January 15th, 2016
Perhaps I should thank Dr. W (ED therapist) for her suggestion last fall that I cease my daily gym routine. Of course suggestion implies that it was merely a passive attempt at potentially useful advice, when in reality it was a very authoritative ban on my standard gym routine. Even still, it’s because of her being all shouty about it, that I am avoiding the newly resolved peeps pouring into the gym. And I think this is the first year in ages that I haven’t set out with some weight related resolution.
Instead of some grand goal of transforming my body and my life this year, I’ve chosen to *know* me. To identify who I am at the core.
Dr. W and the gals have been harassing me since my induction into group to identify my “authentic self”. This inquiry into who I really am seriously tested my fondness for these ladies. I’ve always resented the suggestion that because I wear heels to sporting events (only baby wedges, folks), generally have gobs of jewelry hanging from my body, am never without a base-coat of makeup, and will send my kid into the gas station if I’m not “dressed”, means that I’m trying to impress who the hell ever. But here’s the thing, I’m thinking these people might be on to something. I mean, I know that’s why they exist, to know stuff and be useful, but obviously I’m not known for logical thinking.
I’ve relapsed in my recovery for two months now. I’ve completely reverted to my previous way of thinking. Restrictive eating, obsessing over food and binging and purging. Christmas damn near killed me. Holidays are typically hard for ED sufferers. But as a mom, it destroyed my heart not to have my littles for Christmas. This is the part that no one accounts for when they nonchalantly consider divorcing the spouse they no longer feel connected to. To those people, specifically my much younger, first-time-wife-self, I would like to connect my fist with….
Two years ago, what I suspected of being a somewhat unstable foundation, completely buckled underneath my weight. And it feels like the free-fall is indefinite. Learning of #3’s chronic infidelity, felt super weighty, but not something I couldn’t lift. Until the indiscretions began to pile up under his poorly covered lies, I was certain it was a load we would bear together. Last year my hopes for reestablishing that life and family were indefinitely crushed. But more than that, I completely lost any way to identify what had once been me. I was no longer a wife, obviously. And with the exception of husband #1, (sorry dude, you got the starter wife) I was a terrific wife; all diligent in my wifely duties and biblical in my passive, let the husband be the head of household kind of way – except he totally refused that job. I spent hours attending to the state of our home and yard and myself. I happily sent him on his merry way, supporting intramural sports and hunting trips. I read to the kids, played board games, and tried in every way to be super mom. I didn’t get babysitters and I only left them with #3 when they were asleep so I could go to the gym. And now I’m forced to let them go every other weekend along with losing much of the control a mother typically has. And what with being banned from the gym, I’m obviously no longer bearing the sculpted arms of someone accustomed to hours (years) of weight lifting. I’m cleared to do yoga. Yoga, people. Like isn’t that for sleeping? Or maybe sufferers of back pain?
So because of #3’s insecurities, personality disorders, and addictions, the role of wife and everyday mother was stripped from me. And because of my eating disorder, body dysmorphia and basically psychotic, irrational thinking, I am no longer the fitness freak that I once was. I’ve even switched careers in order to accommodate the life of a single mom and, let’s be honest, an individual so stuck in their own head that they can’t be trusted to manage big clients or costly projects. So now that I am not defined by these roles that I had clung to for so long, who the hell am I? That’s the question my ED dietician wants me to answer (there’s an entire ED team, ya’ll). And this is why I feel like maybe all of these trained professionals and experienced ED groupies, might almost have a really valid question.
Take away all these external indicators and labels that have so long allowed me to provide a really beautifully projected bio, and what will you find? Some scars, for sure. But I’m also definitely seeing the emergence of an incredibly, amazing mother; like even better than the labels and visuals testified of.
And so what this tells me, is that while the destruction of all that I knew and loved has brought me to the very edge of my sanity, integrity (I’ve had some seriously shady thoughts, folks), and even my own mortality, peeling back the carefully and intentionally placed layers of an exceptional top coat, just may lay bare something incredibly more wondrous and valuable. And if it’s laying just below my surface, how many of us out there are needing someone to help remove the fragile facade and discover their underlying treasure?