Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Erased

Where did all of the other posts go? A year of my life erased with the click of a button. So many words, so many emotions, so many thoughts, both healthy and hazardous, deleted forever, as though they never existed at all. Don't worry. They're not gone, just hidden for now, and I'm sure they'll be back soon.

Those posts reflect the way that I was feeling a few days ago, but they don't speak to the way that I feel right now, which is capable and stable. Wouldn't want anyone getting the wrong idea about me. Wouldn't want someone to read what I wrote and take it literally. Wouldn't want the paramedics showing up at my door to take me away for 72 hours of clinical healing at the nearest psychiatric facility. Those posts needed a disclaimer, something that warned readers that they were just words, just thoughts being spewed from a confused mind. They were serious, they were real, but they didn't mean anything was going to happen to me. This is my space to vent, my space to get the darkness out from inside me so that it doesn't turn my heart black. Everyone copes in different ways and something about writing here where someone might see it and share in my struggle is far more therapeutic than scribbling in a notebook where the words will never be read by another soul, where more than likely they'll never be read at all, even by me.

It's not a cry for help. Cries for help aren't so loud, they are barely more than whispers. And if I cried out here and no one heard me, wouldn't that be a shame? It would be very me, very passive in nature, and it would be disastrous. The truth is that I can say anything here and by the time it makes its way back to me it will already be too late. No, what I write here is not a cry for help because no help will ever come out of this place. I'm confused, I'm not stupid.

Real help exists in the relationships that we build with those around us. Perhaps that's why I feel so helpless sometimes. I have come a long way in recovery, just look at all of the things that I'm doing now that I never could have done before: I'm taking college courses and actually nearing the completion of a degree, I'm working full time at a job that actually pays me decently well, I'm writing, and not just writing, but working on a long-term project, the nature of which was all too daunting before recovery. But what I have not done much of is to build healthy, supportive relationships with the people around me. It's not that I don't interact with people. I'm around people all day most days, but something holds me back from them, from getting truly close to them. Is it fear? Fear of being hurt, or of being abandoned when I need them most perhaps?

It may feel safer to have no close friends, but in all actuality it's not, it's far more dangerous than having people in my life who care if I live or die. Loneliness can be lethal and I thrive on interactions with people, though I feel like a child in the way that I behave around them. They say that emotional development stops when the eating disorder takes over one's life. If this is true, then I am a 14 year old boy trapped inside a 27 year old body. I don't entirely agree, but I don't disagree either. To me, it seems that the process of emotional growth has been retarded by the disorder more than anything else. I can see where I want to be, the ways that I'd like to behave, but I don't know how to get there, or how to begin to act those ways. Maybe it has nothing to do with the disorder. Maybe this is just the way that I'm wired. Maybe I will always be sensitive and emotional and there's nothing that can be done to change that but I'd like to believe that I can be the change that I wish to see in myself.

There's just so much work that I'm not entirely sure where to begin most days. Everyone is working to better themselves I suppose and I am no different. I want to be my best so that I can feel my best, that is all. I know I will always be the biggest obstacle standing between me and my goals but I'd like to make the obstacle of myself smaller and more manageable. Interesting word choice. I'd like to make myself smaller. Sure I would. But isn't that the American way? Bigger car, bigger house, smaller jean size. It's actually not true, not right now it isn't.

For the first time in a long time, I don't want to make myself any smaller than I already am. Is it for me or is it for them? I'm learning that the opposite sex doesn't find skin and bones attractive. I'm learning that they want some meat on my bones and maybe I'm coming around to the idea because they like where I'm at physically or maybe I'm coming around to the idea because I've been at this weight long enough that the memories of ribs and abs and skin stretched tight over protruding elbow bones are beginning to fade from my mind. I can't hold on forever and even a memory like mine will begin to forget with enough time spent in a new place. Thank God. Nothing was more difficult than holding onto those vivid memories of thinness and beauty and living in a body that felt awkward and large and flabby. The body hasn't changed, not much anyway, but I'm further from those memories now than ever before.

I have no desire to go back. Not today. Tomorrow may be different and I'll have to cross that bridge when I come to it. For now, I will hold on to these moments of clarity and try to enjoy the feeling of satisfaction with my physical self and the feeling of compassion for my emotional growth. This could all go out the window tomorrow if my dietitian tells me that I'm full of shit and that I'm still losing weight. I feel like the weight loss has stopped but I know better than to trust what I'm feeling. There have been good days and bad but I think there have been more good days than there have been bad and I hope to God that this means that I'm at least stable. Making up ground still feels next to impossible at this point but not losing anymore seems doable. So that's what I'm shooting for; no more lost ground. Lose too much ground and you lose it all and I've worked too hard to throw it all away over a few pounds.

It shouldn't matter anyway. A few pounds shouldn't matter to anyone. It doesn't change who I am or my ability to perform the tasks necessary for day to day happiness. But it does matter. Still, after so much work and so much help, it still matters to me and there is still a fear inside that it will matter to other people as well. I guess it's an assumption of mine that people will like me better if I am thin. This assumption is as strong and real as the assumption that I have done something wrong. Always, all the time, in every situation. And the two assumptions are connected to one another. I assume people will not like me because I have done something wrong and so the assumption that they will like me better if I am thin takes over and behaviors follow accordingly.

But I'm breaking away from these assumptions. I'm finding situations where I haven't done anything wrong and I'm discovering people who don't seem to give a damn about how much I weigh. Of course, there will always be those who will care about the way that I look but those will always be the people I choose to keep at a distance. And if I do make a mistake, it turns out that people are willing to stick around and even willing to forgive me and move right on liking me despite my error. It's the most amazing thing, the way that this adult world works and I'm excited to be joining it for the first time in my life. It's a frightening place, certainly, because it's all brand new but it's beautiful more than anything and support is being offered all around me, if only I stop to accept it into my life.

Today I chose to move forward; not sideways, or backward, but straight ahead toward the life that I want to be living and it is the power of this choice that signals the fact that despite my struggles, I am indeed living in the light of recovery.

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