…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.
Busy awareness week for eating disorders. Feeling a little ‘in my head’ about my own after having talked about it so much so while I’m sitting at a cafe with a French Vanilla Latte, I want to bring my recovery back into a personal perspective.
So often I get wrapped up in the story of my recovery that I tend to shy away from the reality of it. I forget sometimes to take care of my own mind so with that I decided to go back to ”the rehab diary.” It documents my entire time through rehab- from every good day to every bad.
Tucked away in the crevices of this messy journal, I found a letter I wrote one day and pulled it out only to be reminded of an activity we had to do where we wrote a letter to ourselves from our own body. Cheesy? Sure.
But it’s stronger than you think, and one year later I’m reading it again and it’s helping me take another bite of my Foccacia bread sandwich.
Try it. Write to yourself from your legs, your heart, your skin. Keep it for you. It’ll borderline on awkward when you start, but the more you think about it from the perspective of your body- the more your mind opens to the idea of chilling the f*** out.
Anyway, hope you all enjoy. Still reeling over being on the homepage of Refinery29 with “My Healthy Habit Almost Destroyed Me” and am so thankful for the mounds and mounds of support from people I know and those I have never met.
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:
7.) “If Someone Were To Harm My Family, I’d Eat Them:
Might Go to Jail for 500 Years, But I’d Eat Them“
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.