Chasing Skinny {Part Two}

I needed help…

I remember how quickly I opened the glass door to the Student Counseling Center on campus. Heaven forbid someone see me go in there. They might think I needed therapy or something.

I had never seen a therapist before. No one had given me a name or recommendation. I just made an appointment with the one most available. I was ready. Ready for a scholarly stranger to tell me how to get out of this cyclical rut of barely eating – over exercising-weighing myself – guilt – barely eating – over exercising – weighing myself – guilt…..

The office was dated and cold. Lots of orange. And vinyl. I fidgeted in my chair as a thin, bearded man wrote my name on a notepad.

“What brings you here today, Rebecca.”

{Rebecca. Nothing makes me feel more comfortable and connected to a person than when they call me by my full name.}

Nevertheless, off I went. On and on about my experience on campus. My soft size fours. My boyfriend and his lurking ex girlfriend. I went on about the scale and hours at the gym. I told him about my obsession with my zeroes and my deep fear of gaining weight again. I shared my lack of self confidence and all of my insecurities. I shared how quickly I compared myself to the girl on the StairMaster beside of me. I confessed my need to look better than her.

I bore my soul in that cold, vinyl chair. Completely vulnerable and ready for the solution.

He nodded as he listened. Rarely making eye contact behind his gold, round frames. Taking notes and humming his professional “Hmm mm” every so often.

When I was finished, he put down his pen. I remember a long pause. His scholarly mind processing a solution, I supposed.

“Tell me about your childhood, Rebecca. About your dad and mom. Their marriage. You relationships with your siblings. What do you remember most about your childhood? What about high school? Have you experienced great loss or hurt over the years?”

{What? My childhood? This is 1997, buddy. I’m not here to talk about my parents. Or my childhood. Or my siblings. I want to talk about my obsession with skinny.}

But I shared anyway. I began to talk and talk and talk. And the tears began to fall and fall and fall. I told him of the divorce. And the fear. And the sadness. I shared my desires to please and make everyone happy. My need for attention. I shared my desire to make it right. I told him of high school. And the bully. I told him of the crazy boyfriend and the fear. I cried in that cold, vinyl chair. Unveiling the mysteries of my little soul to this strange, bearded man.

And abruptly my hour was over.

I left that office more confused than when I came. My emotions raw. I felt completely unraveled and uncontrolled. If anything, I was more drawn to the gym. Deeply needing my drug to ward off the remembrance.

I wanted everything back under my control. Again.

Speaking of zero, I had zero desire to sit in that orange chair ever again. I had zero confidence this counselor could help me. What did he know? Asking me about my childhood. And high school.

So I continued on. Finding more and more significance in image. In the months to come, I was hired as a student aerobics instructor. Fueling my flame and finding greater identity in fitness. Now my disorder on display for all to see. Just picture it…sassy and self absorbed – dressed in lots of neon, high top aerobic shoes and sporting a Janet Jackson mic.

I was a hot pink mess.

I taught several classes a week. Almost everyday. School now secondary to my new found instructing passion.

But one day I remember. Specifically. I came home from teaching a class and my answering machine blinked with a new message.

“Becky, my name is Stacey and I am the fitness coordinator for an aerobics program at Beechgrove Baptist church. I got your name from a friend who said you were an aerobics instructor in the area. I am needing a sub for the next couple of classes. I am wondering if you would be interested. I would pay you ten dollars a class. It is once a week and there are only about four to six ladies.”

Ten dollars. Wow. I could use ten dollars.

But it is at a church and I don’t know anyone there. And churches make me nervous. Anyone could look at me and know I am a big mess. A phony. A big phony mess with an eating disorder, at that. I just don’t know. It’s all kind of weird. …But ten dollars.

How did she get my number anyway?

I called her back. She was very sweet. It seemed easy enough. The church was near my house. Four to six older ladies. An hour of step. Ten dollars and I’m back home.

O.K. I’ll do it.

I remember that Tuesday so well. I remember I did not want to go. It was storming and wet. And I was chicken. Pretty convinced that the storm with all of its lightening was God’s disapproval of me going into church again.

Me. A sinner.

But I put on my high tops and my best “good girl” face. I pretended I had it all together. Those ladies, absolutely precious and warm. Of course they asked where I went to church. I reported of our “membership” at Mt. Olive down the street. (Although I had not been in ten years, I was pretty sure my name was written on a roster somewhere. I wasn’t lying.)

The hour was fun. Fun. Fun Fun. I was unconcerned and confident. I was comfortable there. No college girls picking me apart. No frat guys to impress. It was bliss.

Those four women asked me to come back next week if I could. And I did that next week. And the week after that.

They invited me to come on Sundays, too. And crazy… I did.

A new journey had begun.

A fitness floor on which I had lost my identity was the very place in which I would find it.

The very place in which I would find myself.

The very place in which I would find Him….

-to read Chasing Skinny {part one} click here.-

6 thoughts on “Chasing Skinny {Part Two}

  1. Oh, the suspense! You are amazing and SO brave for sharing your story. This is one of those "silent diseases" that needs to have a voice. I just know you will bless someone who needs to know they are not alone and that there is healing.

  2. Well, how DID she get your number?! I feel like I'm reading a best-selling novel. 🙂 This could NOT have come at a more perfect time for me. I lost 35 pounds this past summer & have been doing the obsessive, guilt-driven "maintenance" of my new weight. I'm at a healthy weight but heaven forbid the scale tips even in the slightest direction to the right and fear floods my mind. No self-control over Christmas = even more fear, obsession, and control. Our church wanted everyone to fast from some type of food for the entire month of January. I warped it into a chance to make up for my mom's homemade German chocolate cake….from scratch. I've decided to hold off on that fast for now. Bear and I are praying together about India. And I am loving the fact that I'm not alone in this battle!

  3. Wow, what a great testimony Becky! I knew part of it, but how I love how God used the very thing holding you to set you free! He is amazing! Love you and your boldness in sharing something so personal. Hugs to you!

  4. Praise God! He never stops pursuing us. He meets us wherever we are. I am thankful for His grace in your life. Mine is a different story but much the same. Thank you, Becky, for sharing.

I means so much to hear from you!

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