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.
Oh, Exercise. The ultimate double-edged sword of an eating disorder.
^BUT MY GOD, HOW CUTE IS THAT?
People ask me every so often “What was the hardest part of rehab?”
Depending on my mood, the answer varies.
“The food, the confinement, the emotion overload, the disparity of sick people… the exercise.”
Ah, the exercise, I always land on – or lack thereof.
3 years ago, I was escorted into rehab (yes, escorted. Two people at each side in the case that I bolted… and ran to the highway? I don’t know where the hell they expected me to go.)
Anyway, I remember looking around the vast expanse of my prison-like surroundings, and spotting what looked like a runner’s path.
Circular, brown dirted and perfectly suited to run on during what I assumed would be many hard days ahead, I was relieved to see this silver lining.
“YOU CAN TAKE MY BODY, BUT YOU CAN NEVER TAKE MY FREEDOM (TO EXERCISE)” – the William Wallace inside of me screamed. (Side note: Braveheart, oddly enough, happened to be a fan favorite to watch while in rehab. We were banned from all trash television, as well as any movie baring nudity of any sort – but yet, somehow, Braveheart slipped the radar.)
… Alright, so my Star War/eating disorder puns are lame (although I did get a good smirk imagining Han Solo with a scale obsession.)
Anyway, so the other day I had one of those social media Timehop moments. You know what I’m talking about, right? It’s like you’re all well and good with the past – SAYANORA to the prom pics – the frat parties – SEE YA MOPPY-HAIRED EX – you’ve come to terms with the bad style choices – and then BAM.
A picture resurfaces.
Hello Linds, Timehop sings with its do-gooding dinosaur logo – DO YOU REMEMBER THAT 3 YEARS AGO YOU LOOKED LIKE THIS? Come linger nostalgically in my visual.
I’m sorry, he said. I know I promised I wouldn’t, but I wanted to make sure you’d be okay.
I shrugged. You’re not the first, but I hope it didn’t overwhelm you.
He shook his head; his mouth opening slightly, then closing.
What? I asked.
I just, he trailed off. It was hard to read.
I’m sorry, I said. But hey, 80% truths. I write 80% truths about 80% truths.
He shook his head. It wasn’t your writing.
He fingered the lid of a beer with his forefinger.
I just- I went through this before Linds, he paused – catching my eye again. Brought back that time I guess.
I mentally slapped my forehead. Of course, I thought.
Close, he repeated – breaking eye contact. Yes.
He mumbled his relation to her, and then he looked at the ground. She’s not really, he paused again. She never got better. Nothing I did ever helped, he said. I worry about that with you. If one day you’ll just fade.
You can’t fix her, I said, realizing how stupid it was as it came out.
((I HATE WHEN PEOPLE SAY THAT. Like DUH, we KNOW we can’t fix people.))
I didn’t want that, he said. I just, I wanted her to be better I guess. I thought she’d grow out of it or something. I didn’t know it could get so bad.
No one does, I suggested. Everyone thinks eating disorders are a cry for attention.
He tightened his mouth.
I opened mine; nothing came out.
Sometimes saying nothing at all, I realized, relates more.
He leaned over; grabbed my hand. We changed the subject.
Let’s talk about sex, bay-bee. Let’s talk about you and me.
JK Mom, let’s not.
This is the hardest post I have ever written, so forgive me as I deflect with weak humor.
I don’t write about my intimate relationships very often because it’s like opening up Pandora’s Box of emotional destruction.
Like we’re talking on a scale of Jim and Pam to Bella and Edward codependency – I’m at like a Romeo and Juliet (cause I mean when you think about it, both those fools ended it all over each other after WHAT, like TWO days? Shakespeare; the master u-hauler)
The truth is my relationship history is such a disaster that I cherry pick the romantic relationships I have chosen to talk about and portray in my writing. I do it with my friends and family, my blog, everywhere.
In other words, I’ve never been 100% honest about my ongoing relationship status because I’m always shielding something from someone.
Oh my God – I just said it. Wave goodbye to all the dates I would’ve had before this post.