Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What is bravery?

Well, I realize it's been far too long since my last entry. It's been as much about nothing to say and too much to say and still, despite 100 entries here, a bit of nerves.

I've just been going through an up-and-down time for a while, but I think I've got things -- and myself -- all figured out now. At least for a while. :-)

One of the biggest developments recently was showcased in Sunday's paper -- a column by yours truly, delving into my struggles with anorexia and bulimia. It was undeniably the most frightening thing I've ever done, but once the story was sent, and even more when it was printed, I felt such a relief.

I realized that if I could tell thousands of strangers my stories, I ought to be able to share with my family and friends, most of whom had no idea of the seven years of battle I fought.

The response has been overwhelming. Friends, family and even some co-workers have sent messages of support -- words like bravery, strength, courage, etc. I appreciate it, but really, what is bravery?

To me, bravery is overcoming my eating disorder. Weakness takes over the rest of me. If I was so brave, I wouldn't have suffered and cause suffering for so long. If I was strong, I wouldn't have put my life at risk.

What I did to myself is irreversible. What I did through my column was not bravery. It was a silent prayer that someone out there will read it, like I read a freshman's story at Syracuse University in 2003, clip it out, cut it out or tear it out and share it with a friend or loved one. (I pasted mine into one of my journals.)

I feel weak for never telling the people I loved.

Some people have sent me their own stories. Two friends that I don't get to see often enough shared their own stories -- one's battle with suicidal thoughts and another with anorexia. I was shocked and yet comforted at the same time.

My Aunt Alice took it hard, realizing in hindsight some of the warning signs. I told her it was not her fault by any means, but I'm not sure if the pain I've caused her is worth the comfort to myself and some mysterious strangers out there. She sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers today, with a note that read how much I was loved and how proud she and my uncle are of me. When I asked her what the occasion was, she said: The 'occasion' is that we love you and are so proud of you. Your 'coming out' was very inspirational for both of us...because "if Wendy can do what she did, so can I".

I don't want to be a superhero. But I'll take inspiration.

There's a potential for a series to be developed out of this and I couldn't be happier.

It's funny - I wanted to be a journalist so that I could make a difference and tell a story. I never thought my proudest moment so far would come through my own story.

It's like a hazy dream.

I don't want to wake up.

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