May 6th, 2016
I ran into a mom I know at the grocery store yesterday afternoon. I’d stopped in to get my snack at Starbucks, after a LONG commute home from school. There’d been an accident on my way to Corvallis in the morning, which added another 40 minutes to my drive, and then another one on my way home – resulting in me spending about five hours in my car total. I was exhausted. The latte was something I was actually relatively looking forward to (!!), until I was waiting for it at the counter and saw Kathleen. She had always been the mom who was loud, funny, and “friends” with all of her daughters’ friends. The Kathleen that was at the store today was a much thinner version of the woman I remember.
I initially posted this last night, but ended up taking it down, realizing that I had made it much more about the woman I ran into than about me. My mom calls this “Me projecting my eating disorder onto somebody else.” I tend to do this a lot.
There’s a weight-loss commercial on T.V.? How dare they! I’m trying to recover from an eating disorder, here!
My mom’s school is doing a pedometer challenge to see who can get the most steps in? What?! Are they TRYING to promote exercise addiction??!
The gym has a scale in the weight room now?! Don’t they know this is ONLY going to promote an unhealthy obsession with one’s weight!!?
I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that not everyone on the planet has an eating disorder. And that sometimes, losing weight is okay for people. Healthy, even.
I’m still greatly “triggered” by weight-loss. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone I know or a celebrity that I could care less about; the emotions it brings up are the same for me.
It’s very hard for me to see that someone has lost a significant amount of weight. Now, if they were overweight in the first place, it’s (a little bit) easier. At least I can rationalize it a bit more. Living in a world that’s so obsessed with physical appearance, I get that my thinking needs to change in regards to this, or I’m going to have a pretty hard time functioning in society.
What’s hardest for me, though, is to see weight-loss on someone who was already small. It’s hard because I want to do it, I know how to do it, I’m good at doing it, but I’m not allowed to do it.
It’s okay for them, but it’s not okay for me.
That’s easier for me to accept on some days than others, but yesterday I found it particularly challenging. Trying on clothes is something that makes it harder, which, conveniently enough, I had been doing shortly before I stopped at Safeway. I popped into Urban Outfitters on my way home from school, partially to take a break from all of the traffic I was sitting in, and because I had a gift card that I wanted to use. Let’s just say the shopping experience did not go very well. I took twenty three pieces into the fitting room, and emerged just ten minutes later with one piece that fit. A flowy tank top. Woohoo. All of the shorts I’d grabbed were too small, the rompers didn’t sit right, the dresses were too long, and the shirts produced back fat (which my mom hates when I say) that I didn’t like.
Three months ago, I was unable to buy the clothes I wanted at Urban because the x-smalls were falling off of me. Today, I was unable to because I couldn’t pull the smalls over my hips. I see two issues with this:
One- I need to learn to accept that if a piece of clothing doesn’t fit, I need to alter the clothing to fit my body-not the other way around.
And Two…I’m sorry, but what world do we live in that I am a size Medium? I’ve made a decision to not share numbers on this blog, due to the toxicity they can produce for those with eating disorders, but for anyone who knows me, I’m not very big. That’s not the way I see myself when I look in the mirror, but I know intellectually that I am not a very big person, especially compared to the “average” American. I’m 5’2, and at what my doctors deem “a healthy weight”, which, yes, is more than I would like it to be, but is by no means near “overweight.” So, my question is-if I’m a Medium, where does that put everybody else? Are the people who are 5’5 and a healthy weight now an x-large? That doesn’t seem right to me.
But anyway…back to where I started. Weight-loss. Regardless of if the person’s done it in a “healthy” or “un-healthy” fashion, it stirs something up in me. It’s like I remember that high I used to get when I’d gone a full 24 hours without eating, only to go sit on the bike for three hours watching Pretty Little Liars and stood up, causing my vision to go black. I know that I wasn’t the same person during that time-I shied away from others, couldn’t recall a conversation I’d been a part of hours before, and I developed severe Raynaud’s disease. Yet, I see someone who’s lost weight, even unhealthily, and I envy the gauntness in their cheeks, the way their clothes are too baggy, and the glaze behind her eyes.
So I’m intrigued. Why is it that I’m attracted to the very thing that I’m repulsed by?
I suppose you could compare it to an alcoholic’s disgust when they see someone ruining their life with addiction, yet are still tempted to join in themselves. As awful as they know the cost is, they know the escape it provides, too. And that escape is enough to just about make the damage worth it.
As hard as yesterday was…and it was really, really hard-it took me a little over an hour and a half to finish my snack (which should’ve taken about 20 minutes)…I’m glad I had the experience I did at Urban, and I’m glad I ran into Kathleen. Because if I can do the things I need to do for my recovery on my worst day, then my best days are sure going to be a heck of a lot easier. I want more than anything to be moving back to Corvallis this June. I know that each time I do the hard stuff when it’s NOT easy is one step closer to making that goal a reality.
Oh, and P.S…
My friend Lindsay (the one who I consider a mentor but stubbornly says we’re really good friends ;)) and I had a bagel and cream cheese for lunch yesterday. It was my first time having a bagel and cream cheese in over a year.
Celebrating the small victories, and remembering David’s story,