7/4/2016: This has been saved as a draft for over two years. I found it today because I’m once again in a weird place where I don’t know who I am or what I’m trying at. I’ve been reading old emails, scrolling way back in time on social media, I’ve even got a box of old diaries from my teens that I am not quite brave enough to look at. I always encounter a stranger when I read what the younger me had written. Today I started reading the words below, expecting to be annoyed with my old self for getting it wrong again and not knowing a thing about myself or life or anything at all. But I met myself here on this page, and it is such a warm and unexpected gift.
Something…is wrong with me.
I either don’t know what it is or I’m hiding from it because the knowledge of this wrongness is too much to try and reconcile with myself. Changing seasons usually send me into a tailspin; in the fall it’s the worst but spring has it’s own way of tearing a person apart.
It’s times like these that English fails me because we just don’t have the words for this. This…bursting restlessness. I want to explode outside of my body and straight up into the sky. And I’m trying to fold laundry or make a cup of tea or drive somewhere and my body is screaming, “Wrong! Wrong!” It’s like my skin is hanging on by a thread. It feels so urgent, this change I need to make.
I posted a few old essays (that’s what I’m calling my blog posts these days. My collection of personal essays. Roll with it, OK?) yesterday, I found them while I was digging through the archives of my old blog. I was trying to remember myself and see if I was still the same person, trying to snap myself back into my body since it feels lately like I’ve been hovering just above. I grabbed a few that I liked, where I felt like my writing was either funny or relatable or very, very honest. Some of the others things I read were as if they were written by a stranger. Instead of snapping me out of my funk it made me dive deeper. How can I change so drastically? A lot of my writing, both private and public, used to focus on food. I was food obsessed, always trying to find the right combination, the right lifestyle, the right amount of food, so that I could finally be at peace with it.
When you have a history of disordered eating, any peace you can make with food seems like the most important thing in the world.
Going vegan was almost a spiritual experience for me, I felt such relief and I really felt that I had closed the door on my twisted relationship with food. I’m not vegan anymore, which is obviously where this post was heading, and I almost didn’t even notice it. This is because, and this will be shocking, my bad relationship with food has never actually been about food. It’s been about me. The whole fucking time! It wasn’t going vegan that made me feel at peace with myself, it was being confident in a decision and trusting myself. I never do things like that. I don’t see myself, ever, and I don’t expect others to see me. So even when I made a good decision with my diet, and I felt happy and proud, it still wasn’t about the food. I never even noticed myself in there.
What’s happening now…I couldn’t even tell you. Most days I don’t really know if I’ve eaten or not, or had anything to drink aside from coffee. Several times a day I find myself so caught up in my work or my task or daydreaming that my body physically pulls me back into reality because I’ve actually stopped breathing and don’t realize it until those alarms of adrenaline and ear ringing go off to let me know something is wrong. I stop breathing, and I don’t even notice it until I’m…I guess about to die?
I’m not caring for myself, I’m not noticing myself. It’s happening again, and the last place it showed up was in my food this time. It’s always just been a symptom of something larger and it’s so literal and obvious I almost want to smack myself in the face.
Oh look. I’m not giving to myself. I’m not making the right choices, my priorities are wrong, I’m not setting my future self up with health or happiness. I don’t like myself and I’m being a total dick to me.
And…it’s easier to continue on the strange broken down path you’re on than to stop and face the truth and make the hard decisions. It’s a matter of believing you can do the work, believing you deserve a different life or a different path, and having the support to know that you can start over and the messy pieces that come shooting out of the wrong life aren’t going to be the foundation for your new one.