January to June

What would you write, if you weren’t self-conscious? What would you write, if you didn’t have to worry about who might read it? Re-read it? Send it or save it; skim it or delete it.

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If you weren’t deliberately trying to be upbeat, what would bubble up? (Up and over.) If you weren’t in work mode, if you weren’t so busy — busy, busy, busy — what would you be thinking through?

If you let yourself feel any of the empty, if you went around and gave each of your hollow places an experimental tap, what would that be like? What would it be like to let yourself miss, let yourself want, let yourself cry? Really cry, messy cry.

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Um, miserable. That’s what that would be like. That’s what it is like.

I’ve never cried as much as I have this January to June. January to June has been so hard.

I spent twenty odd years as this very stoic and self-contained person, and now I’m just a mess. Is everybody such a mess, underneath?

I like things nice and tidy. The sticky, the sad, the unsightly — can’t have those!!

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Anorexia is top of the list of things I wish I could just wipe away, permanently. Missed a spot! Missed ten spots, more like.

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I’d stopped writing about it because for a while, it had stopped looming so large. It felt like a very small part of what I fervently wanted to be my past, all of a sudden, and I didn’t want anyone new to know that it had been a main event, for so long.

It would be drastic to say it’s, you know, back, but it isn’t gone. I know by the way I feel — a little foggy headed at times. I know by what’s in my fridge. SO MUCH KALE.

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I can tell by which clothes fit and which clothes don’t. Which things suddenly look a little nicer, fit in more flattering ways.

I can tell when I wake up in the morning and bolt out of bed, feeling eerily similar to way I used to: anxious and irritable when I don’t exercise first thing. I can tell when my legs are leaden, my arms are sore, it’s absolutely time for a day off, and I go to the gym anyway. Can’t break that routine.

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I can tell by which pantry items I have to replace less frequently: carbs, chocolate, cheese. I can tell by how quickly my mood heads south and my thoughts about the future tank.

I can tell by glancing at the recent photos stored on my phone. Photos I have no business taking. Are people’s camera rolls incredibly personal things? I think you could get to know a lot about a person just by looking at the pictures they take.

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I’ve gained 25 pounds since the beginning of October. I don’t know how much of it I’ve lost again, restricting off and on for the last few weeks, but I’m sure my nutritionist will clue me in on Thursday.

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I’m such a people pleaser — I’m actually afraid she will be mad at me. I fought so hard to gain weight, before this self-sabotaging business. I even got to a point where it was fine. How I looked, I mean. It wasn’t even something I had to be fine with. I’m very much hourglass-shaped, and I won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and it’s fine! Also I am a size six and I prefer to stand slightly sideways in pictures. Hope that’s okay.

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The truth is she won’t be mad. She will reiterate that recovery is never linear and it’s excellent that I’m being honest with myself and yes I can absolutely have some more support. She will remind me that feeling everything is infinitely better than not feeling anything, even if VISCERAL PAIN bookends one end of that spectrum. She will tell me that lots and lots of people go on to lead very happy/healthy lives with wonderful relationships post eating disorder. They do. And I will, too.

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So. What this means is there is still more work to be done. What this means is — if we’re shooting for real honesty here — I know I hadn’t reached my set point before I decided okay, that’s it, had enough now, unable to tolerate any more.

What this means is I know I won’t be “done” until I can look back on a post like this and think, oh man, remember that? I do feel that way — this mixture of pity and strength — when I look back at the one or two pictures of myself taken when I was really sick. When I had six-pack abs, but could barely walk around the block. Now I’m miles from there but still in the middle, somewhere. Afraid to keep going; certain that I need to.

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What this means is I have to stop worrying about never finding someone to spend the rest of my life with. What this means is I have to remember I’m only 24 years old, and there is still plenty of time to devote to the self-love piece that seriously is so important.

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What this means is I have to keep muddling my way through — the grief and the terror and the aching loneliness and the complete and utter uncertainty about everything — without coping the way I used to cope.

What this means is I need to lean on my family all over the place and my friends so far away. And okay yes, this also probably means I need to make more of a concerted effort to make some more friends in Portland. Even though, good grief, I had no idea it would be this hard to meet people in my twenties.

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“Do you know what people really want? Everyone, I mean. Everybody in the world is thinking: I wish there were just one other person I could really talk to, who could really understand me, who’d be kind to me. That’s what people really want, if they’re telling the truth.” -Doris Lessing

{Rowena Crest by @bdorts; Fremont Bridge by @gemini_digitized; PDX by @silassao)

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6 thoughts on “January to June

  1. I’ve definitely learned the hard way about things not happening in a linear fashion. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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