First things first – I think I’ve coined this whole “leftover anorexia” term and I’m feeling called to take a moment here to chuckle at my own irony. (Is it irony? Leftover? Like … leftovers. Like, food. Get it? Oh God, I know. Lame. Possibly insensitive.)
But, it’s another one of those eating disorder topics that seems to be difficult to acknowledge – though my guess is quite a few of us struggle with it.
In the process of moving this month from Denver to Boulder (wahoo!)
Between periods of biting my partner’s head off because he didn’t like the same rug I did – to eating at strange times because I’m in between homes and packing boxes, etc., it led me to reflect on some of the initial recovery situations we face in the beginning- throughout.
I’ve written quite a bit about cooking over the years.
From the days of meal planning post-rehab (that lasted all of a month) to New York small apartment cooking (that also lasted approximately 22 days) to Grub Hub’ing (more often than not) to cooking meat for the first time (disaster) to present day Hello Fresh meal plan subscriptions, I’ve phased through it all – which led me to this post, and a comforting realization.
Saturday morning, I woke up in one of those frenzied moods, shoving the comforter back so forcibly that my dog jumped up in fright.
I HAVE X, X, AND X TO DO, I announced aloud, leaping up to brush my teeth – as though I was about to set out to save the world from the Bubonic Plague (or Trump.)
Comin’ off 10 days on the east coast – and booooooy did I miss my NYC life.
Sometimes, I don’t know why I left. Sometimes, I know exactly why. It’s a forever battle – so I’m forewarning you that you’re probably about to see an excessive amount of NYC pics.
Every week, I receive a message along the lines of “HAAAAALP. I’m so and so and I have an eating disorder. New to recovery, I’d like to start writing about it. I want to help people and feel like I need that community. How’d you do it?”
In pure honesty, I rarely answer these emails or DMs. Not because I don’t appreciate them – but because it’s quite difficult to pinpoint or understand exactly why my blog seems to resonate with people. If I do answer, I usually say something along the cheesedick, admittedly unhelpful line of “I was lucky – and I wrote with little regard to other people because I didn’t actually think other people would read it. That, in turn, made all the difference.”
Have any of you – out there blogging in the universe – ever noticed how bloody difficult it is to start a post?
This clearly has nothing to do with what I’m about to delve into, but I noticed that I spent like 30 minutes trying to come up with some “catchy” intro – only to land here – admitting my utter defeat to the intro paragraph.
I lothe introductions and pleasantries. So, Happy Sunday – all the jazz. Hope it’s been a good one. Etc. Etc.
Now, let’s proceed:
DISCLAIMER: I’m covering a topic today that I’ve never seen mentioned in the eating disorder world, and I’m interested to see how you respond. Bash it, critique it, relate to it, I’m open to all feedback (except, like, hateful 1,000-character rants. Then, I’ll just stop reading and repeat over and over to myself “people will love and hate you and none of it has anything to do with you.”)
Anyway, there’s this cultural mantra we live by: “80/20 dieting.” Goes something like – you eat “clean” (i.e. arbitrary set of often mishmashed food rules) through the week, and then you can go ape-shit on the weekend and eat whatever mounds of processed crap you feel like consuming.
Originally posted this on Instagram, but felt it calling me to post here.
Was out last night, wandering the Boulder streets for dinner.
It was Boulder Creek Fest so people were fluttering about – groups of women in their summer gear. 88 degrees at 7:30pm. Doesn’t get much better than that.
I thought about how it’s turning into that part of the year where heat dictates how little or much clothing we wear. And how difficult that can be to transition out of the eating disorder safety of winter.
A reminder on this social media-bikini-posting holiday weekend that when you’re scrolling your feeds feelin’ like shit:
*Currently listening to: Michael Franti & Spearhead – Hey Hey Hey*
I have this tendency to write with a specific “flavor of the week” song on repeat (I try headphones so my partner doesn’t feel like he’s being sound-waterboarded lolz.)
Thought I’d start noting them in the case that you have interest in listening to my beats – or relate to the music.
This song’s got me in one of those evening shines.
“You gotta live for the one that you love you know You gotta love for the life that you live you know”
Oh Michael Franti, you’re a babe. Going to see him June 1st at Red Rocks, which is the most magical music pavilion in all the USA land.
Anyway, I digress.
Last week, NEDA published a letter I wrote to kick off Eating Recovery Center’s #MyRecoveryLetter campaign for Eating Recovery Day. (More details on the campaign here…. also, how many times can I use the word ‘recovery’ in two sentences?)
It reminded me: sometimes, I think one of the only reasons I’ve remained so dedicated to writing is the accountability it forces me to maintain.
This morning, a lil mini-documentary about my eating disorder, and recovery aired on Barcroft TV, and what a unique moment in life.
There’s always something to note (like LOLZ on all the “looking into the distance” shots or HEY check out some of the laughable YouTube comments), but I’ll keep it simple.
A reminder today that:
Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. My story is common because I am a white, small, cisgender female who grew up engulfed by “diet and beauty” culture, and the insecurity and expectation that it breeds. That is not to be ignored, but there are millions out there who do not have the same background. Men, women, ethnicities, nationalities, class. I am not the sole representation of what an eating disorder looks like, and will never pretend that I could be or am.
You will never be “sick enough.” You deserve help, no matter your circumstances, religion, shame, or weight.
I had a strong support system when I went to treatment. Most don’t (or they do) and it still means that sometimes they go back to rehab a few times before they get their shit straight. I am still working on what that means in my own life.
Recovery is ever-changing, ever-evolving. That’s why it’s flexible.
It is okay to live with an eating disorder. Recovery is accepting its presence in your life, not ignoring it as “fixed.”
Thank you to my best friend Kim Dyer for being in this, and Kristina Doelling for watching it from her apt in Brooklyn. Thank you to my parents Joanna Byers Hall for putting themselves out there, and being vulnerable to millions as parents of someone with an eating disorder. Thank you to The Renfrew Center for inclusion in the documentary, and taking time out of their lives to participate. Thank you to the camera crew and the producer for not making this salacious. Thank you Bradley’s parents for raising a beautiful child. His life has been the inspiration for so much of my recovery. Shout out to my partner for helping me get through that day, and waking up at 6am.
I am feeling many things, as one does when they see their sniffling face on film. Mostly, I am grateful for the life I have led – in all its ups and downs and side doors and mirrors.