sometimes i wait for my eating disorder to come back because i’ve been doing so well and eating so much and then it comes back and i open my arms and welcome it because it ‘s like coming home again.
so yesterday i’m on my way out from the gym and i’m stopped by this middle aged man on the sidewalk. it’s five thirty in the evening. no big deal. i’m in a relativtly decent mood. i’m sweaty. whatever.
my mood is ruined two minutes later when this guy, who looks probaby about 50 with a huge handle-bar msutache and long, yellow teeth, proceeds to ask me where i live, how old i am, what my name is, if i have a boyfriend, where he lives, and how long we’ve been together. all in the span of two minutes.
i lied, of course. straight through my teeth with a smile on my face and i had my keys clenched in my hand. we shook hands and i excused myself as politely as i could. waited for him to walk into the gym and then ran to my truck.
honestly, this just makes me so angry. i don’t want to be ogled at. i mean, don’t even look at me. i don’t want anyone’s attention. i don’t want to be hit on - it’s a waste of time because i’m simply not interested. i find it really rude when men - men who are clearly smart enough to get that i’m a minor or at least young, try to hit on me, because honestly it makes me feel like an object rather than a person, and listen here, asshole, i’m your motherfucking equal. unless you’re going to go up to the meathead by the row machine and ask those exact same questions, don’t bother bringing that shit to me because i’m easy pickings. i’m not stupid, and i’m flattered. take your dick elsewhere.
this is not just my feminist coming out. the man i encountered was way too close in my personal space and i did not appreciate the extremely inappropriate questions - this is my personal opinion. i’m confident in my sexuality - therefore if i like a boy, or girl, i will let them know in my own time. trying to come up to me and win my affections (or woo my vagina closer to your dick, whichever) just kind of puts me in a funk. especially at the gym, which up until yesterday was my own perfect sanctuary.
rant over. but seriously, if that guy so much as talks to me again, i’ll cut the crap. sorry but not sorry.
A friend of mine I occasionally work out with has gained something like 30 + lbs of muscle and he’s just a really fantastic guy. I saw him the other day I was like, “You look so good! I’m happy you representing the rest of us nerds over here!” and he was like, “I might have the arms, but girl you got them legs!”
:) it’s really nice to hear that my gigantic legs are appreciated. I appreciate them too, you know. They’re absolutely terrifying sometimes and the side-glances I get from other gym rats is kind of satisfying.
really. yesterday i turned eighteen and i didn’t even really acknowledge my birthday because it’s not important. this date signifies that i’ve turned another year older and i can buy porn now (like i couldn’t find it on the internet before. please.)
but the date is important for other reasons. it’s my seventh month as a vegan and my third year as vegetarian. it’s my seventh year as eating disordered. it’s the first month i realize that i am more than all three of these things combined.
i’ve gained fifteen pounds since january and i couldn’t be happier. i really couldn’t. not because my eating disorder is gone and i’m completely happy and feel free to eat whatever i want. not because i don’t sometimes wake up and just want to go back to bed so i don’t have to look at myself. not because i’m still terrified of food, terrified of losing control, of giving up that twisted path to that proverbial idea of perfection - because none that is true. i still have those moments, those days, those feelings of sadness and disgust.
the reason i couldn’t be happier is because i am finalyl starting to dig myself out of this cocoon. i’m starting to see glimpses of my life without my eating problems, without my disordered thoughts and i see myself unbound by the fear that keeps me so rooted in my habits of restricting, starving, hating myself. i realize i am better without that, that i am capable of being okay without it; i will not falter, fall or give up. i might stumble, but that’s okay.
i’ve gained fifteen pounds and my body fat percentage has gone down 7% and i call that really fucking good. because i am at my heaviest and yet i am also at my thinnest because you know what they say, muscle weighs more than fat. and i am on my way to being fucking strong.
i know there will always be those tiny, dainty little girls who are 5’8 and 110 lbs and i will never be one of them. i just won’t, it’s not in my genes and it’s not written in the stars for me and finally i’m becoming okay with that. because all my life i am going to see thin women, but the strong ones are going to be the ones i remember.
I wear three or four layers of clothing almost all the time so when I look in the mirror I can’t tell if I’m huge or tiny. I’m not allowed to weigh myself anymore. Tonight I’m going to a concert and I hope I have a nice time because loud things / a lot of people / being crowded sounds like the worst possible way to spend my sunday, but maybe it’ll be nice if I stop being so fearful and let the music dance in my veins like it’s supposed to.
and if I can breathe, then maybe I can peel back the layers of sweaters and leggings and see my skin for the first time since summer.
my life is easier when i’m hungry, and i know, what even, but it really is. when i am light weight, when my skin sinks in between each dip of my rib cage, i am so inexplicably free. my life isn’t complicated anymore, it’s easy. i on an infinite rush.
it’s easy because you know, that voice tells me, now you can wear anything you want. and eat whatever. no more suffering, no more pain, i promise.
but promises aren’t real, they never are, and i learned a long time ago never to believe anything anyone says, even if their heart rings true. people think to heavily with their hearts and not enough with their brains and certainly not enough about other people’s feelings as a whole.
it’s kind of like swimming. you float on a little, only occasionally slipping up, and then an undercurrent drags you back under and i’m caught wondering if breaking back up the surface is worth it again. and when i say ocean, what i really mean is that giant black sucking machine that is my brain. i am scared, stupid, little girl who takes words and manipulates them so i hear what i want to hear. you’re really cute, they say. (but you have fat thighs, my brain says. fat fat fat thighs, look at you.)
and it’s like, i’ll never be stupid enough to drop too much weight. i don’t want to die, but i don’t want to exist either - not right now, not like this. i am stuck inside some kind of tidepool and there is no surface, not anymore.
instead, there is a constant stream of eat but don’t eat but that’s over 200 calories i’m hungry but you just ate that looks good you’re a pig
and my head hurts. 90 % of my life revolves around what i eat, what i put in the food, how i eat my food, when i eat it, what’s in it, if people are looking at me eat it, etc. sometimes i’ll eat and then i’ll find a mirror and check if i’m still thin. because if i’m not, if i appear bloated or fat or whatever, well, obviously i’m a selfish greedy little fucking person and that just won’t do.
sometimes i feel so sorry. i take a moment and really open my eyes and wonder, how the hell did i get this bad? and the voice in my head whispers right back, when you looked like a giant panda in those leggings.
i’ve given up meat, seafood, most carbs, milk, eggs, ice cream, christmas dinner, thanksgiving, going out to eat with family, going out to eat with friends, sleepovers, birthday parties, junk food, snack nights, ice cream, anything that is purely for pleasure, hours spent at the gym instead of somewhere else, hours spent at the grocery store stuck on calorie content, i’ve given up friends, free time, happiness, sleep, countless tears, and peace of mind
and for what?
the voice whispers back, and it sounds so much like my own, because one day, you’ll be so beautiful. just a little bit longer and there will be no more pain, i promise.
dear ms fordney, you are beautiful
when i was sophomore, you stood behind your desk with your hips out and your stance wide and you look us fifteen years olds, full of burning energy and talkative eyes, and you said, “the only thing standing in your way is you.”
and i will not forget that
dear ms fordney, you are my favorite teacher
you are my favorite teacher because you dress nice, because you have straight blonde hair like i’ve always thought was so beautiful and rare, because you are a runner, because you’re thin but you’re also proportionate. you are my favorite becuase you teach science, most specifically biology, because you work with your head held high in a sea full of men. you are my favorite because you are fearless, not of sexism, not of intimidation, not that of asshole in the back of the class fucking around, not of being stern, not of being disliked.
dear ms fordney, getting a smile out of takes effort
it’s hard work to see you happy, & your approval is earned, not given. but it’s rewarding. every smile you give to me is a stamp of approval, it’s how i know that i’m doing something right and i’m being the kind of girl that could someday be the kind of woman you would be proud of.
dear ms fordney, you know
you know that when i sleep during your class it is not to disrespect you. you know because i am honest with you about my depression, my weakness, my inability to let myself be free and okay and not take responsibility for once in my life. you know that my eating disorder ravages at my heart, drains my soul, wrecks my brain, and you know that i am trying. you know that someday i will survive. you said to me, “right now it may feel like it’s controlling you, but someday, you will learn to control it.” and it was honest, and all i could ask from you.
dear ms fordney, you believe in me
you believe that i can be better, that i will be stronger, that i am intelligent and i can beat this. you also know that i am intelligent and can trick myself into not beating it, and you told me, “you have to realize that society as a whole, is incredibly stupid. you have think, ‘okay, that’s society over there, and here i am, over here, and that’s okay’ and “you need to protect yourself from your brain sometimes, but that’s okay.” you believe that i am someone outside of my eating disorder. you believe there is hope,
and ms. fordney, someday,
i will believe it too.
i talked to my nutritional counselor, Ileana, who has one of the kindest dispositions of anyone i have ever met, and i have a hard time trusting medical physicians and doctors - i’ve had six in the last year (partly due to my ed, partly due to my irrational and crippling phobia of syringe needles, and partly because i have this thing where i want adults to think i am perfect / uncomplicated )
it wasn’t an easy visit. she picked up right away that my demeanor is several notches lower - we use a scale to talk about how low or high i feel. i generally use an ocean metaphor “breaking the surface” (good, scary), “sinking” (bad), “drowning” (very bad) to describe my depression, and in the last few weeks, i’ve been at the bottom of the ocean floor, so to speak. i know this isn’t just sadness. sadness is tangible, i feel sadness, i take hold of it, but right now, i’m just, i’m drowning. i’ve been sleeping for two to three hours a day, sometimes during class, sometimes before work, but as tired as i am, i am unable to sleep at night. i’m not just tired physically, but mentally. tired of thinking, talking, blinking, breathing.
as of right now, i’m maintaining a caloric intake of 1500 at most and 1200 at least, and bad days are for counting and good days are for nothing picking at my body in the mirror. if i look bloated first thing in the morning, my day is bad. i feel people looking at the small space between my thighs, and i’m paranoid enough to think, they know i don’t try hard enough. i could be so beautiful i wanted.
these thoughts creep back into my head like a parasitic worm. Ileana says, ‘this is your eating disorder talking,’ but i’m not so sure anymore. me and my ed, if i wanted to personify it (which Ileana says can be helpful in order to overcome it) are so intertwinted in thoughts and nature that i don’t notice when i’m being self-destructive and when i’m not. Ileana tells me I need to maintain a caloric diet of 2220 to 2500 calories, and i smiled and told her i would try, while inside, i thought, “never going to happen.”
i’m not skinny. i’m not thin. i’m slender, petite at best. i know this. i also know if i start eating 2500 calories a day, i will gain weight. and while i know most people can’t fathom the fear of food, the thought of gaining weight makes me want to cry.
i always tell myself someday i will be beautiful. i will be educated, somewhere on a beach picking tangerines and braiding my hair and i won’t care what i look like. i always tell myself that there is an ocean out there that would love to take me away to sea, that i will be free and sure and i will deserve happiness. someday, i will smile with integrity.
this someday, starts today. this someday, this future, it starts tomorrow. and i believe in someday. i do.