Today is my thirtieth birthday.

For more than half of my life I have been eating disordered.

I am alive.

I have never been a healthy adult weight.

I am alive.

I am grappling day in and out with a chronic, enduring and relentless illness.

I am alive.

I have sabotaged my body in too many ways to mention. I have starved myself to the bone

I am alive.

Inside I am black and blue, attacked with self-disgust and loathing.

I am alive.

Parts of me are faulty, others ruined beyond repair.

I am alive.

Now, I am riddled with scars and puncture wounds.

I am alive.

I don’t have children or significant other. I probably can’t have children of my own, physically.

I am alive.

In fact, I’ve never had a romantic relationship, and that brings me shame.

I am alive.

I don’t have a career in the city like X or a stable 9 to 5 job like Y.

I am alive.

I am not preparing to apply for my first mortgage or regular feeding a rising savings account.

I am alive.

I can’t say I’ve really made many people too proud.

I am alive.

I have survived, others have so sadly not. Whether sheer luck or the inability to let go, I made it this far.

These words come on the back of some good advice. A very wise woman and a dear friend talked some sense into me the other evening when I was feeling low about the upcoming big 3 0. She said: “Claire, for everything we’ve done to ourselves we shouldn’t be here.” I so easily could not be. She’s so right. It IS something to celebrate.

Looking back is futile and comparing is useless. This can be enough. My beating heart, my steady pulse. Shaky, claw-like fingers gripped around the edge of life. This life that is mine and that can be more in the years stretching on. I hope.


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