Brooke (weaseldance) wrote,

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I was reading a blog on NEDA's website about people preparing for Thanksgiving, and I was commenting on some of the message boards. I forgot, until I started reading it, what it was like. I genuinely forgot how scary it was, how difficult it was, and how I told no one. I was too ashamed to say, "Hey I know we have food, and I'm around family, but I'm actually having a really bad day today and I actually didn't keep anything down." I was ashamed because eating disorders are conditions of privilege. The fact that I had one means my life was pretty good. For that reason I felt such shame around it, and still do when I have harder days, because I feel like I'm wining about my privilege to have food. I know that's not how it works..
I remember high school was the worst. I didn't eat much around the holidays, but if I did, I purged and starved pretty obsessively afterward. I don't know how to describe it. It doesn't really matter. You have to be there to get it. But what I don't understand is how my environment failed me so much. Why did they think it was ok to make my weight their obsession? Why was it ok for them to weigh me weekly and keep the numbers written down? In what universe is it to brag about my decreasing clothing size at the dinner table, or to give me "permission" to eat potato chips only when I was under a certain number of pounds? Why did she think it was okay to take me shopping and repeatedly tell me most of the store was off limits because it was reserved for pretty people? Was she jealous of me? No, she was struggling too.
I remember my surprise when I went to college and realized that I didn't have to think that way, that the people around me weren't thinking that way. That was so new to me. I remember Kaleigh coaching me to seek help and telling me that it didn't make me week to have a distorted brain. In many ways, I owe it to Blessing for cheating on me because it got me into counseling sooner. That was fairly good timing, sir.
I minimize it and I don't think about it often, for the reasons I talked about earlier and really because it's just another glimpse into my past, but when I read these blog posts from others who are where I was, I think and I feel grateful. By the grace of God and my own decision, I did it, silently and mostly on my own. I was surrounded by pressures not to be healthy, and still am to some extent, but they don't bother me anymore. Not only did I do it, but I've helped my mom do it for herself. My mom has eliminated body shaming talk and actually feels good about herself, and I know that it is in large part due to my constant gentle reminders to her that I won't tolerate it anymore. I'm grateful that I'm going to go to Galveston this year, and that I know without a doubt that I won't be purging. I won't be starving the day before or the day after. I won't be over or under eating, and I won't know how much I weigh at any point because I won't weigh myself. I know that I can read these holiday eating disorder posts and respond to them, that I can be a support to all these people I'll never meet without being triggered myself, because I know that I'm stronger than whatever addictive restrictive personality I have. I'll have distorted thoughts. I'll have temptations. I'll feel for a second, or maybe eight, that I'm going to slip. But I'll notice it, write it down, and let it go, because that's what I have done consistently now for several years. I won't need to sneak into the bathroom to call the 24-hour Ed recovery line like I remember doing in 2011. I won't be sending vague half-desperate texts to my friends. I'll let it go, I'll avoid relapse, and I'll help others do the same.

With love,
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