I Haven’t Shaved in 6 Weeks Day 7: 11 Truths About That ‘One Time In Rehab’

I’d love to say the following truth won’t embarrass this person- but the fact of the matter is that I think it could-

Stoic, Unemotional, Easygoing, Passive- All words to describe my little tart of a brother before I get this post rolling.

But I’m writing this today- because it’s a crucial thing to cover. Family. I could write 10,000 posts on my relationships with them- could write a novel over how supportive- and genuine their love was throughout this time: But I think it’s stories like the following- that actually encompass what it means to remind yourself of what’s important. So that when shiz gets tough- and it will- that you remember the pretty little moments that are encircling it-

So with that:

Truth No. 7: “If Someone Were To Harm My Family, I’d Eat Them:

Might Go to Jail for 500 Years, But I’d Eat Them

-Johnny Depp (Touche, Depp, Touche)

Don't Kill Me, Michael- Love, Cruella Halloween 1997
Don’t Kill Me, Michael- Love, Cruella
Halloween 1997

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

7.) “If Someone Were To Harm My Family, I’d Eat Them:

Might Go to Jail for 500 Years, But I’d Eat Them

-Johnny Depp

It’s December 28, 2013- 3 weeks into rehab- and you’re sitting on your knees in front of the mirror trying to push through an old earring when your roommate opens the door.

Damn, you mutter- feeling the back of your ear start to bleed.

You never understand how after 15 years- your.ears.still.bleed.

Hey, she says- tossing her binder on the bed. You missed group?

You push it again- one final time- rubbing the lobe with your fingers.

My grandparents are coming, you say- looking back at her through the mirror.

Now? she says- climbing into her bed for her nap.

You nod, standing up- checking yourself in the mirror- smoothing down your black pencil skirt over your thighs.

You’ll wonder if they’ll notice- your grandparents.

Wonder if they’ll exchange looks when you can’t see- and when they go to leave-

Get back in the car and talk quietly about how unfortunate it is that you ”let yourself go.”

You’ll understand if they do, you think- feeling your waist take up the material of your skirt.

Feeling your backside rub up against it.

Imagining your stomach expand.

This used to be big-

You used to take breaks during work-

Slip into the hallway bathroom- when no one was in there

Untuck your shirt from your skirt- lift it above your ribs in the mirror-

To make sure they were still there.

That your meal hadn’t taken them away from you- your beautiful bones.

You are proud of this, you think those days- when you’d eaten one less almond than before.

You turn in the mirror- the bathroom mirror in front of the stalls- feel the skirt slide down your waist- to your hips.

Stare at your back end- drop your shirt and reach out and up your back to feel your shoulder blades unveil- like goosebumps on your skin.

How you enjoyed cupping them- holding those blades in your palms. Your chest out- standing with your feet shoulder length apart.

You were beautiful then- And you felt it.

You were hungry then- But you’d grown used to it.

You were hurting then- Thinking to yourself ”This is how it will always be.”

And you’re remembering that now- staring into your rehab bedroom mirror-

When you hear a giggle behind you.

Your outfit, she says- pulling the comforter to her chest.

You’re caught- you know it.

Dude, It’s my grandparents- I can’t be lopping around them in a beanie and denim.

Why not?

You shake your head. I just can’t-

She rolls her eyes. I’d love to see your closet. I bet you have everything separated into categories, don’t you?- Just like oh here’s clothes for my grandparents- here’s my work clothes- here’s my wannabe hipster clothes- here’s my preppy Texas clothes.

You can’t help but snort- balancing with your hand on the bed and zipping up the back of your brown leather boot.

I didn’t even know you had those, she says. And what the hell is with your hair?

What- you say, turning back in the mirror- You don’t like it?

It’s more ridiculous than when your parents came.

It’s a bun- you exclaim. It’s a work bun.

You look like my grandmother.

Exactly, you say- pointing a finger at her.

Have fun Pollyanna- she says as you shut the door to your room.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

You walk down to the community room now- 10 minutes before they arrive.

You pass the nurses station on the way- feel Nurse Sheila eye you from her stoop.

Hello, Ms. Hall- she says.

You think she looks like your mother- You’re missing your mother.

Been missing them since you watched security escort the families off when visiting hours were over at Christmas.

You wave to her and walk past- choosing not to stop until a voice bellows from behind you.

Good God- You hear.

No, you say immediately No. No. No.-Whipping around as Lilly kicks open the door of the hallway phone booth.

Her hair- you notice immediately- looking like a birds nest from being leaned against the inside wall- she’s holding the cord of a phone in her hand- her eyes dancing around you.

Brilliant. She smirks. Who’s coming today- Mom? Aunt? Great-Grandmother? Godparent?

Grandparents.

Can I meet them?

No.

Please, she says- and talks into the phone. Tell Lindsey she has to introduce me to her grandparents.

You’d scare them, you say. Who is that?

One guess.

You roll your eyes. Tell her I said what’s up.

Lindsey says what’s up, she says into the receiver. Yeah, I’ll tell her. She looks like fucking Cindy Whoo-Hoo.

Cindy Lou-Who, you idiot. We just watched that.

She smiles. Grace says Hi.

Tell her I hope she’s doing well- And it’s not the same without her.

I will.

You walk into the community room- leaving Lilly to talk to her new girlfriend.

A very Orange-Is-The-New-Black situation if ever there was one.

____________________________________________________________________________

You notice Jacy and Olivia sitting on the couch as the door closes.

Yo, you say, walking over.

Don’t you look mighty Southern, Olivia says, grinning. Are your parents coming back?

Grandparents, you say. My parents left already.

I think you look pretty Linds.

You do look pretty, Olivia agrees. It’s just funny.

I know, you say- falling into the couch. But alas, we all make sacrifices.

Yeah, Oliva says- shuffling a deck of cards. But your family adores you.  I dunno why you don’t just wear whatever you want.

You shrug- I don’t know. It’s complicated.

But the truth is- you just don’t know.

You only know how to be one way or the other.

This person or that.

You didn’t want your grandparents coming-

It’s hard enough with your own family.

Scared that when they sit there across from you-

All your brother can think about is how different he wants his life- from yours.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

And now it’s 4:05 and you’re pacing around the room feeling like a loon.

Sit down, Jacy says.

It’s gonna be so awkward, you say- for the 15th time.

It’s fine.

You groan- waltzing around the room some more.

Linds- A counselor says- peeking her head through the door. You got visitors.

Good luck, the room shouts unanimously- wishing you would get the hell out and stop mulling on about your grandparents.

______________________________________________________________________________________

And now here you are in the hallway-

With the bland walls- and the cubbies that keep each patients mail.

You’re walking down it now- seeing the security guard at the end-

Imagining your grandparents discomfort- their quiet way of looking past you- to the wall with the painting-

The first one you noticed when you arrived. “4916 days is Enough.”

“This is rehab,” they’ll think- as a girl with a feeding tube walks past- pushing her IV.

You just want your family, you think.

Nervous- stomach jumping

Smoothing your hair back- Trying to catch your reflection in the mirror.

You’re looking ahead- nearing the end of the hall- spotting a boy leaned over, signing the visitor sheet.

Someone’s brother- you think- noticing his cap.

His cotton loose pullover.

A pain in your heart you have-

When you see his Nike tennis shoes, and the brown hair poking out from his cap- around his ears.

Michael? you wonder- Afraid to say it- because you don’t think it’s true.

And if it isn’t- it hurts.

So you don’t-

You just follow him with your eyes when he turns.

Trailing him- noticing his jeans- a tear in the back pocket.

Don’t do this, you think. But it’s too late- and you know it-

Can’t we ever just will something into being?

You know it’s silly- but What if?

What if? You think- And you turn the corner-

To a boy smiling at you, standing above-

Who you sat on when you were 12- wrestling the remote from his hands

A boy you collected Beanie Babies with- telling him which ones to buy

A boy you made drive the toy car- and you stood on the back, his little legs pushing-

Go faster, you’d say- jumping. Pedal harder- And he would.

He’s smiling at you now-This boy.

A man- really- who looks like a boy, because he has always been yours.

“Surprise,” they say- reaching for you.

And you’re laughing in the lobby-

The staff laughing in the lobby

Your brother and dad laughing-

laughing because sometimes things happen the way you want them to

And it’s a feeling that can’t be explained-

Because it’s always gone too fast.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Can’t believe y’all, you say later- when the moment has passed- and you’re walking out to the healing garden. (The name really is that cheesy)

We got you- didn’t we? Your dad says, smugly. Holding your red binder in his hands.

-He always holds your things for you-

Like he did when you were little- and you held out your gum in the car “Here somebody,” you’d say “I’m done.”

And he’d take it- mock rolling his eyes at you- but he always took it.

Were they ever coming? You wonder

They wanted to, he says. But we figured it’d be kinda hard on you so I told them you needed your space.

The Florida sun’s hitting the tops of your heads.

Thank you, you say. It’s chilly today, isn’t it? Michael beside you with his phone in his hand.

Yeah, he agrees- opening the weather app from his home screen.

What I wouldn’t give for a phone- you muse.

I bet you’re dying, he grins.

My phone bill’s not.

You nudge your dad with your elbow. So how’d yall end up staying?

Michael grins, It was random-

It was, your dad says- entering the garden behind you. We were on our way to the airport and I just kinda had this moment where I was like HEY, why not? It’s Christmas break- no one’s working- Michael’s outta school. Let’s just stay.

You smile- looking at Michael. You didn’t have party plans?

I do, he says- Just not till New Years.

Ah yes- I see.- But secretly, you know he could’ve.

And you? He smirks. Gonna toast it with some apple juice?

You grin- slap him over the head as the three of you sit down on some chairs in the garden.

Your dad rocking in the patio chair- Your brother eyeing you over.

Feeling calm- Feeling oddly at ease.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

And you have this memory of when you were little- You don’t know why but you do.

Of Michael when he would get in trouble-

“No, Michael,” your mom would scold.

And he’d freeze in the kitchen-

Standing stone-like with his eyes facing forward.

You’d giggle then- doing your homework at the table.

Your multiplication tables spread out before you.

Egging him on.

“Michael,” your mom would warn.

But, he’s checked out and you know it.

He’s gonna do it, you’d say- gearing up.

Dropping your pencil on the table.

Michael, she says again- turning the faucet off with her elbow.

But it’s too late.

Splat.

Face-first, down he goes onto the wood flooring-

You sitting at the table howling.

He doesn’t even try to stop himself, you squeal.

For the love of God, she mumbles, walking over and picking him up off the floor from his armpits.

Stupid, you’re laughing, shaking your head. He’s so stupid.

Stop, she looks up at you- dusting him off- checking his head.

Are you okay? She says- his hand rubbing his forehead. Michael, did you hurt yourself?

He nods.

Okay, she says. What did we say about falling on the floor? It hurts you.

You’re still laughing.

He knows, you say- picking up your pencil before it rolls off the table. He’s just dumb.

Do your homework, she says, picking him up.

He sticks his tongue out at you from behind her head as she walks with him.

Dummy, you mouth.

_______________________________________________________________________

And right now- sitting in the corny healing garden-

With your corny hair- And your uncomfortable skirt

You’re staring at him in the chair beside you-

his Wranglers running past his ankles-

grazing his Nikes.

I like the beard, you say- noticing the speckling of hair on his chin.

He snorts, feeling it with his index and thumb. Been growing it out.

I dig it, dude. It’s like you just hit puberty.

He grins.

That’s what I said, your dad agrees.

How’s Sanibel? You ask. I bet Mom was jealous- She have to work or something?

Yeah, Michael says. But it was good. Fished some- ordered out from Matzalunas, he pauses. Twice.

Dad have a coupon?

Of course.

Hey, he interjects. It was about to expire.

Michael catches your eye- Dad and his coupons.

Well, Thank God they don’t have coupons here.

Dad makes a face. Judging by Christmas lunch, I don’t think I’d use them here.

Awful, isn’t it?

Michael shakes his head. I mean you’d think for anorexia rehab, they’d feed you better shit.

Your dad can’t help but agree.

Don’t wanna hear it, you moan. I have to eat 100% of every one of those God awful meals.

Is it always that bland?

Yes.

Come now, your dad says. There’s no way.

It’s true, you argue. We have the same variation of the menu every week. It’s like we’re in the Penn.

The Penn? Michael says- flatly. As in prison?

Yes.

Right, he says. Well that might be a little dramatic.

You don’t even know, you say- knowing he’s right. We have to be in bed at like 10.

No shit?

And if I know you, your dad says. I’m sure you’re following that- and every other- rule splendidly.

Pretty well, you say- ignoring his sarcasm. I mean there’s not a whole lotta stuff to do around here.

Like prison? Michael jokes.

Exactly.

I bet you miss running, he says.

I do, you admit. Miss the power of it more than anything.

Yeah, your dad says- scanning you with his eyes as though you’re going to combust in front of him. How are you doing with that?

I hate it sometimes, you admit. I feel disgusting.

You find it hard to look at Michael when you say this.

Hard- and you don’t know why.

When for years, you’d waltzed into the game room while he was playing video games-

a towel loosely tucked around you- your hair sopping wet.

Am I fat? You’d ask, twirling around.

Jesus, he’d say- trying to look around you to his game.

I’m serious. I think I’ve gotten fatter since the last time you saw me.

You’re not- he’d say, barely looking at you.

Will you tell me when you start noticing?

He’d shake his head then- halfway listening. You’re not fat. You look the same.

________________________________________________________________________

You gaze at him now- wonder if he thinks about that-

That while you were pretending to be vain-

What you were really doing was begging for something to make you feel better-

Even if it was just your 14-year old brother in the game room.

You’re looking at him now- and you’re watching the hair on his arms move with the breeze.

The way he sits in the chair beside you.

His legs outstretched- Arms defined.

You know he didn’t have to be here today- 

You know he could’ve gone.

He’s 20, and he wants to be 20- Because you reflect on what you were doing at 20-

And know it would not have been hanging out at your sister’s rehab during Christmas break.

You really do just love him, you think- as you have loved him always.

But sometimes forget.

Forget because you haven’t been there.

You missed it-

Missed reminding yourself to remember what it feels like-

To have something this close to you

Whatever this is between the two of you-

Cemented love, you think- how you forget sometimes- that this is the desired kind.

And so you talk to your brother today-

And you look at him closer.

_________________________________________________________________________

And you thank him later- walking up to the path from the garden- the hour coming to a head.

You’re standing on the path now, leading from the building to the parking lot- the security guard nearby-

It hurts you think- and it hurts you more for them every time you feel as though they are ripped away from you-

Your mother holding your face on Christmas and not being able to take you with her.

How painful that must be, you wondered that night.

To know your child’s hurting- has been hurting-

And to have to leave them anyway- standing in the middle of a gravel path-

Name tag hanging from around your neck.

How conflicting it must feel-

______________________________________________________________________________

And here you are- doing it again, you think- pulling your brother close.

Feeling his arms around your waist.

Thank you, you whisper again- and you wish you could say more.

Of course, he says- Bet it’s lonely in there.

Sometimes, you admit. But it’s safe.

And you hope he understands what you mean- but aren’t sure.

You hand your binder to him to say goodbye to your dad- Hold this- you say.

And you turn to your dad- thanking him for staying. Thanking him for being there regardless what you’ve done-

Standing there holding your dad- feeling him coddle you like you know he did that time you were 9 months old and fell off the bed.

They joke about it at Christmas sometimes- your family- about how your dad used to freak out when he held you. Assume the worst when you bumped your head or burped too much spittle.

You’re thinking that right now- feeling his hug- how nice that is to feel.

A hug.

You’re not thinking about what he’s thinking of your weight as he feels your skin on his-

You’re not wondering if he’s embarrassed by where you are.

Right now- he’s just your dad.

And your brother’s just your brother.

And family stayed for you.

You say goodbye again- Michael passing you back the binder.

You watch their backs turn to you- Your funny little family.

With their funny little polos.

And their funny little khakis.

Your dad’s hand on your brother’s shoulder.

You realize it’s days like today-

That are the piece of recovery you hope to hold onto.

And hold onto for always-

Even in the moments it feels hazy.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Later on- night comes, as it does once you’ve changed from your skirt to your sweatpants- your bun to your beanie- and you sit down for dinner in the cafeteria- surrounded by the women.

Women who keep their children’s photos in their name tag holders- women who hold pictures of their husbands in their hands when they eat- women who look for every other reason to help themselves when they don’t have enough love to do it on their own.

And you’re sitting there that night- your heart feeling sad and feeling full- when you open your red binder for a sheet of paper.

You’ve been slacking on your food journals you think- and hoping that no one will notice-

When you feel a white envelope fall out from the bottom- sweeping down alongside your chair.

Lindsey- you read- when you’ve picked it up, And somehow, you know who it’s from:

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Lindsey,

 I know I’m not known as the most expressive person in this family, so I imagine this letter is going to come as a bit of a surprise. However, in an effort to please you, I thought I’d take a step away from my unemotional exterior and delve into my multi-faceted, truly emotional interior…

Ok, I’ll try and lay off the sarcasm from this moment forward.

 First off, in writing this, I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me over the years. I look back and don’t know how I would have grown up without you helping me along the way and more importantly, being the older child who was the test subject for mom and dad’s punishments. (I think after your thousandth grounding from AIM they realized that they didn’t have to be as harsh on me. So…. Thanks sis!) I never got grounded because of you!

But in all seriousness, I know that I can count on you for anything. Whether it be my “interesting” social life or just how to tell Mom and Dad that I’ve fucked up, I know you’re going to give me the right advice. (Well, at least, some advice) For that, I want to re-thank you. I know many of my friends aren’t as close to their brothers and sisters as we are, and I can’t tell you how much it means that we stay this way.

As I sit here writing this, our family is finishing up with the yearly venture to Kansas City. It’s hard to explain but this trip was different without you. You’re the one in our family who always knows how to make everyone laugh and how to entertain us with one of your stories. I know that your humorous stories may seem kind of petty, but I think everyone would agree with me when I say that it tends to be the highlight of our dinners.

Of course, this year your name came up a lot. As you would expect, our family is worried about how you are doing. However nerve-racking and uncomfortable that makes you, you gotta admit that it’s kind of awesome that our family loves and cares this much about you.

Furthermore, I think everyone in the family would agree with me in saying that your situation definitely came as a surprise. You are one of, if not the most vivacious and outgoing person I have ever met.

Hearing that you’re struggling internally, and have been for some time, seems almost impossible to me and to everyone else. Of course we all face inner demons at some point in our lives, however I think it came as a surprise that these demons could afflict someone like you.

 I know no matter how many times I tell you that you’re beautiful, or that you are, IN FACT, skinny that it’s not going to matter. But believe me when I tell you that I’ve never met a single person who didn’t think you were (much to the demise of many of your exes).

Lastly Lindsey, I just want to tell you how privileged I am to be your brother. I know that you have deemed me as the “golden child” in this family, but the truth is I’ve always felt you were the stronger sibling, and now I believe that even more.

Obviously, you hid your eating disorder from us for a long time, but when confronted, you admitted that you needed help and were willing to do whatever it took to get better. I know many would say that was the rational and easy choice, but I see it differently.

You didn’t hide and run from your problems. Instead, you faced them straight on. That’s one of the bravest moves you can make and I know there is no way I could have handled the situation as gracefully as you did. Well, really, I don’t even know if I could have even had the strength to admit I had a problem in the first place. You’re impressive, and I really mean that.

I know that I can be distant and often appear unemotional, but hearing that you’re going through all this makes me sick.  I know it sounds cliché for me to say this, but if I could trade places with you I would. I hate you having to deal with this shit and having to overcome anything. However, it does comfort me to know that you are not only going to overcome it, but become an even stronger person than you already are.

Please, all I want you to know, whether it’s now, tomorrow, 5 years, or 50 years from now, is that I am always going to be there for you if you need someone. Lindsey I can’t wait to see you when you’re recovered and are happier than you’ve ever been.

Love you always,

Michael

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

You finish reading-

Make a promise-

And when the cafeteria begins to clear

And your friends pack up to head to After-Meal

You comin? Lil asks.

And you nod.

 Tucking that letter-

In the crevice of your binder.

In the bottom of your junky purse-

On your desk at the computer you’re writing this off of.

You promise yourself that night-

That when the next time your family comes-

You’ll waltz down to meet them-

A beanie on your head

A sweatshirt tied around your waist-

The letter in your pocket_

So you have the reminder of what it is that matters.

You love your family- you think-

As you think now, finishing this-

You know they love you-

And sometimes, it takes scraping the bottom of the barrel to remember how-

This is Rehab: Truth 7

IMG_2298

I Haven’t Shaved in 6 Weeks Day 6: 11 Truths About That ‘One Time In Rehab’

Oye- after spending the weekend celebrating my crows-feet turning quarter-life century birthday, had dinner on Friday talking with the girls about relationships.

Who’s dumped whom?

Who wants who?

Why do boys/girls do what they do?

And, with that in mind- as I muse over the relationships gone awry in my own life- I dedicate my next post to the beautifully complicated world of relationships + eating disorders-

Truth Number 6: 

Relationship Status: It's Complicated with Bulimia.
Relationship Status: It’s Complicated with Bulimia.

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend.

____________________________________________________________________________

6.) Relationship Status- It’s Complicated with Bulimia:

A Letter To My Future Spouse

You’re laying sprawled out on Lilly’s lap one afternoon when someone asks about relationships.

It’s week 2 day 4 and you knew it was coming- one of you bound to ask.

 “What about them?” you say, staring up at the ceiling- picking your cuticles

Do you date a lot?

Yeah, you say. I don’t have serious relationships- but I date.

Me either, someone says. I always fuck it up.

I don’t, you disagree- getting defensive. I just don’t ever feel indebted to anyone.

I don’t feel indebted to anything, Lilly says.

We know badass. You roll your eyes.

 ___________________________________________________________________________________

And now it’s 3:23 on a Thursday- and your therapist is making you write a list.

Every person? You reiterate.

She nods. All of them.

What if it only lasted like 3 weeks?

Well, she pauses. Judging by what you’ve told me- that seems fairly protocol for you so yes- Those too.

You sigh.

24 years old- you think- and here you are feeling like Elizabeth Taylor’s 8th divorcee.

It takes you nearly 20 minutes.

You look over the list again.

I don’t think I’m missing anyone- you say

She takes it from you- glancing it over.

Alright, she says. Let’s talk about these relationships.

So you do.

You talk- You tell her which ones mattered- Who the first relationship was- all the way to the last.

And when you’re done- you feel like a stiff drink.

What you wouldn’t give for a Pinot some days.

Do you know what it means to be intimate? She asks when you’ve run out of stories to share.

You say you’re not sure, but that you try.

You try- you don’t set boundaries

You share things- you think that’s being intimate

You know what it is to hold someone

To love them for who they can’t be

But maybe one day could be-

You say all this.

I’ve loved before, you say. I think I’ve loved more definitively than most to be honest.

Alright, she says, dismissing you. But your relationships, she asks. What made them intimate?

You shrug.

Think of one person.

Think of another.

_____________________________________________________________________

Remember waking up to the morning

Rain against the roof

Sheets around your shoulders.

Tucked into the crevice of someone else

You think you know what it is to be held

Reaching out as they stir and roll away from you-

Come back, you want to say, your legs around theirs- Don’t leave

With their face now level with yours- smiling as one of your eyes opens.

The other buried in the pillow

What if I left? What if you woke up and I was gone?

You smile.

Your teeth feeling dirty, your hair in your face.

I’d still know you were mine.

Think so?

I do.

This person grabs your hand from under your head

Draws circles in your palm with their fingers

I wish I could always have you, they say- sweeping the hair from your face.

You know this person is gone

But you think about them sometimes-

_____________________________________________________________________

That they would end, you say finally. I always knew they’d end.

Okay, your therapist says. I’m going to ask you to explain.

You really do hate when she says that.

You appreciate things when you know they aren’t permanent I guess- appreciate the tiny things more- Make yourself aware of them so you can hold on to them when you know it’ll leave.

Why do you think things always need to have an end? She asks.

I don’t know, you admit. I just don’t trust myself or anyone else to keep their word on anything.

Do you think your eating disorder plays a part?

Sure, you say. In part- but in part because I personally never have. I’ve never been faithful to anything- no one. Even when I loved them.

I think it makes sense.

I don’t. I think it’s awful, you say. I think it’s horrible. I’ve loved people- loved them- in whatever way you can love another person- flaws and all- and I still cheated on them. Was always looking for something else.

She eyes you from her desk chair.

Do you think you’re real in your relationships?

You don’t know. I mean to a degree, you say. But isn’t that how everyone is?

I give what they need me to. I’m intuitive, you say. I read people well.

She nods. But do you know what you need from them?

I never know what I want from anyone besides attention.

You realize you set your relationships up for failure before they ever begin, she says. You throw yourself into them without really giving anything- you just donate yourself.

You shake your head.  I don’t know if I believe that.

What are your needs then, she asks. What do you want from someone?

You say ”lots of things,” and she nods.

Right, but you don’t ask for them.  Your problem is that you only ask “What can I give to you?”

You smirk, I’m not that selfless- believe me.

No, she says. In fact, it probably means you can be pretty selfish- when you’re constantly looking for validation.

Okay, you agree. But doesn’t everyone?

To a degree, she pauses. But the difference is that you don’t like who you are and don’t trust yourself enough to know what you need, or even think it through.

You make a face.

When you don’t accept who you are- you can’t know what you need from other people- so you become the version you think they’ll want, she pauses. It makes you feel better that way, doesn’t it? To be accepted.

I want everyone to love me, you admit. I’ve always been that way.

Well, she says. You probably get that then. You have it here- you’re an enigma. You have a personality that draws people in.

Thanks, you say.

Not here to compliment you, she shakes her head. I see how you are with the other girls- hugging on them, asking questions, playing with their hair, making sure they’re okay- it’s charming. But I’m not sitting here to tell you that you’re charming- you know you are.

You don’t say anything.

The problem is that when you live your whole life like this- floating from person-to-person, seeking approval-

But approval for what? you interrupt. Like I don’t really know what I’m looking for.

I don’t know either, she says. But when you go around giving 10% of yourself to this person, 5% to that one, another 7% to this one- what are you left to give to someone new at the end of the day?

You recross your legs.

You draw people in, she says. But with no real intention of keeping them close- how can you? You’re so busy running from person to person making sure they still want you that you can’t really be with only one.- Am I somewhere on the dot?

I don’t know, you say. Probably. It’s a joke with my family that I can’t date anyone longer than 6-8 weeks, you pause. It’s incredibly accurate.

Alright, so go through the cycle with me, she says.

I meet someone- “Love” them. Love everything about them- Think I can be them.

She smirks.

They’re into me- I can feel it, we’re jiving, you pause. I’m enthralled with their life, love that they’re ”different” from the last one- think it’s gonna work, you say. And then something happens.

What?

I don’t know, you say. Just something happens and I’m done. I check out- Don’t answer calls- don’t answer texts I just leave- I always leave I hate it. It’s awful.

Okay, she says. Why do you think that happens?

It gets too serious- That’s the thing with me. I can talk about anything but I can’t stand when someone starts making me a priority- Scares the shit out of me. Makes me feel like I’ll never be myself ever again.

Makes sense, she says. How can someone make you a real priority when you know you’re only giving them a piece?

You nod, Seems logical, doesn’t it?

It’s always easy to say things- she smiles. Harder to do anything about it.

You agree. My best friend always says that. She always makes a point to be like ‘yeah, you’re a great girlfriend for the 8 weeks someone knows you.’

Do you agree?

Yeah, you say. I’m the coolest girl around for 6-8 weeks. I’ll be anything you need me to be- I’ll do anything you want.

You see the problem with that?

Of course, you say. The whole time I just let shit build up in my head and don’t say anything. I just lie. I lie and omit and it just feels terrifying to have someone start relying on you.

Have you ever been honest with anyone about your eating disorder?

You think about the times your exes caught you.

When you snuck up the stairs at his mother’s house and threw up in her porcelain toilet.

Vomit splashing back up on your face.

And you- standing there in front of the mirror wiping snot from your nose

Reapplying concealer around your chin.

As your boyfriend rapped on the door.

You’d opened it then, your eyes watery.

And he knew.

You both knew.

But he let you smile then, and throw your make up back in your purse

Let you walk out in front of him-

_________________________________________________________________________________

You can’t be honest when you’re sick, she says. You can’t know what it is to be truly intimate with someone when every day you’re pulling yourself away bit by bit.

You just do it though, you say. You do it and get numb to it and you don’t think about it anymore.

But what happens later?

You resent them- At least I did. Resented everyone for not figuring it out.

You want your relationships to save you- she says.

In a way- I want them to make me feel better I guess. I resent them when they can’t.

She looks at you. You know, you’re one of the scariest patient I have, Linds- you’re smart.

Not true- you say. Not really.

You get ahead of yourself, she admits. But you know people. You know how to reach people- you manipulate.

You nod- You know.

I have to check myself with you-

I’m a chameleon, I know.

She agrees. You’re also one of the most defensive patients I work with.

You make a quiet face- but don’t say anything.

You know what I mean, don’t pretend like you don’t.

Probably.

I have the nurses check on you twice the amount of times at night, she says.

You can’t help but snort. Nu-uh.

Yeah, she says.

I’m really not doing anything, though.

This bothers you that I don’t trust you, doesn’t it?

Well, yeah, you say. I mean you’re the golden ticket for me.

You’re your own ticket, she says. I don’t think you remember that sometimes- that this is your recovery. This is your treatment- not mine. You don’t have to prove shit to me, your parents, your friends- My job will still be here when you leave- Their lives will still move forward whether you’re sick or not.

You agree. I’ve just always been defensive.

I know, she says. You put yourself out there the way you do so you can control what people think- have you noticed that?

Sometimes, you admit. I think it’s why I don’t have any boundaries.

She nods. Think about that this week. Where your boundaries lie.

You say you will- notice the time.

Get up from the couch.

I want you to do something for me, she says. A homework assignment.

I want you to write a letter to your future partner.

You sigh, standing in the middle of her office.

Write it- write a letter to this person and tell them what you want- everything you think you want for a life that includes someone else- so you’ll know. So you’ll have it somewhere to keep yourself in check.

You tie your sweatshirt around your waist. “Alright,” you say. Will do.

It’s later that night- wrapped in your white blanket on the couch- Titanic playing in the background with your friends- that you write this- and you hope you mean it:

________________________________________________________________________________________

You,

 You beautiful person- I’m writing this now- to give you a chance to exist.

So that when I discover you- when I see your potential with mine-

I’ll read this and remember that it’s you that I want to sit at a kitchen table with.

Brush my teeth next to.

Drive in a car and flip radio stations with-

Of course this seems crazy, doesn’t it?- To imagine a life that you can’t predict- but there are times I think about what my life can be with someone. What a life with someone would mean.

And it doesn’t always seem pretty- in fact it seems hard. It feels hard- a lifetime with someone- 

But I’m writing this to you because I think you’re the person that I might want to try it with-

The person I want to make coffee for in the morning. You’ll want your coffee different than mine, but I don’t think I’ll mind. I’ll wait till you pour it into our cups, and pour Hazelnut in mine.

I’m writing you today, because I think you’re the person I want to see get dressed in the morning. To watch from my bed while you dig through the drawers looking for clean socks- While you push your hair from your face. As we get older, I imagine you might have a stomach that goes over your boxers (“I need to start working out again,” you’ll say) and I’ll notice it when you bend over, complaining about how I haven’t done laundry in weeks. 

 I’m writing you because I want to have a pet with you. A dog that you pick because I refuse to get a cat. You’ll pretend to hate it but we both know you’re the one who will feed it every morning before you leave- listen to you scoop out the dog food into a metal bowl and smile as you force it to eat, growing impatient. Mumbling under your breath.

“Eat your food boy,” you’ll say. “No. Not there- there. It’s right there- Eat.”

I’m writing because I want to look at you those mornings, when I walk out of our room- a robe lazily hanging from my shoulder- and notice the wrinkles forming beside your eyes. The age marks on your arms. Your hair turning grey.

Perhaps, I’ll think that you look more like your dad. That, like your dad, you’ve grown more attractive with each year, and sometimes I’ll still want you. Run my hands over your shirt.

I have to work, you’ll whisper, smiling at me in that way as the dog comes trotting into the hallway, jumping up on you- getting fur on your pants.

See you later, you’ll sigh as you walk out. 

“There’s a Lint Roller in the glove compartment,” I’ll say.

And I’ll tell you that I love you.

And you probably still won’t say it back like I want you to- Because I’m dramatic and wordy.

But I’ll know you think it.

 I’m writing you because you’re the person I want to have kids with- Go to our children’s events together. The Christmas plays where our kid plays one of the sheep- but you know I’ll film it anyway. You’ll say that it’s a waste of film, but as soon as you see how mad it makes me you’ll sit back quietly and let me film as he or she walks across the stage, looking for us in the audience.

 You’re the person I want to have conversations with- Those quiet ones that married couples forget they have. You tell me about a book you’re reading. I tell you that I’m afraid my dad’s getting older, losing ability to move well. You’ll tell me that’s life and that your dad was sick for a long time before he died. 

 I want to lay on the couch with you at the end of each day. Listen to the dishwasher as it dries cracked dishes. Listen to our kid while they play the piano-play it badly. You’ll make fun of them but never to their face. Imitate the way they bang around on the keyboard.

Why are we forcing them to play? You’ll ask.

I’ll tell you that they’ll get better- That I got better with time. And that music is a theory worth knowing. 

You’ll mumble about it, disagree but give up.

When they’re finished, I’ll tell them to go upstairs and get ready for bed. I’ll complain that you never help me and you’ll say “I never let you help,” before you settle into the couch flipping the channels on the TV.

______________________________________________________________________________________

 I’m writing because I want to travel with you- All over the world. We’ll be in the snow more than I care to be, but I’ll accept it.  And I’m willing to compromise on that as long as you promise to take care of your knees and shoulders and don’t end up in a wheelchair.

 We can go all over together. We’ll conquer the continents. Drag our children along on leashes. You’ll be mad that I rented them and I’ll say it’s practical- Maybe we’ll compromise on a stroller. I’ll wear a camera around my neck and you’ll make jokes about how ridiculous I look until I tell you to piss off when the kids aren’t around. We’ll see everything, wont we? That’s what I want.

 We may never have the money we want, but we’ll see the things that are worth seeing.

 And we’ll go to Disneyworld- And I’ll watch you cool yourself down with the Mickey Mouse fan, complaining about how hot it is. We’ll ride every ride the kids want, and while I’m worrying about them falling out of the roller-coaster, you’ll be complaining about how uncomfortable the seats are.

 I’m writing because you’re the person I want to run through an airport with when we’re late to a flight. Listen to you yell about how I took too long putting make up on and how it’s my fault if we miss it. I want to drag along a suitcase that’s old and broken because we both refuse to spend money on a new one. And I want to watch you later arguing with the attendant- and want to see you be proud of yourself when they check our bag even though we’re 10 minutes late.

 I want this kind of life with you- of making dinners that I don’t really like but know you enjoy. Of learning how to cook food that I otherwise wouldn’t. Of listening to you talk to your mom on the phone on Sunday afternoons in the backyard. I won’t understand your conversations but will listen to your tone. You’ll sit with your feet propped on a chair, the sun peeking out on your face. I’ll watch you move your hands from the kitchen window. Cast them in the air when you talk. A beer half- drank on the patio table in front of you. 

 I want to go to parties with you that we don’t care about. That neither of us want to attend but have to because we said we would. Complain about it in our minivan the whole way there. Enter the room together and talk to people we find boring. Count down the minutes till we can leave. Look at the buffet line and agree that all the food looks like plastic but pick out some crackers and cheese wedges anyway.

I want to visit our families together. Try to get the whole family together, but fail every year. Laugh at the dining room table at my parent’s house in Texas. You and my dad eating pie and talking about how the world is going to shit while my mom and I clean up the dishes in the kitchen. I want to have little annoying kids running around the living room.

 I want to grow old with you, get fitted with glasses at the doctor. Make fun of each other and how we can’t see anything anymore. Stub my toe on a piece of furniture and cuss under my breath as you laugh.

I want my breasts to sag so I can complain about it. How I hate getting old. How death feels like it’s on our doorstep and have you smile and say, “Well, get used to it. We are old.”

I want to fight with you- and I know we will.

We’ll fight over everything sometimes- And some years we’ll fight more than others, and we’ll hold each other less-

But I’ll know, I’ll remember- that no matter how mad you make me, how much I want to walk out-

you’re still worth holding onto.

And that I waited so many years to have my life fit with yours.

 I want to fight with you over the things that matter, and the things that don’t. Argue with you in a car about which direction to take, about how much money we’re spending, argue over how annoying it is that I don’t do the laundry enough, argue about our jobs, and where we’re going to live. And argue about how to raise a kid in this world.

 I want to cook dinner for you  and feel you come up from behind me, grabbing a piece of chicken off the skillet and throwing it into your mouth. Feel your hand on my hip as you do it. Smile and tell you to get out, I’m almost done. Watch you grab a beer from the fridge and open it with your teeth.

 I want you to be the one that stands at my head when I’m having a kid. You be the one that gets more worked up and I have to tell you in between pushing to shut up and hold my hand. Watch your big eyes stare at this thing we’ve created- and be scared to death when it comes time to put him or her in a car seat.

“What do we do with it?” You ask.

“It?” I’ll say. “Please don’t refer to our child as an ‘it.’

 I’ll want to take a break from life with you sometimes- when things feel overwhelming and the kids are throwing toys at each other, and there’s marker on the wall and the fridge smells like something died.

 Go to a bar close by and drink beer to feel young and talk about how we could’ve ended up a million different places but here we still are. Talk about all the dreams we didn’t do but should’ve. Think about what our life could’ve been and what worked and what didn’t-

Leave happy, knowing that I still have this small life with you.

 I want to sit in airports with you. Watch our flights get cancelled, make faces, cuss, be mad with one another over something completely unavoidable and laugh it off later. Drink wine in the TGIFridays bar to pass the time, getting so drunk we stumble through the airport gates looking at the boarding passes over and over again to remember which one.

Gate 16, you’ll say. Are you sure it’s not 15?

I don’t know, do you have the boarding thing?

The ticket?

It’s Gate 15. 

How far are we?

How would I know. We’re at 32.

Damnit, Lindsey.

Watch you drop our bags on the tile accidentally. Scramble to pick them up and over your shoulders.

What the hell did you pack? You’ll say. Rocks?

I want to start looking like you- How couples that have been together forever look, do the same things.

Walk the same walk- Dress alike and don’t even know. 

 I want to go through all the good years with you, and the bad ones too. The years we get job promotions, the years our parents die, the years we don’t have enough money, and the years our children take over and become the only thing we focus on.

 And when it’s over, when this small little life is over, I want it to be you that I’m crying over.

I want it to be you that I have to say goodbye to. 

 Isn’t it funny how you can want someone without even really knowing who they are?

 Because I believe that this will be a pretty life to live- and I’m happy that I think I want to share it with you.

 

Beautiful Birthday Weekend in ole Brooklyn
Beautiful Birthday Weekend in ole Brooklyn

 

This is Rehab: Truth 6

I Haven’t Shaved in 6 Weeks Day 5: 11 Truths About That ‘One Time In Rehab’

Well- I did it again. It’s been 3 days, but to be honest- Truth #4 took a lot out of me so I need some time before diving back into another-

Was going through diaries trying to put together what will be the rest of my little Rehab series- and while I’m not really in the place to write about anything candid today- I’ve put together entries from my 2011-2014 diaries in hopes that they could  do some of the talking for me.

These are hard to read- even for me- will probably be harder for my parents, and in a way, more vulnerable because they’re really my words.

My  words- not stories I’ve taken and manipulated to some degree as I write this.

But-aye- in order to stay true to what I’m doing- I feel they need to be shared.

And as my darling Kimmy said (cause I make her proofread all of my posts beforehand):

oh, this is so beautiful
made me cry
i just remember picking you up at the airport…how incredibly happy you were how healthy you looked how excited you were for your future with your little putty in your hands and your binder full of letters
you were so strong in that moment. so confident. i wanted to bottle that feeling up and give you little sips for whenever you felt lost. i wish so much that you could always be in that space-
And so do I, my beautiful best friend- I’m well on my way.

Diary Pages

 

Truth 5: The (Lack-of-Actual) Prozac Diaries

_______________________________________________________________________________________

December 28, 2011

Did well with food today.

Did well with my finger till after the food was over.

Then it became compulsory.

Same with last night- chewed off skin around my pinky and now I have a band aid on because I can’t bend.

Did well hiking with my family and not only thinking of food

Did well playing card games and Clue without desiring food

had only 2 bites of brownies- don’t feel guilty

Had 3 crackers after lunch- felt guilty

Counted how much time we hiked, tried to compare with calories

Wish I could remember anything we talked about

feel better not being too full

How do you love yourself despite imperfection?

I cant stand feeling full. I hate it.

How do you learn to love what you hate?

When I see fat, I see judgment

Dislike

Not in control

It’s so vain- all of this.

How can I not care about others bodies and care so much about mine?

Wish it was easier than it is

pity myself a little, for putting myself in this kind of situation

for letting it get to this kind of point

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

January 23-29, 2012 Running Schedule

Monday, 23-

Morning- Ran 6.5

2 mile walk to school

Afternoon- Ran 4.5

11 miles running, 2 miles walking

Calories~ 900

Tuesday, 24-  

Morning- Ran 3.5

Afternoon- Ran 3.5

7 miles running, 1 mile walking

Walked to and from Raul’s, the kids school, my school- 4.3 miles+

Calories~ 700

Wednesday, 25

Morning- 47 minutes- ran 27, walked 13

Afternoon- 33 minutes – Ran 28, Walked 5

5.3 miles running, 1.6miles walking

Walked to and from Raul’s, the kids school, my school- 4.3 miles+

Calories~ 700

Thursday, 26

Morning- 67 minutes- ran 60, walked 7

Afternoon- 40 minutes- ran 25, walked 15

10.6 miles running, 1.7 miles walk

Walked to school, Raul’s, the kids school- 4.3 miles+

Friday, 27- Need 5 more miles! Back hurting, knee problem. 

Morning- Walked 4 miles on the treadmill

Afternoon- Ran 1 mile

Walked 1 mile to Raul’s

Saturday, 28- 

Morning- Ran 35, walked 10

Afternoon- Ran 4.5 miles

Ran 8 miles

Sunday, 29- Nothing

Walked 6 miles

Total: 44 Running miles

_______________________________________________________________________________________

September 8, 2012

Unhappy living like this. I cannot continue this way.

I CANT.

I’m going to lose everything.

I’m going to lose myself.

I have to make my life better.

I HAVE TO DO WHAT I NEED TO DO TO MAKE LIFE MANAGEABLE.

LINDSEY, stop living like this.

YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS.

YOU ARE BETTER THAN ALL THIS.

DO WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO DO TO MAKE IT BETTER

WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOUR LIFE.

NAME IT

-Eating well, having a lunch pre-made

-Working out- in the morning and right after work

-Not drinking

-Drinking a coffee

-Having a clean room

-Dinners at home

-going to bed before 1

-Being outside

Not feeling disciplined makes me feel like I’m losing my mind

Losing control of my life

Losing everything

LOSING EVERYTHING

I have to find the discipline in my life 

I have to feel ok.

I have to be in control.

Lindsey, you have to be in control.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

MONDAY- Food Journal

Breakfast

Greek Yogurt- 100 calories

3 Strawberries/9 bluberries/10 grapes/ 1/2 banana

Piece of Toast- 90 calories

1 tbsp. Jelly- 45 calories

Coffee w/ hazelnut

~300-325 cals

Lunch

1/2 banana- 60 calories

3 strawberries/9 blueberries/10 grapes

Apple- 90 calories

10 almonds- 110 calories

Water Bottle

~400 calories

Dinner

1 bread- 90

chickpea tuna- 130

apple-60

peach-100

grapes-50

=470

Snack

3 Triscuits-70

3 Pita chips- 40

=110

___________________________________________________________________________________

July 5, 2013

Don’t remember anything about last night.

Spent the whole night with my family-

Hiding food- Sneaking it into my clothes

I ate 5,000 calories.

And now here I am, 5:00am

bile hanging from my mouth

Because my body rejected it.

____________________________________________________________________________________

July 22, 2013

I am moving to New York today.

Scared, and excited, and nervous, and unhealthy, and my throat hurts from throwing up, and my cheeks are bloated because I can’t stop eating- and when I’m nervous, I binge.

Dave has a heroin problem- I’m terrified. I’ve never known heroin, never seen it. Never understood it. And there he was, smoking it in front of me. The foil streaked- Standing in the door of his bathroom, watching his eyes turn to glass, his sad, shamed, way of looking at me and not looking at me at all. The tar moving around the foil, I remember thinking ‘This is what it does? This is what happens.” It rolls around the paper, and he chased it with his rolled up parking ticket, blackened at the edged, he chased it with his mouth the tar streaking the foil, the foil crinkling as it passed.

It was very silent, standing there. My eyes bearing into his head. I wondered what it’d be like if he died then. If he fell in front of me. Would I hate myself for letting him do it?

Do I hate myself now because I know and I’m leaving?

He looked so sad though, standing there. How lonely a drug can be. How lonely throwing up is.

I ate a whole bag of white chocolate pretzels while I sat outside his room, hearing him suck in, hearing the locusts, I wondered if I’d catch a whiff. I wondered if the smoke from heroin travels.

We slept in the same bed that night, my head on his shoulder. Interchanging the shoulders, the frame, the unique way in which people breathe as they sleep.

I wondered if he would die that night. I wondered if his heart would stop, while I laid on it. If he’d drift off and not come back. If his lungs would collapse, if his cough would ever go away, I wondered how he got here.

How do you get to this point?

And then I look at myself, and I wonder how I’ve let myself get to this. Why am I throwing up in a bathroom twice in one day. Why do my teeth hurt, why does my stomach bloat because I hurt it. Why do I hurt myself.

Why does anyone hurt themselves?

Why can’t we do what animals do, and protect?

Isn’t that the point?

And we get off on all these tangents

and we’re so fucked up for knowing they hurt.

Is there any other way to word this?

It’s so fucked.

I looked at him, and his immaculate life, and his freshly-shaven face, his ironed clothes, pressed and folded, his new house, his nice car, and Jesus, what happened to you.

How can you have this whole other existence?

When did I lose you?

When did you lose me?

When did we stop being kids, where did we lose those people?

Cause if we stuck those two people in front of each other, I don’t know that they’d recognize each other.

I sat there that night, watching him smoke heroin in his bathroom, and all I could see was a little boy, with bushy hair, taking the stairs two at a time, a Smoothie King in his hand, a cut off shirt, muscles full and healthy and vibrant, his way of entering the room grinning and sweaty and tackling me into the couch, my arms around his neck, smelling his work out. Feeling his muscles through his shorts, his hairy legs colliding with mine. His little-boy happiness to be there on top of me, on a couch that was too short for him, his feet dangling off the ends, my feet tucked under the crevices of his knees. Blissfully unaware of everything we would be, and could do to destroy ourselves, unfazed by drugs, and death, and bulimia.

I watched him smoke that heroin, and all I could see was that little boy in a big truck.

And I’m so sad that little boy grew up.

And I hope that little boy finds his soul.

I just know this isn’t the person he is. If it doesn’t kill him, he’ll be better.

But, isn’t that what we say about everyone? Isn’t that what we say to avoid facing the reality. Aye, look to the future mate, look so far ahead you cant feel the presence, and only what you’ve created in your head. 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

November 20, 2013

So disgusted by myself it makes it hard to shower at night.

Hard to look in the mirror

Hard to get dressed.

Trying not to throw up.

I can’t- it has to stop.

And I’ll just get fatter and fatter-

and it’ll never stop

and one day, I won’t be able to do the things I want to do.

I’ll hate myself.

But I have to stop.

_________________________________________________________________________

December 16, 2013

I’m going to Rehab tomorrow.

__________________________________________________________________________

December 17, 2013 2:00pm

So now what do I do?- Just waiting around for a Tums.

Waiting around for a Tums because we’re not allowed gum.

You’re here Linds- you made it. Where you always wanted to be- Having someone else tell you how to live your life.

You got what you wanted- you’re here.

And what the hell do you do with yourself?

____________________________________________________________________________

December 17, 2013 10:00pm

Kimmy-baby,

Of course I choose you to write my first letter-

Laying here in a bed surrounded by floral pink print comforter and beginning to have what people refer to as

“the reality check.”

I’m sick Kimmy, ya know? I’m really sick and what wasted time I’ve spent getting to this point.

_____________________________________________________________________

I cried tonight-finally. I cried at dinner. Over a cup of yogurt with 150 calories and 27g of sugar.

Has it gotten to this point?- Appears so.

A girl with cuts all over her arms and scars to the tips of her shoulders- she sat with me.

I tried not to cry Kim, I tried not to do it. But with each bite, tears rolled down my face- and this girl-

this beautiful little girl- she looked at me and she told me jokes.

And I cried and laughed and other girls sat next to me and I ate that meal for an hour.

It took me an hour to finish Broccoli, Tofu, Veggies, Rice, and the Yogurt.

-And none of those girls left me.

They just sat there and talked to me- knowing I suppose- as they all had been there too.

None of them had to stay- they were done. But they let me take my time anyway.

It was really nice.

It was surreal.

And I wonder, sitting here, what am I actually crying about that is more than 27g of sugar?

________________________________________________________

Being here is hard- harder than anticipated.

I’ve never seen such sick people in my life.

Feeding tubes, and wheelchairs, women who look deformed from anorexia.

Scars- and hair loss

Baggy T-shirts and tired eyes.

_________________________________________________________

This little girl-

This little little girl

with cuts and scars.

She spoke to me first.

Had no idea she was 14.

Cuts everywhere. All over her legs- in little horizontal lines on her thighs.

On her arm.

At medicine time, she puts scar tissue cream on her body. 14 years old-

_____________________________________________________________

There is this lady- she’s lovely.

Quiet, contemplative, nice to me.

– late 30s, a mother, a wife-

And Kim she weighs no more than 80lbs.

She is attached to an IV. She is never allowed to do anything without supervision.

And she’s so lovely-

She’s someones mother.

_____________________________________________________________

I worry how long I’ll be here. I thought this would be fast but frankly- the more I come to terms with the severity of my body dysmorphia

I fear it could be longer.

I don’t want to be here long.

But, it’s weird sitting here with nothing to eat.

Oh Kim, I’ve binged for so long I don’t remember how to go to sleep with the feeling of being dinner-full.

I’ll get to do some exercise. Once I’m off level 1, I’ll start exploring my relationship with exercise which will be nice.

Right now, I’m not allowed to use the bathroom for 2 hours after meals unless someone stands outside.

It’s degrading- But I get it.

I do.

______________________________________________________

I need to go to bed, now.

Love you always,

Linds

_______________________________________________________________________________-

 January 14, 2014

Losing track of days and dates-

But I think that’s okay.

Tired of feeling guilty about my life

Tired of unreal expectations.

It’s gotta end- Linds.

It has to end.

Just want to feel comfortable in my skin.

I hope that can happen-

Cause it feels like it’s starting to.

And that’s a nice feeling.

______________________________________________________________________________

January 16, 2014

Did you know that turtles mate for life?

This woman just told me that her husband bought her a turtle bracelet-

to remind her she was his turtle.

And I wish everyone had someone to love them.

I wish everyone was truly loved by one human-

That we could just know.

Remember to remember what you saw when Lilly’s mother held her face in her hands.

That be the real deal, yo-

I love everyone here-

And I miss my life.

I hope I never forget what it felt like tonight,

sitting with these girls

and watching Aladdin.

I deserve a happy life, I think.

_________________________________________________________________________

FREEDOM*- Buying Bananagrams- the best game ever.
FREEDOM*- Buying Bananagrams- the best game ever.

This is Rehab: Truth #5

“I Haven’t Shaved in 6 Weeks Day 4”: 11 Truths About ‘That One Time In Rehab’

Happy Glorious Earth Day

(And yes, I’m writing this with full knowledge that I’ll do absolutely nothing else but acknowledge it in order to look a little more ”in tune with Mother Nature”)

Anyway, took me a couple days to spit this post out.

Had a rough time- (Ask my roommates, they tiptoed around me last night as I guzzled Diet Pepsi and cursed on the couch)

The problem is that it’s a hard subject.

I’ve written about it before- but there’s something paralyzingly painstaking-

about trying to walk the line between self-pity and grief.

I wrote it because I want to relate- not because I want the pity of having lost.

We will all lose in our lives- we will all lose in a way that affects us differently than the next.

But, I felt like this has been a major part of my recovery-

Dealing with the things we find uncomfortable- no matter how many years down the road.

And if you know me- you know Bradley.

My beautiful best friend-

And tonight- this post is for you.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

4.) Bradley

It’s Day 2 and you’re sitting in a Doctor’s office– having forgotten which Doc this is.

“So,” the woman says, shifting through your file. “You had a best friend die, right?”

No, you think. I made it up for shits and giggles.

Yeah, you say. When I was 18.

She looks up at you from the folder, her glasses pushed too far down her nose.

You have been asked this question eight times.

You’re over it.

Yes, he died– you think– Kaboom. Bam. Dead. Gone. Till Eternity and Beyond.

Was it an accident- or?

Accident, you say. He fell out of a tree.

She gives you the reaction– That’s awful.

Yeah, it was hard.

Had he been drinking?

No.

You’re lying– and you know you’re lying.

But after 6 years, you’re tired of people asking that.

He was playing football and the ball got stuck up in a tree.

She nods.

He went up to get the ball or whatever– you pause– and when he came back down the branch snapped.

Terrible, she says.

You don’t know whether to agree or shrug it off.

You never know whether to agree or shrug it off.

So you just say “It was.”

She flips a bit more through your papers.

Do you feel like that’s when your eating disorder grew?

You don’t know. I mean, I’m sure it’s one of the reasons, you say. I started going to the gym more- threw up more.

Saying this out loud makes you cringe.

But she says nothing- just writes in her notes.

You imagine what she’s writing-

“Threw up.” “Best friend dead” “18 years old” “Gym”

You look around the room- it’s small.

And you’re on the only lounger that could possibly be squeezed in here beside the desk and her Office Max swivel chair.

So what would you do then?

You shrug. I don’t really remember. I lost weight- sat on the elliptical, read on the treadmill, you pause. Started binging cereal.

Right, she says, as though she hears this all the time.

And then you realize she does–

So give me a rough history after that.

And you do.

Slowly.

Like you’re pulling a knife out of your throat.

__________________________________________________________________

And when was the last time you purged? she asks finally, writing it down.

You pause– wanting to lie.

3 nights ago.

Where?

My boss’ apartment.

Boss’ apartment, she repeats, writing it down.  What were you doing there?

House-sitting.

She nods, “Okay.”

There’s silence.

Your secrets hanging in the air.

_______________________________________________________________________

Well Lindsey, she says finally. We have different programs available depending on patient’s history.

You nod.

Would you be open to trying the Trauma Track?

You think about Bradley.

No, you say. It’s been 6 years. I don’t need the trauma track.

You’re lying– wondering if she’ll catch it.

Disappointed when she doesn’t.

______________________________________________________________________________

And now– it’s 2 ½ weeks later and you’re sitting on your therapists couch the day after New Years.

So you called them? She asks.

Earlier, you say.

How was it?

Fine, normal. Good to hear their voices.

You’re close to his family?

You nod.

We haven’t really talked about your friend, she says. He died when you were young, right?

You nod. First month of college.

Can you tell me about him?

You look at her. What about him?

Wherever you want.

I don’t know, you pause. He died on a night I watched Moulin Rouge in my dorm room.

Why do you think you remember that?

You shrug. Grief makes you remember weird things.

I’m going to ask you to explain that.

You hate when she says that.

I don’t really know how, you say. I just remember random things– I remember I had 76 phone calls and my roommate was blow-drying her hair.

Is any of that significant?

You shake your head. No. It was normal– that’s what I remember. Everything was normal and then it wasn’t.

She nods. And what was it like after?

In what way?

What changed? she asks.

You’re getting annoyed but don’t know why.

Everything changed, you say, flatly. But it had to.

Do you think your eating disorder got worse?

It was getting worse before, you say. It just made it easier to blame on him later.

Alright, she says. So I’ll ask again– do you feel like your eating disorder worsened after he died?

Obviously, you say defensively. But it was my choice.

Of course it was, she agrees. Do you think about why?

No–I just didn’t know what else to do.

What did you get from it? Can you remember?

Peace, you say– And then you feel selfish and try to explain– It was like we got a deadline to grieve–

She nods.

We got this gifted amount of time and then we were just supposed to be over it–Move on. Forget about it– you pause. I never forgot.

Okay, she says. So let’s talk about what that meant for your eating.

I don’t want to talk about my eating, you say. I’m so tired of talking about it I could scream. That’s all we do here– talk about food. I’m fucking sick of food.

She looks at you.

I’m sorry, you immediately apologize.

Are you angry with me? She asks.

 No.

 I feel like you’re angry.

 You didn’t do anything– you say.

I asked about your friend.

I want you to ask about my friend– I want someone to ask about my friend.

Are you mad that I didn’t ask before?

No–I didn’t ask you to.

Maybe you thought I was supposed to.

You sigh– I don’t know.

Think about that tonight– she says. Think about how you communicate what you want from people.

______________________________________________________________________________________

You walk out of her room now– meet your friends in the hall.

You go to dinner with them– stare at your Baked Potato and the Grilled Chicken.

The tablespoon of Sour Cream–

You look over and notice how Kenzie takes her cheese and flicks it around the table.

Watch her scrape her butter under her fingernails.

Lilly’s listening to her headphones again– her rap music blaring.

And you’re annoyed.

Annoyed by what– you don’t know.

But you’re so damn annoyed.

A girl at the table over slams her plate on the ground because she got curdled milk.

A scene ensues– and you’re tired of this, you think.

Just eat your food and shut up– you’re screaming.

Eat your food– you think– watching Kenzie smear butter under the table.

So you do.

Because no one else will.

You eat yours.

And you eat it fast.

Shove it down your throat.

So you can hardly swallow.

So you can’t think.

Jesus, Lilly says– her eyes on your plate.

You ignore her–

Jacy staring at you with those glasses too big for her face.

____________________________________________________________________

You don’t know why you do it– but you do.

You eat it– and you don’t care if anyone else does.

You’re so tired of everyone else.

You’re tired.

And you want to eat everything.

To eat everything on everyone’s plate.

Eat everything for everyone.

____________________________________________________________________________

It’s 6:50– you say when you’re done.

You point to the clock. Can I go?

The counselor comes by to check your food.

Lift your plate, she says.

You do.

Your napkin? She asks

You open it with your hands.

Okay– she says, looking for your tag. You on escorts?

No–

You can go.

So you go.

________________________________________________________________

You walk out and down the hall.

You throw your hoodie up–

You’re so mad–

But you don’t know why

You don’t know why everyone can’t just eat

Just EAT, you think

Eat your food.

_________________________________________________________________

You wander outside–

Your spiral under your arm.

I miss you, you scratch into it_

With the pen you stole from the community room.

I’m sitting here, and I miss you.

You keep writing.

You don’t look at what you’re doing.

You just write it.

His name, you scribble–

My best friend, you scratch–

I’m still so mad at you.

And you etch it into your spiral again and again–

I’m mad that you’re dead.

And you know tonight–

that you’re thinking about it now like you thought about it then.

That you’ve been thinking about it–

Like you thought about it every day of every hour till you were so tired of it that you shelved him.

I’m bored with you, you screamed one night.

I grieved you all out best friend.

And now you just have to be dead–

You’re crying now–that feeling like you can’t sit gnawing at your side.

Stop this, you think.

You’re crying and you don’t know what to do.

What can you do?

You had 6 years, you think.

You had 6 years.

And the last time you saw him- the last time you felt his hand in yours- it was 9pm at a house party, and you were standing there in the front yard, backing away from him because you needed to finish your run.

 You see his face, remember his eyes. The way they catch yours when you weren’t looking for them. When you can’t look up.

“Linds,” he says, reaching out for your shoulder. “Just stay.”

“I’ll be back,” you laugh – your windshorts hitting your leg with the breeze. “I’ll run home and change and I’ll come back.”

You turn to go down the hill then– back to the sidewalk, your tennis shoes reflecting off the street lights.

“You’ll come back when you’re done?” He asks– yelling down the hill with a red cup in his hand– his shorts hanging at his knee.

Maybe, you wave, smiling. I’ll call Riley.

But you are gone before he answers–running.

Running because you ate 3 bowls of Special K Fruit N’ Yogurt.

Running because you are scared–

That no one will want you.

And when you’re done, you don’t go back.

“Goodnight,” you text, “Have fun with our friends–”

You meet his family in the morning–letter in hand.

Slip it into his backpack as you hug him goodbye.

I love you, you whisper– pulling him close.

Love you too, he says– Because he doesn’t know how to be mad.

Call me when you’re settled– Your friend pats him on the back, gives his mother a nod. Thanks for coming, glad ya’ll stopped on your way.

And you agree–though you can feel his eyes when you say it.

See you soon, you wave as they pull out of the parking lot– your best friend in the middle seat– his backpack with your letter.

You’ll see him soon–you know–you’ll make it up later.

And then you– my best friend– you carried me to bed when I fell asleep on the couch.

And one month later– my pretty little boy–

You fell from a tree–

And you died.

____________________________________________________________________________________

And now you’re sitting here in the grass– 6 years later– with your knees to your chest–leggings stretched out over your kneecap.

And you, best friend, you are never coming back.

The grass strokes your ankle–

You’re never coming back-

You will always be dead–

And the world continues to move.

Yes, the world continues forward–

When you asked for it to stop

Give me some time, you screamed.

Just give me some time–

But it didn’t.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

–Need a hand? You hear.

And somehow, you know it’s her.

Maybe a Xanax, you say- looking back.

Can’t help you there, she says- somewhat amused. Do you mind?

You shake your head.

She sits down.

Lilly told me you were having some problems at dinner.

Kenzie’s hiding her food again.

You don’t know why you tell her– but you do.

Maybe it makes you feel better.

I know, Hillary says. All the staff knows–

And you don’t stop her?

Can lead a horse to water, she says. Can’t make them drink it.

You sigh.

So tell me what you’re blubbering about, Hall?

I don’t even know– you say, almost embarrassed.

That’s alright.

Is it?

She nods. Yeah– you do that here. Everyone does.

My best friend’s dead, you say–

Immediately trying to take it back.

I mean– he died a long time ago.

 I don’t know why I just said that.

She let’s you sit with it.

So why are you thinking about it?

You sigh.

I don’t know, can’t it just hurt? You ask, snot running down to your mouth. Can’t it ever just hurt for no reason.

Yeah, she says– in her monotone voice. It’s supposed to sometimes.

You agree.

She knocks your knee with hers. So what are you gonna do?

I dunno– binge drink water? You joke. But it’s weak, and Hillary shakes her head.

Well– the fridge is locked but you can take a stab at it. I hear there might be some almonds in the couch.

You smile–

Are you allowed to say that to patients?

No. I’ll probably get fired.

You snort. I don’t know how to do this, Hill.

I know.

Is this normal? you wonder. Is this really normal– sitting in the grass crying.

She shrugs. I think it’s pretty normal– people are just scared.

Is it weird that I remember everything? you ask. It feels weird sometimes-

And it feels worse that I don’t think I can remember what was real and what I made up.

She agrees. Yeah, I did that too when my dad died.

Do you think about him?

Every day.

Do you ever want to talk about him then? You ask. Do you ever just want someone to know he existed?

Sometimes, she says.

I feel like I can’t help it– I feel like all I want to do is talk about him– you pause. Why do we have to pretend to forget someone when they die?

You don’t, she says.

Yeah, you persist. But it’s like you get a one-year benchmark and then you’re fucked up for still talking about it.

You’re not as fucked up as you think you are.

You look at her.

Okay, she smiles. Well you are a little.

You snort.

But you’re not just ’cause your friend died.

Is it supposed to still hurt like this?

Sometimes, she says. But you’re allowed to.

And if I don’t want to?

She shrugs, Well what were you doing before?

I dunno, you pause. Binge eating sugar cookies from the deli.

Nice.

You nod. They were some good cookies–

She smiles. Sit with it, Hall. Deal with it. Find something higher than you– that’s my advice.

Oh– the religion talk, you say.

Not necessarily, she pauses. But you’ve got a big life. You’ll get out of here- you’ll be alright.

You think?

I know, she nods. Been doing this a long time- I know when I’ll see someone again.

You might though, you admit. Cause I dunno what the hell I’m gonna do after this.

Grow up, she says. Get a job– Write a book.

You roll your eyes. We’ll see.

You’ll figure out how to like yourself- she says. And when you do, you’ll let yourself hurt, and you won’t feel bad.

You gonna friend me on Facebook to check in?

She shakes her head. No, cause then I’ll really get fired.

You smile-

You thank her for sitting with you.

This grass is poking my ass, you say.

She nods. You got a couple girls worried in there.

Are they playing Bananagrams?

Making friendship bracelets.

You smile. Jesus, this really is summer camp.

In a way.

Summer camp for the unstable–

She asks if you’re okay.

And you say you don’t know– but that you’re sitting with it and you’ll see.

So you walk inside.

You open the door– grass sticking to your black sweatpants.

Brush your butt off, she says– before you go in.

You catch yourself in the door’s reflection.

Catch your thighs when you turn.

I miss you– you think– And I’ll miss you always, best friend.

And what if it is- you wonder- that you can feel many things?

That your heart can ache-

And still be happy?

Is there such a thing? You’re not sure.

The truth is that you don’t know.

And you’re not sure of anything–

But right now- tonight–

You’re walking into the community room– and you’re missing your friend.

Olivia greets you at the door “Hello love,” she says in her fake British accent.

You smile–

You alright, now? She continues–her eyes following you.

Yeah, you say. Being a baby.

I know– she says. We’re playing bananagrams if you wanna come.

You grin– I thought you were making friendship bracelets.

We were– She pauses– and then Lilly told us you were coming back and we knew you’d rather play Bananagrams.

You agree, I hate doing art.

We know– she says.

So you follow her to the floor–

Where six girls– with their leopard print pajamas and water bottles and collarbones– lie flat on their stomachs, game tiles spread out in front of them.

 “Bananagrams,” you say to the group. “Let’s do it bitches.”

And you squat down– your elbows resting on a pillow on the ground.

Jacy smiles at you–

And tonight you think it’s okay to feel happy and hurt.

8/16/2007
8/16/2007

This is Rehab: Truth 4

“I Haven’t Shaved in 6 Weeks Day 3.5”: Easter Truth

Happy Easter to all.

Easter out with my TX homegirls
Easter out in BK with my TX ladies

Having spent the last three major holidays in Rehab-sanctioned AA meetings, (does Valentines Day actually count as a major holiday by the way? I might be exaggerating a bit for writer’s purposes) I figure why not continue the trend.

Given that this is my first holiday ”back on my own”- Which yes, I do have half my family coyly trying to make ”check in” calls to- I guess- make sure i’m not binge eating chocolate easter eggs-  I’m lying here with my roommate  searching for Overeaters Anonymous meetings tonight.

Do I really want to go?

No.

I don’t.

In fact, as I write this I’m debating ways I can shirk around it and then still post later that I did go- to which none would be the wiser.

I’m clever, I’m lying here thinking. I can end up just not going- drink some wine with my friends on a balcony- and then praise myself in the morning for being a committed “recoverer” via a post.

Whatta load of bullshit, right?

This is what happens. You lie for so long, you just automatically have a backup tale written for you by your head.

It’s unfortunate- but it’s another side truth.

I am going to go tonight, though I suppose it’s not like anyone will know.

I’m gonna go- and sit in that room full of people that I attended once before.

Same place, same time- a few days before rehab.

I went and cried with my beanie pulled down over my face and I didn’t speak.

I wasn’t ashamed, I just didn’t feel like I belonged. Didn’t feel like I had made myself sick enough to be there-

“I’m not even skinny anymore,” I cried looking at the thinner girls in the room. “You didn’t even do it right.”

I left the meeting that night,  a man finding me in the crowd.

Trim, fit, adorning a business suit- he stopped me as I walked out and stuck out his hand.

“First time?” he asked, as I pulled out my headphones.

I smiled at him in my southern way.

“Scott,” he said. “Always glad to see a new face.”

“Lindsey,” I said, wiping snot from my nose. “Thanks.”

“Keep coming,” he smiled, finding my eyes. “It’ll grow on you.”

Right, I’d thought then as I pushed open the door. Going to rehab bud, and then I won’t ever need any of this again.

Ah- to be young and silly.

Perhaps when I go tonight- I’ll talk.

And perhaps afterward, I’ll find Scott, tap him on the shoulder- and shake his hand first.

Who knows?

This is Rehab: Truth 3.5

Update: I went- Boom.
Update: I went- Boom. Walking out with pride.

 

 

“I Haven’t Shaved In 6 Weeks Day 3”: 11 Truths About That ‘One Time In Rehab’

TGIF, and here I am in the office at 9:30pm. Yes, some things never change. You’re a perfectionist till you die- However, in honor of the holidays (whether you’re celebrating or not) I wanted to share this 3rd truth:

TGI…F? W? You Don’t Know- But Happy New Years Anyway

Wishing I was home in TX with this Lil Guy. He's the Bees Knees- y'all. Happy 1st Easter to My Cousin's Beautiful Chitlin.
Wishing I was home in TX with this Lil Guy. He’s the Bees Knees- y’all. Happy 1st Easter to My Cousin’s Beautiful Chitlin.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

 “TGI…F? W? You Don’t Know– But Happy New Years Anyway”

Your alarm’s going off– it’s 5:30.

Actually, that’s a lie. Despite going over the rehab “list of essentials” with your mother (which laughably do not include shaving kits and mouth wash–apparently in the case that you try to drink yourself to death), you have forgotten to bring one.

So no. It’s not your alarm. Your roommate’s alarm, however, is going off at the same time it does every morning and you yourself are nestled in your twin-sized bed under the hideous Floral Comforter attempting to wield yourself into the first nonsexual human pretzel ever performed.

Maybe they’ll forget, you hope. Sometimes they do.  You move the comforter up over your head so that when Nurse Shelly comes knocking for vitals, maybe she’ll mistaken your lump of a frame for a pillow. (And yes, you do think of that scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off… Every.Time.)

Kenna wrestles from one side to the other in her bed– flinging her matching comforter to the left.  She turns off the alarm.

Damn you, you think every morning. Why can’t she roll around for 30 minutes like a normal person.

But she doesn’t. You already know she won’t.

She’s up now, her black hair flowing behind her– her sweatpants pulled up over her waist and Easter-colored top hanging from her chest.

You can hear her take the brush off her nightstand– her hair untangling with every pull.

You like Kenna, you remind yourself. You just want an excuse to not have to trudge your ass down the hall to get your weight done.

You don’t even need weights or vitals anymore, you complain every morning sitting on the waiting room couch with the other girls who have sleep in their eyes and medical gowns hanging off their shoulders.

You’ve weighed the same since you walked in (you know this because you’ve snuck glances at your sheet every time drill sergeant Betty has drifted her eyes from you to the cabinet). A fact you’re not sure if you should feel comforted by- or a fact you’re internally disappointed with.

You think of your weight as you lay there this morning, running your hands over your side to see that your hips are still traceable.

To make sure you don’t feel softer from when you accidentally caught a glimpse of your backside in the mirror.

To run your fingers over the flab of skin beside your arm pit and your back bone and grip it like it might come off when you wriggle it.

Like the morning before, you lay in your bed and you push your hand under the waist of your sweatpants– past your underwear and between your legs. It’s an awkward thing to do– but you want to touch the skin that hangs on your inner leg– you need to hold that piece of thigh in your hand.

You don’t know why you do it– But you sift the skin between your fingers, feeling the loosening muscle, and the pockets of fat that you know store the cereal boxes you binged.

You can hear Kenna open her wardrobe– and grab the hospital gown that is sitting somewhere crumpled in your closet as well.

It’s cold, you think. It’s the Sunshine state and you’re always fucking freezing in this place.

You wonder what you’ll wear today–

Fail to forget you haven’t showered in three.

“You’re tired,” you say. “You barely move anyway.”

8:30 rolls around every night and when the other girls head off with their sponges and soap– you steal the inside of one of the phone booths and call your best friend off collect.

You want to feel the water on your skin– and the shampoo down your spine. You want to reach past your thighs and shave your legs in your shower in Brooklyn.

To undress yourself and look down at your stomach- to your legs- to the tips of your toes where you need to trim the nail.

You want these things– and sometimes you do them.

You can look in the mirror and see what’s left of your ribs– blanketed with that thin layer of fat

You can turn to the side and not hate the rounding shape that your figure makes.

Because you’re made that way, you can say to yourself.

You are not made to be a stick–

But this morning– with your body folded into you, you can see the indention of your sweatpants imprinted on your stomach, you can feel your thighs touch– your stomach sag– and your arms squished against the bed, spreading out like an egg cracking over a skillet–

And you’re sad because it hurts.

You hate yourself for hurting–

But you just get so bloody sad when you have to look at it–

 So you don’t.

 “Is it Tuesday?” You ask Kenna, pulling the comforter down to your nose. “Are we doing body checks?”

“Yeah,” she says, sweeping her hair into a loose bun on the top of her head.

You sigh.

“Happy New Years Eve,” she sings– winking at you from the mirror.

You roll your barely opened eyes.

New Years in loony tune land.

Fa-la-la-la-la.

 ____________________________________________________________________________________

“So what is it we’re doing tonight?” you ask that morning, plopping down next to Lilly on the community couch.

“I dunno,” she says, her tangled headphones lying loosely in her ears.

“JJ,” you say to the girl across the room. “What’s the deal with New Years?”

She shrugs. “I think they’re still deciding on letting us stay up till 12.”

“12,” I say flatly. “As in midnight?”

She grins. “Yeah.”

Lilly shakes her head to the right of me, mumbling explicits. “23 years old,” she muses. “And can’t even stay up till fucking midnight.”

“Don’t even,” Jacy says.  “I have to go to bed at 10.”

“Tonight?” you say, making a face.

“Yeah, I’m still at 75%. They won’t let me.”

“Dude, are you going to be back on partial then?” Lilly wonders.

She shakes her head. “No. They know I’m eating, my body’s just not reacting yet.”

You and Lilly nod–slightly jealous but it goes without discussion.

The counselor walks in to start the group.

New Years in Rehab, you think as you take your place on the couch against the wall.

You think about the year before– where you were. Drunk, a bottle of wine in hand–fitted black tights– a sleeveless dress you bought from Urban that you didn’t wear a jacket with because you were excited to feel thin enough to wear it.

You were in England– mate.

It was cold.

Thin, sloppy–you barely ate dinner before but throughout the night snuck the appetizers at the party by hiding them in your purse.

You were losing it then– carefully, concretely.

And now here you are, you muse that night, climbing into the Rehab Bus.

You’re 24, spending New Years 2014 at a 7pm AA meeting.

And when you get there, you’re welcomed by people that offer you nonalcoholic eggnog and coffee– You look to your counselor for approval but she says “No.”

“No?” You whine.

“It says on my sheet you chose to have coffee at dinner.”

“It’s one cup,” you argue.

She just shakes her head. ”Sit down, Hall.”

And you do. You sit in a room with 30 people you’ve never met and together, you spend the next hour trying to understand what it is that you’ve done in your life.

Why you’ve done it.

You talk about what your life was before– and where you are now.

You think about your mom, your dad–

You realize somewhere throughout the hour that you’re guilt free to be sober tonight.

And comforted by being safe.

You share this with the room towards the end– you don’t know why but you feel like you should.

When the meeting’s over, you form a circle with the people beside you– you clasp hands with a guy named Steve who came, he said, because if he didn’t–

he’d drink.

On the other side, you have Lilly– she shared her story tonight and you smile at her softly as you take hold of one of her dirty, self-tattooed fingers.

“Love you,” you whisper to her.

And for the first time in awhile– you think you might really mean it.

At night– when this is done– after the nonalcoholic eggnog is drank and you’ve been hurdled back to the Rehab Bus by counselor Kate–

You get back to your little loony bin–make a pallet on the floor of the recreational room with your girls.

You say they’re your girls now– because despite knowing them for 2 weeks– you’ve been more honest with them than you can remember being with anyone.

Why wouldn’t you, though. You had to.

So you guys make a pallet on the floor.

You bring your pillows from out of your rooms, your blankets that your moms sent you– the stuffed animals that friends sent in a care package– and together the lot of you make a casket on the ground.

A white, wrinkled, sloppy pallet on the floor– and you’re in the middle now with Lil and her XL Wu Tang Clan sweatshirt on one side, and a 14-year old who lost her Dad nestled into your shoulder on the other.

You look at these girls that night– you look at their bodies, and their faces.

At the way Olivia’s pink hair tucks behind one ear.

At the oddities of a human–

You realize you may never be in a room with these people again.

May never see their stories grow when you leave–

But damn, if you’re not lucky to have them then.

11:59 hits– and tonight, you guys bring in the New Year asleep on each other’s shoulders.

New Years
New Years in A Sleeveless Dress.

This is Rehab: Truth 3

“I Haven’t Shaved in 6 Weeks Day 2”: 11 Truths About ‘That One Time In Rehab’

First and foremost- I want to thank everyone for the tremendous amount of beautiful feedback I’ve received in regards to my first post on this subject.

To be honest, I was so terrified posting it last night that I impulsively deleted it twice and had to have a massive pep talk in the M-train subway alley with my family and friends before releasing it back into the world’s hands.

I know this subject’s not easy to read- not easy to talk about- and maybe not always easy to digest.

But the feedback I have coming in is real- and if it’s helping someone to sit back for one moment and have that sort of mini-revelation I had sitting in a diverse group of women every day for week after week- all from different lives sharing the same issues- then I’ve done what I set out to do.

Tonight I present the 2nd of my 11 Truths entitled “No One Cares That You Puke

fooooood
2006 Tennis Tourney- The Beautiful Days of Eating Without Whim

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2.) No One Cares That You Puke

“That weird nurse caught Dawn doing crunches this morning.”

Kenzie looks tired across the cafeteria table, mixing around her 27g sugar-yogurt, and sighing into her coffee.

“Again?” you say, scraping the staff-measured 1tbsp of butter from the container.

“She always does,” she moans. “I’m dead asleep and I wake up to her fucking sitting on the ground doing pushups,” she pauses to take a bite.” I’m just like bitch, go to sleep.”

 Jacy grins, lifts her pin up to write her name on top of her food journal. “Yeah well last night my Roommate stared at the wall for 10 minutes before getting into bed.”

“She’s weird, dude.” Oliva says, shaking her head. A piece of pink curly hair falls in her face. “That girl’s crazy.”

“I think she’s on withdrawal meds.”

Jacy nods. “When she went to shower last night she stood in front of the mirror before and I swear she didn’t blink.”

“Creepy,” you say, cutting your banana into the 6 allotted pieces. “So creepy.”

“Yeah,” Olivia agrees. “But at least crazy bitch is gone.”

“She left?” You ask, feigning surprise.

“Yeah, she signed a 72 and was outta here this morning.”

You shake your head, attempting coyly to break the banana up into smaller pieces to stir into your oatmeal.

(Who the hell cuts bananas into only 6 pieces, seriously?)

From the corner of your eye, you see Lilly slink into the cafeteria, pushing her hair out of her face like she just stumbled from her bed (she did, and everyone knows it but says nothing– not even the counselors). Dirty skirt– the one she wears almost every day– hanging from her slender waist, and a XL Wu Tang Clan sweatshirt shifting off one of her shoulders.

“Sup assholes,” she mumbles, plopping down to her marked tray placed across from you. “Thanks for waking me up.”

“I tried,” you say, holding your nose while you take a sip of the 2% milk. “You grunted and said you’d be down in a minute.”

She sighs down at her food– starts to unwrap her bagel (It’s extra starch day on Fridays) “I missed meds,” she says.

“Just do them after.”

We have this conversation every day–you begin to notice- pushing a stealthy piece of banana into the goopy oatmeal so Counselor Jan won’t see when she walks by.

Lilly mutters something about losing her schedule, knowing she’ll find it behind the couch when we convene back in the community room for another day of group therapy.

“Dawn’s doing crunches again,” Kenzie tells her.

Lilly shrugs. “No shit. She’s been here as long as I have and she doesn’t look any different.”

“Crazy bitch left,” Olivia chimes in.

“Really?” She grins. “Good, now I don’t have to hear her puke in the bathroom after dinner.

“How did she ever get off escorts?” You wonder aloud.

“She didn’t,” Lilly says with a mouthful of bagel. “She just snuck in there between.”

“How do you throw up that quickly?” Kenzie asks. “It’s like 5 minutes before group.”

“I don’t know,” you say. “But did you see her cheeks? Homegirl’s been doing that for years.”

 “Hope I’m not 30 and still puking.”

“Watch it,” you warn. “I’m going on 25.”

“Yeah,” she says. “I always forget you’re that old. You look like you’re 12.”

“A 12-year old in a beanie,” Jacy pipes up.

“And that eats herself,” Olivia grins, pointing down to the new band aid the nurses force around your finger every morning at weigh-in.

You smile now, surprised at how quickly your idiosyncrasies follow you– surprised at how casual a conversation can be over bulimia.

You look back at Lilly, catch her eye in that odd way you two share.

“You alright?” You mouth to her.

And she shrugs. “Fuck bagel day,” she mumbles.

You smile because you don’t know how you ended up knowing this person across from you.

But she’s funny, and she’s aloof– and it’s fitting to you that she resembles a cat with her subtle Asian-set eyes.

It’s fitting because you know she’s lying– and know she lies daily.

Lies about how “hard” she is, lies about how independent she is– and lies about her own little trips to the bathroom in between groups.

Yes, you know this, you think– staring at her makeup-less complexion– you know this and you love her anyway.

Because let’s face it– In rehab, you’re not special because you throw up. In fact, you’re boring. You’re actually incredibly boring, and by the time you step foot in that facility a solid half of your family and friends (the ones you’ve been halfway honest with, at least) are so tired of feeling guilty and never saying “the right thing” that they’re ushering you in there like a mouse to the cheese trap– happy to be free of the anxiety if only for a moment.

So, lemme repeat– you’re not special because you puke.

I mean, you’re special- at least they’ll tell you that. It’s like when your 2nd Grade Music teacher sat you in a circle with all the other flute-playing  kids picking their noses and went around in that falsetto voice claiming how talented each of you are.

You are special. But, you’re not special because you’re sick– and that’s a harsh reality to accept.

You stumble into Rehab with this preconceived idea that you:

1.) either have a screw looser than any of “the others”– OR

2.) think you have no screws loose and that your parents are just big assholes for sending you off to get fat with a bunch of loons.

Whichever way, what I’m trying to say is that they’ve seen it. Every staff member, every housekeeper, every security guard, and every patient who has spent longer than one month in that place has met you before you’ve ever met them. They see you on your first day trudging through the door, pants baggy in the butt, your t-shirt hanging off you like it’s a fashion statement.

We size you up quick (literally)–

We know people enter rehab under two notions. Either the notion that what goes on in your head is somehow more complex/deep/incurable/tragic than anyone else– Or under the disillusion of beautiful denial. (Me– thin?!?!?! You don’t say…)

However, the fact of the matter is that after sitting in there week after week- you slowly begin to realize how tired you are of your own bullshit.

Sounds easy then, right? Change your life, mate. Change your thoughts- But what “the Muggles” (we watched a lot of Harry Potter– YAY for PG cinema) can’t comprehend is that we’ve painstakingly rewired our brains to only focus on perfection- on flawlessness. On an unattainable idea that our goal in life is to be so severe that everyone around us will look when we enter a dinner party and cower at how in control of our lives we are. (Who cares if we have to excuse ourselves later to puke up that appetizer. WE. ARE. IN. CONTROL. BITCHES.)

Is this how it starts, you ask? With this gallant disillusionment of control? Of course not. People stick their fingers down their throats for plenty of reasons. People stop eating for different tragedies, and people enter into an addiction with the mindset that you’ll do it sporadically and life will function onward as it always has.

I puked for the first time when I was 16 years old in the bathroom of my high school during Chemistry Class.  (Side note: isn’t it fun how we forget our parents birthdays but puking, shoving our fingers down our throat, we can remember like it was yesterday)

I was thin. Always had been- never worried about it. I was the scrawny one. The girl that stood last in the row of tallest-to-shortest. The “cute” but not hot one:

I was the 8th grader that stood in line at Subway with their mother as the Sub employee leaned over the glass and asked if 4th grade was “treating me well?” (Yeah bitch, 4 years ago Mrs. Hellstern was a RIOT.)

I shopped at Kids Gap into my teens. Found a Homecoming dress at Dillard’s Junior Department my freshman year of high school and lied and told everyone I got it in Neimans… Actually that’s a whiff of a lie. I probably just told people that because it sounded more expensive.

Anyway, I wasn’t your CNN bullied obese kid. I was the opposite- a delicate, fragile little girl with big ears, buck teeth, and a significantly small appetite.

My family knew it– my extended family knew it– It became the Christmas pun every year on my dad’s side: “Oh, what’s Lindsey going to eat? Oatmeal? Waffles? Cereal?” (My penchant for binging cereal started early. Damn Fruity Pebbles.)

It became my identity. To be the picky one- the small one- the little girl. I mean hell, if I wasn’t going to be the prettiest (and I wasn’t), I damn sure was going to be the smallest. The finger-chewer, the neurotic, the people-pleaser.

And I was. I was the one that never had to worry about bra sizes, and periods. I was the chameleon who could strike up a conversation with the girl in the corner who did cocaine off her desk. I was perpetually childlike in my actions and it carried over into my diet. I could eat whatever I wanted– I could be whoever I wanted–

and so I did.

High school started– I snagged my first boyfriend (despite the ears). He liked my “elf” feet, he cooed. My slim waist, my little, bony body. He liked it and therefore, I liked it. Happy that while everyone else was starting to fill out and complain about “junk in the trunk,” I got to stay in my perpetual Neverland.

–So with that in mind, you can imagine the disdain when you go to the doctor your Sophomore year, and are told you weigh- for the first time- a whopping triple digits.

“Over 100,” you think. “But I have friends who barely weigh this or that.”

It is then you take notice of the subtle changes in your appetite. The dinner choices you’ve been making when eating out with your boyfriend. The Qdoba burritos you’re now finishing at lunch with friends.

You don’t hate that you’re eating more, but you’re not pleased either.

A few months goes by– You start venturing into Hollister, Abercrombie, Polo Outlets. You start swapping shirts with your friends where they were only a tiny bit too big for you in the chest.

Junior year starts and Doctors put you on birth control.

“Birth Control,” you whine in the car. “I’m not even having sex.”

“But you need to start your period,” Mom says.

So you take it– painstakingly aware of the weight gain your girl friends complain about.

And I suppose that’s where it all begins– the beautiful downward spiral into retching. (Does anyone else have the same toilet bowl spiraling image?)

You take the pills- they make you sick. Sick every morning, sick all morning, sick to where you can hardly get out of bed. You lose weight. Dip back into the 90s–everyone notices. Which, as any disordered patient will say, is both the blessing and the curse of this illness. The attention.

You like being notably small again– You like being “that person.” However, you do not like being sick all the time from these stupid estrogen-enhancing pills. YOU are a perfectionist, damnit, and this is keeping you away from your 116-grade A in English.

So, you do it. You make the plunge. You get up in Ms. B’s class one morning–sick as hell– barely able to lop yourself out the door and to the bathroom– and you lean over the toilet and shove a finger down your throat.

It’s awkward at first- the movement of a finger in your mouth. What the hell do you do, you wonder. Do you go straight for the plunge? Do you wiggle it around back there on that hangy part of your throat (to this day, I still have NO idea what that’s called.)

You don’t know. It’s awkward.

And then suddenly you’re hunched over a disgusting high school toilet rim with a slobbery finger in your mouth dry-heaving some phlegm. PHLEGM? You think. But you’re so nauseous you don’t even care. Just as long as the feeling subsides.

So you can finish that damn problem on the board.

So you can be this person– with your good grades, and your big smile, and your friendly demeanor– so you can be everything and anyone.

So you can try on any dress, and flirt with any person, and be loved by everyone.

So everyone will look back at you fondly and think: “That girl was something special.”

Because you are special, you think, going back to Chemistry in your Hollister jean skirt.

You are bloody perfect.

 little girl

This is Rehab: Week 2

“I Haven’t Shaved in 6 Weeks”: 11 Truths About ‘That One Time In Rehab’

Let’s be honest- if you know me you were probably wondering when this post would surface.

Was it a scene from Requiem for a Dream? Was it like that HBO documentary? Was it just another vacay paid for by Daddy? Was Ke$ha there?

You all know I went, you all know I shared, you all know I prospered- so after putting our heads together today, my comrades in the fight have decided to help me share the (dirty) facts about life in the ED loony bin:

Am I embarrassed? Sure. Am I ashamed? No.

You need help- I need help. We find it one way or another-

Tonight’s post- the first of the 11- I’ve entitled ”Bitch, Please: There’s How Many Grams of Sugar in that Yogurt?

Enjoy- and spread the love wherever it need be.

 

I am woman- hear me roar* Or so I thought.
I am woman- hear me roar* Or so I thought.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

1.)  Bitch, Please: There’s How Many Grams of Sugar in that Yogurt?

The day is here- you barely slept.

You rolled around the hotel bed with your laptop by your side- Mad Men Season 5 shifting from episode to episode on Netflix-

You’re wondering what movies will be on it when you get out; what you’ll miss at the Nitehawk in Brooklyn.

You’re texting the person you were dating before, sending them the salutations and the farewells. Telling them you’re sorry for being dishonest- hoping they’ll find someone while you’re gone.

You don’t know who you’ll be when you’re done.

You don’t really want to.

Face the nightmare, homegirl- Your life has come to a point where you’re binge eating two boxes of cereal a day.

Where your roommate knows to hide the chips and the cookies and the cereal in her room so you won’t eat it under the sheets in your bed.

You’re tired laying in that hotel bed, but you won’t sleep. You’re texting this person and you’re remembering how you once went on a date with them and threw up in a deli bathroom when they dropped you off at the subway.

You text your parents.

“You okay?” Your mom asks.

“Yeah, going to bed.”

“I love you,” she says.

You don’t really want to answer.

You’re not mad. You’re just tired.

You think about Bradley; wonder if he would’ve ended up like this.

You leave your room, wander down the hall past the concierge. You sit on a bench and smoke a cigarette outside the Fairfield Inn.

You cry because you know you’ll be crying a lot, and it’s overwhelming. You smoke knowing it won’t help.

For the next month(s) you know you will cry over the cookies you’ll be forced to eat (Oreos. So many Oreos), the high-calorie granola you’ll be instructed to finish (What, no fat-free?), and the Glazed Doughnuts you would’ve avoided like the plague (Hello, Dunkin) had you previously had the chance.

You know the first week will be rough- it goes without saying. You’ll get there- you’ll get lost.

You slink back to your hotel room, shifting your eyes away from the gaze of the people sitting in the lobby.

You bought some leggings today. You wonder if people dress up in rehab?

You wash your face in the sink and wonder if you’ll lose weight now that you won’t be free to binge.

You crawl into bed with your XL t-shirt and wonder if you’ll make friends. God, you hope they’re not insane.

You drift into uneasy sleep with your cell phone in your hand, your last message on Facebook sent.

And then the morning comes and you’re unsure whether to eat. Should you starve yourself before? Should you have one last binge?

You decide on a banana and half a cookie.

This is the first day of your life, you like to think- even if it’s cheesy.

You pick up your things around the room; sit in front of the mirror and apply your make up and scowl at your hair.

You don’t have a straightener, a blow dryer, nor a curler. A subtle reminder that you aren’t allowed those things when you’re crazy.

You’re waiting outside smoking a cigarette when the driver pulls up.

“You Lindsey?” he asks, a smile on his face.

Why are you smiling, asshole?

“Yeah,” you say, going to stab out the cigarette.

“No, no,” he says, holding his hands up. “Take your time. No rush.”

You nod ‘thanks’ but the cigarette and you have already divorced.

This is your last cigarette, you think, trying to make it memorable- but it’s not. You get in the car while he puts your suitcase in the back.

“Tom,” he says, reaching out for your hand.

He talks your ear off the entire way there. You’re annoyed. All you want to do is shove your headphones in your ear and self-pity.

But you don’t- damn you Tom- you think when he pulls in through the metal gates. Jumping out of the car, he opens your door and helps you out.

“Good Luck,” he says- as if you’re going off to war- and a lady with a trim figure meets you at the car to guide you into reception.

Of course she has a trim figure, you think, glancing her up and down. And you hate her on sight.

Hours pass. Instructions are dealt. Suitcase inspected. Your “Team Red” Binder stamped with your name. (What is this-  Middle School Field Day?)

So here it is, you sigh finally, sitting on the entry couch. It’s your first day and all the skinny bitches are running around the halls with their feeding tube IVs and their waft figures, and here you are staring at some hand-crafted artwork from a patient 7 years ago that reads “4319 days is ENOUGH” in eerie black and red paint; an XXS t-shirt you assume this satanic painter once adorned hanging beside it.

You are jealous of this person on this first day, and her XXS willpower. You wonder what 4319 ED free days would look like-  disgusted by the thought. The Oompa Loompa you’d turn into. The triple chins. The Facebook photos that would have the social community whispering “Poor thing, she used to be so thin back then.” Oh God, the cellulite. Cut it off. Can you just have that knife to cut it all off.

You want to run thinking about it. Your body telling you to- your toes tensing in your shoes, your muscles clenching in your black jeans, telling you they’re weakening by the moment. Run, it’s instructing. Don’t let yourself give up you lazy bitch.

But I ran last night, you explain. I ran for you, you say.- I ran and I cried and I laid on the gym ground with my knees to my chest and I said I was sorry for never working hard enough.

If I had just gotten to that perfect weight, you think. I could’ve stopped before it came to this-

Why couldn’t you get there. You don’t understand. If you’d gotten there you would’ve quit binging. You would’ve stopped lying. You could’ve sat between people in the subway. You could’ve taken that rest day once in awhile. And God, you’d let yourself eat that cake your mom made at Christmas. You only binged because you looked at yourself in the mirror. Cellulite, skin, weight clinging to you- like a tick to your leg.

These are your thoughts that first day, have been your thoughts for so long.

You’re on the verge of tears. You’re comparing yourself to every person that walks by- the girl with the baggy flannel and cut off shorts, the model with the boniest waist you’ve ever seen and the tube hanging from her nose. Oh, there’s the pretty ones, and the bigger ones, and the ones you assume came in on drugs, and to be honest, you’re not judging them- you’re judging you. You’re sitting there catching their pale eyes and their skeletal frames and when you see the shoulder blades on the woman in the corner- all you can do is wonder again whether you actually need to go through the humility of this experience. Should I leave? Should I call my mom? Oh God, what would (insert ex name) think if they knew I ended up here?

You think about the last time you saw that ex- the way they looked at you when you changed your shirt- the eyes gazing at your dinner plate- the tightened jaw when you laid together in a bed and they rubbed their hand over your rib cage. “I can feel your ribs,” they whispered. And you smiled because you’d won.

You always won, then- before you moved to NYC and could no longer run as much.

You tried the 5am work outs- you tried the midnight runs- but the weight crept back. A pound here, a pound there. You laid in your bed pinching the side of your hips- hoping it would shed like a snake- so you could stop hating yourself.

So you could go to that birthday dinner-

You think about your friends at home now. You think about your mom leaving the night before. The way her head hung to the side, her eyes bleary- She loves you, and you know it.

And then someone talks to you from the couch over-  A Southern girl in boots and ill-fitted jeans. She’s staring at you with a curious look on her face, along with a group of girls precariously picking you over in their minds. “Is she a binger, a bulimic, an ano?” Sometimes, it’s obvious. In your case, it isn’t.

You’d done it all, yes, but ”doing it all” doesn’t show when you’re a healthy weight with an ass a little more cushy than a sponge.

“This your first day?” she asks.

You smile like you’re going through your 2007 Sorority Rush. “Uh-huh,” you say. “Yep!” You add for good measure.

You hate yourself.

The girl’s staring at you with her toothy Alabama grin. “It’s not too bad usually,” she says. ” But we’re doing rounds right now so everyone’s in a bad mood.”

“Rounds?”

“For levels,” she says. “On Tuesdays, we get to find out if we move up a level. I’m on escorts and I wanna move up to level 1 but everyone’s different.”

“Escorts?”

“Yeah, if you’re on escorts you can’t go to the bathroom without supervision.”

“Someone goes in there with you?”

“No,” she pauses. “But you have to count real loud while the staff stands outside and listens.”

Before you can press her further on this whole level system business, a lady in a light yellow cardigan and long blonde hair walks out from a room “Stacey?” she says, staring at the girl you were speaking to.

“Well,” she grins. “Wish me luck”

You smile politely and watch as the girls around her pat her back and make flustered movements.

“Where you from?” the girl in flannel suddenly asks.

You look up at her standing in the corner, her worn Van sole pressed to the wall, hair in her face, paint all over… well, everything.

“Texas.”

“Me too,” she says. But she doesn’t look happy about it.

“Cool,” you say. “Yeah, Ft Worth- Dallas area.”

“Denton,” she says, looking you up and down. “Or, well, actually Plano, then Denton. Then New York. Then here.”

You nod. “I live in New York right now actually.”

She nods. “Alright,” and turns back to the girl sitting on the ground in front of her. “This is fucking bullshit,” you can hear her say to her.

“Yeah, but you know if you weren’t such a bitch all the time they’d let you move up.”

She throws up her hands “I’m done with it.”

The girl on the ground looks bored. “No you’re not. Sit down.”

“I’m sick of it,” she says again. But she slides down next to the girl who you assume was a dancer at some time in her life.

“Stop fighting them and you’ll get out.”

“I’m not even thin anymore.”

“Yeah, but you’re still acting on symptoms.”

“Not in the last week.”

This is how the first day goes.

You hang out in your room later with the floral Floridian comforter, the connected bathroom with no lock. Your roommate’s things strewn over the room.

You are too overwhelmed to cry.

Dinner comes, and you know you’re hungry (when aren’t you?) so you file behind the other girls. Some are friendly. Some are blunt. A girl with cuts up her legs and arms smiles at you with her pageboy haircut and says ”you’re pretty. I like your smile.”

It takes you all night to realize she’s only 14.

You sit in the cafeteria across a girl named ”Wes,” and it takes you all night to realize Wes is no longer a girl.

He helps you through dinner. He watches you when the tray is placed in front of you and you look down to see the cup of WHITE rice, broccoli rabe, tofu (you chose the healthiest you could on that awful menu), and yogurt for dessert.

You grimace, but you think you’ve beat the system. “Tofu and yogurt,” you cackle to yourself. “I could’ve chosen the chicken and 2% milk like that fool over there, but I went safe.”

It’s then you peer down at the nutrition label on the yogurt and break into tears. You sob. You refuse to eat.

You’re crying over grams of sugar in a Dannon’s Vanila Yogurt (27g to be exact).

“I can’t eat this shit,” you say.

Wes pats your hand and tells you a joke.

The table is laughing with him and ignoring your tears- used to the sobbing reactions of the new people.

Someone puts her hand on your back.

“You’re alright girl, you got this.”

You don’t, you think. You really don’t.

“We all had to do it- First night’s the worse. Don’t think about it.”

You stare at the goop of yogurt you’ve now pushed onto your spoon.

And eventually, you take a bite- because you’re polite.

You’re polite and your mother taught you to be seen and not heard.

You eat the damn yogurt- bite by bite- imagining the sugar fermenting into your veins.

The mounds of fat you’ll feel on your stomach when you lie down for bed.

You let the tears stream down your face.

And no one says anything; they just clap for you when you finish.

As the cafeteria clears, you leave feeling like a lamb for the slaughter.

And that night, tucked under the starch white sheets-

You cry yourself to sleep.

This is Rehab: Day One

mom