Monday, October 18, 2010

just an update.

things got hard last night. the kind of hard that they were during very early recovery.

i've grown accustomed to my daily thoughts and struggles. i've learned to experience them and to avoid their them in their forms of severity.

things were just fine in the early afternoon, but all of a sudden my body image slipped and went tumbling, and with it went my peace of mind.

it's been about a month and a half since i hated my body enough to cry, and i think part of me thought i was over that part of my disorder.

all i wanted to was to go outside and run. i was out of town for the first half of the week and missed a couple of workouts, and so i thought that making one of them up might ease my dismay.

but although running would have made me feel better, it would not have made me better, and so i abstained and committed myself to the hard fight that has lasted into today- into right now.

i have no idea when this battle of body image will end. all i know is that a two-fold opportunity lays before me:

i can make myself feel better or i can make myself better.

i can workout harder and eat lighter and look in the mirror and measure and compare myself and just do what it takes to get through it until it's gone-

-or i can realize that life is about much more than fitness level and size, and use this opportunity of dissatisfaction with myself to find joy in other things; to allow God and the life He's given me the opportunity to prove themselves worth it even when the shell that's housing them is completely imperfect.

the fight was getting so easy, and i hate that its reigns have suddenly tightened, but part of me thinks that means its that much closer to being over.

regardless, i will not quit.



Friday, October 8, 2010

unending tasks.

Now that I’ve been living in an apartment for nearly three months, I’m beginning to empathize with the frequent utterances I grew up hearing from my mom about housework and how exhaustingly unending it is.

i’ve learned that no matter how many dishes I put away, there will be more that are dirty within less than 24 hours; no matter how huge a load I pull hot from the dryer, the clothes I’m wearing as I do it will start a new pile in the hamper by bedtime; no matter how perfectly my bed is made, it will need making again by the morning.

There are a zillion tasks in life with which we will literally never be finished. Sometimes they’re exhausting, sometimes they’re a welcomed, mindless, break, sometimes we live in denial of them until we can no longer stand it and they have to be done.

As I was running today (which I’m now allowed to do under certain time constraints) I was thinking about how thankful I am that I’m no longer on a constant mission to lose weight. When I was stuck in my eating disorder I lived to pour myself into a goal that was constantly one step ahead of me. no matter how low my weight got, as soon as it got there, the “perfect weight” became a few pounds lower.

I started to think about life’s constant tasks- like the one’s I mentioned above- and I imagined how empty life would be if things like laundry or cleaning the bathroom or vacuuming were all-consuming endeavors. It would be awful and incredibly sad for someone to devote all their thoughts, emotions, energy and health to something they’d never really see the fruits of.

Thankfully, housework is simple and mindless and aside from occasional inconvenience and the fact that it keeps things sanitary and orderly, it really doesn’t affect anyone’s life story or longevity.

Eating disorders are not so light a burden. Although housework is not demanding of much other than superficial effort, an eating disorder requires the entirety of a life devoted towards an unending cause to continue.

There was a time when I thought I’d have my eating disorder for the rest of my life. Looking back, I don’t know I how I didn’t realize what daunting demands it laid before me. I don’t know how I missed the fact that it was asking for my life- be it in living enslavement or death. I don’t know why it didn’t phase me that I was signing myself away for something at which I’d eternally fail.

But now that I’ve backed out and now that I’ve walked across the hot coals that pave the way out of the cave I dug myself into in the first place, it’s the best feeling in the world to breathe easy, and to know that some things (my body being the main thing at this point in my life) are actually finished.

Of course there are a handful of things (that are primarily faith-related) that we will never achieve but we’re intended to work towards regardless. But aside from these things, I’ve got a hundred goals I’m aiming towards, all of which have a foreseeable end. It would be tragic to let some unreachable task steal my heart and my energy towards these goals, all for its parasitic self, and that’s just what my eating disorder did.

From the superficial-most parts to the uttermost parts of who I am, it’s a true relief to know that I’ve got one less unending task to accomplish. My day’s are no longer poured into a black hole of an effort, but invested into a life that I pray brings and will bring glory to my father.

be it perfectionism or material wealth or any other myriad of unquenchable thirsts, there’s a moment of peace after fleeting accomplishment that briefly satisfies, only to leave a longing for the same peace again.

True peace is not something that is chased, but waiting to envelope us when we choose to stop running. It reaches farther than unending tasks, and it passes our human understanding as it is promised to rest in our hearts outside of any effort of our own, other than to choose it.

I would never want anything else.



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

the other night...

...i was driving home from my volunteer job, which is in the most charming section of downtown. i was ingesting and loving the scenery and my music and the air of autumn all around me. sometimes when i'm driving i find my mind in a completely capable state of full focus on the road, my music, and my surroundings simultaneously (okay okay, those of you laughing or gasping...maybe the road gets a bit less focus than the rest). it's a euphoric feeling that most often takes place beneath clear skies and dark leaves. it's what makes me love road trips.

i'm not sure when or how it happened- all i remember is my vision sharpening as i halted at a red light. somewhere amidst my savoring the drive to the interstate, my focus had blurred and the height of my senses had dissipated. as my foot pressed the break i realized that my fingertips were encircling the volume knob of my stereo. i was adding up calories and my subconscious was attempting to dim the music in order to maintain focus on the incoming numbers.

although i no longer count calories for the sake of restriction, i still count them on a near daily basis to ensure i don't get more than i need for any given day. it's the same measure of control as before, just less severe.

when i realized what was happening- that i was allowing numbers to take precedence over music- the symbolism floored me.

if my life could be respresented by one giant road trip, then for years i don't think i even had music- or if i did i kept the music or whatever music represents muted so i could immerse myself in the one thing i loved most.

it overjoys me to know that for the most part, i'm free to drive and to listen and to experience without the debilitating effects of my disorder. but now i want to stop turning down the volume when i feel like entertaining a few thoughts of old comfort. it's like selective recovery, which is actually not recovery at all, and non-recovery is not something with which i am interested.

choosing to keep the music up is thinking about every food in a non-judgmental way. it's replacing my self-depricating thoughts with positive ones and looking at every person in relation to themselves and not to me and visa versa. it's still being able to have a good time on the days when my self-image is poor. it's having the presence of mind to pour myself out for someone else because i've not given negative thoughts more than the second it took them to explode into to existence in my head.

just as it's my decision what is worthy and what is not worthy of me muting the music, it is also my decision what is worthy and not worthy of my attention and thoughts. from now on, the music isn't going anywhere unless it's for something that's worth it, and my thoughts and my attention will follow suit.

i'm incredibly comfortable here, knowing i can stop, withdraw, and think "safe" (safe as in eating disordered) thoughts and still stay in recovery.

but just now, seeing those last three words on the screen..."stay in recovery" makes me realize that continuing to think the old thoughts may not throw me back into my disorder, but it will fence me inside those three words for the rest of my life. i don't want to "stay in recovery" forever. i want to be recovered...completely and utterly finished with my eating disorder.

each time i choose the music, i'll be one step closer.