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Dear Eating Disorder,

I can’t erase you.

You are inextricably linked to my past, uncomfortably tied to my heart, and unpleasantly weaved into what used to be.

I close my eyes, but there are reminders everywhere.

A friend points to her stomach and says she’s getting fat. Her voice begins to fade as I remember.

I spend a few too many minutes looking at my reflection, trying on clothes, fussing with my hair. I walk away as I begin to remember.

Old pictures resurface making your history permanent and undeniable. I am forced down an old familiar path as I remember.

A conversation brings up huge gaps in time and thoughts of wasted moments creep into my heart. I feel disappointed as I remember.

I glance at a serving suggestion thinking about that imposed direction, instruction, and restriction. I look away and I remember.

With all of these things, I fall suddenly and briefly into the past. You drag me back in time, as a reminder I think, of what used to be. Of what could’ve been. Of everything I have become. Of why I must keep working.

I can cross out words, toss out memories, delete pictures, and move forward. But I can’t erase you.

You sit there, always. Occupying a profound space in my existence.

And so I wave to you. A nod, an acknowledgement, an awareness.

And as a tribute, I will stand in front of the mirror. I will twirl in my dress, and with my daughters at my side I will say, “I feel so beautiful today,” and I will mean it.

I can’t erase you, but I can wipe away at the memories of you until they are a blurry reminder of what used to be.

I can teach my daughters about loving their bodies, about enjoying food, about enriching their souls, and about following their passions.

I can help others escape you. I can keep others from falling into your deceiving arms.

So don’t worry your pretty little heart, eating disorder. I can’t erase you.

But I can overcome you.

(Not) yours truly,

Originally written for the Huffington Post by Rachel Brehm