A Letter to My Mom and Dad in Trigger Warnings

Trigger Warning: I don’t think I’d really ever consider myself a perfectionist however, even as I type this, I find myself clicking spell-check five

  1. t
  2. i
  3. m
  4. e
  5. s

Trigger Warning: Cliche people with cliche names and cliche motives don’t come with trigger warnings.

They don’t put trigger warnings on jaded men with receding hairlines just because they remind you of how light refuses to cease receding into nights, every night, or how we’re all thunderstorms and, eventually, there will come a time when we will have to part ways and recede back into the parts of sky from which we came.

They don’t put trigger warnings on the moments you realize you and the dirty laundry that has been laying on your floor for weeks now have both been wrinkled by the time spent, there,

on dirty floors.

They don’t put trigger warnings on middles.

There will always be befores. Before love. Before life. Before losing a hundred and two pounds. Before the material world invades your mind with rules about tampons and riot signs.

There will always be afters. After finding your other half. After death. Aftermath.

But there will never be trigger warnings on the gray matter; never any caution tape around the fleeting moments between the binge and the purge, the time you take hovering above the toilet seat wondering if your fingers will taste any different than the last time.

In moments of awkward silence, there will be no trigger warnings to help fillintheblanks.

There will never be construction cones surrounding the time you remember the instant you forgot pain could also be a verb.

For me, it was always a noun- always an object that burrowed between my bones like a lost little rabbit. But it had teeth and they always threatened to break my limbs. That, that was when I forgot pain was also a verb and instead remembered that I was a hyphen, a person in between feeling fine and feeling good and feeling great- a sort of

s      e     p    a   r  a tion-

and I wanted to learn to join the joy and the sad, but my mouth was always a comma in which mild catastrophes and dew kissed breakfasts were always pausing to spill out.

One day, when you wake up remembering how this time, last year, you began fading into a much quieter version of yourself  at the same time the leaves of early autumn did the exact opposite, remembering how your body, for a brief moment, felt like a foreign country without anyone willing to occupy it; one day when you wake up remembering how you used to let your dog off the leash so maybe it’d run into the street giving you a reason to run too, you’ll realize that there will never be an adequate amount of warnings to prepare you for this.

One day, when you wake up remembering the times you thought of windows like collections of tiny shards of glass finally understanding why pain and pane were homophones, you’ll wonder if a body unconscious is a body still. On the nights when the moon is more a word on the tip of your tongue than a saving grace positioned at such an angle in the sky that, for a little while, it almost seems believable that holy light is alive and well,  you’ll wonder if living and breathing are really as intertwined as we are lead to believe.

To my mom and dad,

From now on, I will try to love the way the left brain loves the right brain if there even is such a thing. I will love like all my gray matter really does matter, like it’s more than just a scientific term, like my brain is capable of more than the grey it shades itself into every day.

I’m sorry you could never understand why I, like rainfall, wished to elope with the ground on days my brain felt like hurricanes but there are bees and yellow jackets that sting to know they’re alive and there are bees and yellow jackets that sting to inflict pain and I can’t promise you I won’t be both but I can tell you that even on days I can feel the storms rage inside me, I will wish to live twice as many times as I wish to die.

To my brothers and sisters,

I will not always be kind. I will not always be able to bite my tongue and hold back the fire living inside my mouth that threatens to turn every word into a burning building but every individual cell will still do its best to put out the flames until this body is not hot but warm.

Until this body understands that, sometimes, spitting fire is worse than swallowing flames.

Trigger Warning: May I always see my own beauty without having to break any bones.

Trigger Warning: May I always be a series of riptides that never learn how to flow in the same direction.

Trigger Warning: May I always be full of opposites; may I never be perfect.

Trigger Warning: May I be flawed and flowing in the wrong direction if it will only teach me which one is the right one. May I always be riptides and never tsunamis. I may be monstrous and aching but I never want to tear myself apart.

Sometimes I will be unforgivable. Sometimes I will be one stumbling, heaping spoonful of an apology that no one will know how to swallow and I can’t promise you there won’t be bruises. I will always be bruises. I will be full of holes that others will do their best to fill, but the truth is that maybe I can’t be saved.

But that doesn’t mean I ever have to stop trying.

Trigger Warning: I am worth trying.

I am worth stupid silly laughter, sunburns, embarrassing pictures. I am worth inner thighs. I am worth the pulp at the bottom of the orange juice carton although I was never pulp.

I will never be the last thing left at the bottom of anything. I don’t deserve rock bottom. I am not leftovers. I am not disposable.

Trigger Warning: I am worth trying.

Trigger Warning: I am worth trying.

I am worth trying.

For the people who have continued to support not only this blog but me, as a person, for the past few years or so, I’d like to take this time to sincerely thank you. When I first started this blog, I knew I’d be using it to serve more as a personal “diary”, if you will, and I was nervous. For many reasons I was afraid of publicly publishing it but perhaps the main reason was because I was afraid no one would understand. No one would get it.

For the people that understood, to the people that got it, I hope you’ll understand that now, it’s my time to bow down and take some time away from here for a while. I came to the conclusion that now, instead of serving as JUST a personal diary, a platform in which I could vent, this blog has unfortunately changed into nothing more than an excuse for me to stay in my disordered behaviors. With that being said, I will now tell you that it’s been my absolute pleasure getting to write this. To the endless amounts of support and love and words of true wisdom, I will forever and always be grateful.

“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” For those of you struggling- yesterday, today, tomorrow- know that I will always be here still willing to help in any way that I can. I will continuously check and respond to my “Dear Lex”s and I will always continue to check up on my reader periodically. “Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” Live by this. Much love. ~Lex

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Creature Fear

A while back, a very sweet and dear friend of mine, Laura, gave me an eating disorder workbook during a time in my life when I had really been struggling with my disorder. Since being back in Illinois, I really haven’t had much time to look at it or, rather, to make time to look at it. However, for some reason, the other day, I had decided to give it a shot.

As I skimmed its pages filled with charts and tips and self reflection exercises, I came across a single question that I not only think one must ask themselves when pursuing recovery but, also, a question I think a lot of skeptics ponder when approaching this situation.

What is your eating disorder like for you?

It took a while for me to fully comprehend the question. I analyzed its letters and syllables searching for an alterior motive but, I found none. It was a simple question.

What is your eating disorder like for you?

I guess I could have answered this question a few different ways. Perhaps I could’ve created a pie chart illustrating the different parts of my day, perhaps I could have made a list of

  • Bullet
  • Points

somewhat depicting the pros and cons of my disorder, or perhaps I could’ve answered the question by simply stating, “Shitty.”, because it truly is. But the fact of the matter is, as much as I would have liked to have answered this question with socially frowned upon profanity, the truth of it is, my eating disorder is far more complicated than that.

My eating disorder is tiring; more than tiring.

T-I-R-I-N-G

Six letters of a word that could never do my eating disorder justice.

My eating disorder is sleeping past noon, past one and two, past the stiff knees, heavy arms, and the thick white morning air just so I can buy myself a few extra hunger-free seconds.

Minutes.

Hours.

As my body screams for me to get up and to welcome the new day, my mind tells me otherwise; to fight against all unwavering laws of nature. To wait until the hunger passes.

My eating disorder is walking back and forth, up and down, tapping feet and fingers, knocking together knees and hearts

“…and lunge.”

because the seven extra calories I consumed in the homemade cookie I took a bite of earlier will kill me. And don’t you dare try to argue this with me. They will fester like toxic sludge in every impurity of my being, clinging like disease to healthy red blood cells, until everything I’ve worked so hard for is lost and I am nothing but just that.

Toxic sludge.

My eating disorder is sitting in my room watching The Biggest Loser, chain smoking the life out of my last few Newports hoping that the radio waves and Nicotine will be enough to fill me up; enough to say, “No thanks, I already ate.” Because although breakfast and lunch are the easiest of the three meals to skip, dinner is, by far, the hardest. I feel my stomach fold and reach and cave in on itself and although I know I should eat, I know that I can’t.

My eating disorder is quietly exercising in my room long after everyone has gone to sleep.

50 leg lifts.

50 more.

Crunches.

Butterflies.

Planks.

More.

More.

More.

While the house hums with sweet dreams and muffled snores, the voice in the back of my head the Bible had warned me about long before I even knew what sin was is screaming,

“You fucking fat ass!”

“You are a worthless piece of shit.”

“You will never be perfect.”

“Be perfect!”

“BE PERFECT!”

Although I want nothing more than a simple rest as my eyelids fall heavy with sleep and my joints, slowed with late night exhaustion, I know that I must feel my demons of the day weep alongside the sweat that falls from the outer edges of my hairline and into the carpet of my 4 by 4 room.

My eating disorder is seeing the disappointment in my friends’ eyes and at the very corners of their mouths when they ask, “Do you want to come to the mall with us?!”, because I tell them that I’m too tired for a day out. My eating disorder is hearing the dissipating enthusiasm in their voices when they ask, “Do you want to come to the mall with us?”, because they no longer hold expectations. My eating disorder is watching as my friends, one by one, come around less often and hearing nothing that resembles, “Do you want to come to the mall with us?”, or, “Hey, wanna hangout?”, because they aren’t the ones who fell for the calories. They aren’t the ones

cosumED.

My eating disorder is no longer being able to taste the binge food. The handfuls upon handfuls of pasta and pizza and chocolates and Flaming Hot Cheetos; the massive breakdowns when the hunger gets to be too much and hating myself for letting it get this far.

It’s the bathroom rituals. “Wash hands in hot water and soap. Rinse. Repeat. Take off ring. Wash hands again. Pull back hair. Purge.

Make everything come up.

Taste your memories. Taste your fears. Taste those greasy mistakes.”

I taste my damage.

“Put back on ring.”

My eating disorder is feeling lifeless clumps of the hair that my mom once twisted into big, shiny braids run down the back of my neck, weaving in and out of my shoulder blades and thoracic vertebrae, into the shallow water that pools at the very tips of my toes when I take my morning showers and knowing that I am very much so weathering just not quite sure what from; the starving or the purging?

My eating disorder is trying to cease the seemingly never-ending war between mind and body; my body is crumbling, begging for more while my mind degrades me for asking in the first place. For wanting what I cannot have.

It’s opening cabinets just to close them again because what’s inside is nothing safe. Although I was never particularly good in anatomy, I will dissect my meals until I know every part of its DNA. Although I was never particularly good in math, I will add, subtract, multiply and divide every calorie until I know every part of its formula.

It’s knowing that food can never make me feel whole yet still clinging to the idea that maybe, one day, it might because I know that somewhere along the way, I lost pieces of myself.

It’s counting down the days until Christmas not because I’m excited for its festivities but because I must be #skinny4xmas; I must be stronger by then.

It’s feeling my throat sting as I take drags from my menthol cigarettes because I forgot to cut my nails before I shoved my fingers down my throat the night before.

It’s convincing myself that I do not need food; that my stomach, instead, is applauding me for being invincible. For being brave.

It’s wanting to tell you more about what my eating disorder is like but neglecting to find the words to fit into sentences that fit into paragraphs that fit into the big picture of it all because I am still too embarrassed of everything that my eating disorder truly is.

I don’t want to tell you that I feel as if though I have lost control of everything I thought I had in life.

I don’t want to tell you that, if I could, I would’ve stopped myself from letting it get this far; that I would’ve asked for help.

I don’t want to tell you that I miss my dad.

I don’t want to tell you that most days, I feel hardly strong enough to fight for recovery.

I don’t want to tell you that I wake up already tired.

I don’t want to tell you that I would give anything not to feel.

And I definitely don’t want to tell you that even now, as I sit here typing this, I am hungry. I am tired and I am hungry but I will not eat until my legs can hardly hold me and my eyes can hardly focus because

this

is exactly

what my eating disorder is like for me.