Keeping It All Together

In my family it has always been how other people perceive us. It has been about the looks and looking good to others. Putting on the “we’re a great family” persona in order to have my parents look like they are great and we have our shit together.

When someone finds out about our family, or the door gets opened and anything about our family is leaked out, it doesn’t go well. Usually, mom avoids, runs away, denies, accuses, etc. It got to the point many years ago that I was demanded to move back home, we left the church and weren’t even allowed to say certain peoples’ names in the house. Another time, before that, someone tried to express concern to my mother that I wasn’t eating and she was worried about an eating disorder (not like that would EVER happen….). Mom shut that lady out of our lives, and even 6 years later even her name starts a fight in the house. Even when I told mom that she had been right at the time and currently that I was struggling with food, she never wanted to hear about it and accused me of back talking and not defending my family.

If my mom told me the sky was purple, then by God it was purple. I was told “If somebody wants to know how many dogs we have you tell them to ASK YOUR MOTHER.” “If somebody wants to know what color my eyes are…YOU TELL THEM TO ASK YOUR MOTHER.”

It was always a struggle, I was the middle schooler who did the dishes, laundry, vacuumed, oh and fed my little brother in the high chair when he was a baby, gave him baths, and would put him in bed. When it came to other stuff, like going to a football game, the answer I would get was “I am the adult, you are the child, you are not going.” I was either the responsible practical adult, or the child, the inconsistency was awful.

Anyway, I am not saying all of this to sound like I am bashing my mother or my family. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be as stubborn, driven, responsible and independent as I am. I am saying this, because just like my mother, I want everyone to think I have my shit together and attempt to put up the curtain of being tough and having it all handled.

Unfortunately, even this mindset follows me into my therapy appointments. When asked how I am, I quizzically answer “Fine.” Like there is supposed to be wrong, I’m good, everything’s peachy. It bothers me, because I trust these people, want to look tough and strong, have my shit together, but yet it takes a half hour to get anywhere in a conversation because I am too busy trying to be tough and not need help, when we both know I do. Whenever anything went wrong growing up, it was either completely ignored, or mom ran from it. She would move, leave the church, be done with that person completely.

I am still a pro at avoiding certain topics, but also getting better at acknowledging that I do need help, I don’t have it all together and it is okay to be open about it.

Why I Drive Over An Hour to OP

I’m not sure what answer to give when asked that question. I don’t drive over there to be patted on the head and told, “It’ll be okay.” I don’t go so others can tell me how “great” I’m doing. It is because I trust the group I see, and know they are rooting for me, even when I fuck up. I drive over an hour there so I can attempt to keep on track, attempt to at least quiet the ever bickering voice reprimanding me for consuming food. I don’t go because I love the drive, love to leave work, or just because I love them (even though I do); it is because, somewhere, far far back there, but there, I still want to recover and get better.

One of the last things said during my appointment today, “It’s ok if you are mad at me.” Please understand, I rarely get mad at others, maybe annoyed, but not angry. My standards for myself are higher than you could ever set. It isn’t that I am mad, it is the fact that, to me, I just feel like I have failed again. If someone does upset me, and I do snap, if I get pissed off it is typically at myself, for opening my damn mouth to begin with. I trust that what she says to me is pretty much out of love, or is tough love.

I wasn’t mad, far from it, I was upset with myself; for feeling like such a shitty roommate. That was why I first turned to self harming. It was a way of punishing myself, for being stupid, it was a tangible way to feel like I had screwed up and deserved it. Handing over my knives was because I was feeling guilty for being a shitty roommate and couldn’t think of anything else besides the possible fact I may be fucking with someone else’s recovery.

It must be damn near impossible to deal with me when my eating disorder is raging. I know you want to talk to me and not the disordered side, as frustrating as it is to you, think about how fucking awful it is to slowly become unsure again of who’s ideas these are; the ED’s  or mine. I want to be able to talk without the disordered part piping up. It’s awful and embarrassing to have so much to say and that you want to say, but shame, guilt, worry piping up and ED there telling you to shut up before you can even mutter anything. I’m not trying to deliberately difficult, safe place is so difficult because I don’t like sitting and being in my own mind.

What we didn’t talk about was that

yesterday my boyfriend left flowers on my porch while I was at work,

or the fact that I had a bite of my brother’s pizza,

or that I went wake surfing on the lake the other day,

I’m still feeding my baby ducks that are no longer babies, but still come to me,

I’m trying to read a book at work to “slow me down”,

I drank coffee with flavoring in it,

I’m still not taking laxatives,

As soon as I returned from my run I got in an ice bath and ate dinner,

I ate a banana nut granola bar.

How about a tough topic neither of us have yet to talk about and process?

Please, don’t get fed up with me. It sucks, it’s hard, and I am so damn hard on myself, without it going around and around in my head again. I get in my car, and begin crying on the way home, for stuff I said, stuff I didn’t say, stuff I did etc. It’s not that I am trying to be difficult, I just don’t know how to express myself or what to say. I don’t let people hug me; you have been there and given me more hugs in these few months than my mom has in years. It is because I trust you, I don’t want to disappoint you, and if I didn’t give a damn about myself or the amazing support, I wouldn’t drive over there and waste anyone’s time, or the gas.

Feeling “fat” and the Connotation.

There is such a stigma and negative connotation attached to the word “fat”. Denotation would be the definition attached to certain words, while the connotation is what society relates, attaches and associates to a word.

Example, blue, is a color, a shade. The connotation could easily be associated with being sad or pure.

I have such a mental block with being “fat”. Lately at work I have even talked to my guys to try and get inside of their heads about “fat women”. When one of my guys points someone out, I want to know just why and “how fat” she really is. “Is she just a little fat?” “Wait, is she bad? Is she like borderline obese?” “I have no room to talk, I am fat.” Numerous times we have had this conversation about who is fat, why, fatphobia, etc. One of my guys literally finds “fat people” disgusting and says stuff like, “They did it to themselves.”, “Well, maybe they should take better care of themselves.” The list goes on and on.

Every time I express my concern about being fat, he disagrees and says something like, “You aren’t fat…SHE is fat.” Or “Hah, no way. You are not fat.” This slightly reassures me that I cannot be trusted with my own body image perspective, but simultaneously I feel confident he is wrong. I pulled out my quinoa lunch the other day and got called a fat ass by a high school kid. I then immediately returned my lunch to my bag, which later I fed to some baby ducks that needed the carbs more than I did.

What, though, is so wrong with “fat”. It is what we attach to the word as a society. I am well aware that I didn’t like myself anymore before I went into treatment, and my weight should have nothing to do with how I feel, or what my worth is. Unfortunately, it does though, and I have expressed that in therapy.

I want to not care, why do I fear being “fat”? Why does it have a horrible connotation and stigma attached to the word? One that makes my skin crawl, one that makes me feel disgusting.

I would love some sort of confidence, to wear what I want without feeling judged and uncomfortable. The biggest thing is to be comfortable in your body and be understanding to it, which I am unable to do either so far. I envy others’ self confidence and wish for even a microscopic portion of it to be spread onto me.

When asked how I “feel”, typically my first response is “Fat.” What does that really mean though?  Even I use it in a negative light. What I mean to say is that I feel guilty for eating, disgusted for allowing myself to eat __________, feeling dumb, stupid, gross, lazy, etc.  Why are all of these words practically synonyms for the term “fat” now a days? Fat could mean so many other things; some that could even be wonderful, but it doesn’t.

The fear of gaining weight constantly runs circles inside my head. Taunting, haunting, scaring me. I fear being fatter. While I have been told I am not fat, this is a daily struggle between me and the mirror, my weight shouldn’t matter though. Unfortunately, the number is haunting though. Whether it is muscle from lifting and squatting, or pure fat, the fear of weighing more is tormenting.