How One Eating Disorder Survivor Recovered Her Voice
By Kristie McCourt
The birds chirping in the sun, children’s laughter on the playground, the rustle of leaves in the wind; every entity of nature has its song. Each bird a unique sound, each child a unique laugh, and the trees with their strong silence whisper distinctively in the wind. As humans, it can be easy to lose our song, our voice, our unique expression of self, somewhere along the way. Sometimes for a minute, a day, a week, a year. Sometimes it feels lost forever, and then something, someone, sees our song, buried deep within and decides to encourage it to come back to life.
Slowly, awkwardly we begin the dance. Experimenting, testing the waters, asking for what we need, what we want, feeling guilt and shame, we recoil, then try again. We continue to move as we flail and flop, learning to trust our voice as it tries to emerge. We wake, we doze, we wake, we doze, but the dance continues. We will not fall back to sleep; we cannot fall back to sleep. Dancing over anthills, dancing over mountains, back and forth, give and take between the thoughts in our heads and the tug of our heart. As the heart becomes stronger, we hear the thoughts, but we begin to separate the lies from the truths. The dance slows as we stare into the eyes of our demons and our hearts soften.
The demon we are dancing with transforms. Before us staring back is our truth, completely naked, vulnerable, exposed, no lies, no deception. Tears of grief, sadness, despair, hope, joy, love, all rolled into one. And we begin to dance again, moving slowly at first, fearful, anxious, but this time the dance gradually becomes more vibrant, more energized. We begin to speak up for what we believe in; we begin to allow our emotions, our thoughts, our words to be heard, we allow ourselves to be seen. And we falter, we misstep, we spin in the wrong direction, but we keep dancing, keep moving, allowing our unique expression to unfold. As our songs come back to life, we begin to live.
Recovering my voice has meant learning to live within the constant creation and evolution of this dance. It has meant learning to trust my voice and that my voice doesn't have to scream to be heard. Living congruently with the tug of my heart, I am naturally heard and in turn am able to create space for others to be heard.
A big piece of recovering my voice has been the opportunity to serve and be served. Over the last few years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to visit with and learn from some of the richest, most vibrant, and loving people around the world. Inspired by their songs, their stories, and their truths to keep dancing to the rhythm of my heart as they dance to theirs. Knowing that it is the union of all our unique songs, rhythms, and dances that make life what it is.