Celebrating Life as Me

imagexBy: Amy DiPaola, Wilmington NC Project HEAL Chapter Leader

Recently, I've learned a lot about what it means to celebrate life as a young woman recovered from a nine year struggle with anorexia. I appreciate the life I have a million times more now.

My husband and I are celebrating our 4 year marriage anniversary July 30th (we have multiple anniversaries we celebrate). In fact, the entire month of July we make it a point everyday to do something special for the other. Colin and I don't like being confined to one day to honor our love and life together...we would rather celebrate everyday!

This got me thinking, people put so much effort into celebrating specific days through the year, but why can't we celebrate life every single day? As the beautiful, amazing, unique men and women that we are, we should be celebrating our selves, our bodies, and our lives every single moment we are here experiencing this life.

As someone who struggled with an eating disorder, honoring my body was a foreign thing until I chose recovery (and I do believe recovery is a choice). I remember the terrible things I believed about myself. The demeaning thoughts I had about Amy. My mind was so consumed with Anamia, my eating disorder. But things changed because I wanted to change. I wanted to truly celebrate holidays, my anniversaries, birthdays and other monumental moments that Anamia never let me experience. But most of all, I wanted to look in the mirror every morning and celebrate myself and my body. I wanted to love who I am.

A year ago I was learning to love Amy. Today, I love Amy each and everyday. I make it a point to say nice things about myself, just like I make it a point to do nice things for my husband on a daily basis.

So as I sit here and enjoy the wonderful anniversary cake I made for Colin and I, I can't help but soak up this moment. The first time I get to enjoy Colin's and my anniversary without any eating disorder thoughts or behaviors. Just me, Colin, cake, and our three precious dogs...who also like cake.