Becca Getto is an Associate Product Manager at PatientsLikeMe, and is recovering from an eating disorder. During her time in Monte Nedo Laurel Hill treatment program, she wrote a poetic and moving promise to herself, and in it she shares her past struggles and hopes for the future. Becca is more than her condition: she’s kind, caring, passionate and ambitious. Here’s her promise…
I promise to walk through life with my bare feet. I promise to feel the blades of grass tickling my soles, the warm grains of sand between my toes, the sharp edges of tiny pebbles beneath my feet. I promise to keep moving forward, to keep walking over the damp earth of a dirt trail, over hot pavement and uneven ground, through freezing snow, through overgrown weeds, through thorn bushes, through brambles and brush.
I promise to splash in puddles and jump into piles of autumn leaves. I promise to no longer hide my toes, to no longer be ashamed of my imperfections, blemishes and flaws. I promise to paint my toes only when I want to use their hue as a display of self-expression rather than an attempt to cover up reminders of my past embarrassment and mistakes. I promise to keep walking on my still wobbly feet for that is the only way they will one day feel more sturdy.
I promise to take step after step after step until my feet grow calloused and strong in the places that need it and still remain, ticklish, sensitive and soft in those that don’t.
I promise to appreciate my feet because they are truly incredible – they carry me, my entire body, mind and spirit, they withstand my weight and keep me rooted to the ground while simultaneously allowing me to make great leaps and bounds, jumps and strides. They are so rugged and strong yet still sensitive to the smallest sensation of touch. I promise to learn from my feet, to study the footprints I have left behind in order to choose a new path forward. I promise to no longer be ashamed of my feet and the sound they make or the marks they leave behind as I tread bravely through the world. I promise to be proud of my feet and my ankles and my legs and knees and hips and thighs and hands and arms and elbows and shoulders and neck and head and ears and nose and mouth and lips and teeth and eyes and brain and chest and heart and stomach.
I promise to even be proud of my stomach because what would I do without that feeling in my gut telling me right from wrong and the butterflies that dance around giddily when I hold his hand for the first time.
I promise to take pride in my whole body and self if for no other reason than simply because they are mine. I promise to trip and stumble and fall. I promise to struggle and I promise to cry. And when I do, I promise not to look upon myself with the scornful eyes of my past, but with a more weathered pair of eyes, a more compassionate pair of eyes, with my eyes. Eyes that while they still judge and scrutinize can also appreciate the glints of beauty, possibility, potential and hope. Eyes that know that self-criticism and self-punishment and self-denial do not serve me and it is, instead, through love and understanding and forgiveness that I will be able to be my best self, my happiest self, my most kind, caring, compassionate, creative, unique, ambitious, outgoing, shy, quirky, innovative, spontaneous, thoughtful, timid, courageous, intelligent, wild and peaceful self.
I know from experience that it is not easy, changing one’s vision, beginning, to cast aside the critical lens.
It takes work, it takes pain, it takes motivation, it takes patience, but it is worth it to begin to gain even the smallest glimpse of self-acceptance and self-love. But once I tasted that precious un-forbidden fruit it has become nearly impossible not to yearn for another drop of that sweet nectar, impossible not to sew more seeds of self-compassion and to care for them tenderly and to watch them grow inch by inch, stem to twig to branch to trunk to fruitful tree. I still toil in the garden with my watering can, my rake and hoe, removing the rocks and rubble, the dead vines, and weeds that make the soil so inhospitable to life and growth. I still work the land and sweat in the sun but watching my saplings grow, knowing that one day they will give me the sweet sweet fruit I so yearn for makes everything, the pain, the hurt, the discouragement, the struggle, the embarrassment, the shame, the fear, the exhaustion, the unrelenting critic within me, it makes enduring it all so so worthwhile. So my final promise is that I will never stop sewing and planting and watering and trimming and weeding and working in my garden with my bare feet until I find for myself true, deep, unrelenting, and unconditional love for my whole beautiful self.
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