#the(not-so)silentstory, Part 2
You got me.
I’ve (yet again) been putting off finishing this piece for the past month and a half. Yes, this implies that I started this piece many months ago, and (yet again) been more silent than this kind of story calls for. But Jesus keeps on speaking to me and through me, so here we are. Part 2.
(If you missed Part 1, you can catch up here! Then come right back. I’ll wait for you, I promise. The warm cookies might be cold. Or gone. But at least I’m waiting for you, ok? And if you’re new around here, hello—thanks for stopping by!)
Let me start by productively listing my excuses for procrastinating:
1. I made another promise to myself (note to self: this is something to consider not doing anymore) that when I shared the second half of #the(not-so)silentstory, I would actually stop being silent.
“Didn’t you stop being silent when you shared Part 1?”
That was the plan. But since then I have found myself in situations having to explain why I choose to eat so healthy, or how I came to love going to the gym so regularly, or why “I’m not that hungry right now” and instead of simply telling the truth and shedding light on a serious issue that plagues all genders, races, and types of people, I have found myself telling the same little half-truths I’ve told for the past two and a half years.
“I enjoy eating this way.”
“Going to the gym in the morning makes me alert for the rest of the day.”
“I just ate.”
We traveled to visit family for Christmas, and instead of openly engaging in conversation about the issues I’ve been dealing with and allowing my family and friends who had previously been unaware to ask questions or share their experiences, I remained silent and consciously let things be as they were. Untouched and undisturbed.
The silence has to end. The waters need to be disturbed.
2. I am afraid to be vulnerable again.
Can I tell you what kind of mental prep work it took to share Part 1? I could, but you don’t want to know because it involved a lot of pacing, some serious sweat, and long talk with myself in the bathroom mirror at work.
Since Part 1, a lot has changed in my little world—I have new hair. But, I also HAVE NEW FRIENDS. Let me explain. My husband and I recently moved to California together and have struggled to acclimate to our new surroundings and become planted in any sort of community (we’ll come back to this another time). But, God is always good, and in the last month, we’ve joined a church and become part of a small group—most of whom know nothing about my story. Nothing. This is a good opportunity to lie and create a new name and new identity and pretend none of this has ever happened/is happening.
Just kidding. (Maybe.)
What do I do when I start getting to know my small group brothers and sisters more seriously? What happens when we become *official* Facebook friends and Instagram followers and Twitter tweeters and they see the links to my blog? What if they already have and are reading this now (Hi guys! Did I mention I have a blog? No? Oops. See you Thursday night!)? What happens when they ask about my story?
I need to tell it. I need to tell it for myself, and for all of the people who are not strong enough or loud enough or well enough to tell it themselves. I need to tell it for the men and women in my small group who know somebody or are somebody with a story like mine. I need to tell it so that we know we aren’t supposed to be silent. Clearly, that’s something I still need to learn.
3. This feels like the end of a story that’s just begun.
This second part to my story is the last—there is no Part 3 on the way. This is not at all to say that I will never write about orthorexia or eating disorders or this particular aspect of my life again. To me, this means that there is no more hiding behind the photographs of #thesilentstory. There is no more hiding behind the keyboard on which I write these posts. While my battle is not over and this is not the end of my story by any means, this is the end to comfortable fleece blanket that my photos and my experiences have been. This is the end of the private battle and the beginning of the public one.
Let’s talk about that for a while.
In a sense, #thesilentstory became my journal that was wide open for the world to see, but encoded so that only some could read. It became my place to release photos that were beautiful, sometimes painful, and lovely to me--without having to offer any explanation to the world. It offered a unique opportunity for listeners to follow along and imagine what each story might be, or sometimes connect the dots from other photos to put pieces of stories together. On some occasions, people even just flat out asked what a specific story was about—I enjoyed that too.
What I have been processing since then is the effect of #thesilentstory becoming my journal. There are some stories that only one person knows—me. There are some that everyone knows. There are some that display part of a story—but not its entirety. Also, not every story is related to my eating disorder—not even close. While I could go back and tell you every story since Day 1, I will never be able to FULLY tell these stories (unless I were to write an extensive book and everyone carefully passed around the one printed copy because it would never actually get published). Maybe that's a beautiful thing. Somehow, a public display of an entire year worth of experiences and moments and emotions is still silent.
And then there is that. Social media. Not everything you see is what you think it is, and not everything you think it is is what you see. Let me show you a few examples (stories are abridged).
January 27, 2015
Looks like: A yummy bowl of stir-fry.
Is: A small portion of the large batch of stir-fry that my sister-friend, (also named) Megan, made me when she went home for a weekend because she had seen me not eating much at the Dining Commons the week before, and had heard me say that I wish there was more warm food I liked to eat. She’s a keeper.
February 22, 2015
Looks like: A relaxing yoga sesh.
Is: A yoga session that was the result of running for too long too many times at the gym the week before. My back hurt so badly that it was the only movement I could do.
April 20, 2015
Looks like: A cute outfit pic selfie thing.
Is: The day that my friend, Mike, had to use his tools to put two new holes in my belt because it was no longer small enough for my waist and all my pants were too big for my body.
May 1, 2015
Looks like: A LOT of ice cream.
Is: A LOT of ice cream. Here’s the thing: I had/have a handful of “safe foods.” Foods that 85% of the time, don’t bother me, don’t make me do calorie math, don’t make me wonder if I’ve run or lifted enough. Luckily for me, ice cream is one of them. Praise the Lord.
1. Do some serious stalking and find how many times ice cream makes an appearance in #thesilentstory. Send me a message through the Say Hello! page with your answer, and if you’re the first one to be correct, I’ll send you something fun. Not ice cream. Because I love you but I can’t mail you ice cream.
2. One rule of #thesilentstory was that all photos must be taken with my “real” camera (i.e., NOT my iPhone). But…one photo out of the entire year was in fact taken with my iPhone. Find which one and message me—if you are correct, not only will I send you lengthy compliments about your unbelievable eyesight, but I will also send you something fun (I hear that the cool kids call this thing called “coffee” fun these days).
3. Come anywhere CLOSE to explaining this photo that was never captioned but isn't even a #thesilentstory photo and you deserve something seriously fun. (NOTE: You will be automatically disqualified if your first name is Megan and your last name is Badovinac and/or Hoffman.)
Where was I? Oh, yes.
July 12, 2015
Looks like: Some pretty daffodils. (I hope I’m right. I didn’t Google “daffodils.” I guessed.)
Is: The day I panicked before going to my grandma’s in Rochester, NY for two weeks, where I would have little control over what I would eat, and where I wouldn’t have my gym. The first time that I mentioned to my mom that I was struggling. The day I cried in the driveway on the phone to my professor/friend/mentor, Dr. Huddell, because I was panicking. These daffodils are on the pathway from the driveway to my grandma’s house.
July 20, 2015
Looks like: A bunch of cool kids hanging out in the city. The hippest of the hip.
Is: Two friends who lied to me with the best of intentions. They tricked me into hanging out with them on this day because they both “just happened” to be in the area, despite living in complete opposite directions and having no reason to be in the area. This day was a coffee date turned eating disorder intervention (not the first), and I couldn’t be more grateful.
August 10, 2015
Looks like: A cool tattoo that my future children can use as a coloring book someday.
Is: A tattoo that symbolizes my hike through this mess by reminding me that Jesus’s life has given us the light for the pathway through the tunnels and His death has given us the light at the end of it. This tattoo was a reward for eating a slice of pizza for the first time in over a year, at the exact pizza place in Nashville, TN where I had eaten a slice a year before.
Things aren't always what they seem, huh?
Well, friends. I’m not sure what your hopes and dreams were for this, #the(not-so)silentstory Part 2. I don’t know if there was specific photo or weird interaction with me from a rainy Tuesday in October 2015 that you had hoped would be explained, or if you were simply looking forward to reading more. In any case, I am your fairy godmother, and you get three more wishes.
Just kidding. What I mean to say is, my name is Megan Hoffman, and in the cheesiest but most serious sense, I am an open book. Probably more like a free e-book and less like an Oprah’s Book Club book, but you get the point. I definitely carry a ticket for the struggle bus most days, and I am nowhere close to perfect. But, my struggle is no longer about reaching perfection and instead about reaching Christlikeness. Let’s start reaching together. (My free book is available anywhere free books are sold.)
One more thing—I made another promise to myself, one that I am HAPPY to begin fulfilling. I promised myself that I wouldn’t blog about anything else until I shared Part 2. Clearly, this incentive didn’t work as quickly as I’d hoped, but you lovely friends/family/readers who are strangers but I’m sure are super nice deserve to know that this isn’t just an eating disorder blog or a photography blog or an ice cream blog (Do these exist? Should this actually be an ice cream blog? Am I making a mistake?).
This is a Megan blog—and I guess the only way for you to know that means is to stick around. (Hint: There are no rules unless I say so.)
UP NEXT: DIY Knit Matching Socks for You and Your Cat (HA! JUST KIDDING. But only because I can’t knit. And neither can my cat.)