Never Again, Rice Cakes

I’d be lying if I said this was all wonderful. I’d be lying if I said moments of deep doubt, so impossibly dark, never wormed their way into my consciousness.

There was the day I woke up and just knew: this time next week, these jeans won’t zip. There was the day I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a bus as it passed, and cried the whole way home.

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There was the day I stood in the shower, placed my heels together, and looked down towards my toes, only to be struck by the sheer size of my stomach — so bloated and so big. It looks like an overripe melon, I remember thinking. It was mesmerizing. Fascinating and disgusting, both at once.

There was the day I really SAW it, for the first time. The irrefutable evidence of my weight gain, in my spreading hips, my swelling thighs. My cheeks, filling in.

There was the day I thought I would just die from the shame. So hot, so humiliating.

There was the day I crumpled at my desk — decided I just couldn’t do it anymore, even as I dutifully finished my snack. Sawdust in my throat. There was the day I said I was sick of being brave, so tired of trying.

There was the day I realized my hands were vibrating — I was that anxious. There was the day I emergency-emailed my therapist and closest friends, with fingers I couldn’t get to stop shaking.

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There was the day I felt my spirit breaking. Half-wondered if it was already broken.

There was the day I knew I’d see my mom, for the first time in the six weeks since I’d started. There was the day I heard her knock at the door and felt very much like locking myself in the bathroom. Never coming out. Leaping out the window, maybe possibly.

There was the day she drove for hours and hours, set her stuff down and immediately sent herself to the store, so I could eat what I needed to eat, alone and in peace. She came back thirty minutes later, with flowers. (Red roses and white lilies. There was the day I felt like an absolute jerk.)

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There was the day I ripped through my closet, yanking out too-small tops, tearing at too-small bottoms, spewing out the too-small EVERYTHING, until there was nothing left. Until there was absolutely nothing left, inside. There was the day I shoved all of my old clothes into black trash bags, picked one to slump-sit against, and cried and cried and cried. Until it felt like my head had split in two. Until it felt like I couldn’t possibly cry anymore.

And then there were all the other days. The days that eclipse the horrible days, the hard days. And they do — eclipse them. They outnumber and outshine them, in every way. And on the increasingly rare occasion that I forget and think this is just terrible, I feel so awful, another voice pipes up and says: yeah, but it was worse before.

And it was. It was WAY worse. There is just no going back. I’d never give up my real smile, my real laugh. The life in my curls, the strength in my shoulders, the enthusiasm in my eyes. Or the pink in my cheeks, when I feel happy. When I feel like myself. Sweet and strong and smart. Only more forgiving, now.

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Some of the time, I even feel kind of pretty. I have a woman’s body, and it is pretty. All of a sudden I have a bum again. Cleavage, in certain shirts. (Okay, fine, in certain bras.) There’s a softness to my skin. My muscles live a layer underneath, as they should.

And there’s more, too. There’s a part-time job, a chance to write, and a studio apartment to find. (Read: a snow-covered sanctuary, a million miles from here?!)

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And there are people coming! People coming I can’t wait to see. They like cakes — these people who are coming. Birthday cake, Christmas cake, every kind of cake — they aren’t picky. As for me, I only have one request: no rice cakes. No rice cakes, please. Not ever again.

{Today’s cabin dream via @colingravy on Instagram. Lest you think this is just a phase.}

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