Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Nudist

I threw up last Sunday.

I looked at myself in the mirror, whispered a few curses to the reject reflected in it and went about my business. I wasn't planning on it. I found myself in the bathroom before I realized how I got there. My family went to Blockbuster. I went to the toilet. I admitted this to my mom and sister when they got home. They held me while I cried and apologized.

I called my friend Sierra. She's wise. She told me to do the next right thing, to do something to remind my body that I still loved it. I took a bubble bath, staring at the flicker of candlelight on the shiny metal faucet for a few hours while I blew bubbles in the water. Exhausted. Defeated.

Throwing up rids me of that uncomfortable feeling of fullness. So, in a sick way, even though I hate the behavior, I love the effects. I feel better. I don't have to deal with the discomfort. I don't have to handle the emotion. I just quickly forget about it and pretend it never existed. Essentially I never learn to deal, I learn to avoid.

The next day, I picked Jeremy up from the airport and weeped bitter and shame-soured tears. How could I do this again? Doesn't he grow tired of this? He held my hands in his. We took deep breaths. We started over.

For the next few days, I felt fragile. Breakable. Tense. I eat quickly and without talking about it. I avoid food as much as possible. I watch my parents enjoy eating. Dad often finishes his meals with ice cream. I watch Jeremy eat when he's hungry and stop when he's full. Food is just food, nourishment. Food is not loaded with emotional and mental anxiety for them. It blows my mind how easy it seems to be on most of humankind.

Sometimes I try to imagine myself as a cute, innocent 4 year-old, like my little cousin Cosette. She's the polka dotted cutie pie dancing with Oriel (left) and Destaney (center).

I would break into about 1,000 pieces if I found out that ten years from now, little, adorable, wonderful Cosette couldn't see what I saw and resorted to an eating disorder. I would break. It would hurt.

It's so easy to see her as good and pure and worthy. It's nearly impossible to see myself that way. But I was 4 years-old once too. Look at that tummy! I am rocking those pink Jelly shoes.

I keep this picture in a frame that reads: "Be Kind." Some days it's more effective than others. Like last Sunday. Sierra says, "Remember that little 4 year-old child. She doesn't deserve this." I remembered this right before I threw up, but I did it anyway. That's what made it so painful. I visualized the innocent 4 year-old version of myself, but I did it anyway. Who does that to a child?

Similarly, if I visualize this little child inside of me, she may be screaming and crying and begging to self-destruct, but as the grown-up, I can say, "I know you might not understand this, but I'm doing this for both of us." I can choose to respect me and my inner-child.

I mentioned the 4 year-old analogy to my dietician. "I like that," she told me. We talked about how remembering ourselves as children, as good enough, may be key to treating ourselves kindly. But further, she took it in another direction.

"A client of mine told me about a dream she had recently and it reminds me of what you're talking about." She continued to tell me about a dream in which many strong, vibrant women formed a circle hand-in-hand. The women stood proud and confident as a screaming child throwing a terrible tantrum pounded her fists on the outside.

She said, "What if you don't have to be the adult? What if you don't have to deny the inner-child? What if you said, 'You can't come in with that attitude, but we'd love to have you join us when you're calmed down.'"

I know the two voices in my head:
adult vs. child
wise mind vs. foolish mind
good vs. evil

What if it doesn't have to be "vs."? What if it's more of a compromise, a cooperation? I want to learn to listen to the screaming child's needs, but work with that voice to heal.

Our family friend, Tim, has known me since I was in diapers. I grew up with his kids. A few weeks ago, some friends of ours said, "So Tim tells us your a nudist." I spewed a fountain of orange juice.

"Umm, excuse me?" I blurted out. I stomped over to him, "I'm a nudist? What the heck are you telling people?" I implored.

"Well, you write like a nudist," he replied quite casually. He crossed his arms in front of his chest and smiled.

Guilty.
Transparent.
Nude.

Hmmmm.

After hearing a sermon at church last week, about how Adam and Eve were only ashamed of their nakedness after sin, Jeremy and I talked about how more people might go naked if the decision was unanimous for everyone. It's harder to bear-all when everyone else is walking around in so many layers. When someone from the topless side of the beach comes over to the "normal" side, suddenly it's the nudist who gets the cold shoulder.

Maybe I was meant to be a nudist. A few family videos might only further prove this point. I don't love writing this. I don't like admitting this. I don't write for pity. I write for therapy. I'm out of other options. I know what a life of secrecy has gotten me: hurt and alone.

I need healing.

I am healing.

One naked confession at a time.

6 comments:

Michael said...

Nudist! I love it. This is one of the many reasons I look up to you. I can't wait until I'm at a point to write like you do. One day...

Hannah said...

"I don't have to deal with the discomfort. I don't have to handle the emotion. I just quickly forget about it and pretend it never existed. Essentially I never learn to deal, I learn to avoid."

Yet how do you actually deal with something without dwelling, causing it to become a point of unhealthy thoughts rather than healing
resolution? (for lack of a better word)

The way I deal with things from my past (very different from how I now deal with issues from the present, so irrelevant) is exactly what you described above. I avoid, because I don't know how to achieve a positive (or even healthy) outcome by any other means.

I mean, our situations are different in specifics so maybe my question (non rhetorical, btw) isn't fair/irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

could your view of the curly tops be Gods view of each one of us?

Heather said...

I hope so

Carley Brown said...

I admire your writing and your honestly and I loved how you summed up the last part of this blog post.

Chris said...

love ya!