Healthy as a Horse in a Harness

When we choose recovery, we choose a new way of living. We choose new ways of harnessing our energy, replacing hurtful tactics with helpful ones.

We look at the qualities our addictions monopolized – determination, persistence, drive – and we channel them into new outlets. I chose writing.

Writing keeps me healthy as a horse. Healthy as a horse in a harness.

Dear Bella:

My, have you changed. This time three years ago, you experienced life through a treadmill. Today, you experience life through your pen.

You used to love to burn calories. Today you love to reflect. You reflect so often and so vigorously that, at times, I think you are addicted to your journal, and you might be. After all, you write with the same energy that once drove your anorexia.

But what do you expect? You have one personality, one prana, one life force. Your writing and your anorexia are two sides of one coin. Different sides, yes, but same coin.

Like your anorexia, your writing is obsessive. Like your anorexia, your writing is creative. But unlike your anorexia, your writing keeps you sane.

Rex was smart. She was innovative. She got you up to some nifty tricks: multiple pairs of socks during weigh-ins, jumping jacks in restaurant bathrooms, walking while eating to burn the calories as they enter…and those are just the obvious ones.

But what did those tricks do for you?

They shrunk you. Made you smaller.
They robbed you of your health, your freedom, and your relationships.

Your writing is also smart. Your writing is also innovative. Your writing also gets you up to nifty tricks: writing from the perspective of your body, writing from the perspective of your eating disorder, writing from the perspective of a doughnut…and those are just the obvious ones.

And what do those tricks do for you?

They stretch you. Make you larger.
They bless you with more health, more awareness, and more intelligence.

When you write, you create more if yourself. When you restrict, you make less of yourself.

One practice is productive; the other practice is destructive.
One allows you to express yourself; the other, to suppress yourself.
One lets you to make bad-ass rhymes; the other robs you of good times.

When you write – truly write, not simply take notes – you take a step back. You explore your experience with complete and total trust. You reach a state of pure, non-judgmental awareness of and gratitude for your current situation, with deep trust that it is happening to serve you.

Anorexia is an embodied practice of radical rejection.
Writing is an embodied practice of radical acceptance.

So, if you must be obsessed with something, choose writing.

If you have to ask yourself, Would I rather be writing? before accepting invitations, then fine. It’s better than asking, Would I rather be exercising?

If while on a date, you have watch the clock, counting the minutes til you can return to the page, then fine. Better than watching the clock, counting the minutes till you can next exercise.

You have an obsessive personality. That is part of who you are.
Your job is not to change who you are.
Your job is discover and accept who you are.

Your job is to learn about your personality and put it to good use.
You have to harness your energy, lest it harness you.
You just have to find the right harness – a healthy harness.

Finding your harness requires trial and error. Your eating disorder was a trial that led to massive error. But you’ve done it. You’ve found a harness that fits. So keep going. Keep living life through your pen.

One of your several inner voices

Thank you for reading. May you find your healthy harness.


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