Today the first copy of ‘A New Name’ plopped through the door. As they say in Belfast, ‘scary dinners’, (which, given that it’s the memoir of an anorexic, is appropriate).
As the book ‘comes out’, there’s a sense in which I’m also emerging. Not as a debutante, sparkly and poised, but tumbling from the closet… blinking, nervous and pretty grimy too.
Against my natural instincts, I’ve started being honest about who I am. As someone who’s used to hiding in the dark, it’s been quite a turnaround. So why did I do it? Why fix my name to something so ugly?
I wrote the book for different reasons. To help me make sense of the world. To encourage and to be encouraged. To testify to Christ’s love and power. To remind myself of where I’ve come from, so that, by his grace, I never go back.
I hate anorexia, and I don’t want to be associated with it. But more than this, I hate its secrecy and its lies. As I write and speak about it, I’m fighting it as best I can. I’m trying to expose it, as it tried to shame me.
My temptation is to cover up and act strong. But more and more, I’m seeing that real power lies in vulnerability and openness. The grace of Jesus gives me the strength to be weak. He gives me permission to speak as someone who struggles, not someone who pretends. As we speak with honesty about our darkest battles, that’s when the shame begins to recede. There’s hope in the messiness, not just when it’s cleaned up.