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February 27, 2013

because this is an important week. and this is an important life.

this week is national eating disorder awareness week.  

it was on my second read of this while sitting in class last night, twenty minutes before it began, that i started writing this. and by started i mean finally came back to it because for better or worse this is a topic that consumes me on a daily basis. i'm aware. i am hyper-aware and i wouldn't trade it for the alternative for anything. i would not trade places with my seventeen year-old self, my twenty year-old self.

i am where i am supposed to be and i'm becoming the person i was born to be.

i kept staring at the word recovered in what mackenzie shared. i sat in my brown, plastic chair and looked at the letters.

i think about food all the time. all.the.time. i think of the things i put in my body i never would've wanted ten, twelve years ago. high fiber oatmeal, whole grain cereal, broccoli, carrots, melons. very simple, good-for-you foods my body would've rejected. i plan my meals and my snacks. but some days i don't. some days i am so consumed by stress and anxiety i eat four pieces of chocolate and two sandwiches and feel very not-like myself. and i don't let myself off the hook for any of it.

i reject self-forgiveness. it takes active effort to forgive. and some days i would rather sleep.

sometimes i still struggle with, do you want this sandwich because you're truly hungry or because you're having a horrific day and warm bread and cheese will make you forget the bad stuff? that's the thing, food does not make you feel better. food makes you forget, but it doesn't last. so you keep eating. you eat yourself into 293 pounds. 

my life is a constant search for balance, my need and hunger for it. and it is a hunger. i am in the middle of so much change right now. change that is big and exciting and scary and wonderful. and i can only control certain parts. i am trying really hard to try and fight less. i'm working on letting the universe guide me more. this takes work. life takes work.

in high school when i would binge the point was to not feel. that was the goal. i was feeling too much and i had to stop it. i wanted to feel anything other than what i did. i was a sad person, lost in every way imaginable. i threw myself into doing well at school because this was something i could control.  

all of the thinking and fear and berating myself, i was able to shut those things off by eating. this never lasted, which is why i had to keep doing it. i had to keep eating and consuming and numbing and would thus feel absolutely horrible and then deliriously happy for a few stolen moments. there was a dark, sad, twisted happiness i felt from food. 

food becomes a weapon when used like this. because the underlying reason for it is to cause self-harm. i couldn't hurt the people hurting me, but i had to hurt someone.

i chose myself. 

in high school when i would starve myself the point was to feel clean. i would starve myself until my stomach groaned and begged me to feed it. i would eat nothing all day and in doing so excuse the previous behavior. the behavior that caused my body to reject the thousands of calories i was shoveling into it. our bodies reject what is not good for us. 

in my class last night we work shopped an essay i wrote on italy. the fourth-to-last line, nearly everyone brought up. this is what your essay is about. this line right here. what is behind this line?

at those outdoor cafes, in that scorching kitchen apartment with cobalt blue walls, i trained myself how to eat: with the goal of nourishing my body, not berating it.

one girl said, this is the solution to a problem i haven't been given.

she was right. the essay needs work and she was right in saying this was the point.

another girl said, everyone has a "ground zero," a place where we all start playing catch-up. 

maybe italy was my ground zero, the place that marked my before and after.

the biggest thing i took away from being in italy was i learned how to take care of myself by learning how to eat. i had to train myself. and i was and still am willing to do the work this requires. i felt a peace during those five weeks i wish i could've bottled and brought home in my suitcase. but i often forget that i did bring home this lesson, this strength. 

take those five weeks and do the same things here in chicago. do what you did there. love yourself the way you did there. pray the way you did on your terrace. learn to let go. that, that is where you will find answers. 

some days i am able to do a lot of these things. those are beautiful days.

here i am, at 28, still working through all of this. but i have become the polar opposite of what i was in high school: i'm now someone who is living. 

this is an important life and it's mine to build.

in this life there are equal parts hard work and healing. sometimes they aren't close to being equal. but there is healing in talking about these things. there is healing in walking and writing to let go of these things. and in the consuming there is growth and healing. if we allow them.

1 comment:

  1. Gosh, this is beautiful. I went over to that other blog that you link: Whatever, Gatsby, and I read all of her story. Then I came back here and read yours. First of all, you are a magnificent writer. Second of all, THANK YOU for sharing this. What vulnerability. I don't know you or even what you look like except your profile picture, but I can tell you are such a lovely person. And what makes you even more lovely to me is all that you have overcome. I am just really touched right now. So thank you for sharing.