Keeping the faith

So even this happy chica has her days of feeling that nothing is right with her body, that all of this good eating and good food have put unpleasant pounds right where she doesn't want them -- in short, today I am experiencing a rebellion against all that it means to be well fed and to be a rounder person than I was at the same time last year.

It is harder, in some ways, to gain weight in recovery and know that I will not do anything intentional to take it off, than to let myself go down that old path of restriction and exercise -- I am done with that. And still -- and still. It dies hard.

I am in the middle of my finals for the semester; I have been battling a sore throat for nearly a week; and the weather has turned lousy here in New York. So I know that it is not just my extra weight that is making me feel down, and I have tried to stay positive in the midst of it all, even though I don't like optimistic jingles and Pollyanna tunes. I have tried to will my mind's attention away from my weight, to replace those punishing thoughts with messages of love and comfort -- but I feel, tonight, as if I had reached my limit with that particular ruse. The mind-game just isn't working right now, and I am not sure what to do if I can't make it work again.

Every day I tell myself that weight doesn't matter, that the person I really am inside will stay the same regardless of my pant size. But that feels like a lie, because it still is important to me -- and there's the rub. On the one hand, I ask myself, What kind of woman are you that you value your looks above your heart and your brain? What kind of feminist do you call yourself? while another part of me asks How can you stand to look this way? What if you gain more weight? What then? What then?

Today, more than most days, it is hard to reconcile the two voices, both of which have nothing pleasant to say to me. Nagging, relentless harpies, stuck round and round in my head. This is what it means to revisit the eating disorder, for an evening. And because this is such an unpleasant reminder of what things used to be like for me, I am quite ready to call it a night, crawl into bed, and wait for another day to look better than this one.

And, maybe tomorrow, there will even be a recipe to coax me out of my glum, to remind me that food can nourish me even as I am uncertain about how to nurture myself. At the very least, I can put my faith into the simple act of cutting a carrot -- only that much. The rest will follow.


TwistedBarbie said...

Hey Beautiful Girl,
I want you to know you are far from alone in this. I am going through very simalir feelings and body schtuff right now.
Someone once said to me that for people "like us," the famous Ghandi quote should have been SHARE THE STRUGGLE to be the change you wish to see in the world.
Youre doing just that, and I admire you so much for that.
Im here... whenever you want/need me... call, text, email, send weird vibes, stalk me, show up in my dreams...
you know... whatever...

Kim said...

Thank you for the very honest post. I wouldn't trust you if you told me that every day was peachy keen. I have to think it's normal to have these days, when we get stuck thinking about our bodies. I can go a week without giving a thought to the size of my stomach or whatever other body part...then, bam, one day, I'm OBSESSED. It passes, usually after a good night's sleep, and I try to remember that in the stuck moments. I hope your day is better today :) Again, thanks for the honest post.

Emily Jolie said...

Dearest Ai Lu,

As I read your words, I feel what you are feeling. I have felt it so many times. I know the moments when the eating disorder comes back to knock on your door, and it's more than challenging to resist answering to the knock.

Ahhh, but you know what is more strongly in my mind and in my heart as I am reading this? The beauty, the joy, the self-confidence and strength that you exuded when I sat across from you at Josie's in Manhattan just a couple of weeks ago. I hope that, remembering that day, remembering how you felt that day, how radiant and glowing and beautiful you were - from the inside out, is helpful to you in transcending this temporary bump in the road.

I, too, am here to talk, email, text, anytime you could use some support! I know how it is! Oh do I ever know it!

much love to you, dear Ai Lu! I hope you are feeling a world different already by the time you read this!


Ai Lu said...

TB, Kim, and EJ:
Thank you for these comments earlier this week. I really needed to know that other women have gone through similar things. Right now I feel that it was a temporary blip (I hope!), but I also know that I am struggling with a lot of other things in my life (final exams being top of the list), so it was not surprisingly that my old ED fears should resurface around this time. Kim: I often take the approach of telling myself that things will be better tomorrow, and like you say, it usually works!
So here's to tomorrow!
Ai Lu