Tag Archives: anorexia
Aside

Inferno

13 Mar

Image

Feathers rustle as dust settles…

Snowflakes in a silent desert are… different.

These fall black.

 

There was a Holocaust here.

Who dare speak of the suffering?

 

Hair mirroring the very flames inside her.

whispers of “A Girl on Fire,”

Burned at the stake,

a spiritual pyre.

 

They knew.

she’d seen evil glow,

burning inside the Devil’s eyes.

She was the One

who’d dare glimpse the deepest dark.

 

a body consumed in the fire,

torched in torture.

Her heart: self-scalded.

Sea of Shame sizzling in the sea of flames

until the excess enkindled, the surplus seared down to skeleton.

 

Even bared bones

Don’t make it through the Crematorium.

 

Now, a scattering of ashes,

wind carries away Pastness.

 

And just as it seems

her Spirit rests beneath the dying embers:

a spark.

 

The Phoenix rises again…

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Aside

“Yes, butting…”

8 Nov

ImageYes, but what about your bones? What about the four fractures you’ve already had? What about the D, K2, calcium, magnesium, zinc, boron cluttering the refrigerator door?

Yes, but what about Osteoporosis screaming from the bottom of the bone density results form?

Yes, but what about when you want to still dance when you’re 90?

Yes. I know… but what about your brain? What about your future, college, your dreams? Yes, those will all go down the toilet, too.

Yes, but what about your potential? What about all the time you’ve wasted? What about differential equations, and calculus problems, long novels, research, and psychology? What about brain chemicals and alternative therapies? What about creativity, art, crossword puzzles, and KenKens?

Yes, but what about all the kids that depend on you? What about giving and teaching? What about them? What about saying, “You don’t really matter that much to me?”

Yes, but what about your skin? What about glowing? What about being beautiful, alive, vibrant?

What about those clumps of hair on the shower floor? Will you go back to that?

Yes, but what about your eyes? Sunken and hollow, a thin connection between the living outside and the dead inside…

Yes, you can do that… but do you want to?

Yes, but what about your heart? But the body doesn’t shrink disproportionally… the heart shrinks, too.

Yes, in more ways than one.

But what about your loved ones? What about the mother who worked so hard to care for you so many years and now must watch you self-destruct, helpless to do anything? What do you think you are putting HER through?

What about the aunt who took you in when you needed a home? What about all the teachers who’ve helped you along, both in school and out? What about the treatment team that has always believed in you, even when you haven’t believed in yourself?

What about all the people who love you?

Yes, but get real… you ARE choosing it over them. Yes, but do you value starving more than them?

Yes but what about all you’ve lost? But how much more will you let it rob you of?

Yes, but what about all you have? All the joy recovery brought?

Yes, but what about all you’ve gained? All that you’ve worked for? All the dreams to come?

Yes, you can choose the eating disorder again.

But it will never be worth it.

This Girl

10 Oct

This girl is crying. And it hurts, but feels so damn good.

This girl is unbearably sad. But somehow believably hopeful.

This girl is caught between being scared of the darkness, yet feeling terror at walking into light.

This girl wants to run again.  Into the light. Feel the road beneath her feet, know the wind will carry her through, allow the caress of the deep blue sky to settle upon her rhythmic pounding. How she misses that…

This girl needs to heal first. To go deep again, make up for the months of just surviving on the surface. The months of starving her life away. The months of forgetting loved ones and consuming herself in her own self destruction.

This girl wants to dance. Even more. With and without people. Dance while sitting perfectly still. Shake her soul through life.

This girl wants to feel joy. That feeling of security, that nothing could possibly go wrong.

This girl wants to feel comfort again. To wrap up in fluffy blankets, settle down with mugs of tea, be okay with silence. To stand on the edge and know that there will be no fall. To allow warmth of hugs to bind her soul tighter and remind her of the goodness wrapped inside her chest.

This girl wants to give love again. And her list includes herself.

This girl wants to know her spirit is beautiful and her mind is at peace. That life will be okay no matter what.

This girl doesn’t want these things stolen again. There is a monster that lurks inside.

This girl won’t let them be stolen again.

This girl is strong. This girl will fight. This girl will cry. This girl will remember. This girl will change. This girl will breathe. This girl will eat. This girl will pray. This girl will learn. This girl will feel. This girl will give.

This girl… has too much to live for.

The Truth about Guys, Girls, and Weight

17 Dec

For many girls struggling with food, body image, and weight, their eating disorder provides a sense of security and control over life events or feelings that seem overwhelming. I know this was the driving force behind mine.

But oftentimes, there are other incentives to continue manipulating food and exercise, like receiving compliments from friends and family, feeling lightheaded and invincible, and believing that being thin is more attractive. For me, it was a no brainer to pursue a full blown eating disorder because it not only helped me cope, but hey… I was also going to be admired, popular and pretty. What a bargain!

I really did believe that I was so huge and ugly that the only way someone would be attracted to me was if I became much, much thinner. Let me tell you… I was wrong.

After a certain point, people stopped admiring my “self-control” and “fitness” and began expressing disgust or concern for my health. The more emaciated I became, the less people wanted to be around me. It was as though they were afraid they would catch the anorexia like it was contagious.

Slowly, I lost what made me a woman- my butt, breasts, and curves. Instead, I looked like a malnourished teenage boy- gangly limbs, pointy elbows, sunken eyes, and prominent, countable ribs. Complete with the surly disposition due to my malnutrition and the resulting depression. I lost my body, but more importantly the quest to be the thinnest made me lose my joy. My smiles were stretched thin. Fake. And frankly, I see now why no boy would ever approach me because of that.

And now, being through the physical restoration component of recovery, I can see in retrospect how wrong I was about what exists in the minds of guys. I’m not saying I’m an expert, because clearly, I’m a girl. But I have been lucky enough to enter into a relationship with a very sweet, kind guy the past few months and have had to reconsider my previous beliefs about gender and beauty.

The first time he remarked on my figure, it took me a moment or two to recover. What? Everything my eating disorder had told me about being attractive was turned upside down. It shocked me, after talking with him, to realize that 20, 30 lbs. ago, he wouldn’t have even considered dating me… “I want to have something to hug.”

And apparently, this guy is not an exception. A recent study done at St. Andrew’s University in Scottland questioned whether the “size zero” body or a more curvaceous figure was more attractive to the 18-26 male age group. The girls were assessed for health by taking blood pressures and weights and then photographed. Then each guy was presented with the photos and asked to rate them in terms of health and attractiveness. Reports indicate that the overwhelming majority of the young men preferred the women at healthy weights over under or overweight women. What a strong message to girls who believe that you you have to be nothing but bones in order to be beautiful.

Don’t believe the lie.

Being healthy is more important that being thin. No matter what the eating disorder may say. End of story.

 The truth is, guys like happy, healthy girls.

The Women I Waited For

29 Oct

Alone in a city of millions… what a paradox.

Yet, just over a year ago, it’s exactly how I lived. Fresh out of inpatient treatment, I went to live with my aunt in New York City. Physically, I looked better, and everyone exclaimed behind hopeful smiles at how restored I seemed. But I knew the truth. The ED spat,

“Look how you’ve let them stuff you. How dare you actually ENJOY eating when they fed you at Oliver Pyatt? I am not done with you yet… You’re mine again.”

After two days in the metropolis, my insurance terminated my intensive outpatient care and I was left with little treatment support. And my ED went wild in jubilation. It was perfect… no one to monitor, no one to force feed, just me and him… all day long.

In the sea of people, I was stranded on a desert island. The ED made me feel ashamed of my newer, higher weight, so I drew inward, clamming up, losing all evidence that I ever had a social life. It was as though I could not emerge back into the world until the ED had deemed me thin enough again. Unfortunately( or perhaps fortunately), I never reached what my ED considered “acceptable.”

No one understood what I was going through. No one could possibly comprehend the pain, the loneliness, the anxiety, and the bleakness that pervaded the summer. No one else was being eaten up from the inside out, being sucked inwardly into a vacuum, where hope did not exist.

Oh, but they did. They do.

This past weekend was a milestone in my recovery as I ventured once again to New York City. But this time I wasn’t alone. And this time, it was on my terms.

Of course, my ED protested, “You shouldn’t… you’ll have to deal with all those messy memories and not knowing every nutritional fact of every bite you eat there. Think of the apple juice on the plane, how much do those flight attendants really pour? Half a can, 3/4? Oh, and those pretzels and peanuts. You’ll have to decline those. Don’t make me remind you of the restaurants all over New York. What land mines! Really, let’s just stay here in nice, safe, cozy Austin and continue to avoid those pesky things called feelings. Doesn’t that sound just peachy?”

Shut. The. Hell. Up.

While the ED pitched its, fit, I stood unwavering, like a parent riding out the terrible-two tantrums. It was not going to keep me alone. Not this time.

So I got on that airplane. And enjoyed the peanuts and the pretzels, plus NYC’s best pierogis, sushi, and muffins. I had coffee with a new friend, wishing the whole time… if only we had met a year ago. Maybe…..    I stayed up ’til 3 in the morning gossiping and reminiscing with my aunt until my eyelids collapsed, yet my heart wanted more. I saw more in four days than I did the entire summer I lived in NYC- art museums, fashion exhibits, improv shows- or at least savored it more. And I attended a bodyPeace by Piece workshop held by Susan Weiss Berry and Margaux Laskey, where I learned new creative tools to help cultivate a deeper acceptance of what my body looks like and how I feel towards this new weight I exist at.

But perhaps, most importantly, the women I interacted with this weekend made me realize that all along, I’ve never truly been on my own. While there are times where I have felt no one could possibly “get it,” they were there, I just didn’t know it then. Their companionship, their empathy, their compassion made me appreciate how “real” these women were. How rare it was to find them. yet here was a whole group of them assembled. Finally, those unafraid to admit, “Yes, we are struggling, too. We are vulnerable and yearning for understanding. We will not turn you away because we know what it’s like to hurt, but also what it’s like to lean on one another and find strength together.”

I could feel it in their smiles, in their warm, enveloping hugs, in their joyful dance, their quiet moments of reflection, their beauty. I knew I wasn’t alone any longer in the struggle. Yes, I silently whispered…

“Thank you. You are the ones I was waiting for…”

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