Affirmations are important. Another tool in my anxiety management toolbox. Little mental reminders that reinforce who I am and what is important. As I progress through recovery my affirmations evolve. While it may not seem like one, reminding myself that Recovered isn’t a Fairytale has become an incredibly important affirmation.

The closer I get to Recovered, the more intimidated I get by identifying as Recovered. That probably sounds strange but when I started recovery in my twenties, and even when I re-committed to recovery earlier this year, I thought Recovered meant everything in my life would be fixed. My eating disorder would be gone and life would be perfect. Lollipops and rainbows. No pain, no hurt. No anxiety, no stress. I’d be thin, happy, have tons of friends, a dream career and, of course, be Mother of the Year. Happily ever after. A Fairytale.

I believed Recovered was a Fairytale because I had no idea what a Recovered life looked like. As I get closer to Recovered, I realize how unrealistic that belief is because if my life has to be perfect to be Recovered, I’ll never be Recovered.

So I remind myself, Recovered isn’t a Fairytale. Recovered means I no longer have eating disorder thoughts or behaviors. Recovered does not mean life will be perfect. Life is hard. Really hard. And despite not having eating disorder thoughts or behaviors anymore, my life isn’t perfect. I get hurt, I feel sad. I get anxious, I stress out. And, for reasons I can’t explain, no one has awarded me Mother of the Year yet.

Everyday I confront a myriad of emotions. In addition to affirmations, I learned, and continue to learn, different coping strategies that help me feel and work through my emotions in healthy ways. But it isn’t always easy (it turns out even joy requires vulnerability). Frankly, life can be overwhelming and down right exhausting at times.

So I remind myself, Recovered isn’t a Fairytale. Recovered means I don’t have an eating disorder anymore. Not having an eating disorder anymore means that I get to live my life. Feel my life. Love with my whole heart, pursue my passions, connect with people on a deeper level, laugh until my belly hurts, and cry because I am so overwhelmed with joy I can’t even stand it. I also get to fall flat on my face, embarrass myself, stress out, fail, hurt, cry, and hide. And then I get to rise and do it all again. It isn’t a Fairytale, but it is pretty awesome.