Oceans Part II

Last night, I went to bed obnoxiously hopeful; I was determined to wake up bright and early and make myself an egg white sandwich with apple slices.

This is the part where we laugh.

After a long and restless night that felt more like a midlife crisis than anything else, “bright and early” ended up being more of a “What is life?” and the egg white sandwich with apple slices ended up being more of a slightly under-toasted whole wheat English muffin with reduced fat cream cheese. It was gross but it was safe and that’s what I needed in that moment.

As I sat picking away pieces of the bread, watching its edges crumble in small pieces onto my plate, I couldn’t help but think, “Me too, English muffin. Me too.”

In that moment, we were both crumbling.

You see, the human body is mostly comprised of four main elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, with the majority of that in the form of

Water.

One oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms held together by tiny covalent bonds.

Water.

Maybe that’s why I’m so easily molded.

Influenced.

Shaped.

PlayDough-ed.

Maybe that’s why I’m so painfully transparent.

You see, to be honest, I miss a lot of things about how my life used to be.

Not that my life used to be novel-worthy or anything like that but, it was simple. And it was enough. At least for a while. I miss when playlists understood me, I miss the way that, sometimes, I’d forget how to breathe when I told a good story, I miss bacon and eggs, I miss the way Sparkling Grape Juice made me feel like a cool kid, I miss when pouting still solved problems; when the melodramatic tragedies of my life played out on playgrounds.

I miss using night lights, I miss the way I used to loose things in the couch cushions and, yes, I realize that was a typo but I also miss when mistakes didn’t bother me so much; when personal errors didn’t feel so devastating. I miss yelling “Shotgun!”, I miss sifting creek sand between my toes, I miss the way I used to imagine how life would be after I parted ways with Earth. I used to imagine my bones being pieced together with some sort of paste or Scotch tape; threaded together and tossed back into space until someone happened to slip across it. I imagined outstretching my arms and embracing the sky only to be thrown back by its growls and plunging, headfirst, into the mud and stone and clay because, when it’s your last day, you don’t worry about grass stains.

I miss the way it felt the first time I saw my mom in a dress. I was four and newly adopted and although, now, it only feels like a vague memory faded by time and tears and Band-Aids and late night conversations, I remember it nonetheless.

It was a polka dot dress.

The dress was as new to me as she was.

As I hid beneath our wooden coffee table that wobbled awkwardly on its antique legs and smelled slightly like dust and musk, I saw the very edges of her dress breathe as she did and although she stood at just barely past five feet, she was a

Superhero.

Sometimes it’s hard to find words to articulate the magnitude of your emotions when you realize you’ve become nothing more than a shell of the person you used to be. For every day that I let go of this eating disorder and realize just how hollow and empty this disease has made me; I am realizing more and more just how many moments I truly took for granted. As I mourn the loss of the eating disorder- my coping mechanism and sense of purpose, of real importance for so long- I also have to mourn the loss of who I used to be.

And that makes me sad.

But I guess that’s okay, right? I mean, after all, the human body is mostly comprised of four main elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, with the majority of that in the form of

Water.

One oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms held together by tiny covalent bonds and family recipes and Captain Morgan and perfect staccatos and mistakes.

The brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery bullshit: 31%.

I am water but hardly an ocean.

A significant fraction of my body is precipitating and evaporating; readily

Influenced.

Shaped.

PlayDough-ed.

I am water.

Therefore, some days I am weak.

And that’s okay.

 

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Who Needs God When You Have Oprah?

It’s a serious question you know. For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with the whole concept of God.

Who is this god?

What is this god?

Why is this god?

Even as a young girl growing up in a Catholic home, I could never understand how so many people could come together and worship something so abstract and foreign yet, behind closed doors, turn around and worship

their bottles and Percocets,

their mommas and needles;

beasts of an entirely different nature. We sing our hymns and recite our Apostles’ Creeds but, shit, how can we believe in something so unknown when we can hardly believe in ourselves?

Crawl inside me, taste my hunger, smoke my energy; walk hand in hand with me into the depths of my madness and then tell me there is a God. Feel my heart beat, drown yourself in my 80 proof memories, lay beside me as I fold myself into one and then tell me there is a holy light. Get high off me, get buzzed from me, get trippy with me. Confess to me all your sins and then we’ll see which one of us gets saved.

WWJD?

What about the girls who look for their mother’s in the eyes of strangers hoping that one day- someday- they’ll find the addict who left them years ago. While I went missing you, you went Missing In Action. I swear I would save you if I could.

What about the girls who spend their childhoods hoping that their daddy’s would raise an angry hand so that they would have an excuse to run away and escape it all. Because words don’t leave proof. They never do. And you never did.

What about the girls who eat air. What about the girls who spend more time in the shower throwing up than they do actually getting clean; from their days worth of sweat, from their years worth of addiction. What about the girls who have contemplated selling themselves because they needed the money and they needed the love and they needed the rush. Or, at least, they thought they did. I thought I did.

What about the girls with old souls and heavy complexes. What about the girls whose bodies become their language. What about the girls who were born in the generation of “less is more”.

When do we get saved?

Holy Bible?

Holy Spirit?

Holy shit.

I think my problem with God is that, right now, I just don’t understand him- so many questions, so much skepticism. Where is the evidence? Where is the proof? I don’t get it.

With that being said, a few days ago, I came to the realization that in order for this whole recovery thing to work, I need to believe in something– something bigger than myself. I have to believe that there is something in the end for me- that my life has a purpose, right? I think we all do.

I may not believe in a man in the sky or the whole “life, liberty, and the pursuit of heaven-ness” concept, however,

I believe that I am made of nature and all things beautiful.

I believe in lights at the ends of all tunnels.

I believe in my abilities.

Today officially marks my fourth consecutive day eating disorder free- the longest streak thus far.

I will count the seconds and the minutes and the days- I will count the moments of freedom and the freedom in moments until I am better.

With or without God.

For the Ones Like Us

I think a question many of us ask ourselves in a time of crisis- midlife or not-so midlife- is, “what if things had been different?”

What if I had eaten all my vegetables?

What if I had read the Bible?

What if I had worn matching socks?

What if I had faith- in something? In someone?

What if things had been different?

What if I had been different?

I’m not going to sit here and repeat, in detail, how eating disorders are “about control” because, to be honest, we’ve all heard it a thousand times. Well, at least I’ve heard it a thousand times. It’s a buzzword. It’s reductive, categorical, and cliché. Yes, eating disorders are about control but, they’re also about history, philosophy, society, personal strangeness, family fuck ups, birthday wishes, Sunday sermons, science classes, visual design, genetic codes; genetic make-ups, breakups, and everything in between. They’re about childhoods. They’re about upbringings. They’re about pasts.

I am a ribbon winning artist, I am a Newport chain-smoker, I am a high fashion enthusiast, I am a hypocrite.

I starve in hopes that I will, someday, achieve perfection.

I purge in hopes that I will, someday, gain self-control.

I am every mistake and every triumph.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that while, yes, maybe if things had been different or if I had been different, maybe I wouldn’t have developed an eating disorder, but, at the same time, maybe I wouldn’t have an incentive to strive for a better tomorrow. Maybe I wouldn’t have a story to tell.

Maybe I wouldn’t have a reason to celebrate a day like today; three meals down.

Today, I was triumphant.

Today, I won.

Of What I Am Made Of

As I sit here writing this post at nearly one o’clock in the morning asking myself why I’m writing this post at nearly one o’clock in the morning , I feel my stomach make folds in the blanket wrapped around me as I inhale and exhale; it swells slightly with each breath.

In and out. In and out.

Each motion of it’s soft cotton blend against the cool synthetic breeze my Lasko table top fan has so kindly provided, however, comes with a burden- a burden of knowing that the driving force behind each seemingly harmonious swell is pure fat.

Why do I feel the need to mourn this?

I want to be swallowed by my over-sized sweater and rot my brain with mediocre reality television. I want to shove my finger down my throat and purge away all my sins. I want to do a thousand crunches and a thousand more leg-lifts. But perhaps, more than anything I want to scream “Fuck You!” to the world. Why? Partly because my parents are gone; there is no one here to lecture me on why curse words are tacky and gateways to teen pregnancy and various STD’s, partly because I’m completely convinced that it will make me cool and one day bring me to stardom, and partly because I am 15 percent angry and 100 percent crazy.

Fat.

F-A-T

Why does that word- those three inglorious letters- seem to dictate my life? Why do I seem to be mostly composed of self-criticism and hardly any self-love?

I remember when my brother and I were first adopted, my parents were quick to implement rules that would help get us “on track”; to help, I guess in a way, get us on one uniform schedule.  Oh, didn’t I tell you? We were “poor, troubled kids.” We “needed SOME sort of stability in our hectic lives.”

Psh. Whatever.

So anyways, my parents created a list that hung in the very center of the front of our fridge so that it was impossible to avoid. The harsh white of the refrigerator door against the smooth yellow notepad paper; the power each thickly bolded letter that each line possessed was inevitable.

-Take out the bathroom trash

-Take out the other bathroom trash

-Take out the kitchen trash

-Don’t watch trash

-Don’t listen to trash

-Don’t look like trash

-Don’t smell like trash

-Ask before eating

Ask before eating.

While it was a fairly reasonable rule implemented to, I’m sure, keep me and my siblings from becoming finger licking, plate scraping, binge eating, ignorant youths, I am now 99.9% sure that that was what ultimately led me to become a  finger licking, plate scraping, binge eating, ignorant youth. Plain and simple.

I can’t say I remember the exact time or date the rule was finally exonerated. In fact, I’m not entirely sure there even was a specific time or date-it was almost like one day the rule was there and the next, it wasn’t, vanishing into thin air like one might do during a magic show act or after a one night stand.  The rule change wasn’t intentional either. I mean, let’s face it, this is life. Whether or not we like to admit it, things change.  People change. My home was changing.  People were growing up, growing pubes, moving out, moving on, getting zits and getting laid. Needless to say, asking permission to eat before every Extra Chewy Chips Ahoy cookie or every bowl of Trix cereal was not exactly a top priority.

For the first time in my life, I got a taste of sweet freedom. Literally.  Every bite I took was like a hit of acid on a cold winter night; complete euphoria. I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and however I wanted without fear of the consequences.  So I did.

And, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I am the way I am because I hardly ever turned my homework in on time or because my birth mom never called on Sunday’s like she had promised. Maybe I am the way I am because I watched PG-13 movies at the age of 12 or because  sometimes, when I got lonely, I’d plug in my old nightlight even though my parents told me I was far too old for it. Maybe I am the way I am because I too often found myself stuck in a world of wanting to grow up and staying young forever. A sort of Neverland.

I think it’s, oftentimes, easy to blame someone or something for one’s troubles and hardships but, as I begin my journey of recovery from my eating disorder, I can’t help but wonder, why?

Who am I?