Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chinese New Year

Two months ago I was contacted by Christian Record Services, an organization that provides resources for people who are blind. I was asked if I would come into the studio once a week to read and record my book so that people who are blind can listen to it in audio form.

Revisiting my book for an hour each week has been insightful. Every week I get to sit down in a sound-proof booth, put on headphones, take a few deep breaths, and just read. I get to slow down. I get to stop long enough to take a time-out and enter another world.

I read.
Sometimes I mispronounce my own words, stumble, and have to start over.
Sometimes I read a sentence and realize: I didn't write that, the publisher snuck it in!
Sometimes I finish a chapter, shake my head, and think, Oh, girl! Take a few deep breaths. Sometimes she annoys me and sometimes I wish she wasn't me.

Today I read chapter 33, entitled, "Chinese New Year."

This chapter reflects on a song I had written the year before about pain. I had re-read the lyrics and was feeling stagnant. It reads: "I wish I could report improvement, but I don't feel it. The words were true to me then; they still are. So after a year has passed, why don't I feel better? I'm still fighting the same demons every day. I have been living with this eating disorder for nearly two years. Amidst different opinions on the topic, some say I'll never fully recover."

Most of the time when I read my book, I look at that girl with pity and am so glad to be somewhere better. Today when I read my book, I recognized her all too well.

Lately, I've felt slippage. I've felt overwhelmed with ED behaviors sneaking back into my life. I've been scared. I've been afraid to be left alone with myself in a room for fear of what I might do. Reading this chapter today reminded me: I've been here before. In fact, I've been here several times before.

The girl who wrote that chapter was two years into an eating disorder.
The girl who read that chapter today is now approaching five years.

The girl who wrote the chapter was frustrated that she wasn't "fixed" already.
The girl who read that chapter today knows that healing comes slowly. In baby steps.

The girl who wrote that chapter felt hopeless and pessimistic.
The girl who read that chapter today took the cue from the girl who wrote it, and decided, yes, decided, that history need not repeat itself.

It need not, but it could.

Our fate, I do believe, is not formed by chance or fairy godmothers. Our fate is determined. By choices. Day-by-day. Week-by-week. We are living, breathing products of our decisions. Of our beliefs.

"Will I apologize? Or save face and pretend I wasn't wrong?"
"Will I ask for help? Or preserve pride and suffer?"
"Will I continue tearing myself apart with this addiction? Or will I consciously choose another path?"

An Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

1. I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

2. I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it. I fall in. I can't believe I'm in the same place, but it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

3. I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there. I still fall in. It's a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

4. I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

5. I walk down a different street.



Anthony said...

Choices...what a heavy responsibility.