Like every child growing up in the early 90’s, I was obsessed with magic eye photos. I spent hours tucked in my room staring cross-eyed at photos, attempting to see the magic hidden peace sign or flower or whatever. I would get frustrated when I tried to show them to my father; “Look harder!” I would urge when he, inevitably, could not see the magic photo. Somehow I could shift my gaze to an area beyond the photo, allowing me to see the magic photo hidden within the designs. I prided myself on my ability to see even the most difficult of magic eye photos; there was not a magic eye I could not conquer. I thought that it was so cool that I could see things that others could not while we both looked at the same thing.
Eventually, however, the popularity of the magic eye photos waned, and my skill set of cross-eyed photo viewing was no longer necessary, useful, or popular among my friends. My afternoons of magic eye book reading freed up and I was suddenly left with a lot of time on my hands.
My eating disorder is a lot like the magic eye photos…only significantly less cool.
The goal of the magic eye photo is to get us to see things that others may not be able to see. The objective is to shift our vision in order to view the magic hidden photo embedded in the repeating designs. ED’s goal is to get us to see things, think things, and do things that others may not (and should not). ED wants us to see, think and do what she wants; she completely shifts our vision to match hers. However, the outcome of shifting our vision from our own viewpoint to ED’s is not the ability to see a cute photo of a monkey holding a balloon. The outcome of shifting to ED’s point of view is sickness, pain, personal hell, and sometimes death. By allowing ED to shift our vision, we are allowing her control of our lives. We are basically handing our control to ED on a silver platter. But I will let you in on a little secret ED does not want us to know, WE are in charge of our lives. No matter what ED says, remember this: ultimately, we are in charge of our own lives-for better or worse, we are in control. When we are able to shift our views away from ED and back to ourselves, we regain many things: the control we gave to ED, our lives, our health, our happiness and our hope. Each time we acknowledge ED and choose recovery, we practice this shift in vision. It is through this practice of recovery and vision shifting that we are able to take back our lives.
However, this shift in vision (from ED’s to our own) is not always easy. You may have noticed I used the word practice in reference to recovery. Recovery takes practice…a LOT of practice. No recovery is perfect either (so you can omit the phrase “practice makes perfect” from your vocabulary). I have never heard of anyone recovering from their eating disorder in one day or on the first try; it will take practice. Recovery will take hard work and it will take time, but it is possible. It is important to remember to have grace and patience with ourselves through the process. Just as I did not learn to view magic eye photos on the first try, neither did I learn recovery on my first try…or my second…or even my third. However, I have never given up. No matter how long is takes me or how hard the work is, I know that I can never give up. Eventually I will be able to view recovery as I do magic eye photos, as second nature. I cannot wait for the day when recovery becomes second nature. Recovery is real and I am shifting my vision to get there, and you can too.
1 Peter 3:3-4
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight