June 19, 2018

My Recovery Letter - Eric's Story

pride-gay-man-eating-disorder-recovery-storyDear Boy in the Closet,
I want to first begin by saying that I love you and that today I am so grateful. You are the part of my life I cannot imagine living without. I know we would not be where we are today had we not gone through what we have been through and for that I am forever grateful. I know you are me and I am you, and yet, in so many ways, I feel like you are the part of me I will spend the rest of my life getting to know. You are my journey to childhood innocence, my return to authenticity. You are the person I was born to be. 
The story of us is painful and beautiful. I am sorry for blaming you and wishing you were different, that you were never a part of my life. I am so sorry I tried to hide you from the world because I was ashamed of you. 
I can’t imagine how lonely and dark it must have been in the closet. What is strange is that I was always in there with you because we are one and the same. I am sorry for having tried to live without you for so long. 
I was always aware of you. I tried to starve you away, so I could be like the other boys. I remember the day I was first embarrassed by you. You wanted a princess party and an Easy Bake Oven like your cousin Julia. It was so hard to watch your parents look at you with confusion and anger. I remember when all of the boys would tease you and make fun of your voice, your mannerisms, and your clothes. I thought hiding you would make life better. It didn’t. I always felt like my heart was missing. 
The truth is that I have always loved you. I was scared the world wouldn’t understand. I remember praying to God to change you. I will never forget when God answered. He said, “I changed the world, so you could be you.” I remember when I couldn’t miss you any longer, to live without you meant that I would die. I needed you in my life and I was scared that no one would love you. 
I remember telling Mom and Dad about you and how scared I was. But you weren’t scared at all. You looked at them with love and compassion even though they didn’t accept you. You have taught me how to do the same over the years. I couldn’t have found the freedom of forgiveness without you.
I remember how you encouraged me to be myself, how you reminded me that there were so many people in this world who love us for being exactly who we are. You taught me how to perfect the art of dressing up. You were there on my first date with a boy and told me it was OK to fall in love. 
You were there when recovery was hard to understand. You told me I was worth it, and I believed you. Most importantly you have forgiven me for trying to live without you. 
I realize now that the closet kept you safe. It was never about you needing to change; it was me needing to find a way to love and accept you. To love and accept me. You are my hero. You are my brave! Thank you for never giving up on me and for patiently waiting for me to open the door so we could play once again. I love you! 
Your older and wiser self,
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