In recent days here, in light of Alabama’s recent Human Life Protection Act, there seems to be a caustic energy that is sweeping the world.
Celebrities like Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, Pink, Reese Witherspoon, Cynthia Nixon, Rihanna, Courteney Cox, Kylie Jenner, Emma Watson, Karlie Kloss, Hilary Duff, Gigi Hadid, Diddy, Ellen Degeneres, Ariana Grande and countless others, have joined in the outrage of our neighbors and former classmates on Facebook, shouting “Men Shouldn’t Be Making Laws About Women’s Bodies.“
They’re doxxing the people who voted in favor of the bill. And Alyssa Milano has even gone so far as to pledge a #SexStrike in protest of the prolife legislature that is “robbing” them of their “bodily autonomy.”
Well tonight, instead of joining the argument about this deeply emotional issue, I instead wanted to offer a different perspective on my own relationship with my body, as someone who has had to live with the results of my choice for the last 11 years now.
If you were to ask me, when I was in the throes of my anorexia, I would have shouted from the rooftops: “MY BODY, MY CHOICE.”
Because that’s exactly how I was living: I was choosing to destroy my body through starvation, obsessive exercise, insomnia, and other destructive manifestations of my eating disorder.
I did not want ANYONE to have any say over the way I was choosing to treat it. I wanted to destroy it as I so pleased, and there wasn’t a damn thing anyone could say or do otherwise about it.
And in fact, as an 18-year old high school senior, no one could. Because I was legally an adult.
And so even though I was clearly a danger to myself, and was wasting away to 78 pounds, my parents, legally could not force me to go to inpatient treatment. Because it was…my body, my choice.
And even though I would have never said, “I want to die,” that’s exactly what my actions — my choices — were not only communicating, but successfully manifesting.
You know what my choice got me?
Osteopenia at 18 years old. All my hair fell out. I never got my period, and even to this day, I still have only menstruated thrice.
My circulation, even to this day, sucks.
I suffered from edema for six years, even after recovering.
My relationships took a huge hit.
I had to drop out of college.
And I can still struggle with feeling unworthy of love.
I wish I could just go back in time, and shake that strong willed, hurting, and terrified young girl and say, “Your choices are killing you.”
I would hug her so tightly and not let go.
There’s so much I wish I could tell her. So much perspective that I would share, now -as a whole, healthy, and healed young woman — that I so desperately needed to hear back then.
Because the only way I have been able to embrace recovery, and leave those destructive behaviors behind, was to realize that — my body was not mine to destroy.
Yes, it was my body, but my choice? Not quite. My body is a gift – on loan to me by the Father. And you know what, yeah that might seem a little bit “out there.” But take it from someone who was literally knocking on death’s door — there are certain things you wake up to when you’re teetering on the edge.
When I realized and embraced that I was a child of God, and handmade by the Father, it suddenly became crystal clear that my body was a temple. It was my act of worship. The instrument through which I am to glorify and honor Him who gave me life, and saved it.
It was no longer my choice. It was my responsibility. It was my privilege. It was my beautiful vessel to honor Him with.
I think we can get so lost in our pride, our ego, our autonomy. I know I did. My body was mine to deprive nutrients. It was mine to kill with olympic caliber workouts on no sleep and no fuel. I could berate my mind and spirit with flagellating, critical thoughts, and isolate myself so that no one could tell me otherwise.
But in the end, a life of striving for autonomy led me to the brink of death, literally.
And I’m still paying the price for my choices.
As someone who lived the most radical, and most extreme manifestation of “My Body, My Choice,” I want to just leave you with one final thought.
We all have that fundamental human right over our bodies. That’s absolutely true – and as I found out – up to and including autonomous choices that lead to self-demise. For better or for worse, that is the prerogative of each and every person.
But that human right, is not actually what is coming under “attack” in these profile legislations. Because that autonomous choice to self-destruct is our fundamental right, UNTIL it threatens the life of another person.
That’s why a person is free to drink alcohol to the point of passing out, and yet — if that same person gets behind the wheel of a car, it’s illegal. Why? Because all of a sudden, that choice threatens the life of another.
Which is exactly the case with abortion. Because those choices now involve another person. And now, it’s no longer a human right, but a civil right.
Sitting here today, I’m just so grateful that my family and loved ones were able to get through to me that my choices were not only killing me, but deeply hurting the ones I love most. And thank God it wasn’t too late.
In my recovery, I’ve vowed not only to never return to that way of life again, but that everyday, I will make the choice, to honor my body, and use it as the instrument of peace and hope God entrusted me with.
And to those saying that Men Shouldn’t Be Making Laws Against Women’s Bodies – I say, you’re right. And further, Women Shouldn’t Be Making Choices to Destroy Their Child’s Body.
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“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ezekiel 37:5