August 2, 2013

The Skinny Mind.

Dear Mind,

It’s been five years since I have really heard from you. Our relationship had recently been finalized. We were together for just under 20 years. But the last part, well, that was painful. I actually believed I would never hear from you again.

As it now stands, the state of our connection, is a symptom of other issues ,but has now become a seemingly insurmountable problem in its own right. The problems that appear to be so deep-rooted—bubbling up to the surface over the past five years.

I loved you. Realizing you no longer loved me was horrendously difficult. At times you were kind. But for the most part, a bully, tormenting me incessantly and seemingly without a qualm. It began when we turned 18 years old. Everything up until that point was quite promising. It wasn’t an accident we were doing so well, as you know. Together, we were thriving.

I can still remember the precise moment when you decided you no longer wanted to spend time with me. Instigated by another’s comment, you thought about what would happen when you lost a little bit of weight. And then what would happen if we lost a little more. You then told me to cut whole meals, getting through the day on black coffee and apples.

What would make you do that? Was it a challenge? Did you stop to think how you would feel if this was your own daughter doing this? Or even, how I would feel?

Admittedly, it is partially my fault. I enjoyed the feeling of hunger and was so preoccupied by the prospect of feeling empty. It actually made me feel quite invincible. And so, you held onto that. The attention surrounding us was intoxicating. Physically, I started to compare myself with other girls. I began to exercise obsessively. Apparently, I looked show-stopping. For a while, I ceased to care about my own cells desperation for basic nutrition.

You were so proud when the fat disappeared and my bones began to protrude. You sabotaged me by working out at the same level as a top athlete, limiting caloric intake, thinking that the combination of decreased calories and increased exercise would put me ahead of the game. You were then, so frustrated, when the results did not come quick enough. Who were you kidding? I was holding on for dear life to the few calories that were ingested. Nevertheless, you pressed on.

Despite the crashes—and believe me there were many—you implored me to ‘suck it up.’ To feel light and weightless, bony and waif-like, brought you so much joy. Those times of debilitating weakness had me in tears, suffocating the life out of me. You were like a loose-cannon, either docile or excessively blissful and blasé. And so, I came to realize that resistance to you was useless. Like breaking through a piece of steel, you were mighty, impenetrable, and quite frankly, unstoppable.

As months passed by, the weight was dropping fast, and you became expert at deceiving me. You never seemed to have an off day, and nothing seemed to shock you. You needed everyone’s eyes just to feel seen, and you’d fast suppress my pleading urges. And believe me, I tried to warn you. Except, you ignored the red-flags I tried to raise. I was trapped inside, wanting to get help but my brain wouldn’t let me. Even those times I blacked out on you, you still didn’t seem to get it.

And you knew I was beyond exhausted. It wasn’t like me to have so little drive. But the energy reserves I had once been able to draw from were all gone. You were in ‘go mode,’ and I was falling into a pit of despair, hardly keeping up. It was you running the show, not me—I was merely a slave to your thoughts.

I was literally wasting away. Organ systems beginning to shut down, barely living, just surviving. As I looked at myself in the mirror, I was unrecognizable. I knew I was grotesquely thin. Did I want to look like that? No, not really. It was too much. Yet, you were quick to hush-hush that thought.

You clung tenaciously to that feeling that kept us disconnected. Oh, how proud of that you were. You told me I was doing great, I should swallow the pain. If I ever questioned you, you would engross yourself with a myriad of activities to distract, to delay the inevitable that was to come.

You were not nice. You abused my trust, yet, you must have known that, despite ‘my flaws,’ I was good enough. I am not sure if I rationalized it in that way, but I knew the devastating sadness and impotence you felt when you were once told you looked healthier or fuller. It is almost the same as you when you were a walking skeleton on the brink of collapse. With you, I could not win.

And neither could anyone else. Any attempt from those around you, to reach out a hand to save us, you found a way to turn on them too. Why would you do that? Your refusal to see that they were coming from a place of love, and not of malice and deceit, destroyed me even more.

Sometimes I wondered what I could have done to make you happier. You loved those dark days so fiercely that you were jealous of any time spent feeling happy. You seemed to build a fortress around you, but you made it clear I was not welcome there. No one was. I spent a lot of time wondering what was right and wrong, and what love actually meant. And today, I am still unsure.

I felt rejected and humiliated. I should have forgotten you. Sometimes I think about forgiving you, sometimes I pity you, and sometimes the rage builds up and I feel angry at you all over again. But I needed you, we needed each other. I don’t think you ever understood that?

Do I want you better? Desperately. Not because you’re the control centre of all my thoughts and actions (though that is, obviously, important), but because you are a brilliant, beautiful person (whether you can see it or not) who deserves to live her life happily and fulfill all the potential it contains.

In a strange way, I feel I owe you my gratitude. What prevailed, despite all of the damage, was a sudden self-awareness. A voice inside, a longing, that was always there, yet you so cleverly silenced. I realized that, you are apart of me, and that I do have a choice whether to listen to your cruel taunts. Upon examination, I needed to accept some responsibility for the breakdown of our life, though not the lost self-worth, or the fractured self-love. That was all down to you.

You found it hard to let go, with good reason. It felt unresolved for a while, and that brings me to where we are today. So, I appreciate the apology, and I feel it’s time I speak up, too. I am truly sorry you have been so hurt. That you felt so lost, lonely and inadequate that you chose to listen to others opinions over mine. I wasn’t sure we would survive this. And so here we are. If we hadn’t, it would have been my failure, and not your fault.


Your body.

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Ed: Sara Crolick

{photo: via Pinterest}

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