The Flavour of Freedom
A bottle of Fanta marked the day my life changed forever
My life was measured in calories.
‘Nothing days’ were the best, that’s when I’d succeeded. If not – whether by 10 calories or 200 – I’d failed.
It was a sick, merciless, self-revolving culture which nobody knew about but me, but which had complete rule inside my own head. Under its influence, I was clueless to the damage it was causing – physically and emotionally, to me and to others – but I saw its gaunt, skeletal effects; I hit its shallow, selfish high and I was hooked.
That I can write so bluntly and explicitly about that time of my life is literally miraculous. As I type, I feel a warm glow of gratitude rise up, because it’s exceptional for an anorexia recoverer to feel no draw back to the addictive illness at all. If you read my account with any sense of guilt, anger or jealousy, any subversive pull towards that dark place of comparison and punishment, then I am concerned for you, and I urge you to speak to somebody about that (I’d be more than happy to hear from you, or there are many excellent services I could recommend).
Anorexia’s strict no-calorie rule stripped away my freedom of choice not just in what I ate, but also what I drank. Water or Coke Zero became my two options (apart from coffee which I ranked alongside cigarettes as a replacement for meals).
This colourless, insular and frankly ego-centric life is no way to live. It is an antidote to joy, to truly being yourself, and to having the energy and focus you need to squeeze the most out of every opportunity in life. But if you are reading this on your 5th consecutive Nothing Day, then you’ll have heard that many times and it won’t matter to you now, either.
Which is why, as I began spiraling into complete self-rejection and self-hatred, and depression dissolved the parts of my life anorexia hadn’t yet reached, I still didn’t let go of it. The tables had turned somewhere along the way, and I discovered I was no longer in control. The day I reached breaking point (you can read the whole story here) was one of the best days of my life, because it led to what happened next.
I ruled out counselling (too horrifying) and changing on my own (too little energy), but I did have the strength to let someone pray for me. That decision changed everything.
In one evening, over cups of tea in someone’s living room, three significant things happened:
- I forgave anyone who had ever mentioned my weight
- I said sorry for the hurt that I had caused, and for trying to control my life in such a messed up way
- We prayed
A lady prayed for me, literally speaking the name of Jesus over my mind and body, and told anorexia and depression to leave in His authority.
What I experienced that evening I will never forget.
The following morning, approaching a vending machine for a drink as I might have done any other day over the last two years, something was different. I fancied a Fanta.
Stunned, I put my money into the machine, pressed the Fanta button, and had a Fanta.
It was the most significant Fanta of my life.
Please, pursue freedom. Please, don’t settle for a life where you chase the illusion of ‘perfection’, but miss out on the real joys of life. Please, try Jesus.
Enjoy your can of Fanta with thankfulness that you are free to do so, and never be deceived into thinking that you are not. <3
April Shipton is a Christian singer and songwriter from Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire.
Inspired by her faith and experience of healing, her powerful songs have been met with national recognition and airplay on the UK’s leading Christian radio stations.
This year, she launched her debut tour ‘Bigger Than Dreams‘, through which she has shared her testimony and music with 15 venues in soulful, intimate events.