… We’ve all been there – or will be there – and once you do, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
It’s the weekend of your best friend’s wedding and you’re a bridesmaid.
You’re back at your parents house; surrounded by crinkled pictures, dolls in plastic bins, old love notes from high school boyfriends that you refuse to throw out (even if they’re all married with a kid on the way; nostalgia is a real disease), and a high school Geography and Algebra book you never returned.
You’ve just showered: the fumes of yesterday’s spray tan wafting through your nose. Your hair is up in some makeshift form, water running down your back, and a towel wrapped loosely around your chest.
You’re hunched over childhood chest of drawers.
Where the hell is it? You’re wondering, tossing aside a neon yellow tank top you bought in Costa Rica on your Senior trip.
You push around an oversized college t-shirt, a ragged spaghetti top, and some winter Long-Johns your mom bought one Christmas that you never wore them. (They’re polka dot for Christ’s sake).
You sigh. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME I WORE THOSE BLOODY SPANX, You’re now chastising yourself – moving on from the Long-Johns.
Alright guys, so I’ve been pretty MIA the past month and a half (unless you wanna count my previous red-faced emoji rant about the UK coverage as “blogging”) and I haven’t really been writing because truthfully, I’m like a lizard changing its stripes (is that even the idiom??)
Moving is a huge change- goes without saying – and I haven’t really wanted to write until I felt more settled, or at least more genuine, about what I’m even writing about.
Some days I wake up overlooking those Colorado mountains and think “This is where I was always meant to be,” and other days I wake up with this incessant loneliness, longing, and nostalgia for my life in New York.
The world is a playground and I can barely figure out where the slide is (also, I’m directionally challenged). Yes, I’m meeting people. Yes, I’ve gone on a few dates (post on that to come soon ’cause my GOD my relationship life is always a hot mess) and yes, I’m interviewing quite often for jobs, but it’s been over a month and I haven’t yet found that “comfort” of the familiar, and I find that theres always tis feeling of insecurity when meeting new people.
Sometimes, I think because I was sick for so long that I literally just didn’t learn basic human skills and abilities. I was so obsessed with food and being thin that like I missed the college lectures on how to balance a checkbook, or even the cultural staples of my generation.
I will never really be a girl that has “seen that movie,” “heard that song,” or “read that article.” I can tell you how many calories are in that banana by weight and size, but I have zero idea what Games of Thrones is, or what band sang that song – and that reality comes out when I’m meeting new people and like trying to relate to them in a basic millennial way. Therefore, I feel more insecure than usual.
I know I’m not meant to yet, but it is hard some days to not wake up and go straight to g-chatting my former co-workers as I lay in bed picturing them in their offices. Picturing the sounds of the office, knowing who’s always late to work, who is getting their 8th coffee –
I miss my familiar. I miss my work husband walking into my office every morning, happy hours with my female coworkers at the wine bar across the street – knowing which subway line will be delayed – and even the comfort of “the crazies” who roam the subway trains spouting off about religion, and how we’re all going to hell.
I miss my banana waiting for me on my desk, and a granola bar in my office desk for breakfast.
I miss New York – yet I know it’s over. Funny how people do that, yah? How when we lose something, we have this human ability to only remember the good, and negate all the negative.
Anyway, I know in my heart I made the right decision – but you leave pieces of your soul wherever you roam.
Haven’t posted in a hot minute because I’ve been struggling a bit in this transition to Denver (love the city, love my life here – but just having some control issues that OF COURSE manifest into weight loss) and I’m working through them with daily OA meetings. (Post to come on OA soon.)
However, I’m coming out of the woodwork because I am all sorts of emoji red face P.O’ed
Everything in that picture above is what I loathe about the portrayal of eating disorders.
Yesterday, I woke up and these article headlines about me ran on the UK Daily Mail, Sun, and Mirror.
YEP GUYS -there I am – the two-headed eating disorder freak show splattered across UK media.
My agenda every day is to represent recovery in a way that relates to ALL yet time and time again the world has a tendency to portray people with eating disorders as though we are some fictitious character straight outta American Horror Story.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m thankful every single day for the opportunity to write about this shiz. It’s kept me connected with the community as well as find an outlet of accountability, but the problem with this kind of portrayal is that it sends the message to people that you have to be “that” sick to really have an eating disorder.
It discourages people from voicing their struggle because they look at horror headlines like that and think to themselves “Oh, well I’m not vomm’ing blood into a toilet – I guess I’m not really that bad.”
The truth is, am I proud of those articles content? Yes. The journalist was respectful and asked real, human questions about my recovery and ED experience. She does not choose headlines, and I have nothing but kind words to say about our interview process.
However, when I read these headlines, I absolutely bloody cringe. Not only because it’s grossly and salaciously manifesting as cheap click bait, but because the headlines heighten my experience with body dysmorphia and eating disorders in a glorified one-of-a-kind manner.
Did I feel and do all those things? Yes. I did have trouble sitting on a subway. I passed people on the SIDEWALK (not street) and had moments that I panicked. “WHAT IF I RUN INTO THEM WITH MY THIGHS.”
I was very sick. I’d never deny that and I’ve got a whole helluva lot of war stories- we all do in recovery, as I’m learning through my resurgence of OA meetings.
Half of recovery is letting those “war stories” go and moving forward.
I just want to reiterate today that I was still a real person back when I was sick. I went to work like anyone else (albeit not fully present), and I functioned as best as i could. At the end of the day my experience is really no more extreme than anyone else out there struggling with BDD and ED.
PLEASE REMEMBER — You don’t have to have “bloody vomit” and “fear of walking down the street” to quality for an ED or BDD, just as you don’t need to have a salacious bikini pic to qualify as “recovered.”
I hurt myself a lot over the years, and I am still learning what it means to be healthy of mind. However, I want to continue to reiterate that you don’t have to look, act, or be any certain way to suffer from ED.
Ignore those headlines – not everyone’s experience with mental illness has these glorified extremes that they imply.
If you are sick, you know. You know because your life is passing – one day after the other- and you’re missing it, and it’s sad.
…Cause literally Eating Disorders and Body Dysmorphia are a daze – ammirite? You walk around trying to exist; put on your work face; your social face; your public face – and inside you just feel all this guilt and shame for being so self-absorbed.
Now, don’t jump down my throat. You’re not necessarily self-absorbed. But, BDD and EDs do make you seem that way. When you can’t be present in a conversation, when you’re flaky as hell on all social engagements, or when you realize you can’t pass a glass window on a New York street without turning to observe whether or not your ass grew from the block before – it just gets exhausting. And honestly, embarrassing.
“You’re lookin fine, gorgeous,” he said sarcastically as he bristled past me.
I wanted to be like ”I DON’T THINK I’M HOT A-HOLE. I THINK MY THIGHS ARE BIGGER IN THIS REFLECTION THAN THEY WERE IN THE DUANE REEDE REFLECTION- DON’T YOU GET IT?!”
2 years into recovery, you can still catch me doing that it’s true- but in treatment, my team and I developed coping mechanisms for dealing with the bad days. Some are helpful; some might be cornier than others. It just kinda depends on what type of person you are in terms of what will work for you.