Another ungrateful venting post: trigger warning.

Today, a trip to the beach ended in a screaming match, with me yelling at my mother that I am not the alcohol police.  I also told her that I am not her parent, and that our roles have been reversed for a very long time.

That was good.  The delivery could have used some work, but when sentiments have been repressed for almost a lifetime, the volcano simply explodes.

Apparently, the first (and decent) day of this trip was an anomaly.  As my brother’s wedding approached then passed, it became more and more tense.  I’m not just pissed at my mother.  I have a lot of resentment against my father as well, but my mother is just more accessible and vocal, so she gets to bear the brunt.  Plus she got all defensive and confrontational about wanting to buy more alcohol (apparently the two beers she had this afternoon and the three in the fridge are not enough for the day) and that just invited me to completely blow my top.

The truth is, I’m so wound up that I’m confused.  I don’t even know where to place the anger.  My mother?  My father?  Myself?  God?  It’s like being impotent.  Writing it out, prayer, and starving myself are the only ways I know how to cope.  Tears?  I might feel a few in the heat of the moment, but it takes real privacy and imagining hurt animals to really get the faucets running.  My mother blames my father; my father blames my mother.  I’m a 30 year old child.  It feels so fucking pathetic, but for as much as I love them both, they keep me stunted at the age of trauma.  It’s not healthy.

The triggers are strong, and the two anorexics at the beach this afternoon turned my stomach.  If I were standing on a cliff, they pushed me over the edge.  I even transferred my anger momentarily to them, which of course was silly and irrational.  I’m embarrassed to even admit such thoughts.  I even found myself comparing my thighs to a really nice girl in our group, and remembering when my arms were the circumference of my wrist all the way to my shoulder.  How I missed that.  I quickly put on my coverup, suddenly ashamed…and oh so motivated.

Marriage, Tears, Stress: Finding the Silver Lining.

I often have days that require weeks from which to recover.

Today was one such day.

It was a gorgeous day in paradise, steaming with vows and alcohol-lubricated interactions and a kaleidescope of faces and exotic foods.

What is it about frantically trying to manage my divorced parents that reduces me to a seven year old?

It was all I could do to convince myself that this was a most special of days, and that all the calories were to be considered carte blanche.  Anxiety inducer número uno.  The temptation to puke was strong, but I didn’t.  I kept it all down like a good girl and promised myself I’d return to my ED tomorrow.  I don’t like to put myself in any position to even have to consider a purge.  Safe foods, stat!  If I’m going to be drinking, breakfast, and hell, every other meal becomes sub-optional.  Too many calories in that shit, but damn does it take the edge off during situations like today.

Anxiety provoker number two came in the form of my stone-faced mother.  My parents divorced 20 years ago, but you’d think it happened last week. My mother’s tears and determination to upstage my stepmother forced me to run damage control all damned day.  My dad, per usual, seemed charmingly clueless and totally at ease.  Maybe he enjoys the idea of two women silently battling for him; I’m not sure.  I couldn’t even feign interest in the handsome man vying for my attention all evening, with thinly veiled attempts at a hookup presented under the guise of going back to his place to “watch a movie.”  Right.  Have another shot.

What I am sure of is that my little brother is married, my mother is snoring off her over-inbibement, my stepmother is taking the former’s snub personally, my stepbrother is blackout, my father has a conscious clean as snow, and I’m sitting alone on the sofa decompressing when I should be asleep.  Ugh, this is not good for my skin.

Four full more days of this BS.  If I don’t go home lighter than I left, I will not be amused.  I am hoping for some silver lining to this white-knuckled stress.  Next time I take a vacation, I think I will take it alone.  I don’t know how the fuck I’m going to be able to sleep knowing there’s a cicada under the sofa I’m sleeping on.

 

Return of an Old Friend.

I was sitting on a balcony in paradise, listening to the rain falling gently upon green fronds, when I felt Anorexia begin to tickle me from the soles of my bare feet to the crown of my head.  With immediate recognition, I felt relieved.  I silently greeted him, my old friend, with the kind of resignation designated for those to whom one owes only the greatest of loyalty.  I had shunned him, and publicly, and still he had returned. 

Together, we took a frank inventory (no room for half truths among the closest of friends), and then, in the shower, we developed our plans for the future, beginning with the present.  Relationships take compromise, I realize, along with a foundation rooted in mutual understanding.  I maintained a poker face during the blunt assessment.  No need to get emotional; constructive criticism need not be assumed nor construed as a personal attack.  Not when it is spoken out of love, and as his arms encircled me and I leaned into the weightlessness, I knew I had returned to one who had never left me.  

“Just not too far,” I whispered against his shoulder, remembering fistfuls of pills and chest pains, and the sadness in the eyes that could hardly bring themselves to meet my own. 

“We can take it as slowly as you need,” he replied with tenderness, and I felt my heart melt. 

Unfortunately, it’s a love affair that simply can’t be understood by other people, and as such, it must be shielded from the harsh judgement from those who might seek to come between us.  I sighed at the required effort, but was not daunted.  When you’ve loved something for so long, you get used to such things.

Exhausted, we held hands for one last moment before parting.  I looked back, lingering, and he stared at me, his eyes blazing with the reflection of my return.  

Sometimes, fire proves too irresistible to touch. 

Wolves in Sheeps’ Clothing.

When I think of the act of rape, I imagine strength, physical force, and weapons.  I imagine struggling, kicking, and screaming.

But that’s not always the way it happens, is it?

I had met my friend’s cousin on a Friday night.  My initial unattraction to him gave way to curiosity and innocent kissing.  That went on for two long nights before he made a joke about rape.

“What, you enjoy raping men?” I joked back.

“No, just women.”

We both cringed and there was an awkward silence before I replied, “Worst joke ever.”  I laughed, but I should have listened.

The short story is, that’s precisely what happened a short time later, somewhere between me telling him no and then silently staring at the ceiling.  I ran the gamut of emotions: I chalked it up to a misunderstanding, I blamed myself for allowing it to happen, I tried to forget the whole thing happened.  I figured he must have been into me, became confused when he didn’t call, and then… I became furious.  With him, but mostly with myself.  I saw doctors, talked to a therapist, I dropped off the radar.  How could I have been so naive??

It was a wake up call.

I will never allow myself to place trust where it isn’t earned again.  Predators in sheep’s clothing have fooled me more than once.  I am okay being alone.  Far better off than being with… that.  Crying wolf is not my style.  But I will not be playing with any wolves again.

 

 

Worthy.

Coming to terms with and accepting one’s inherent worth is a staggering process.  It’s a series of realizations, which would require a lifetime to describe, that first bring you to your knees, then graciously lift you up like the proverbial phoenix.  A new you.  The real you.  There’s no merit in ruminating over the time wasted coming to this ultimate conclusion; the only real value lies in the success in reaching for it.

–When I say “inherent value,” I mean the perfection of the true self, ego removed from the assessment.  Here is the basis for good self-esteem, self-worth, and self-respect; the foundation for healthy boundaries, healthy relationships, and a healthy lifestyle.  It is perpetuated by positive thinking, and perpetuates joyful living.  It requires awareness, attention, consistency, the courage to visualize the seemingly impossible, faith, and oftentimes, an outside perspective.

As always, for me, it began, continues, and surely will end, with prayer.  Some people are turned off by the term, and I suppose I could paraphrase it by saying something like “speaking with your higher self,” but I am not ashamed.  There’s empowerment in the yielding of control; some of us go insane hoping to manage everyone and everything else’s moves on the biggest chess board.  For me, prayer seems to be one of the best methods for seed planting. I trust that seedlings will grow from my earnest prayers, and recently, I began sowing the very real and very new harvest of remembering who I am.  Who I really am.  And you know what?  It’s not just an essence.  It’s a reality.

I remembered that I am a beautiful woman.  I remembered that I don’t deserve to settle, and that I don’t deserve subpar treatment.  I remembered that who I am, today, right now, instead of my perceived potential, is enough.  I realized that I don’t owe anyone anything. I realized that my only real obligation is to remain true to my true self.  I realized, then reveled, in these basic rights.

Of course, the journey will continue, up and down and across plateaus, but thank god for His glorious compass.

rose gif

Firing a BFF.

Have you ever had to break up with a friend?

I remember the day I met Kelli.  I was a week and a half into my inpatient stint at the eating disorder unit, and the CNA on duty told me a new girl had arrived, and that she was really upset.  She asked if I would talk to her.  The extra smoke break was worth the trouble, so I agreed.

Upon exiting into the harsh sunlight, I was confronted with the thinnest person I’d ever seen, with the exception of in portraits of Holocaust victims.  As I took her in, from the bottom of her American Apparel leggings to the top of her frizzy curls, I felt immediately protective.  This would come to be almost everyone’s reaction to her.  I noticed that she was wearing all black, like I was.  “Hello,” I said tentatively.  “Do you mind if I smoke?”  She withdrew an identical pack of American Spirit blues, her teary eyes hopeful.  I noted the vegan tattoo on her wrist.  “I’m vegan too.”  We both smiled.

We were instantly inseparable.  We were even accused of starting an anorexic gang, and I let her epilate my armpits one night.  We were in the same group, and ran covert searches on the staff members, with shocking results.  Almost a year later, Kelli was “dishonorably discharged” for purging, which she maintains until this day to be a bald faced lie.  I cried for a week when she went back to her apartment across the country.  I visited a few months later, and we spent the majority of our time counting calories on packaging at Whole Foods, smoking in her lower east side bay window, and sleeping.  Life was a blur of pills, negative calorie foods, and hidden scales.  But we had each other.

skeleton bff

That was six and a half years ago.  We have both changed a lot, but in that depressing, growing apart sort of way.  I call it depressing because I honestly thought we would be friends until we were old and grey.  “You can’t ever kill yourself,” she whispered from the top bunk.  “If you did, I would do it too.”  So instead, we agreed to live, and always be together.  When I remember it, it was so innocent, in that mind fucked sort of way only veterans of psych wards and codependency can really understand.

And that brings me to what I’ve come to understand as the ending of the story.  Kelli didn’t do anything wrong.  She is brilliantly creative, magnetic, and charming.  She is also manipulative, still enmeshed in her eating disorder, and a horrible trigger.  I love her all the same.  We even have matching tattoos.  But sometimes you have to call it, for your own sanity and general well-being.  It’s heartbreaking, and harder to initiate than my toughest breakup.  I still haven’t found the words, and the knots in my stomach accumulate with her voicemails and texts.

Let the grieving process be gentle on both of us.

 

Poison.

I was working on a project when the screen of my phone lit up.  I ignored it as I finished up stringing the last row of beads, then casually flipped it open.

How have you been?  I still wish my summer was with you.

I didn’t recognize the number.  My mind took a quick inventory, and my heart dropped as I suddenly realized who it was.

Motherfucker.

It was the last guy who broke my heart, the one from the nightmare, the one with the affinity for emotional (and let’s be real, probably physical) cheating.

drink me

I closed my phone, and as I continued working on my project, my movements became more tense and more terse.  I can see right through the thin veil of loneliness and meaningless attention seeking.  A dozen responses ran through my head:

I’m fine.

Don’t you have a Craiglist sex ad to answer?

Lonely?  Guess your fuckbuddy finally left the country.

FUCK YOU!

…Me too.

In the end, I said nothing.  I let my silence whisper into him all the things he most feared, and take the place of all the things I could have said that would have tainted my self respect.  My adrenaline slowed, and I deleted his text.

Anyone can send a text message; words are cheap.  What I want is someone who can be demonstrative.  Until then, I’m playing my cards close.  I don’t have any more time to give to users.