I thought I already knew that, but apparently I needed to learn it all over again.
I have a really hard time taking up space, both literal and figurative, in this world. I try not to talk about myself very much, and if I do, I talk fast. I move my grocery cart to the side because I do not want to ever get in someone’s way. In therapy, I sit still on the couch, other than my leg moving up and down from anxiety, which feels involuntary. I find I can share a bit more easily on the blog because if you don’t want to read it, you don’t have to.
I had not restricted in a pretty long time for me (probably a couple of months), but at the end of July, I heard Ana’s voice. It was like one of those mythological sirens, just beckoning me to come back.
I spent the first two weeks of August restricting. I lost weight. I felt pretty good. I liked seeing how my tummy had flattened already, now for the thighs. When I thought about eating fast food, I had the same Ana mentality I had before…I could NOT fathom ever eating it again. It sounded disgusting.
I still have all of my small clothes. They are on a shelf in my closet. Recovery says I should get rid of them. Some days I think I can. But then I don’t. I have my scale. I don’t use it as much as I used to, and I know Recovery says I should also get rid of it. Some days I think I can. But then I don’t.
I can’t explain why I need to keep the clothes and scale. I guess I need to keep hope alive that I will be small again.
When it comes to the idea of aging, the only part that bothers me is gaining weight/body shifting. Maybe I will feel differently when my hair starts turning gray and I have to decide whether to keep it or dye it, but for now, it’s just about the weight.
I feel shame that people would see me as I get older and bigger and think poorly of me. I fear they would pity me or think I had no self-control.
The students are back. Fall semester started this week at UT. I love the energy of a new academic year, the excitement of seniors, and the optimism of freshmen. It’s my favorite time of year for work.
BUT it’s also when the students come back. It’s when the sorority girls look like Stepford Wives on their way to rush parties. It’s when I see young women everywhere I look. It’s when I start comparing myself once again to women who are 18-22 years old and wondering my 41 year old body looks so awful next to theirs.
I started eating again. The weight came back, of course. I’m trying to keep Ana at bay, as Facebook memories from a year ago pop up, reminding me that I’ve gained a lot of weight this year. And maybe those small clothes will fit again…but I fight back the best I can with faith, reason, and hope:
- God’s love is unconditional.
- I am to honor God with my body. This means having a relationship with food that doesn’t get in the way of everything else.
- JJ’s love did not change at all when I lost weight, or when I gained it back. In fact, I think this is the best our marriage has ever been.
- LK loves her mama. Period. Our family is a cuddling family. She loves to snuggle, and maybe the squishier I am, the better the snuggling.
- I am closer to my BFF, literally and figuratively, than I have been maybe ever. We both had a really crappy 2018, and I think we both experienced how true our friendship really is when the worst you can imagine happens.
Recovery is hard. But I’m still here.