“I’ll Never Let Go, Jack… Er, ED”: Is Anorexia Your Forever Love Affair?

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The other day, I saw a Facebook picture of a person I will forever define as “a lifetime love affair.”

… Okay. That’s a lie. I went purposely creeping through his Facebook page, dug past his borderline-conspiracy-theorist-Facebook-belief private settings – and ended up clicking over to his current girlfriend’s page – ogled over her natural European thinness – and tried to find remote evidence of her ‘plain’ personality via a couple pics.

We all have a few of these people – sprinkled throughout our lives – like quicksand dissolving through our fingers.

She seems ‘right’ for him. I said it aloud.

We ended as we were meant to, I reminded myself.

She loves him. I don’t wanna know.

You don’t know that person anymore.

As I laid back on my pillow, there was a picture I noticed on her notably less privacy-clad page (she must be strong-willed, I decided, to ignore his constant conspiracy rants) – and it was the two of them on a Scandinavian mountainside. A black spaghetti strap falling down her tan shoulder, a black t-shirt clinging to his stomach from wind-blow. They had backpacks on, surrounded by friends who seemed equally as attractive and ‘mountain-approved’ by an REI commercial.

A flicker of angst: “A life that could’ve been mine, and wasn’t.”

All the reality in the world – the joy in your present – can evaporate when those moments cinch your sides.

He looks older, but like the true bastard he can be, age has done him well since I last saw him at 23.

You’ll age like your dad, I said to him once. You’ve got his German hardness.

We were in Austria then. I was 18 – stumbling between anorexia and helplessly in love with a story that would never really be mine to tell.

Somehow, the two compare in retrospect.

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18 – in Texas

He flashed a grin – his teeth combatting a sun that seemed to do little but exist as a lightbulb in the harsh chill of Salzburg.

We’ll see, he said – with a hint of skepticism like the true German he is.

We were young then, navigating a messy world that seemed to lose more and more definition the longer we explored each others cross-continent lives.

From 16 – 23, I was dedicated to the story.  From 23- 28, I’ve spent the years unraveling the ‘story’ to stop giving it so much meaning.

Meaning it never had – nor really deserved.

Beau

 

I often find it interesting that the outcome of rehab resulted in the loss of anorexia – and the loss of my lifetime love, as though the two were symmetrically aligned in their idealizations.

oh, anorexia: the other apple of my eye.

… But like, not really, cause I wouldn’t eat the apple and I’d just shove it in a jacket pocket somewhere.

I kid. But basically, when it comes right down to it – we over-idealize the shit out of love affairs the same way we over-idealize the hell out of anorexia.

“I wish I had done everything on earth with you.”

A quote that could seemingly apply to both love and ED.

There are times I’ve thought I’d tell that person “I wish I had done everything on earth with you – the mundane, the forgettable, the Scandinavian mountainsides” – doesn’t it all sound so pretty and whimsical? The dishes or the unmade bed. But, the truth remains the same.

Time casts a spell on our memories.

As Stevie Knicks says, I know I could’ve loved you, but you wouldn’t let me.

And he didn’t love me – not the way I needed. For years, our families visited one another – our siblings befriended each other – our lives momentarily aligned – only to be reminded of the same conclusion when the vacation was done.

So, while all those whimsical ideas of what ”might’ve been” seem like warm, cloudy images that play through my head – it was never the reality. And, ultimately, I feel grateful that he was emotionally mature enough to know that whatever it is I thought we could have – would never have lasted past the honeymoon phase.

But hey, a girl can still dream sometimes, right?

The same can be said of anorexia… or ‘Ana.’

“I wish I had done everything on earth with you, Ana.”

The love balled to a woman that lives inside of me.

There’s a piece of my heart that will likely always feel warm affection for Ana, despite her destruction.

There are times I’ve dreamed of that lady “I wish I had done everything on earth with you – the mundane, the forgettable, the Scandinavian mountainsides,” I’ve said to her – doesn’t it all sound so pretty and whimsical? …. And familiar?

Sometimes, it seems like life would just somehow be easier if I could’ve controlled Ana and made her be my faithful partner.

Too bad she’s such an unruly bitch.

I idealized this belief that everything in life would somehow be easier if it was all just with 10 less pounds. 20. 30. As it goes. The Scandinavian mountainside would be more awe-inspiring BECAUSE I was thin and in my little dream world “un-preoccupied” with weight (which, HA.)

I like to imagine myself thin – sailing the high seas – bikini and Corona in hand – consumed by nothing but the presence of that moment.

That somehow everything in life would be amplified and joyful because I’m living thin – in my “2017 most believable Halloween costume.”

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When did skeleton costumes go sexy?

(weak joke, I know. Forgive me.)

But alas, someone always drags me back to reality – like the annoying, blunt friend who constantly tells you “your boyfriend/girlfriend is a douche and you’re wasting your time.”

You have to constantly remind yourself “Ana’s just not that into you.”

Sure, she’ll stroke your ego somedays. She’ll make you feel like the hottest human in the world – she might even convince you just how perfect you are in comparison to your friends.

“You’re such a strong, self-disciplined person,” she’ll whisper as she snuggles beside you on a pillow you’ve propped for her head.

“Look at your bones,” she’ll coo. “Those pretty little bones. Did you notice that your boyfriend had those? Did you notice that Cindy did Pilates and has them too?” She’ll pause, working her fingers over them, to your back.

“You feel so good,” she’ll sigh. “Wouldn’t wanna be with anyone but you.”

How loved you’ll feel in that moment.

As though all your dreams of the future are engraved in your skin. As though the indents between skin and bone are an epigraph reminding you that life, love even,  is “easier” when you’re thin.

It becomes intoxicating – that feeling. And it’s then that you forget to notice Ana, peering over your shoulder.

 

And it’s that same lover – little Ana – that’ll wrap her bony fingers around your neck, pull you into her – push her mouth onto yours, smile down into your eyes, and choke you till you’re blue.

She’ll apologize the next day, of course. She’ll tell you with a wave of her hand that you’re “fine as is” – and then, as you start to relax (it was just this once, you think), she’ll remind you that you ate an ice cream cone the night before.

She’ll nod, a twinkle in her eye – and she’ll tell you that she heard from a friend that if you eat too much ice cream, you’ll gain weight.

“I’m not interested in people that don’t ‘take care of themselves’ or their bodies,” she’ll say offhandedly, as she turns to leave your bed. “I’ll leave you if you get lazy.”

Love

Ana is a fuckboy with a wicked smile. She’s a fuckboy who models for Calvin Klein, or Victoria Secret and uses her subjective beauty to hold it over your head.

She’s a fuckboy who knows how to use the right words to persuade you to lay down next to her “just to cuddle.”

So, that’s the thing isn’t it? With this anorexia love affair.

With many love affairs.

Intoxicating and abusive. Loving and comforting.

At the end of the day, I am forced to take extreme ownership over the situations I’ve created in my life.

My German ex is a good person – but he didn’t want me the way I wanted him. I let that drag on, always like a fish on a line – waiting for him to reel me into him. Waiting for him to take me out of water, look me in my beady lil’ trout eyes and say “oh shit, I want that. Thank God it was right in front of me.”

Anorexia is well-intentioned it seems, in the beginning – with its hopes and promises of a better, healthier life.

With it’s dreams of modeling – or promises of  living without body image plagues.

But, it doesn’t unfold the way we want it to, does it? And so often throughout my 8 years of anorexia and the likes – I focused on what ‘could be’ instead of what really was.

Love affairs don’t happen ‘to you’. Anorexia doesn’t happen ‘to you.’

It happens alongside you, always with a choice to reevaluate why you’re letting it in your life.

I like to say I gave up 8 years to anorexia – and 8 years to a boy that didn’t love me back.

Let’s be honest, I don’t really have any of that relationship shit figured out persay. I still am figuring out what love is to me. Or how to be loved as an average weight person.

Or really, how to love myself without the cold lover’s touch of anorexia on my pillow.

But, I’m cognizant of it. And sometimes, I think that’s all you can ask for.

Is to just stay present and cognizant in a world that demands you get bogged down in anything but the ‘now.’

So, to my beautiful ex, and his lovely-seeming European life: Oh, how I would’ve loved scampering mountains with you – washing dishes beside you – picking your socks off the floor.

In another life, we would’ve loved each other well… so long as I could’ve controlled the narrative, the story, and the conclusion.

And to my love, Ana: you will always be a tan, thin, Angelina Jolie babe. You’re etched on my heart, and my skin. A wicked love affair that ended up giving me so much.

You ended up giving me a life I can write about ❤

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Brewery Hopping in Fort Collins with friends

mitchalbom

 

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