I woke up this morning thinking I would blog about what a good place I’m in. How I feel the best I think I’ve felt, really, since my seventh grade year. I didn’t know that even greater things were to come just a couple hours later!
My workout this morning was good. I felt really strong. And I don’t want to dismiss the significance of that statement being a positive one. For such a long time, I’ve been afraid of being strong. Strong means more weight, and even if it’s muscle, I didn’t want it. On Tuesday, at lunch with Lindsay, she commented on how strong I looked — my “toned arms” in particular. If I would’ve heard that six months ago, it would’ve set off like an alarm bell in my head.
OH NO! Someone can visibly SEE that my arms are getting bigger. They said I’m looking stronger. Stronger means more weight. I’ve put on weight. I look fat. Time to double up on the cardio and decrease any of the strength training I’ve been doing. It’s obviously making me bulky.
None of which a normal brain would’ve taken from Lindsay’s simple statement. She said I looked strong. Strong and toned — which is an idealistic body type for most people. But not for the eating disorder.
When I heard this on Tuesday though, the typical internal dialogue didn’t begin. I could feel the alarm bell getting “triggered”…like it wanted to go into its automatic response, but it didn’t. I felt a grin come upon my face. I was happy — really happy — to have my new muscles noticed. Even if that did mean my weight may be up by a couple pounds. I felt secure in my body, and I didn’t question the intention of her statement. She said it in a positive way, so it was probably a compliment. And I was going to treat it as one. I texted my mom right after I left, “Lindsay said my arms look really strong!” and, knowing what my typical reaction would be to hearing that, she responded with, “That’s an awesome compliment!” I didn’t need her validation, though. I was feeling good about myself, and the eating disorder was NOT going to take that victory away from me.
Something similar happened last night. My mom commented that I looked “different”, but she couldn’t pinpoint what it was. After a minute, she said that she realized it may just be how much better I look with a little more weight on me.
Normally, that would be enough to set me off.
MORE WEIGHT. I have more weight on me. I’m fat. I’ve gained so much…I’m out of control. What’s happened to me? I used to take care of this. I used to be good at this. This never would’ve happened last year. How did I let myself slide so much?!?!
Now, clearly, nothing my mom said was negative. In fact, she said that I looked better. But “better” and “more weight” NEVER align in the E.D.’s rulebook. Any increase in weight is ALWAYS a negative.
The cool thing about what happened last night?
It didn’t bother me. Just like it had in the situation with Lindsay two days, prior, I felt the alarm bell start to go off, and then…it just didn’t. I looked at my mom, at her warm, smiling, loving, face (though her eyes showed she was anxious to see how I would react), and I said thank you. We talked about it for a minute while I assured her I was fine, and then she went off to bed and I went to work on some homework. No harm, no foul.
Okay, some more things. I’m not going to be able to update about everything that’s happened these past few days for the sake of this blog not taking more time to read than anyone has time for, (and more time to write than I should be spending, given that finals are next week…) but really quickly-
- Lea’s home from South Africa, and it is wonderful. There’s nothing like having one of your best friends home after six months to fill your heart with joy. YAY for no more 9 hour time difference!
- As I think I mentioned earlier, I wrote a story for my Writing for Media class a couple weeks back, and my professor ended up publishing it yesterday. It was quite an honor for me, since he normally only publishes stories from his 400-level class on his own website, and I’m a sophomore in a 200-level class. If you’d like to read it, you can find it here.
- Last night, we had our first roommate dinner with the girls I’ll be living with next year in Corvallis. Yes, I decided to stay for another year. It was so awesome, and I left feeling abundantly blessed with the fellowship and community I’m getting to experience with Claire and Anna. And we’re not even living together yet! Lindsay and Tara were in and out, too, so it was awesome to get to be with them as well — even if just in passing! Claire has agreed to be a support person for me this next year, and while all of the girls seem game to help out however I need, she’s sort of stepped up to make sure I always have what I need, whatever it be, and more importantly, always have an ear to talk to. Our new friendship is working out to be such a blessing that I know can only come from one rooted in Jesus.
- Going off of the last bullet, I followed my whole meal plan yesterday, despite having numerous opportunities to restrict, even though yesterday was a rest day (from exercise). These days are always hardest for me to eat everything, as I’m often not as hungry (and typically struggling more with body image), but I know in this immediate period of recovery, it’s important for me to consistently meet all of my exchanges, even when my hunger cues aren’t requesting them. My breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and evening snack were all eaten alone (just by the way it worked out with my schedule), and my dinner was with the girls. I was tempted to only have one taco instead of two (they were big tacos!), and I knew no one had seen my meal plan (which clearly said TWO), but I went up to get myself a second, anyway.
And now, finally…the meaty stuff.
I did decide, on Wednesday, after a lot of prayer, tears, and conversations with my mom, dad, Lea (thank goodness she’s home!), Nia, Lindsay, Brad, Carolyn, a good friend who just came home for the summer, and my godsister, that I will stay at OSU for one more year. I’m going to begin taking prerequisites for nursing school, make use of the strong support system I have in Corvallis, and solidify my recovery while living independently before I venture out to a completely new environment. Since I’ll be in Corvallis for another year, I accepted the job, which is with Oregon State Football. This decision was really hard for me, as quite a few of the friends (and my brother) I spoke with were in pretty strong support of branching out and getting a completely fresh start. I prayed, and prayed, and prayed some more, but finally, had to get back to Oregon State about the job. It was a phone call with my dad that gave me the confidence enough to make a decision. He said, “Bridge, I’ll support you either way, but if delaying your becoming a nurse by one more year is going to drastically reduce the likelihood of you relapsing, and solidify the stability you have in your recovery, isn’t that worth it? You can transfer to nursing school next year.”
I think deep down, I felt that was the right decision, but hearing him say it put my heart at peace. I wasn’t certain enough about it to push against what my friends were suggesting until I heard the words come from him. The two of us tend to disagree on a lot, but those words gave validation to that inkling inside that was telling me to hold off for one more year. It was getting close to 5 p.m., when I’d told OSU I’d let them know by, so after thanking my dad and telling him I’d let him know what I decided, I hung up and prayed. Feeling the most certain that I had that it was the right decision, I called my mom, shared my thoughts with her, and then called and let Oregon State know.
I’ll be moving to Corvallis in just over three weeks to begin training for the job, and will take courses at OSU this summer. Over the past 24 hours I’ve only grown more and more confident about my decision, and was praising Jesus with worship music in my car, with the top down, my whole drive back to Portland from Corvallis last night.
Remember what I said at the beginning of this entry, though? That I didn’t even know what was to come later today?
When I made the decision about staying in Corvallis, I still hadn’t heard back from two of the three nursing schools I’d applied to. Yesterday afternoon, I got a call from Biola University, saying that I’d been accepted to their nursing program and could begin in the fall. Not just with prerequisite courses, but with their actual nursing program — something that’s pretty rare for a program to allow for a student who hasn’t even taken her anatomy courses yet. The woman who called me was so sweet, and so excited for me, that I couldn’t even bear to tell her that I’d already decided, and would not be transferring schools this fall. I waited until the office was closed, and then sent her an email explaining that I would not be accepting the offer.
I didn’t just say “no” though, I explained the situation pretty thoroughly. I told her that I was in recovery from an eating disorder, and that after a lot of praying and talking it over with my family, I’d decided that it wasn’t the time for me to move away just yet. I said that it was a hard decision, but one that I felt was best, and that I appreciated all of her help. Due to the nature of their nursing program, I knew that it wouldn’t work for me to transfer there the following year, and I told her that as well, so they could take me off of their mailing list. I added that I knew it was going to make it harder to get into schools, as she’d told me earlier when I called and asked about the program, but that I was trusting God to provide.
I got a call from her around 10 o’clock this morning, saying that she had received my email, and wanted to follow up with me personally. Not only was she incredibly sweet and understanding, but she’d spoken with the coordinator of the nursing program, and they’d decided to postpone my application to the Fall of 2017, and agreed to simply deduct any prerequisites I take this year, while I’m working on my recovery, from the courses I will have to take in 2017. Remember, this is the program that doesn’t typically do this. Once I decided not to transfer this year, I’d crossed them off my list.
I had nothing to say. This was nothing but an intervention from the Holy Spirit.
I was in shock on the phone, as I know she could tell, and she sounded pretty happy herself. We praised Jesus for a minute together, and then she said she had something else to tell me. Biola has a program for students recovering from eating disorders, specifically, so once I was ready to move to California, I could enter school, begin my career as a nurse, and have the support I needed at the same time.
Again, I had nothing to say.
So I just sang worship instead.