Friday, February 13, 2009

Unanswered Questions

A friend once told me, "Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward."

Feeling particularly out-of-balance, anxious, and melancholy on my second day of winter break, I put home work aside, because what I really needed was perspective, and let's be honest that cannot be found in solving arithmetic problems for my PPST exam!

I've been journaling since 1st grade. Sure the quality has changed and I can't actually account for every single year of my life, but I've been overall pretty consistent. So this afternoon I cracked open my brown, leather bound journal starting June 17, 2007, the summer before leaving for Cambodia.

Much has changed. Much will continue to change. Several things stood out to me. Oh what we can learn from the past.

June 16, 2007: "I am tired of dealing and living with a struggle nobody seems to understand, including me. You are disgusting and fat. I can't believe you ate that. What's wrong with you? Notice a trend? You are pathetic and weak. You are a slob. You will never be thin, beautiful, or happy. You don't deserve it. Do other people view me as disgusting as I view myself?"

Interesting how I look at pictures of myself 3 years ago and wish I looked like her, but was never satisfied with it even when I had it. Hmmm...

June 28, 2007: "So what would I, Heather Bohlender, look like without this eating disorder? Wow, that thought really makes me smile! I would be drop-dead gorgeous. I would be beautiful because I would be content with just who I was. I would be confident, I would believe in myself, I would laugh at myself, I wouldn't be ashamed to cry. I would take ownership of my life and live it for me and no one else. I would be proud of myself. I would be more forgiving, kind, and compassionate towards myself. I couldn't be held back by my fears. I would make decisions on what I want, not what I "should" want. I would have more love for he people in my life. I would not be so judgmental. I would have hope for the rest of my life because I would be more aware of God.
I will be free spontaneous, adventurous, and daring, spirited and excited. I will be in love with life, but only enough to get me to the next.
God we are going to get through this. I know it."

I'm glad for where I'm at now. I mean come on, I used to count every calorie, count the number of bites, repeat memorized mantras before every meal, have pre-measured portions in mind, find out menus days in advance to prepare, avoid eating in front of people, and if I did always eat less than they did. Yeah, I'm glad for where I'm at.

August 2, 2007: "I am scared. What if I get to Cambodia and nobody likes me? What if I can't adjust to the culture? What if I am a bad teacher? What if people here don't even notice that I'm gone? What am I going to miss out on by leaving? What will I turn into? Will I like the new me? Will my friends and family want the new me?"

August 13, 2007: "I made a deal with God, if at any point in church there was a time for testimony, I would tell the entire church then and there that I had an eating disorder. I was so ready to get this off my chest, but the opportunity never came, so I didn't. The longer I sat there debating it, the stronger the urge became. I think I want to blog about this next year. Then, I wouldn't have to individually tell people or deal with their reactions. They can have a year to think on it. I can move on. I no longer to feel the shame. I would be free."

I am free.

August 14, 2007: "I can't remember what "normal" feels like. I don't remember what it feels like to eat and move on. I fear eating. Sometimes food is a necessary evil. I doubt most people feel that way. I cannot remember any differently. I watch people on T.V. and think, "Are they dreading their next meal?" Looking at people in magazines, I wonder, "Are they regretting that they ate today too?" I figure that food consumes everyone's thoughts as much as it does mine. I don't know any differently."


August 15, 2007, 1 week until Cambodia:"So here I sit. Plenty of air to breathe, but too much on my mind to breathe it. I can hardly focus. What am I getting myself into? I feel somewhat paralyzed by my own thoughts. I can hardly sleep at night. My brain won't shut off to get the sleep I desperately need. When I sleep I dream about getting raped. I don't want to be around people. I force my smiles. I'm tired of all these unanswered questions."

It is interesting to read about the months leading up to Cambodia, because I was so uneasy, anxious, nearly paralyzed, and having nightmares about being raped. Was this a warning that I ignored? Was the universe trying to tell me something I wanted to ignore?

It's the unanswered questions that make life worth living. Part of me fears what I'll be reading from my journals 3 years from now. I'll probably read and think, That silly girl thought she had it all figured out, she had another thing comin!

"Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward."