Friday, May 7, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
[Eavesdropping on a typical conversation between Ana and I, years ago]:
Me: “Ana, I’m sick of this. I just want to be happy. Sometimes I just wish I could eat and be normal.”
Ana: “By normal do you mean fat? You can’t be happy if you let yourself get fat. You’ve tried eating. You always come back.”
Me: “I know… but lots of people have normal and even large bodies, and somehow manage to be happy. Isn’t that possible?”
Ana: “Do you think you could be?”
Me: “No. I guess I never will.”
Ana. “See. Stick with me and you’ll be thin.”
Me: [Sobbing] “Maybe I should go into therapy or get some help.”
Ana: “You’re not skinny enough yet. You’re not at your goal weight. You're not sick enough until you lose a few more pounds. You can’t go into therapy looking fat.”
Me: “You’re right. I’m too fat for help.”
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Monday, February 22, 2010
This week was the beginning of Lent.
Since I grew up in a religious family, Ana and I used to use any excuse to fast. It was like a free day without any pressure – no one expected me to eat, so there was no pressure to pretend.
Fasting has presented a much greater challenge since I went into recovery.
Here is the understatement of the year: I’m in a much different place spiritually and mentally than I was back then. I’ve changed faiths for starters. I broke off my friendship with Ana and Mia.
But I really wanted to participate in the season of lent this year. The idea is to give up something you really like (often a favorite food) and focus on growing spiritually and praying. It’s also traditional to fast on the first day of lent.
On Ash Wednesday this week, I decided to give fasting another go. A few hours in – the familiar feelings. The hunger pangs I used to look forward to and consider a success. The oh-so-familiar taste in my own mouth. The blurry disconnect. It was all so easy. So familiar. I slipped it on like a favorite, old pair of jeans.
But you know, I think the scars run too deep. I did that for too long to have a good mindset about it.
While I didn’t feel the need to relapse this time, I couldn’t help but start seeing the world the way I used to. Seeing food as poison, noticing others’ weakness for eating, and feeling a little worthless.
I floated down the aisle at Ash Wednesday service in a blur. The priest placed the ashes on my forehead saying, “Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.” This reminds me that my life is just a breathe – a moment in time that is passing
I’m playing my own body guard now, and I’ve decided that it’s not safe for me to fast from food. In a way, I think I’m becoming a better body guard to my own recovery – learning things that put me in harms way and avoiding them – even if it does make people judge. I don’t think I really should ever let my guard down. Recovery is not a state of being, it is a daily journey.
I think next time Ash Wednesday rolls around, I’ll be fasting from something non-food related like TV or the internet. Probably I’ll go for something that puts a little more silence in my life.
I’m just not there. And that’s okay.
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Monday, February 15, 2010
I’ve been distant, I know.
I won’t let it happen again.
You see, I’ve been getting kicked in the gut over and over again. I don’t blame you for being upset that I haven’t posted. I’ve just been flat on my back, emotionally, and I’m really, really ready to leave this place. I’ve got sooo much to catch you up on, and I hadn’t decided until now whether or not I was going to be able to do it. I think I can.
I’ve described to you before how EDs push people away. I know it first hand from my own experiences pushing everyone in my life out – slamming the doors so Ana and I could be alone and concentrate on progress. But this is the first time I’ve ever been the one on the other side of the door. It’s no fun. I’ve often made the parallel between an ED and an abusive relationship. In my own recovery, I refer to my eating disorder as a person, “Ed.”
Kat said she was doing better, and said she didn’t want to do this blog anymore and that she knew it was keeping her from recovery.
I don’t know how to write about all that’s transpired since then, because I can’t process it fully myself yet. I’ve been trying to verbalize so I could share with you, but I don’t know how yet.
I’ve been really torn up since recently; Kat started shutting everyone out, including me. She’s been behaving really erratically and making a lot of crazy moves. She stole from
I’ve cried a lot. For a week all I could think about was “Speechless” by Lady Gaga. The Lyrics totally expressed my feelings. The day after she ran away from home, I wrote her a letter. Here goes.
I wanted to write this to you today to give you a glimpse into actual reality. I know that to a certain extent, you know that what I am about to say is true.
I love you. And I’m a fool in love because it’s destroying me emotionally. I feel so useless as I write this at my little table at Starbucks.
How long do you think relationships can handle going through the meat grinder that is Ana and Mia? You are missing so much.
One of my biggest regrets in life is that I feel like I just started living 3 years ago. Life, it turns out, is a cornucopia of amazing sounds, colors, thoughts – emotions even – that my eating disorder would not allow me to experience.
I’m talking about your eating disorder because I blame your relationship with Ana/Mia squarely for the crumbling relationships between you and our family who love you so desperately.
It makes me want to scream, or shake you because you are stuck in an addiction that promises everything, but offers you nothing. And you have traded the greatest gifts in your life for those cheap lies.
I know “recovery” often seems ridiculous. But I have chosen to implore you to try.
Why? Because I’m fed up. I’m sick to death of being slapped in the face by Ed when I need my sister! I hate that he is keeping you from being here for me, and that because of him, you have nothing to offer your family in a time of need.
I hate that the other night, you could have been having a blast with me and my crazy friends at the party, but instead you chose to spend the night in the bathroom. Try to tell me that doesn’t hurt.
But that is the reality of our EDs. Not the beautiful, thin, fulfilled models you posted as thinspiration. That’s the lie that Ana promises but never delivers in a way that is satisfying.
Trust me, as someone who was married to Ed for ten years, he’s a fucking loser who warps your perspective of the world and sucks every ounce of color and joy out.
Ed promises you beauty, perfection, love, acceptance, and that you will be valued. He delvers misery, depression loneliness, despair, self-hatred and death.
It’s not beauty - It’s the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.
I wish you could open your eyes and see that here before you is a family absolutely in love with you. Desperately in love with you. Tragically hurt by your actions. But this is what Ed does. He wants you isolated. He wants dead. He wants you lonely, and depressed. I love you. I want you. I even need you. But as long as you continue in your self-destructive tendencies, you will continue to fail us. How long can this go on? How many will be casualties before you stop? I am here for you. As I said in one of my blog posts, I feel like in a lot of ways, I have yet to even meet you.
The fact is, you are an adult now and it’s 100% your choice how you want to live your life. No one can or will stop you. I just urge you to think long and hard about what you want in your life, and if you are on a path to achieve it. They say hindsight is 20/20. In so many ways we are similar. If you extrapolate the hindsight theory, I look into your future and see utter personal disaster if you don’t reach out and accept the true love and help you deserve and need. I see you breaking relationships. Missing the beauty in life, and perhaps even losing your future husband - simply because you chose the bathroom option.
I of all people know that it isn’t easy. But you are loved. You have support. You need to act. Please reach out and stop missing everything. We need you. You do have a choice. No one is making you hurt us – it is you.
* * *
Things seemed better for a while. Then, two weeks ago, she left home for good, leaving my mother with only a note. Since then, Kat’s been shutting everyone out. She unfriended the whole family on facebook, even me. Aside from one text, I haven’t heard from her.
There’s been a lot of erratic behavior. I get that. I know it’s a part of this whole thing. I also know that I’m oversimplifying here – and a lot of shit has gone down, and it’s not easy to explain.
I’m tired of crying. I’m tired of worrying. I can’t concentrate on anything. I’m ANGRY that I don’t have a sister present when I need her. Kat’s obviously pushing everyone away, but even I feel like the limits of my patience have been tested. How many times can someone (metaphorically) hang up on you before you give up trying to call? Judah and I love Kat a lot, but hey, even we are human. To quote Shakespeare, “If you prick us, do we not bleed? …If you poison us, do we not die?”
I guess I need to figure out how to love her without continually getting destroyed in the process. I’ve been on the sidelines with a few injuries.
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Thursday, February 4, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
When I was 12, I made a deal with the Devil.
Even back then, for as long as I could remember, I had a lot of anxiety about my body. I remember worrying about the leotards I wore to gymnastics class when I was only 3. I remember hating the way my thighs spread across my school room chair if I wore shorts in 3rd grade. I remember being put in the row of tall girls on picture day, and assuming that it was because I was fat. There were a lot of factors, but by the time I was 12, I felt like my life was completely out of my control, and I wasn’t happy.
That’s when I met Ana.
There she was. I will never forget that radiant vision of beauty: a delicate, willowy apparition of perfection. Totally beautiful. Totally perfect. Everything I longed for. I absolutely worshipped her. She told me that if I followed her, I would have everything I wanted – beauty, perfection, happiness, security and control.
It was around that time that the Devil himself appeared, reached over and offered me a single, perfect apple. “If you do as I say, and obey me, I’ll give you everything you want. You’ll be perfect. You’ll be like a goddess. Ignore everyone else. I’ll show you the way.”
I had to have that. I knew that I would never truly be happy until I had that life. That body. That control. While there were many aspects of my life that made me feel powerless and ugly, here was a goal that I could fully immerse myself in – and no one could stop me! I gave over my heart and mind. I was strong enough to put off the temporary rewards of today because I had a much higher goal. And that goal became my life.
* * *
Chasing Ana was like chasing a mirage in the dessert. I would chase her to the horizon, only to find that she was still 10 more miles away. I’d look in the mirror, and remind myself how dissatisfied I was. I’d catch her clearly in my sights again. I’d chase her again. Beyond the edge of the horizon – across the sea – over the mountains, down into the valley and back again.
Almost ten years went by.
One day in college, I looked in the mirror and realized that the 12 year old inside of me was thoroughly angry. After all of those years of loyal service to Ana, and following her every command, I only hated myself more. Instead of the radiant image I should have seen by then, my skin just looked gray. My eyes looked dull, and my once thick, shining curls were a dry, straw-like mess falling out by the gobs. Bouts of starvation ate away my muscle, making me feel flabby and weak. When I did become exhausted by the merry-go-round routine and try to eat normally, my body rebelled and my confused belly would swell up horribly. “Tisk tisk. Follow me,” said Ana. Always back to the drawing board – back to Ana. I never felt the satisfaction. I never experienced that confidence – but there was Ana again, promising it just beyond the next hill, the next pound, the next landmark.
Not just my skin, but LIFE was thoroughly gray. I needed to feel something, so I cut. I needed to want something, so I starved. I needed to love someone, but there was too much deep, deep sorrow that needed comfort. It was the deepest, darkest sadness: the one I call despair – which means to be without hope.
No one in the universe can understand despair unless they have experienced it. It is in fact, the very worst kind of sorrow. It’s like the never-ending wail of a person in deep, deep mourning, but carried secretly in your own soul day by day. The person who has no hope feels no reason to exist. No value in being. No motivation to carry on. No reason to wake up in the morning or do something as simple as walk up the stairs. It’s just. too. heavy.
* * *
You see, devils rarely keep their promises.
Where I had been promised success, I only experienced deeper feelings of failure. Where I had been promised glamorous beauty, I had received a broken body. Where I had been promised control, I became more powerless… Where I had been promised love and admiration, I received a string of broken relationships… and then the despair.
Oh no, no escape! No comfort! I wailed in deepest agony, driving my clunky old Honda down a bleak midwinter country road. The sky way gray. Tears, snot and drool all gushed down my gray skin. So much sorrow. Trapped. I could not live any longer with Ana – I wanted to die. But I also felt I could never live without her. How would I face life without her? Could I ever face life without her? I did not believe I could. I thought there was no possible way I could ever be happy by giving up her invisible promise. I was afraid I would become everything I hated. She was so tightly engrained in my being. I felt no escape. No hope. Utter despair.
As someone who has taken your path to the ends of the earth and beyond,
My dear, dear sisters –
It’s just a mirage.
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Saturday, January 9, 2010
I can’t sleep. I’ve been laying in bed for an hour, feeling my heart roll around, thumping and buzzing in my chest painfully. It’s my cardiac arrhythmia. Benign in my case, but something we suspect to have been another parting gift from Mia. It feels like a jack hammer. I hate it.
I’m so sorry it’s been over a week since I posted.
Last week I dreamt was standing on the seashore on a cold day, feeding bits of my soul to the seagulls. They kept coming back for more. It really stuck with me. It’s one of the reasons I haven’t been on. I think I’ve had some internal conflict about how to proceed with this blog. While I feel strongly that I need to be here – that there’s a missing voice on these blogs – I can’t deny that it introduces an element of danger for me. And I also can’t pretend not to be affected by some of the more negative comments I’m getting. This whole thing really makes me quite vulnerable.
So the question remains – what to do.
This has been a hard week. There’s so much I want to tell you about what’s going on (both with me and with Kat.) But I can barely bring myself to write. It’s all I can do to get up in the morning and get my work done. I can’t focus. Yeah, I’ll admit it, I’m a bit depressed. But by now I know that tomorrow, or maybe the next day, things will be better. I’ve learned a lot about coping, and living life after Ana and Mia. Sometimes you drag your feet. Sometimes you fall on your face. But I cannot – will not – let it take everything from me again. Because other days, I fly.
The way I see it right now, I’m in a battle. We all are. It’s a battle with ourselves. It’s a battle over what we want versus what we want. (Yes.) It’s a battle about success and failure… and their definitions. It’s a battle about life and death, and a question of how much we want either of those. Unfortunately, we are not the only casualties. Our friends. Our families. It’s a war out there. I’ve got some pretty impressive scars. But I’m here now to fight.
Forgive me, if I need a few days between posts from time to time to recover. I think if I’m going to keep this up, I need to give myself some safety nets. Some additional accountability or support. I know myself too well and have fallen too many times. If I’m going to keep this up, I want to make sure I can do it without backsliding myself. I hope you can understand. But I’m not going anywhere. I told you I love you, and I meant it. And I do battle for people I love.
Oh PS - I accidentally stumbled across a few so called recovery blogs that really freaked me out! It’s amazing how some people can misunderstand and be so judgmental of eating disorders. It’s not some switch you can just turn on and off at will! If you’ve ever gotten to a point where you wanted to or tried to stop, you know what I mean. (But I promise, when you are ready for it, there is a really good life on the other side of this. It just takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get there.)
The victories in my life may seem small and insignificant to people who have not experienced an eating disorder. But you know, I think I’m a much stronger person than they’ll ever know for having accomplished something as simple as disobeying ana and mia again this whole, particularly trying week. But man, am I exhausted from battle.
I think I need to try to sleep now.
I hope you are sleeping ok tonight.
PS - *winces/laughs a little* Please be nice – I’m feeling a bit fragile. J G’night.
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