Why Elizabeth Gilbert made me cry

If you are looking for the latest tip about how to lose weight fast, then you may have to click “Back” and move to the next suggestion in your Google results or your timeline. This blog is going to be different than you have read from me for a long time. Like ever.

What is this blog about? I do not know yet because ten minutes ago, I did not know that I was going to write it. I do not know where this will take me, but I do know it is going to be raw because that’s how it feels.

This is where I am right now. I am exactly where I need to be. To get here, I needed to play hide and seek for a long time. Years to be exact, but to give myself some credit I was not aware of it.

When I started my journey of healing in 2007, I did not know that it would take me here, but I was willing to find out because all I wanted was to be free from the stuff that was bugging me. I wanted to live authentically. I was hiding in shame because of my eating disorder and punished myself every day by binge eating and then throwing up to get rid of it. Did it help? Yes. It helped me to stay in hiding, where I desperately needed to be, wanted to be. I needed to hide from my talents and my brilliance because they were freaking me out big time. I did not know that yet, but I do now, and they still freak me out. But at least I try to embrace them now.

This blog is about embracing the fullness of myself.

While I made serious, brilliant moves in my healing journey, like ending the purging, the eating was still a thing. It was a thing that I hid until now.

Even though I have done all this healing, I still eat. Not as much as I used to, not as fierce as I used to, not daily, but sometimes weekly and always monthly. I have been telling myself that it is okay. It was okay until I read a book called Brain over Binge by Kathryn Hansen.

The first few chapters threw me into a binge because what she wrote reminded me a lot of how I experienced my journey. But when she explained that her binges were not coming from something being emotionally or mentally wrong with her but from a physiological thing that started in her brain after having dieted quite severely, I understood what she meant.

elizabeth gilbert


Survival system

From that moment on her survival system kicked into gear and her bulimia became a habit. I am aware that I do her story and book wrong here by explaining it in so little words. I sincerely advise you to read this book, Brain over Binge,  if you are struggling with bulimia or BED (Binge Eating Disorder). It will be a game changer.

The game changer for me comes from my conclusion that I have believed all those therapists, that tried to help me wholeheartedly but did not know how to heal me either. If this was a physiological thing, coming from my brain, then there has not been and has never been something wrong with me. I have believed the opposite all my life. Yes, maybe the binging and the excess weight made me unhappy and insecure, but it came as a result of it, not as a cause.

Hot damn, I have believed this all my life! But as it all turns out to be untrue, I can start believing what I want to believe.

With me

And that is where I was this morning. I am not angry at them. It was never them against me. It was them with me. They came from their truth and I have made that truth mine. To help them I have hypothesized the hell out of it to find the flaw to help them explain the problem. In short: they did not know better, but nor did I.

I sincerely hope they will be able to step out of that truth by the time they get to hear of this book and do their own research. Anyhow, read the book.

Enter Elizabeth Gilbert

Then, this morning I was listening to the Magic Lessons podcast by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I must admit that after reading her book Eat, Love, Pray which I loved, that I found her new book Big Magic, a bit disappointing. Today I see that it was not disappointing; I was disappointing myself in not letting my personal magic free! In short: I was not ready for what she explained in that book.

Getting ready came after listening to a masterclass she made for my favorite meditation-app Calm, this summer. I listened to it with my mouth open, shocked at how I have been hiding my creativity and authenticity. It was at that moment that I knew I had to start writing. While I have been writing all my life, I have not been writing from the heart, as you read here. This morning, I was listening to this podcast below, and it made me cry.

In the podcast, she works with a woman who loves writing poetry and who dearly wants to be out there with it. In a way, she is hiding her work, and her brilliance and Elizabeth Gilbert called her out on it. Geez, to be called out on your bullshit by Liz Gilbert. Sigh.

The women before me

But when she said the following words, I started to listen more carefully:

“I need to feel the presence of my mother and grandmother and the grandmothers before them, behind me. They would have given anything to be a presence in the world. I feel them behind me saying: Put it out there again. If you cannot put it out there again for yourself, then put it out there for us, who never had a voice. That is the tax I’m willing to pay. To be a woman that presents her soul’s work into the world in honor of all those who never could and all those who still can’t.”

Working with the energy of the women who went before me has been the most empowering experience on my journey. Liz Gilbert helped me to remember it. I forgot that I am not alone. I have this whole team of cheerleaders behind me. While it is weird to imagine my grandmother with pompoms, I think you get the idea.

Write or write

So I can write or I can write

The first one is doing the nice accepted one, producing happy and informative blogs out there about weight loss and telling you, that you can do it. The latter is about writing from my heart; you know, the raw shit. I cannot mention healing from binging without naming the shit by the name and holding back the words that are in me. Me being afraid to publish these words is the shit that I am ready to discard.

“We have the privilege to make art that people do not like.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

Up to that moment I was like “hell yeah” and “she’s right” and “yes, I need to get it out”. But the tears came at the last of three assignment she gave the lady in the podcast.

  1. Answer this question: Who gets to decide if you are a writer?
  2. Do the deep spiritual work to call up your ancestors and ask them what they’d want you to do.
    And lastly, the game-changing assignment:
  3. Write a letter from your imaginary great-grandchildren to you telling you how amazing the inspiration of your life is to theirs.

That last one hit me as someone whacked me on the back of my head with a frying pan because I am the granddaughter of a well-known writer in the Netherlands and I have always looked at him for inspiration. He is part of me wanting to be a writer. I yanked off the earplugs and cried, too shocked of hearing what my assignment was.

My assignment

I need to own my shit, get it out there and if people do not like it, it is not my business. It is important for me to send my words into the world to inspire the people who are ready to listen. I was not prepared for Elizabeth Gilbert’s book when it was published.

But I am ready now.

I am ready to inspire myself to be the person who I want to be. I want to be a writer who inspires others to create a life that is abundant in every way they want. All this has nothing to do with the results I think I need to produce. All that counts is that I write stuff that makes me feel great and authentic. When I no longer resist the words that are inside of me, there is no need to overeat anymore.

There will always be urges to eat, but they come from a part of my brain that does not know any better than that there is an emergency. I do not have to act on those urges. Nor do I have to listen to a voice in my head that people will not like this rawness. I do not have to listen to people who do not like this blog because they are not ready for what I have to say. I do this to honor myself, the women who went before me and the great-grandchildren who come after me and everybody who is ready to listen. Let me be that inspiration, being a person who only wants to be free to show herself.

The end.


Heads up: Some links in this blog are affiliate links which means that I may receive a small token of financial appreciation from that website for presenting you with their product. I do not share anything I do not 100% believe in for supporting you to your next level.

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

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