September 15, 2015
Today is a beautiful day. The kind of day when everything rights itself in my world. When God opens the day with grey skies so ominous I can almost believe that a Dementer is as likely as a storm. It’s a spectacular, September day with storm clouds promising a captivating display of raging thunder, brilliant lightening and rain so persistent that it feels like I can see Grace extending to every living thing. In a very rare moment, I selected a flannel button up and jeans and pulled my hair into a side braid; an uncommonly casual, yet fitting look for me today. Not entirely casual as I still managed to select open-toed stilettos to navigate the many puddles now forming outside my office.
It’s days like today, that minutes will actually go by before the gnawing in the pit of my stomach manifests itself again. And I remind myself to breathe. Not the shallow, mindless breaths of a lifetime so distant I can barely remember the girl doing the breathing. But the deep, cleansing breaths of the weary, suspicious, and battle-ragged wanderer I have become. This cognitive breathing thing, it’s an assignment from my therapist. But not the good kind of therapist that promotes better communication skills and helps new couples navigate their marital spats over dishes and budgets. I like that kind. They’re reminiscent of the optimistic, regular-kind-of- life ME. This, this is my eating disorder therapist.
Eating. Disorder. Just saying that conjures images of Tracey Gold in a Lifetime movie.
Which obviously doesn’t apply to me. I eat. Like all the time; like 6 times a day. And I eat vegetables and egg whites and chicken and fish and what’s not ok with what I eat? But there’s also the list of the foods that I don’t eat like pizza and pasta and cookies and donuts or bagels or rice or bread. That is until I do eat them. And then I don’t stop, at least until I’m so miserable I’m going to be sick. But that’s the point, to be sick. So sick and so full that I don’t have to stick my fingers down my throat for as long this time. That it will take minimal prompting for my body to violently expel the mass amounts of food that I hatefully forced into it. Breathe. If I can take those few seconds to provide my body, soul, and mind with these cleansing breaths, then my mind won’t go to the place of hate or of self-loathing. Those few seconds will enable me to distinguish between a mental and physical craving, just enough to stop the binge before it starts. And most importantly, to trust the process of life, that everything I need will be provided for me and that I am safe. I repeat this mantra several times a day and wonder what goes on in the minds of the normal people around me.
But today, it’s September and it’s raining. And I can stay right here in this moment and remember that I’m grateful. I’m grateful that today I’m experiencing the literal storm that’s brewing outside my window and not the figurative storm that threatens my soul, every day.