And Thus, I Have Failed

Trigger warning. If you suffer from disordered eating or associated thoughts and feelings, please visit the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website or call 1-800-931-2237 for immediate assistance.

It is now exactly 1:50 AM and I can’t sleep. Thoughts of, “I’m a failure,” echo on beat with the ticking of my ceiling fan. They’re both quite loud. Anyways, you should know that the piece below is not an excuse to brag. If you anticipate that you might judge it as such, please, check out one of my other posts instead.

I have failed.

I fasted today and, well, that’s not the reason, but I’ll use it here: I was craving Red Robin. I wasn’t planning on going, but a last minute green light from our mother had my sister and I jumping in the car on the way to veggie burgers and garlic fries in the blink of an eye. In the flip of a patty. And the shake of the frypan.

But we went out to eat yesterday, and at a burger place no less.

And thus, I have failed.

I started a blog to document my journey through eating disorder recovery and have since put some of my most terrifying thoughts and anxieties out there for the world to find.

But I had a burger and fries two nights in a row, and thus, I have failed.

I went against the cultural grain and left behind the pre-med mindset, carefully crafting my own career path, and maybe inspiring others to do the same…if they want.

But the same people who still want me to go to med school think I’m fat, and thus, I have failed.

I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression on the same day in the first semester of my Master’s program, and still graduated with a 4.0 GPA.

But I had to stop going to the gym as much in my last year, and thus, I have failed.

I will spend the next two weeks traveling around Europe with my best friend- my sister- and my brother, who I’ve gotten very little chance to see over the past few years.

But I did not lose the weight I meant to lose and will likely look bigger than I’d like in the pictures I take there, and thus, I have failed.

By the end of this month I will have appeared on two different podcasts to share my views on mental health and its connection to physical ailments, possibly providing a new perspective to an avid listener.

But I perceive my voice to match my body- loud, in-your-face, unnerving- and thus, I have failed.

I found physical therapy late and thought I was doomed to years of shadowing and writing and re-writing essays. Instead, through unrelenting hard work and laser focus, I was accepted to a top 10 program.

But I’ll likely be the biggest person in my cohort, and thus, I have failed.

After a seemingly damning diagnosis on my aching muscles, leaving me to believe I’d never properly exercise again, I pursued rock climbing and have come to love it.

But when people watch me climb, they can see how my shirt juts out of my harness due to my larger frame, even meters away at the top of the wall, and thus, I have failed.

I spent much of my week editing personal statements for pre-physical therapy students. I am so proud of the work they’re putting in, and I hope that they will join me as colleagues one day.

But I put cream and sugar- “unnecessary calories”- in my coffee while I read those essays, and thus, I have failed.

I used to verge on panic attacks during my writing classes in elementary school, but was able to tackle the GRE and produce a perfect score on the Writing portion.

But I never took my practice tests while walking on a treadmill or going hard on a stationary bike, and thus, I have failed.

As a first-time Zumba instructor, I started off not as a sub, but with my own class, which eventually grew to 2x/week. It was exhilarating and stress-relieving.

But I don’t look like a Zumba instructor, so sometimes people are shocked when I tell them, and thus, I have failed.

I have made so many wonderful friends in the past year, intelligent and kind-hearted people I never would have met had I remained stubborn and within my comfort zone in North Carolina.

But I gained a lot of weight in that time and am worried they’ll never really accept me for that reason, and thus, I have failed.

There’s so much more to me than the way I look, my weight, and the calories I might eat or burn in a day. There’s a lot that I want to accomplish and a lot that I need to say, and I don’t let much hold me back.

But I had a burger and fries two nights in a row.

And thus, I have failed.

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