Friday, May 20, 2011

the girl with the blanket.

one summer night after my sophomore year of college, i remember sitting on the kitchen counter of a friend's apartment, swinging my legs and chatting with some little rock people i love.

a couple of younger kids- all boys- showed up. they'd all gone to my high school and had just finished, i suppose- it was one of those situations in which each of us knew the others names, but we'd not necessarily met or conversed before.

after a few awkward moments of deciding whether or not we were going to plow through and talk as if we really knew each other or take the time and effort to do official introductions, we opted for the latter.

i was somewhat full of myself that summer. i slanted my gaze a yard or so across to the other counter, a slight grin on my face, and told them my name. "yeah, yeah," they said, "you hung out with so and so and what's her name."

a dark-headed one, leaning on the backs of his arms against the counter tipped his head upward and piped in, "hey," he said, "you're the girl with the blanket."

even then, amidst one of the less-severe stints of my disorder (i'd decided the key to recovery was to maintain my weight ** pounds below healthy but no lower. it didn't last long.), i remember it stinging a little to think i'd been remembered that way.

when my eating disorder first started, towards the end of my sophomore year of high school, i remember finding myself in a state of constant cold. it wasn't the kind of momentary cold that passes on to be forgotten. it was a cold that lived its own life from the inside of me out. for awhile, i wore this massively oversized fleece sweatshirt of my boyfriend's, but when we broke up, i started to bring blankets.

i remember wrapping myself from my neck down to my feet. the blanket protected my underweight body the way i thought my underweight body protected me.

looking back, i must've caught more eyes than i know. i not only covered myself up in class, but i walked the halls with the blanket, too. i wore it wrapped around my shoulders like some kind of old woman who'd used up all her objectives in life other than to remain comfortable.

its been a long time since my blanket-covered body roamed the halls of little rock christian academy. so long in fact, that a new high school building's been built and the old building became a new middle school. my mom teaches in it.

yesterday mid-morning, i went to see my mom and my old art teacher. i made it through the parking lot, in the front door and past the office feeling just fine, but when i hung a sharp left into the bathroom i'd used a hundred million times, it was as if an overflow of nostalgia had pressed itself against the wooden door, waiting to envelope me when i opened it.

the bathroom had been painted a random shade of apricot, but somehow felt the same. i stepped inside and stared at myself in one of the medicine cabinet-sized mirrors above the sinks. i felt one with myself- i thought back to the times i'd stood there and stared blankly, the times as a senior that i'd excused myself during class and reached under those very countertops into the skinniest freshman girls gym bags so i could try on their jeans, the time i'd become so overwhelmed with hatred of my body that i'd left spanish class and sat on those same white tiles and sobbed- i wondered where the person i am now had been all those times. i wondered where she'd been hidden and i shuddered at the fact that my disorder was screaming so loud that i'd forgotten i had ever been someone else.

those moments i spent in the bathroom, staring at myself like a long lost sister i'd newly found, enabled me to step back and to rethink the past few weeks of my life.

graduating college is a scary and slightly painful endeavor. it's uncertain and it's overwhelming and to be honest, it's left me longing for the old comforts of my disorder.

although i've not given in, temptation to restrict lurks in the back of my mind. working out has become equal in priority to things it should fall far below. just moments after i typed the previous sentence, a dear friend called. i immediately threw on shoes so and ran outside so i could walk as we caught up. i found myself having to apologize for breathing so loudly into the phone. as soon as we finished talking i figured i may as well do a workout dvd if i had my shoes on, so i started one up. i pushed play and i went for 60 seconds or so, but felt a pressing urge in the depths of me telling me to stop.

when i looked in that same mirror yesterday morning, i thought about the girl with the blanket, and i couldn't believe that she and i were the same person.

but the truth is that the hands typing this post were the same hands that clasped the edges of my blankets closed around my chest, and the voice that's pressing me to spend far more time working out than i should is the same voice that talked me down the road to becoming the girl with the blanket.

i will not listen.

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the

one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and

despise the other..."

Matthew 6:24



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