“It Is What It Is” and Second Chances

I know it’s been over a week since I last posted, but I just wanted to begin by saying that I have not forgotten about this blog. In fact, I’ve been thinking about what to write nearly every day because there is simply too much for me to write at this point, and then again I don’t want to write too much since I’m still writing more chapters of my project (okay, okay…I’ll try to call it “book” at this point but I don’t want to be overconfident that it will become one). I don’t want to give too much away with what has happened to me yet I want to help others who are struggling.  And then again how am I supposed to post about my experiences now if you don’t have much background information? All a big dilemma. And so I find myself writing a good blog post, only to realize I could use it for my project (whoops, “book”).
But it looks like the–book–may be coming to an end (as in, a conclusion). Yes, I think I am developing an ending at last. But I can never be too sure because I thought my “ending” to all of this was back in October at the end of my sophomore cross country season. It’s weird how you think you have come to that “aha moment” (props to Dr. Chesley for that phrase) and then life moves on . . . and you realize you still had a long way to go yet.
But I guess I have to stop somewhere, because whether I like it or not, I’m going to keep learning more lessons in life that may or may not pertain to the eating disorder, and books are folly like that; they have to end at some point but life goes on.

A Second Chance

So does this mean I may end the book before writing about my final two years of competing collegiately? In a way, I hope so. I hope I can leave this eating disorder in the past, only as something that has made me into the stronger woman I am today. So yes, to answer the question about whether I am still racing in college it is a definite yes–I have two more years!
At this point I see the final two years of college as a second chance–a second chance to compete for my team, to continue letting go of Rawchael (while remembering her too, for she has made me into the stronger person I am today) and to continue to become the best Rachael I can be.
A second chance to be able to live the college life free (or at least lessened) from the burden of anxiety with food. I can’t believe I’ve been consumed with all of this for nearly four years now…and that’s often a short span of time for those with eating disorders. Through my research I learned it can last ten years to a lifetime in some cases. And it seems early intervention is the key to recovery. Luckily it seems raw food forced me into getting help…but it still took a long time. Once I did receive more help I saw that writing, analyzing myself, and getting the support and help from friends and family (i.e., talking a lot) sped things up.
So yet again, I encourage anyone dealing with an eating disorder to get help (I don’t care how “not bad enough” it is. I thought the same thing and couldn’t understand why I still couldn’t shake it off for the longest time). Even if it’s just a message to me, just a note to share your struggles with someone, please do it, because it will only help the process.

When Times Get Tough Again

Even after or near the end of recovery, nothing is smooth sailing from there on out. Falling is scary because the hardest part is learning how to get back up. It’s even harder when things have been going so well and you suddenly find yourself trapped again. That familiar feeling creeps over you, like an enemy who has died has come back to haunt you. It’s hard to hear the voice of hope disappear again, a voice that had been so strong for so long once everything started feeling good. The tough part is pushing the bad voice away as you reach for the railing pull yourself back up, to reach for your support and goals and beliefs in life. It means applying the tools you knew you may have had to use but hoped to never have to use them again. It means gritting your teeth and getting back on track again, even though the pain of the mistake may still linger.
Each time I fall back or make a mistake, I evaluate the situation, tell myself “it is what it is,” learn from it, and try my best to move on. It’s difficult when my mind keeps falling back to I shouldn’t have taken that extra bite, or if only I ate this instead of that… or maybe I should skip lunch only to surprise surprise, find myself ravenous and seemingly out of control later.
Second chances. Since we have to eat every day, we always get another try, another go at our next meal. And this doesn’t have to just apply to eating disorders–any other troubles in our life in general can see this happening over and over again. If you make a mistake in one area, you are able to try again the next day. It’s time to leave the past (“it is what it is”) and move forward (“I have a second chance”).
So with two more years of college running ahead of me, months of more learning about myself to go, days ahead to look forward to, and every meal to try again, I can find hope, happiness, and a new day to try again.

About Rachael

Rachael Steil is a graduate from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts. Steil an author, speaker, and a recipient of the Spirit and Outstanding Runner award for the Aquinas College cross country team and has received 6th place All-American accolades in cross country as well as 7th place in the NAIA track nationals.
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