This Goodbye Is Different 

(Hopefully) in a few hours, I will be boarding a plane that’s destination is Raleigh, North Carolina. I say hopefully because I’m currently in Chicago, and my connecting flight to Raleigh was canceled. Now I’m just waiting and crossing my fingers and toes that the flight attendant will call me from the standby list to say they have a seat for me. One way or another I will eventually get to Raleigh, NC today.

I’m leaving the nest and heading off to college. This will be my first time living anywhere other than the house I’ve grown up in. This will be my first time attending a four year college. This journey is filled with firsts, and while part of me is completely terrified, the other part of me is filled with excitement and a lot of hope.

A few years ago I was visiting my best friend in North Carolina. I started crying as we approached “goodbye,” and he told me “This isn’t goodbye. This is just see you later.” That has helped me a lot over the years, and in particular this past week while I’ve been saying goodbyes to family and friends. I expected the goodbyes or see you later to be really emotional, but for the most part, they haven’t been. Well, at least not yet. I’ve been feeling a lot of guilt about my lack of emotion during goodbyes. I know I will miss all of these people SO much, and perhaps once I actually get settled in at NC State the sadness will finally hit me.

I was thinking about the times I said goodbye to all of these people prior to going off to treatment, and I know I was emotional then. I started to think about how drastically different these goodbyes are. When I was leaving for treatment I felt weak, defeated, somewhat hopeless, terrified, alone, sad, and angry at myself. Now that I’m about to head off to college I feel excited, anxious, sad, scared, hopeful, proud of myself, strong, and ready to embark on this journey. While there are sadness and fear for both, I have a sense of strength, excitement, and hope that I didn’t when I headed off to treatment.

Two days ago (August 9th) was the eleven-month mark of my being ED behavior free! That’s AMAZING to me that I’ve gone this long without engaging in ED behaviors. Also, my urges have been extremely low in the past several months. That marker of progress in itself proves to me how ready I am for this next step.

I’m stronger than I’ve ever been.

I’m more stable than I’ve ever been.

I have positive relationships with food & exercise.

I have an incredible support system.

I’m sure there will probably be several days where I feel completely terrified, but I’m going to try and remind myself of how prepared I am. I genuinely believe that I can succeed in North Carolina, and I couldn’t have said that a year ago. I can’t wait to see where this new chapter takes me. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who has helped me get to where I am today. I definitely couldn’t have done all of this alone.

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