At the border

I make my way to the cafe. I caught a sight of myself in a window reflection… I rather ignore it, no point in allowing her to ruin this moment… Once I reach the person I’m meeting up with, I cannot ignore her any longer.. Instant regret on the outfit that-in my distorted mind- makes me look bigger than I already am… Silence her, Silence her, Silence her…

I ventured out today without thinking of triggers, weight, how much sugar I have consumed and how little I have worked-out this week.  I met up with a young girl I met at my recovery group without ever thinking she could be a trigger too… To be fair I,once again,  thought I had it under control-.
Seeing someone sit across from you in a group is not the same as seeing someone next to you- duh! of course-.
She was much shorter than I thought-already started feeling like a giant (couldn’t help the thought that he might like me more if I was her height)- She was much thinner than I remember-started feeling like a shapeless blob-…
I am, however, happy to say that I am still standing strong…. Holding my space at the very least… Not crossing that threshold where Ana waits for me with open arms… Calling me, tempting me back… Making promises that I want to hear and believe, but by now know to be fallacies… My knees may be quivering, my urge to jump back to old habits may be stronger than two days ago… My mind is filled by her shrill voice-joder, she is rather loud now-; I chose my keyboard.

Must not listen to her, must not listen to her, must not listen to her…

Nothing new about this situation, I can handle it-or try my best at the very least-… take deep breaths, reground, find your center, clear your intentions, reconnect with your soul… Understand the gut-wrenching-self-destructive thoughts… Don’t ignore them, deal with them; counter act….
Easier said than done. Seeing her and catching up with this sweet girl was quite worth the unexpected trigger… Getting out of one’s comfort zone is definitely a way to grow, break old patterns and face your deepest and darkest fears; Ana is one of them for me.  I have come a long way, and it is rewarding to realize it… At least I was able to enjoy my time catching up with my young acquaintance… Once I was alone in my car, it became much more difficult to ignore her already gushing voice… He would definitely prefer you smaller, thinner, less flabby and more active blah, blah, blah… On she goes with the hurtful comments…
How to counteract, how to remain away from her?  Breath, just cause she is louder does not mean she is 100% back and in full control… A small part of me still wants that, beware of that…
Get home, feed and nurture yourself with food, positivity and self love… Definitely a priority.  Do not allow that urge to out-do yourself working out… Remember that exercise compliments a healthy nutrition for mind, body and soul… Keep clear and self-loving intentions…
Over all remember that this is an on going battle… An every day thing…

 

At the brink of change

“And you don’t have to change a thing the world could change its heart” -“Scars to your beautiful”, Alessia Cara

I stumbled upon this song by the time it was starting to be over played by the radio stations last year. I’d say the lyrics are somewhat relatable, in a general sense; when I heard the song the first time, they sort of spoke to me.  As a woman in recovery from an eating disorder, the lyrics truly do more than speak to me, they somehow described me; sometimes they still do.  Earlier this year I was struggling to fight off an over-a-year-long depression (and 16 years of torture) that was slowly embracing me into an abyss of negative uncertainty, doubt and fear.  I was, however, ready to change.  I was determined to be able to be happy.  I clung to this song as a form of positive mantra, a form of guidance towards a new mentality…
Nowadays the song is not as over played, it’s a random chance to catch it on the radio; at least for me.

Interestingly enough the song triggered many flash backs to excruciating moments; most I’d much rather pretend never happened.  Denying these moments doesn’t seem the right thing to do either, though… I wouldn’t be where I am now had it not been for those mainly self-inflicted-painful-moments… But still… sometimes it’s easier, less embarrassing, less painful, to forget.
During my darkest and deepest moments into my Anorexia, I had managed to completely disconnect from myself…. My thoughts were consumed by her, that distorted, self destructive perception… I was hurting my body, my soul, my mind… I was lost in the darkness of myself hatred…
Today it’s different. Not because Ana’s voice is gone. She’s always there.  It’s different because I found myself.  And it’s an everyday beautiful and daring challenge, to learn about oneself… To truly see my soul in the mirror and learn to love it. It’s even more challenging to see my self, full body, in a mirror; naked or not, I feel exposed regardless…  As I shed old patterns and exchange negativity for positivity, peace and love… I feel a sense of growth, an inner peace to which I’m growing use to… My soul resonates warmly within myself, and I’m peacefully happy. Alhamdulillah.  I don’t take it for granted, it has taken me a long time to reach this point…. I can now smile at the reflection in the mirror, she looks back trusting, happy…

Still, some days are easier than others…

As I continue to write I suddenly realize that I am a month and a day away from my 30th Birthday… Joder, when did I grow up???

Big change… “I still feel as I did when I was 21” jajaja In all honesty, it is somewhat a lie… The truth is I have come a long way since I was in my early 20’s. Mentally, physically, emotionally, intellectually… And to be honest, my body has changed-despite people telling that I look exactly the same- jajaja
True, I do look young for my age- I think me being almost flat-chested and my lack of fashion have a lot to do with that misconception-, but I do start to see where my wrinkles will form as my skin ages…  Natural platinum highlights begin to appear-I see you grey hairs! welcome-… Well, my grey hairs came around my mid 20’s, I blame school for that… I did not accept them back then, instead I decided to dye my hair black.  Now I kind of like them, kind of… jajaja
I definitely do feel the difference in energy and stamina, in my early 20’s I could go out dancing for the weekend, and I’d still wake up at 7:00 in the morning, work out, and then study.   At 29, at the cusp of the third floor, round two of being an adult, one cannot simply attempt to do such a thing.  I have learned to appreciate sleep and rest way too much… Early-possibly-chronic-aches begin to make themselves noticeable… The lack of sleep is more detrimental than before, and it is definitely tougher to pretend otherwise… Over all, I have learned to care for myself, something I did not do in my 20’s… I stretch more, do more yoga, I make it a point to nurture myself, my body and my soul…

Again, some days are easier than others….

Being more conscious about an issue that one has, or the goals to reach, is only the first step… Actually doing the work to getting there, is another story… Time is the best excuse to not do the work, somehow there is hardly enough time. Well, at least the way we measure it is not enough…  Next year is only 4 months away… somehow it’s August already… and I will be 30 in a month…. Joder.

But since I am being honest, am I really upset that I’m on the third floor? Not fully.  It is crazy to accept the fact that we do actually age… and that 30 is actually not that old (jajaja or that’s what we say once we approach/ reach it)
I am at a much better place going onto my 30’s than I ever was during any of my 20’s… I feel myself at the brink of change… of adventure…
As I slowly slip out of my 20 year old cocoon and I’m ready to be better, happier, healthier, wiser… and continue to be so…
Going into my thirties and Je vois la vie en rose… 

Addio Ana…

 

On the other side of the door

Click, click, click… The familiar sound of the keys, funny enough, sounds a bit foreign… It has indeed been too long… I like to feel the smoothness of the keyboard, the sound as I press down on each key begins to feel more comfortable, inviting even… As if they want me to continue typing, writing, sharing…

It seems to be a pattern for me to start my blog by sharing how much I have missed it… If I love it so much, why do I not blog more often?  Quite truthfully, I just don’t make time for it… I started prioritizing my focus on academia…  Over all, however, I was prioritizing my focus on Ana… (Yes Ana, I am talking about you… shut up and leave me alone)…  As soon as she notices that I talk about her, her voice fires up and she opens  the door to all the dark places in my mind… The beauty of it, nowadays at least, is that I am standing at the opposite side of that door (as oppose to being in there with her, at the edge of that door, wanting to get out but desperately clinging on to her)… On this side, further away from her, I see some light…. I don’t really have the urge to venture past the door (or the urge is not as latent) and lose myself in the deepest corners where she resides… As I sense this new feeling of authority over her, I try to remember how I got here, how did I manage to cross that threshold… To be honest, corny, cliché… I crossed that threshold with love… Love for life, love for my hobbies, love for my time… Love for myself.

It’s odd… It’s difficult to express it… I figured it’d be easier now, now that I can say it out loud… Say it without feeling selfish, ashamed, embarrassed, self conscious or guilty… And yet, I still feel hesitant to write this…

I look back to when I started my masters degree… That’s when I started to feel her getting stronger, I couldn’t fight her, I let her win… I thought she would help me… She always seemed like the best and only option… Two years later- sixteen years later, if I’m being honest- I am finally breaking free, we’re in different sides of that door… that premise where she has taken residence and refuses to leave… where she encompasses all my insecurities and holds all my fears and triggers … Though I am further away from her, we are still holding hands… She still calls to me, she still lures me to where she is… I don’t listen as much anymore, I am stronger and better able to keep her where she belongs… Away from my happiness, away from myself…
So what has changed? The answer to that is, again, love… Self love.  To most people it’s obviously simple, I suppose… For me, however, it has been harsh and complicated to accomplish, to admit and to continue to practice… It turns out, as in other relationships, self-love is an everyday practice (an everyday battle for me)… As I continue to type, I begin to feel awfully exposed and vulnerable… as if all my nerve endings were exposed… naked and raw…

I use to hate the reflection in the mirror… I’d be disgusted by it… And her voice would start (still does) to attack that reflection, making me hate it even more… It started as a joke really… A “what would happen if I told myself that I love myself” moment… I plucked up what little courage I could manage to approach the mirror (she gets louder the moment she sees that reflection)… after a few failed attempts to get myself to say those words out loud… I was finally able to say them “I love you, I love myself”… The world stopped, that deep dark hole that consumed me-that filled me with an emptiness that became an abyss within myself, where I felt lost, alone and disconnected- finally began to change, to repair itself… I felt complete, I wasn’t empty anymore… I continued to say them out loud… to my reflection, to myself… And I felt every crevice of my soul healing a little… After so many years of self loathing, self torture… I am finally able to see myself… I was able to breath and not feel like I was becoming undone (as how it felt back then, with your absence, when our story ended)… I can breath in deeply and come back alive…My soul is not empty anymore… And I figured that was it, the end of the drowning darkness where Ana resides, from where she still calls to me… It turned out to be the breaking point of self discovery…
I still struggle with Ana… It’s hard to say no to her, to not listen to her… over all it is quite difficult to stay on my side of the threshold, and keep her at a distance.. She can be so tempting and inviting… But it is a beautiful thing to know that I don’t need her, I don’t want her… To know that I want to break apart from her and discover this new journey of self love and self acceptance… To embrace the defects she hates and constantly points out… To be able to look at myself in the mirror and admit that I love myself, is such a sweet feeling… And though I have just started, and I am aware of how easy it is for me to fall back.. Knowing that she will always be there to catch me, she is always hoping I will go back… a weirdly twisted form of loyalty… As I stand on the other side (scared, excited, hesitantly venturing towards self discovery and self love) I smile, take a deep breath and I realize that, in deed, “to be free is very sweet”…

Caged

Crispy fresh air running through my hair, caressing my skin, the smell of a new day awakening, the sound of my shoes on the gravel as I sprint along the road.. I wake as the day and it’s diurnal creatures begin their daily task.  Breathing heavier, harder, pushing my muscles to an extreme, running to the beat of a song, it pushes me even further, the adrenalin and the exhilaration with every stride. A pump that pushes my every stride with new oxygenated blood.. My surroundings blurred as I pass them by.. “More speed, more speed, more speed, push your self, push your limit”. That was always my motto, my mantra.. Everything would disappear, my worries, my stress, my pounds. Now, three months of being unable to run. I sit, and look at my self in the mirror, without recognizing who stares back… A chubby thick, shapeless girl.That’s the image I have of myself, where ever I go (and that is why I avoid mirrors or anything that reflects back that lost girl)…
The voice starts again, a high shrill voice, she keeps telling me how much I have gained, how horrible I look, and once again, I detest myself.   How did she come back?
All memories of people’s taunting come back, and I can’t take it anymore. I don’t want to see anyone, I seek no company but my own, and that shrill voice…
Like a bird behind bars, kept from flying, my soul yearns to go out and run, escape from myself, be able to sit through a meal, enjoy a chocolate, without thinking of my weight.. Without feeling judged…
I miss running…

Work out inhibitions

I have never been a fit girl… In fact my childhood consisted of candy, and taunting (which came from kin and foe) .. As the heaviest of all my cousins and siblings, I was constantly reminded of my weight and how horrible my body looked in comparison to my slender cousins… Mind you I was only 8 when it started.  As I grew into my teens, things got worse and I became a chubby child.  I have all sorts of quotes branded into my brain by my grandparents and aunts and uncles.. even some of my eldest cousins.. Esthetics are rather important in my family… Well, at least in my extended family, my immediate family got a rude awakening to weight problems… By the time I was 15 I got so traumatized by my weight that I looked for a way out.. And I found an eating disorder… Almost 10 years later, I still struggle to keep a healthy weight without losing my mind and without torturing my self.. Of course the taunting has stopped (from my extended family, and from other peers)  Most of the torturing and taunting I have done on myself.. It takes years (specially if your family pesters you about something and does not teach you other wise) to understand that outside opinions, words, and other form of input, can affect you only if YOU allow it.. It took me six years to distance myself from the death trap that an eating disorder can be.. By the time I was 18 my parents finally realized that I was not losing weight but was rather sick and unhealthy, at the verge of becoming seriously ill from it.. At that point, I was no longer allowed to do as I pleased, four years later, I had managed to be at a healthy weight… And above all, I saw the pain and suffering I caused my loved ones, I did not want to inflict pain or hurt them.. That was never my intention, so I stopped and tried my hardest to get out of my Anorexia…  However, till this day, I struggle to see it as” healthy” and not “fat”.. I am still not happy with my body, but, I am not in deadly peril.. Instead of starving and torturing myself, I found a way to be safe and over all reach a goal where I can be fit and happy with my body.. The problem and stress comes when an injury happens and I have to stop working out.. That’s when I go crazy inside my mind.. I do not allow people inside my problem, I don’t want to pester them.. or rather, if I am being honest with myself, I don’t want people to worry and see that pained look in their eyes.. My parents deserve better than that.. and who has heard of a 26 year old with weight/ eating disorder problems… So, naturally, I keep it to myself.. and drown in it.. I need to run and be free of my mind sometimes, so it doesn’t get to me anymore..
A month ago, my back gave me problems and I gained two pounds.. Finally I managed to lose them when I was able to step into the gym again.. Sadly, I cannot run, or at least not outside.. I am constrained to a noisy machine that is repetitive and boring..  But I was getting better, and stronger and could finally work out again. Yesterday, my wrist got injured, and now.. I cannot work out again.. I feel desperate.. and sometimes it is so difficult to hide it.. I keep looking in the mirror and I see the image getting larger… I lose touch between reality and the idealism that haunts me..