A Thousand Fatal Flaws

It was supposed to have been my last appointment. The last time I’d have to make the mad dash from work to the bus stop to the hospital to the clinic.

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I think deep down, I knew it wouldn’t be. But still, I sat in the lobby and hoped. There had been three very good months before those two kind-of-iffy weeks. And I’d caught it myself, hadn’t I, and adjusted accordingly.

Welll, yes and no. Yes mostly, but also a small amount of okay, yeah, not really super surprised. 

I won’t lie to her. I just won’t.

Here’s the thing. When I’m three to five pounds heavier, all of my symptoms go away. When I revert back to being my naturally more careful and cautious self (Oh! No thanks! I’m all set), they start creeping right back in. It’s amazing, really. That it has come down to such a small difference in weight. Three to five pounds — that’s all that’s responsible for the HUGE difference in how I feel. It’s like night and day.

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I’ve been weight restored and in my goal range for five months (!), but it’s only just now that I’m able to understand why my nutritionist would rather see me on the upper-middle end of things. It’s very nice to be in the middle. When I get too close to the bottom, it becomes too tempting to lose just a tiny bit more. (Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.)

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I like myself in the middle. I like how soundly I sleep. I like how much more easygoing I am. I like how I feel at the gym and I like how I feel curling up on the couch. I like what I cook when I’m at home and I like what I order when I go out. I like feeling less afraid and generally more optimistic. And I really, really like how much nicer I am — to myself and to the people around me.

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I’m infinitely less judgmental and enormously more forgiving and fifty times as compassionate, and I would imagine, a hell of a lot more fun.

(You’re helping me remember these things; thank you.)

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I even — and I never thought I would write this, ever — like my body. I think it’s kind of pretty. I like the way it’s firm in some places and soft in others. I think it must be nice, to hug someone with a little bit of give.

When I write like this, the whole anorexia detour feels long ago and far away. Did I honestly shower with the lights off for eight months, from October to May? Did I really despise myself that much? My god, what a terrible waste of energy.

I also wasted an awful lot of time worrying about whether or not full recovery was even possible. Of course it is. It absolutely is. It’s well within reach, now.

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There really aren’t too many hurdles left. They’ve all just sort of fallen away, with more food. The few still standing don’t even feel like such big jumps. Taking another up-to-date picture (maybe of more than just my head, this time!). Visiting my dad. Seeing other people who knew me “before.” Buying a bathing suit. Going for a swim. Having a relationship. Sleeping with someone. (Not right this second, mind you, but someday, with somebody I trust.)

I think about everything that has helped — the letters, the emails, the quotes, the hours and hours of therapy, the yoga classes, the regular weigh-ins, the switch to the Pacific Northwest, the switch to being an Adult Independent Lady (better late than never) — and I think time has been the single most transformative thing. It’s a little anticlimactic, I know. But time.

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Time between then and now. Time to figure out who I am and what I want. Time to work and time to rest. Time to redirect old (and awful) thought patterns. Time to try lots and lots of new things. Time to take way too many notes. (Time to go around and around, if we want to be truly transparent.) But mostly, mainly: time to start quietly liking myself. A thousand fatal flaws and all.

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(Raindrops via @pnwonderland, Trillium Lake via @robybabcock, be gentle via @jenngietzen, affirmation banner via @peytonfulford, misty bridge via @young.seeker, pretty pool via @andrewtkearnes, dream house via @rodtrvn — all on Instagam.)

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