By Maddie Young
For as long as I can remember I’ve been chasing after you. Seeking approval and hiding emotions. You’ve captured me ransom like a cat chasing after a tiny barn mouse or a puppet and it’s master. You the puppeteer and me the vulnerable rag doll. I’ve grown so acclimated to your presence that our souls seem to have merged into one like two young lovebirds reciting nuptials at the intricately decorated altar.
My identity stripped raw like a criminal confiscated from his clothes and presented with an orange jumpsuit. I’m a prisoner in my own body. My self worth drained dry like a cracked desert emptied down to the last drop.
Like any two acquaintances, our relationship has endured its various seasons. At the beginning of high school you and I restricted. Skipping lunch nearly everyday then returning home to lay near the toilet on the ice cold floor afraid I would throw up. I felt miserable and at times this only lead to bingeing. I gorged myself with food like a football player with an endless metabolism. What part of myself thought this was ok or normal?
The second half of high school took a slightly different path like an unexpected thunderstorm on a beautiful summer day. After school I would rush to the gym, ready to run away the stress. Hour one, feet hitting the rubber conveyor belt hard and upbeat, rhythm keeping the tempo. Hour two, metal plates clashing as I pushed harder to leg press or any other weight machine. A strength training class often filled hour two on certain days. Hour three, ridiculous dance moves in Zumba class. Some days I put in two hours, others were filled with three. But for five days a week almost every week this was my routine. I logged my food intake more frequently in this season. The compliments fueled my health craze fire. In a way, this season was addictive, boosting my physical health only to cover up my mental health.
College was a separate season of its own. It wasn’t very common for me to have three real meals a day. Others were spent with constant snacking like a pregnant mother unable to satisfy her hunger. Each day like a mystery eagerly waiting to be unfolded. Chocolate began to be my escape. Stepping into this portal blinding the harshness of my raw reality. An outing would be considered unsuccessful if at least one candy bar wasn’t purchased.
Growing older as the years passed you only intensified like a pounding migraine seizing to loosen control. You’ve embedded fear into my heart as I watched a loved one inject himself with insulin. I become uncomfortable in my skin when I pass obese people on the street. Eating cookie dough didn’t faze me as an unhealthy choice for breakfast. You pushed me after a disoriented representation of beauty and self worth.
I thought picking the skin around my fingernails was awful and considered it self harm but honestly what we’ve done is far worse. I’ve filled my body with extreme toxins and allowed the machine of a body I’ve been given to corrode. Unknowingly and unintentionally I made you an idol and placed you on a golden pedestal. As you became greater, Jesus became less. And that’s not the life I wish to chase after.
It’s way passed time to separate myself from you. You don’t deserve to be my lifeline. There is a whole other life out in this big world that I’m desperately eager to experience but can’t with you weighing me down, like a boat’s anchor welded deep into the ocean’s floor. Just like depression nor anxiety claim my identity, neither do you. You are a part of my story and my journey but by no means are you my soul existence.
Sometimes it’s comforting to walk hand in hand with you but I know you’re not from God. You only started when Adam and Eve sinned but will be destroyed when I completely trust Jesus. You wrap me up in loads of bondage, baggage and chains. It’s going to be a process, but over time Jesus will take one link of those chains off at a time.
It’s time. Time to press into the Truth of who He says I am rather than what the world and the enemy tells me I am or am not.