Stay

matchstick heart

“Stay,” that one, dangerous little word. “Stay” – an invitation to a choice, a seductively simple little temptation. Who knew that a “stay” spoken at three in the afternoon could be so different from one spoken at ten at night? Who knew what staying could lead to? Who knew that staying would lead to anything in the first place?

He, so cautious, and I, the experienced one. What happened to the walls we had put up? What happened to the halt that we had spoken of before? The boundaries, the rules, the safeguards?

Who knew that that one little word, “stay,” could tear down everything.

 

I was in your arms.

Hands and fingers

wheedling and winding,

venturing their way down

towards those southern regions.

Advances perhaps uninvited

but also unreproached,

an assenting silence

deadly as matchsticks,

but oh, the fire.

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3 a.m.

3 am

Well, it’s 3 a.m. and it’s been a long night. I’ve been battling the latest edition of the plague since Sunday, and the relatively well-behaved if incredibly sore throat that had started everything off has morphed into one of those unruly ailments that come with coughing. I’m currently trying to tame the hacking with one of the horrid-tasting but helpfully mentholated cough drops that boyfriend was wonderful enough to bring me earlier.

My emotions are pretty much off. I’m set to a pretty much constant state of “meh,” my physical symptoms basically overriding any emotional presence. As of today (well, I suppose it’s yesterday now…) I’ve been able to feel a bit of mild frustration and a few small waves of happiness, but no major ups or downs.

No, instead I’ve been preoccupied with the stupid acid reflux that’s been kicking my ass, four hours after I last ate anything. Come on, that’s not fair! Aren’t my esophagus and I supposed to be in the clear by now? Given the burning in my chest that persisted for well over two hours, apparently not. And then there’s the weird leg-twitchy-thing that decided to show up again tonight. And the mild body aches. And the restlessness. And of course, the insomnia. Oh joy.

But I think what’s really bothering me is that I have no fucking clue where I am when it comes to recovery. I feel like I’ve just been ignoring my eating disorder, trying to pretend like it’s not there. I currently don’t have a therapist. I’m about to make a med change. I haven’t really been able to talk to anyone about how things are going. I feel like I’ve just been going the route of “sit up and shut up.” Like I suddenly don’t have permission to not be okay anymore, and just have to keep things all bottled up inside, hide how I’m feeling from everyone because suddenly there was this mandate that I must be okay. I think some of this might be backlash from my book signing – everyone’s been telling me how brave of me it is to put everything out there, how I’m so much a stronger person for everything I’ve gone through – but I think that’s the catch. Everybody else is treating this like it’s past tense. Something that I’ve gone through. Not something that’s still going.

And I am still fighting. All the triggers, all the temptations, all the decisions I still have to struggle to make – they’re all still there. Every day. All the time. And at times I just feel so incredibly overwhelmed – but I feel like nobody notices that I’m drowning.

I’m trying to be okay, really. I don’t want to just sit around feeling sorry for myself. Maybe it’s just that it’s late and I’m sick and I’m tired. Maybe it’s that it’s 3 a.m.and still night time. Maybe I just need it to be morning.

 

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Food Rules

food rules

I’m sure we all know that ED is pretty good at coming up with rules when it comes to food. Yeah, well, I’m in kind of an argumentative mood this morning, so I decided to come up with food rules of my own.

  1. When it comes to coffee, I can have half-and-half instead of non-fat milk.
  2. Scones are not the most evil thing ever.
  3. Do I really need to decide what I get to eat for the day based on how I felt my profile looked in the mirror while I was changing clothes? No? I didn’t think so.
  4. Screw sugar count.
  5. I will not obsess about fat grams.
  6. Seconds are okay.
  7. I will not start planning next meal while I’m still eating this one.

Who knows how long I’ll hold to these rules. It might be for breakfast, it might be for the whole day. But however long they hold, hey, at least it’s fuck-you to ED for right now.

Here’s to fighting.

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Angry

forgive forget wrists

I realized that I have not stopped being angry. Not necessarily in general, or in some loud, raging way. No, I have not stopped being angry in a small, quiet kind of way about a few things. Memories. Events. Basically stuff that happened in the past – and that, for some reason, I cannot yet let go of today either because I never found justification or because the root of the anger is something that I still have to cope with, something that’s present in my life that I can’t get away from and move past. I am angry because I have been hurt, and there is no way to undo that hurt, and the people who hurt me won’t recognize that they were wrong to have hurt me the first place – the thing that I really want. I am angry because what I am angry about has left me with regrets – not just about what happened but about my own role in it. I think those angers are the hardest ones to deal with, the ones that, ultimately, leave me angry with me.

Because self-retribution is something that I will never find the end of. I will never hold myself to have been punished enough. Even suicide doesn’t seem like enough – killing myself will not suffice when I hold the error to have been having effectively killed some part of my life already.

No, there is a small, quiet voice in the background of the small, quiet anger that whispers that the only way out is forgiveness. Knowing that I will never be able to hurt myself enough to make up for what happened, the voice murmurs that I must stop shoving my younger consciousness into a jail cell with the hands of hindsight and let who I am now go free.

To me, this sounds like the easier way out. And yet I find that it is so incredibly hard. That whenever I start to cry tears of relief, of disbelief at the freedom I might really be handing myself, those tears run hot again with the anger that was still lying there, a water table under the surface, only buried, never run dry. Because I cannot escape from my own mind; the memories continue to wash over me again and again, opening injuries that have just scabbed over into fresh wounds once more, painful as ever.

I roll my eyes and shake my head, curse the skies and rescind into anger at myself and wonder at the God I supposedly believe in.

I fear that my mind will always run this circle, this loop of hurt and unforgiveness, and that I will die old and embittered and not having settled into my soul. I fear the constant nagging at my heart that at any moment could flare up and bite. I fear that I will forever be angry.

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In the End

window shadows

At the end of the day

I am still left here with myself.

When it comes down to it all,

the hauntings behind my eyes

are my only real company

for you, my dear,

will ultimately go away again.

You will leave,

having appeared for a moment

as a flicker across the screen of my life.

You will not stay,

and I am sad,

because I fear that I will never let you in there,

to that place where you might have really belonged,

because I don’t trust you –

your echo is missing from my soul.

It’s not your fault,

I knew the shadows would come again,

and that we perhaps were just not the match

you thought we were –

and my heart aches,

for that might stay

my hidden secret,

the small pain that I will never tell you.

That in the end,

I was still alone.

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Body Image

body image

It bothers me that body image gets so much attention when it comes to eating disorders. Almost every ED prevention program that I know of is focused around the theme of “love your body.” Every time eating disorders come up – in newspaper articles, on talkshows, in general conversation – body image inevitably gets mentioned, and usually becomes the center of attention.

Now, I’m not saying that body image issues aren’t a part of eating disorders. They are. And it sucks. And I’m also not saying that focusing on ways to improve body image without necessarily “improving your body” aren’t important. They are. Highly.

But I feel like most of the general population doesn’t get that body image isn’t the only fucking thing that eating disorders are about.

Hell, during my first two “sessions” with anorexia, it was almost like I didn’t even know that I had a body. I was so completely dissociated from my physical self. Back in eighth grade, I didn’t even register the physical changes that were happening to me. I didn’t even know that I was losing weight. I had no consciousness of what was going on with my body. All I knew was that I absolutely, unquestionably, with deadly certainly could not eat. Everything else was secondary. Then my freshman year of college, while I did weigh myself – every frickin day – and while I was dedicated to an endless pursuit of driving the number on the scale as far down as I could possibly get it to go, I didn’t think of it as making myself skinnier. At that point, I wasn’t on some quest to make my stomach more concave, my legs more stick-like, my arms more like rails – though I certainly wasn’t happy with any of those body parts as they were. But the goal was not to change my body, beyond making it lighter. It wasn’t until I became more conscious of myself, physically and emotionally, that focus on the particulars of my shape started up. It wasn’t until after I started the process of “recovery” that I began to fixate on my body itself as the problem.

And so that tells me that there is something more to what is going on with me. Body image is not the end of the story. Body image issues are merely a symptom of something far more serious.

And I’m worried that for too many people, the deadly error will be made of never seeing that.

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Book Signing

Well, happy Monday y’all. Hope your day is less cloudy, literally and emotionally, than mine has been so far.

Anyhoo, enough of my depression. I’m trying to keep my chin up – because this Thursday at 6:30 pm, I’ve got my first book signing. It’s the first public event for the memoir I wrote about my struggle with depression and eating disorders, and I’m both excited and nervous as hell. I figured some of you may live in the Los Angeles area, so I thought I’d invite y’all to come on out to the book signing too. There will be copies of my book available for purchase, and even you don’t buy my book, just having people turn out for support would be much appreciated.

So, here’s to hoping I’ll see a few of you there.

DDG promo flyer - century books

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