Monday, July 18, 2011

please accept my deepest apologies... i've taken more than the brief hiatus i promised two posts ago. 

i was not relapsing, as i fear some of you may have suspected. i was recovering from a case of stubborn honduran diarrhea/fever which was followed by vacation bible school which was accompanied by a terrible cold (who gets a cold when its 120 degrees out?).

anyways...i'm back now.

my mom has kind of a terrible back that likes to wedge itself out of place time-to-time. it decided to wedge the other day and in an effort take better care of herself than usual (this stuff runs in families), she's actually staying off her feet, and asked that i help her by running a few of her errands today. for whatever reason, she didn't like when i referred to it as "doing her bidding".

one of the tasks scratched onto the post-it she gave me was to run by her place of employment (which happens to be my former high school) and pick up a few papers.

i always feel a little bit like i might have a nervous breakdown when i visit the old campus. it's just hard to reconcile my present self with my eating disorder's old stomping grounds.

i attempted to mask my discomfort from myself by defiantly swerving my car into a handicapped parking space. i'm an alum, i thought, i can park where i want.

i walked inside to the office and peaked down the hall, searching for the familiar face with access to the papers i was getting for my mom. moments later, her large brown eyes appeared from a small back office and we greeted one another.

"you look great!" she said knowingly.

to my pleasant surprise, i found myself happy that'd she'd said so. to my pleasant surprise, i felt my mouth turn upward into a smile and thank her, as if her words were a nice addition to a day with which i would otherwise have been perfectly content.

as i walked to my car with a manila folder newly tucked under my arm, i realized what people were really trying to say all those times when they said i looked "better" or "healthy" or "beautiful" or "glowing".

no one was trying to tell me i'd gained weight or that i was looking chubby or fat or any of the other irrational things i thought.

i thought about seeing a person after a measure of time and noticing that the person had gained a substantial amount of weight that they did not necessarily need. i thought about how dumb it would be to tell someone that they looked great if they'd gained a whole bunch of unnecessary weight and how most people would just say nothing.

in other words, the countless number of "you look so much better"s i've gotten and resented would never have formed as thoughts in any of their speakers' minds if i had been fat or an unneeded number of pounds larger when they said them.

what i took as flaming arrows that seared my heart and twisted my thoughts were really just people who loved me wanting to say, "hey- you didn't look so good for awhile- but now it doesn't hurt me to look at you- i see that you've experienced some victory and i wanted you to know that i noticed because i'm sure it's been hard."

fellow strugglers- if people are relieved to see us "healthy", so much so that they speak it aloud, then we must have looked worse than we knew before, and we must look far better than we know we look now.

it's good to be back.



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