Wednesday, May 26, 2010

legitimizing my disorder.

we have a precious woman who helps my mom cleans our house. her name is ann.

ann and i have not always gotten along, but somewhere between the time she called my mom to tell her she wasn't going to clean my room anymore because it was so messy, and the time she called my mom to check on me after she'd witnessed my agony over leaving home to return to Samford after my first fall break, ann and i became friends.

I always look forward seeing ann when i'm home. i perch on a stool at the kitchen island and we catch up on those staple-aspect of one another's lives that i think it's remarkable we've continued to remember over the years. ann will undoubtedly make me laugh until it hurts...

(nothing will top her story about a michael jackson concert she attended that lasted the extent of one song because someone pulled him off stage and ripped off his pants)

...and i will chuckle to myself every hour or so until my mom gets home from school and i tell her what ann said "this time".

monday proceeded as such, and when i told my mom i'd gotten to see ann she said, "did she tell you how beautiful you look?"

"no," i said, "why would she? does she know?"

"oh yeah- how many times to i have to tell you it was no secret if someone just looked you?" mom said, "when you were home for Christmas she asked what in the world was wrong- said you didn't look healthy- not at all like a young woman, but a sick little girl."

i tried to contain the satisfaction that welled up inside me from what my mom had just told me. close friends and family had harped on my skeletal appearance, yet still, my biggest insecurity was and continues to be that i wasn't "sick enough" to need to recover. after all, i was never hospitalized or given any sort of feeding tube. and i was considerably functional for someone with an eating disorder (in a shell-of-a-life sort of way). maybe the eating disorder was just my way of escape hatch from the torturous thoughts and feelings that prey on my heart and mind when my weight isn't dangerously below what it should be.

it really helped to know that someone outside of my circle of people who "know" had legitimized my disorder...made my relapse last semester seem like a success rather than a failed attempt...made me feel like i'd earned my decision to recover.

but guess what? it's wednesday now. a mere 2 days later, and everything within me is wanting to list off countless other legitimizations of my disorder strung across and throughout the past six months. why? because i feel i need to prove i was sick enough to recover. that this wasn't just a personal vice...some dirty laundry like everyone else has that i could just live with.

i've come to realize that no matter how many people worry, no matter how many you look like a holocaust victim's or you do realize you're shrinking your heart's i get, no matter how much momentary satisfaction or legitimization piles up over time, it's never going to be enough to quiet my disorder forever.

i'm not saying that the ugly truth isn't important to hear. it took honest friends and frightening reports to get my attention this time, but there's got to be a desire to regain life that becomes the true driving force behind recovery. if you're waiting for legitimization, for your disorder to be "good enough" for you to hang it up and recover, you'll be stuck forever.

does any of this change the fact that learning of ann's comment back in december makes me feel like i've earned my recovery? unfortunately, no. but i'm trying to focus on the fact that i can now sit and connect with ann, with one of the best people i know, and let that be my motivation to stay in recovery. that's the kind of motivation that won't lose its meaning.

i hope that one day i can see old pictures and hear, "you used to look like a skeleton," and truly hate my old state of health and appearance.

i'll get there. but for now, i've got no choice but to ignore my eating disorder's desire for legitimization. it's difficult, but not impossible, because now i can see people and beautiful things around me, and not just hear, but listen. i'm not just existing, but experiencing. it's wonderful. and its enough.


1 comment:

  1. my little sister got these perfume samples at the mall today and I swipped one across my wrist. I think you wear this scent.and I just found your blog so this makes that quite coincidental. ea, you're right. we have to give our thoughts to Jesus every single day. our minds are a funny thing but also the representation of the pinnacle of God's creation- humanity. thank you for using your struggles as a prelude to restoration and encouragement to people. people means everyone. i am SO enraptured by this. keep writing, i will read :)