Hello all! I can’t believe this is the last week of classes before finals! Part of me is really excited, but the other part of me is realizing that that means finals are next week….I am really excited about summer, though, because this is the first one in a reeeeeallllly long time I don’t have summer classes/homework. It will be a real, normal summer! And I have lots of exciting things coming up, but that’ll be for the next post!
When I was deciding what to call this post (which, by the way, is hands down the hardest part of writing these!), ‘changes’ just kind of made sense. As soon as I thought that, the David Bowie song, “Changes” came into my head. “Ch ch ch ch changes….” And, yes, for all of y’all that think I don’t know that song or who that is, I’m proving you wrong! 😛
It seems like I usually either start or end these on a more fun note, so why break tradition now! This last weekend we had a “sister reunion” with my grandma and her sisters. I forgot how long it had been since I’d seen a lot of my great-aunts, so it was good to be able to see everyone! Plus, I got a grilling lesson from my uncle and dad. The grill caught on fire, so I don’t know if I’ll be grilling on my own anytime soon – fire is one of my biggest fears! – but it was still fun! There was a big, nasty bee that was flying around us, so, while I hid like a brave girl, they stood there with the spatulas swatting at it. I got it on video, and it’s so funny to watch!! I was also amused by the debate my uncle and sister were having on the relationship status of the various Kardashian girls. I honestly don’t think I could tell you the names of all of the Kardashians, let alone who’s dating whom! It was so funny!!
I’m not really sure how to transition, so here we go….
The last few days I’ve been reflecting on life a lot. Let’s be honest though – that’s not uncommon. I’m a thinker, for better or worse. It’s been a year and a half since I went into treatment (well technically a year and seven months, but close enough, right?). I’ve been able to think and see more clearly the last few weeks than I have ever before. I thought I was doing well last year around this time, but I’m so much stronger now. Day to day, I don’t notice the difference. It isn’t until I really take a step back and think about things.
On Facebook, there are a million pictures up from high school (thanks to a very enthusiastic, picture-taking, Pace mom :P). When I got out of treatment I’d go back and look at the pictures longing to be at the weight I used to be. It’s no secret that I’ve gained weight since I walked through the doors of ERC. That’s kind of what they make you do there! Once I realized how incredibly detrimental that was to my mental well-being, I wouldn’t let myself go back and look at them. This week, I decided it was time.
When I was in high school I didn’t understand why people were concerned. I had a few friends that would say they were worried that I was losing too much weight. I couldn’t see it. I remember getting so mad because they kept saying I was too skinny and looked sick. “You need some meat on those bones.” No I didn’t; I was still fat. How could I be skinny and fat? I’ll tell you: I couldn’t, therefore they were wrong. Right after treatment, I had a slightly better concept of my body. I could honestly look at the pictures and say I wasn’t fat then, but I could only say that because I thought I was ok. That’s the body I wanted back. I’m sure you can imagine that made my new, healthy body really hard to accept now that it was almost 30 pounds heavier. (I realize that is still incredibly unhealthy thinking, thus why I said slightly better concept.)
Last night I pulled them up, and started scrolling. Before I knew it I had tears rolling down my face. I look at myself then, and it just breaks my heart! I see it. I finally understand the concern. I looked sick. If I was one of my friends watching me shrink, I’d be worried, too. I would be frustrated that I couldn’t see what I was doing to myself. Don’t get me wrong, I knew I was sick. I knew what I was doing wasn’t good, but it didn’t matter. The thing with eating disorders is that they cloud how you perceive yourself and the things around you and turn them into one twisted, ****ed up mess. I used to get so mad at everyone; they were the bad guys. They were just trying to make me fat. But I get it. They weren’t “trying to make me fat.” They simply wanted me to be healthy. Up until this point I just thought everyone was overreacting, but they weren’t. I was just so wrapped up in my cloudiness that I couldn’t see it. Honestly, when I look at those pictures I don’t even recognize myself. Of course I still look more or less the same – blonde(ish) hair, blue(ish) eyes – but the difference goes beyond that stuff. It’s in the way I carry myself. It’s in the look in my eyes. It’s in the genuineness of my smile. It’s in the stupid faces I make instead of being so afraid to draw attention to myself that I can only give a half-assed smile.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not meant to look like a model. It just isn’t in my genetics. (And I know I’ve said that before, but I think it’s more me reminding myself than telling y’all!) Maybe I don’t 100% love my body the way it is now, but I’d take the one I have now over then any day. I can work out without getting so lightheaded I can barely see straight. I’m not ready to throw up because I’m so hungry it hurts. I can go for a run without my chest feeling like it’s going to explode. I’m not shaking uncontrollably because I’m so cold. I have some meat on my bones, and I fully intend to keep it that way 🙂
I know it may seem hard to believe that just two months ago I was on the verge of a relapse and now I’m talking about how I’m further in my recovery than I’ve ever been. Those are two completely different things. Recovery is messy. I always thought I’d be the exception to that, and, while I’m special, I’m not that special! I get comfortable in what I’m doing and pretty soon the behaviors slowly start creeping in. At first I don’t notice them. It’s eating a few cookies instead of just one or two. It’s “not having time to eat lunch” because I’m studying. I decided awhile ago that you have to have the slip ups to really grow and move forward. If nothing else, it reminds me why I don’t want to go back to ED. So here’s to recovery!