The last time I saw my best friend alive, it was 9:00pm at a house party at The University of Arkansas, and I stood there, in the front yard of someone’s house, backing away from him because I wanted to finish a run.
18 years old – our first week of college – he was visiting on his way to a Mississippi school.
Linds, he pleaded, reaching out for my shoulder. Just stay. Christ, don’t run.
In December 2013, I was gearing up to go to treatment in Florida after 8 years of living in the eating disorder cycle.
In my mind, I had this notion that rehab was gonna be this all-knowing descent into radical self realization.
More or less, I expected to come out of it being Basic B*tch Gandhi… or at the very least, Mother Teresa’s sinful pseudo-daughter. Meditating on the reg – zen-like in feeling, and – of course – still thin because in my jacked up head I thought the weight I felt was “extra” was only there because I binge ate about as much as I starved.
I’ve been a slacker on the blog this past month and some. Tis’ true.
I’d love to make 100 different excuses as to why (and will totally take this as an opp to shamelessly plug the fact that my partner and I are engaged as of a week ago!) but the truth is I have really just allowed myself to overextend commitments.
Whether it’s recovery meet n’ greet coffees or planning recovery speeches or my 9-5 job or traveling for my 9-5 (and recently for a recovery speech) I am at the point where I can no longer give a present (and meaningful) amount of time to any one email, Instagram direct message, or phone call.
Someone told me once that I needed to create boundaries in my advocacy work or I would get burned out and be of no help to anyone, least of all myself. I ignored this for another two years.
Of course I can, I told myself. I cherish ALL conversations and emails. (I do.)
But, it’s dawned on me since that that person had a point.
While I cherish all connection, I also cherish the privilege to show up and genuinely give my invested time, energy and presence.
I simply cannot do that in unstructured ways.
Over the last year, I have received daily emails that range in various needs: from assistance in finding local resources to treat eating disorders, to starting a personal recovery blog, to general recovery coaching, to parents asking about how to talk to their children.
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.
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.