Oh, the irony

Every once in a while it really hits me how ironic my mental state is. I mean, for some reason I feel compelled to always be on the lookout for those pesky things called calories. I resist and restrict. I scrimp and save. And where does that get me? Nowhere. Certainly not where I want to be. I find it somewhat hilarious that the one thing I can do right, is starving myself. I am stick thin, and…not proud of it. I hate my skinny state. I see “normal” women and girls, and long to be able to pull off the looks they have. Shorts, tights, leggings…these items of clothing seem somewhat elusive to me and my wardrobe. “I can’t wear those! They’ll make me look skinny!” is how my internal monologue goes. I know I am freakish. I know I don’t look my age. I constantly see people looking me over, sneaking second (and third, and fourth) glances. But the funny thing is, I am doing the same thing to them. I am peering at them and studying their bodies, trying to imagine what those nice curves would look like on me.

I find people to be a constant source of amusement and inspiration. It’s almost as if I am not me. I don’t realize how thin I am, and that I have a “disease” sometimes. Most of the time I remember, but there will be days that I see a woman who is very thin, and think “Does she have an eating disorder? How can she do that?” in response to the sight of her. I don’t realize that I could just as easily be looking into a mirror as gazing at this woman wandering by. But then I have to eat something or see a poster with a delicious looking hamburger on it, and I am brought back to reality.

Most often, I find myself thinking about how fat would feel on me. There is a severe absence of it on my body, and second to calories, fat is what I fear the most. But here is where the contradictions enter: I yearn to have fat on me. I want to have curves and look good in clothes. I desire to be able to take pleasure in the clothes I wear and the way my hair looks and how these shoes bring out the definition in muscles on my legs. I want to be able to look in the mirror in nothing but my underthings, and be amazed at how my body has changed. I know, I know. I did this to myself, so I can surely undo it. I, too can have those wonderful curves and belly that I long for…the answer is simple: eat. But it’s not that easy. Or maybe I am overcomplicating things. Some days the voices in my brain, the constant calculating and adding and subtracting, stop. Usually only for a moment or two, but it does happen, Suddenly my mind is crystal clear, and I can see myself eating a meal and enjoying it, knowing it is fuel for my body, and healing for my brain. And then. Then I think, no. No, I will not allow that! If I eat those things I long for, my belly will be full. I will feel satiated and bloated, and it won’t be good, it will be horrible. I won’t be able to live with myself.

So I become paralyzed. I go back to my carrots and chicken sandwich and my chips that I have counted out carefully. I don’t know where to start, so I don’t. I imagine that tomorrow will be different, that I will eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast, at a normal time. And then when I become hungry again, I might just eat another bowl. And from there, who knows! The possibilities are endless. And that is what makes me freeze like a deer in the headlights. There are other components too, but the thought of all of those choices…there are so many things I would like to try. I don’t know where to begin…maybe here, with this glazed doughnut? Or how about a few slices of pizza, with extra cheese…no, maybe if I’m really good this morning, I will let myself have some ice cream tonight (isn’t Bunny Tracks the most delicious thing ever?), but only if I make sure that I have the lower calorie snack bars and use a smaller piece of chicken for lunch, and don’t eat too much for dinner…and when the time comes I decide that nah, I’ll just have a little slab of chocolate instead. It tastes ok and is fewer calories and I’ll feel better about it in the long run. But on the nights when I do eat ice cream? I find that I don’t feel guilt over it. In fact, I hardly think about it.

Oh, the irony.56bed3769d16c252f90ce97266c36144


This is what I have to deal with

Patron at library: “Will you pick up my gum?”

Me: “What?”

Patron: “I dropped my gum by the trash can, here’s a napkin. Can you pick it up?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Patron: “I thought I was close enough to the can to spit it in. I guess I wasn’t though. Can you just pick it up and toss it in for me?”

(Different) Patron at library: “Do you ever get really tired, and eat a lot of peanut M&M’s?”

Me: “…”

Patron: “And then you feel sick.”

Me: “…no, I guess I never have.”

Patron: “Well, of course not, you’re too skinny”

Woman returning DVD’s: “Do I have a late fee on these? Because I was in the hospital.”

Co-worker: “Yes, there is a fine on them.”

Woman: “Well, see, I couldn’t help it. I was in the hospital because I had a miscarriage. That’s why I haven’t been in.”

Male patron: “I thought I should grab this while it’s still here. I thought, might as well. I just thought. You know, before someone else grabs it” (referring to a cookbook that is years old and he found in the stacks)

Me: “Uh huh”

Patron: “Yeah, I just thought, might as well!”

Me: “Might as well”.

Patron: Do you have the movie “To Kill a Mockingbird”?

Me: Yes

Patron: Could you put me on the reserve hold list for that?

Me: Sure

Another patron who was listening in: Ohhhh, me too! That’s the one with P-Diddy, right?

Me: I don’t think so…

Patron: Can you put my dvd in a bag? It looks like it might rain.

Me: Sure!

Note: It is a perfectly sunny day outside. This patron asks for a plastic bag every time they come in.

It meant so much

Really, it’s the little things in life that I remember most. At least, so far. I guess I should say “cherish most”. I remember big things and little things, I guess it’s the little things that other people wouldn’t expect me to remember, that I remember.

I can’t recall why, but for some reason everyone but me was out of town on a weekday. And my dad. He had to work, and I had to work, but we each had a break for lunch. My dad asked me if I would like to go somewhere on my break, and I said sure. I looked forward to this meeting all day. I hadn’t gone out to lunch for ages, and rarely, if ever, with my dad! This would be fun. He arrived to pick me up a little after 12:00 and knowing that he liked burgers and fries more than submarine sandwiches, we both agreed that Hardee’s would be a good choice for lunch. My dad said “if you’re sure you can find something” and I said I could. At this point I had been dealing with my eating disorder for a few years, and I was doing well. I knew what I was expected to eat, and tried to stick to my goals. We drove the few blocks to the fast food place, and ordered. I remember getting a chicken wrap basket and fries with a drink. Somehow, between the conversation and prospective guilt at throwing any food away, I managed to consume the whole meal. I remember finishing the first chicken wrap, and debating about eating the other one. I did, and I had no guilt hounding me. I loved this time spent with my dad, one on one. And later, I wrote him a note thanking him for taking me out. I think my mom had suggested the treat, but still. It made me feel loved, cared for, and happy.

When I got so sick many years ago, and could not keep any food down. And then when I had no food left to expunge and I couldn’t stop dry heaving, my dad sat by my bedside, talking to me at times, and at others not saying a word. He sat there for hours, probably seeing my misery, and yet unable to do a thing. He saw how uncomfortable I was, how I could not stop writhing in pain and how I was so tired and yet so unable to relax. He saw me put an ice pack over my eyes and nose and lay there, finally able to breathe without my stomach telling me I needed to hurl. And he was my companion, even though I was probably the worst company he had ever kept. And then when I was finally told to go to the ER, he carried me out to the van and buckled me into the passenger seat.

Another time I remember a little thing making me feel this way is not so long ago. It was winter, and I usually had to get up early and go to work, battling the snow, ice, and frost on my car windows. One morning I woke up and sitting on the kitchen table where I usually perched on my wooden chair to eat, was a little ice scraper that my dad had found worked very well. They were sold at a little local hardware store, and he had been thoughtful enough to buy one for me and my sister, who also owned her own car. This little gesture of kindness made me feel so warm inside. My dad had thought of me, and done something to show it. These little things that people do for me, sometimes they make me feel guilty, and I’m not sure why. But sometimes, they make me feel so loved. To this day, I still think these two times are the instances that I consider the kindest things my father has done for me. And he has done so much more too. I know Father’s Day is long past, but I guess this post is kind of a tribute to my dad. He has taught me so much, among these things: a respect for nature, a money-smart mentality, a “work first, play later” attitude, an addiction to Diet Pepsi, to acknowledge the truth of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, and a sense of humor that is crass yet can also be laughed at.


This week

I hate how I am slowly moving backwards. I know I am, and yet it seems like I haven’t the strength to put a stop to it. On Saturday, I went to a town about an hour from home to see a comedian perform. First, I went out to eat at Olive Garden with some of my family. Olive Garden is not one of my “safe” restaurants. I’ve only eaten there a few times, and the last time wasn’t the best experience. But, that was years ago, and I was sure I could handle it now, being the adult that I am. And I did handle it, but I’m not sure how well. I knew going in to the meal that I would simply order something from the kids menu. I do this most places I go, because obviously portions are smaller, and more comfortable for me. So I ordered a pizza, which was delicious, but come on, pizza. At Olive Garden. Everyone else ordered pasta and salads, and ate breadsticks…and there I was with my piddly cup of red grapes and what was probably once a frozen pizza.

I had been anxious about this meal all week. The funny thing is, a meal of a burger and fries, which is surely more fattening and unhealthy, wouldn’t have been met with quite so much resistance by me. I think this may be a conspiracy against me to keep me from trying new things. Hello! Calories are not gonna kill me! I know this, and yet I still get freaked out so easily. I had a purse full of snacks, and the promise of a small dessert at home, so I wasn’t too concerned with portion sizes, though those breadsticks did look heavenly. But nope, I wasn’t going to touch them. Or the salad. Order what you’ll eat and eat what you’ll order.

I survived the meal. And then on to the event center, where I would get into an elevator packed with people, and suddenly feel panicked by how stuffy the small space was. What if we got stuck? The oxygen already seemed spare, we would start to panic, and everyone would die. Out of the elevator, and walking. Down hallways…walking…to the desk where our tickets were supposed to be. I told the woman behind the counter my name, and she typed it into her computer. She furrowed her brow and pursed her lips. Then turned her back to me and flipped through a box, pulling out a stack of five tickets stapled together. She handed them over and I clutched them to my chest. We were in. I had made it through dinner, and had the tickets in hand. This was real and I was OK. Time to enjoy myself.

And I did. I managed to have a wonderful time, and laugh really hard, even though last week had been a bit on the crappy side. And now I am gearing up for a trip waaay up North with my sisters, to a cabin that our aunt and uncle own. I am so excited, not only because it means a break from work, and a “real” vacation, but also because ever since I have tried to get a little better, I have felt this pull to get out and do things. I haven’t yet, not really. Now here is my chance, and we shall see how I do. I hope to get a ton of relaxation and reading done.And I also hope that it is really warm and sunny, so I can soak up this weather before winter arrives again.


Edit it out

I was inspired to write this post because of a few books I have read recently, and mostly, because of a post on my cousin’s blog that you can read here. I find myself seeing my “friends” and family members posting pictures that make me jealous. Like, I just wish I were that real and cool. I wish I were the type of girl who went to coffee shops and wore hip clothes. I could be, I know I could be. But I’m not. This raises the question: who is? Is anyone who we perceive them to be online? Does that girl who posts pictures of herself with a pile of amazing books, or that boy who seems to always be sitting in the sun with a plastic cup of iced coffee and a good book really feel special? Or are they just like me, posting a picture and feeling this little spark of enjoyment when someone takes a few seconds to hit the heart beneath it?

Everybody knows that those photos are edited. Heck, not only do we crop out any unsightly creepers in the background, but we even change the colors to make them more pleasing to the eye. We can add tags and stickers to glamorize our posts. Emoticons are so prevalent that I find myself smiling or frowning when I see a little yellow face doing the same thing. I find myself wishing I were that girl who has the perfect makeup, and the great outfit. The one who is adventurous and spontaneous. We can edit.edit, edit out all of the crap, heartbreak, pain. Or we can flaunt those things, if we really want to. For the most part though, I find myself posting a photo that I like. Something that makes me happy. But let’s be honest here, I am also bragging just a bit. Delighting in the fact that someone out there is paying attention to me, even if only for a minute or less.

Is that how desperate we have become? How desperate I have become? I was just thinking today about a time when I felt so comforted and taken care of. It probably sticks out in my mind because I was in excruciating pain, and everyone around me could see that, but no one could do anything about it. Once I was finally admitted to our local hospital, I began to shiver violently, and a nurse quickly produced some blankets that felt like they had just been taken out of a dryer. They were so warm and cozy, and I was instantly calmed. This little bit of attention that was being paid towards me, changed the whole scenario. Suddenly, after hours of throwing up until my throat was raw and my ribs were aching, everything was going to be ok. Ever since my eating disorder started, people had been telling me that this was all about attention. That’s what this disease was. An attention seeking tactic. Maybe so, but I surely didn’t intend that from the beginning. I didn’t decide I wasn’t getting enough attention, and then restrict my food intake so that people would notice me. In fact, that is the last thing I wanted. But still, the accusations flew.

Now that I am older, I think I can see where the therapists were coming from. But Instead of seeking attention, I think I was crying out for help. I wanted someone to take the time to look into the finer details of what was happening, what had triggered these problems. I wanted someone to look at the picture of me, and see past the cropping, the filters, the smiley yellow face, and see that I was not ok. I kept taking pictures, and posting them, putting a nice little tint here and there where I didn’t want anyone to see a problem. I didn’t want to be a problem spot, but I also wanted someone to notice that something wasn’t right. I needed someone to notice. Because no matter how I tried to duplicate the things my friends and followers were uploading, I knew deep down that something in my posts were different.

Now that I have started to slowly try to get back onto my feet, the fact that these “fake lives” are so important to us, the weird things we lust after, the jealousy a little picture can manifest in us…it amazes me. I think in this day and age, it is so hard to be content. It is a daily struggle not to look at what those around me post, and still feel all right with the fact that instead of laying in bed with the sun streaming through the windows, I am getting ready for work, and trying to fit that last chapter of a book in before it’s time to leave. It’s hard to not click the button in the computer that will buy those astonishingly cute shorts that all the girls are wearing nowadays, or that shirt that I saw that looked so beautiful on so and so. How far this world has come, and yet how far it has fallen.


No filter. And excuse the hand. By the way, this picture is super meaningful to me, because it is the last memory I have of being legitly happy before the anorexia struck. I remember feeling carefree and happy. And really, just look at my smile. There can be no dispute. I was happy.