#2029

It’s “the holidays”, so let’s talk about… eating disorders! (Wah wah.)

I’m about to throw a big ball of crazy at you, so fair warning. Possible triggers: eating disorders, anxiety, OCD, and chronic illness.

I don’t want to bore you with my whole life story, so I’ll try to give you the relevant highlights. I have always had stomach problems: cholic as a baby, a lactose intolerance diagnosis in elementary school, and an IBS diagnosis in high school. Add to this an anxiety disorder that makes my stomach rock and roll whenever I’m nervous, excited, angry, or upset and you have a bad, bad combination. Basically, my stomach hurt all the time when I was a kid and I rarely knew why. Food became dangerous and untrustworthy; something that was fine the day before might upset my stomach the next day. I was miserable (and frequently still am).

In college, I added to all this a healthy dose of body issues. I was a chubby child but it never bothered me, as I eschewed most of society’s expectations for the female body. Sometime in college the bad body vibes hit me, though, despite my best efforts, and I’ve never been able to shake them. My food anxiety and OCD combined with the shiny new body issues and morphed into a stronger, faster, meaner obsession. I counted calories, carbs, portions, and anything else that was trackable. About a year out of college, I had managed to get my body, which likes to be between 132-135 pounds, down to 111. I had even managed to cease my menstrual cycle completely, which was awesome but not super healthy.

Nowadays I’m back to a proper weight, but still in a weird limbo where my anxiety-ocd-body-issues monster is constantly at war with my queer, feminist side that strives to cast off all the gross social conditioning and love my body exactly how it is. Every single day I expend so much energy worrying about my weight, my IBS, what I should eat to be healthy, what I should eat to be skinny, what I should eat to be comfortable and happy and not-crazy that I exhaust myself. If I have one cookie on the weekend, I mentally berate myself for it. If I take a day off from exercising because my stomach hurts, I swear I’m already a pound heavier. Even this very moment, while I write this, I’m craving Chex Mix but no, it’s so many calories, what if it makes my stomach hurt, I shouldn’t! Rinse and repeat forever.

All of this is to explain why Thanksgiving and Christmas have gone from being my favorite holidays to ones I dread through all of September, October, and November. See, I love eating and the winter holidays have the best food – pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, candied yams, mashed potatoes, honey rolls, hot chocolate, donuts and cheese danish on Christmas morning… mmm! More than anything, though, I love eating my mom’s stuffing. It’s soaked with butter and chock full of dried and fresh fruit, and I would eat it every day of my life if I could. But stuffing isn’t a good food according to my OCD brain. It’s bad for my stomach; it’s high in calories; it has no nutritional value. How dare I have even one bite?! So for the last ten or eleven years, the holidays have involved far more anxiety and internal panicking than enjoyment of the dishes I love. I drink water to fill myself up to the point of pain, and I eat a big, healthy breakfast so I’m not tempted by the Christmas donuts. When I have one anyway, I then spend the day wondering how I can sneak away from the festivities to work out. It’s pathetic, honestly, and majorly depressing.

I am going to change that this year. Or at least, I’m really going to try. I want to eat a nice dinner without worrying about my stomach beforehand and hating myself afterward. Wouldn’t that be nice? It really would. And I deserve that. I deserve to enjoy the holidays with my friends and family. I deserve to nourish my body with food that is healthy and good, and to not feel guilty for giving it the fuel it needs (or the treat I want!). I deserve to live free of anxiety and obsession. I deserve to live my life, to be present in every moment, and so does everyone else in similar situations. There are so many of us hurting out there, starving our bodies and souls to meet impossible ideals, and there’s just no reason. We weren’t put on this earth to make ourselves suffer.

I think this will be my goal for 2018 – to be kinder to myself and to love myself, not despite my various burdens but because of them. Maybe 2018 will be the year that I get to know my body again. We’ve been at war for too long.

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#1997

The human body is astoundingly stubborn; it clings to life long after the will to live has bled from the spirit. Deny it sustenance, deny it rest, deny it more than a bare modicum of care or attention and still it struggles to rise each day. You can force your body to breathe ash and swallow poison, yet still your heart labors to beat as long as it possibly can. It’s sad, really, to think that every cell in your body struggles unceasingly to survive when you couldn’t care less if you even live through the night. I’d have died years ago if it were up to me. Somehow I keep waking each morning, though, so I’ll just keep going until the day I don’t. Give up, heart. Give in, lungs. Nothing in this world is worth your desperate striving. I long for the day I’ll never see, when you have finally learned to let go.

#1992

Can asexuals feel love?
Fun fact: no, we can’t!
I’m just a monster with a barbaric heart.
In some states it’s legal to shoot me on sight;
in others you need a permit.
I’ve been waiting for someone to put me out of my misery.
It hasn’t happened yet, but still I hope.

#1984

The abandoned hospital hunched amid deep shadows and bright floodlights, the latter placed there to dissuade interlopers from trespassing on the construction zone at night. Despite the lights, the chainlink fence was cut in a dozen places and fresh graffiti scrawled over both the building and the waiting construction equipment. As if sensing tonight’s intended activity, however, the usual rebellious teens seemed to be giving the site a wide berth. Only one figure moved between light and darkness, their shadow tall and straight as the floodlights threw it up against the hospital walls. Tanim, standing beyond the touch of the lights, watched this shadow for several long moments before ducking through a hole in the fence. Gravel crunched beneath his feet as he approached, the sound absurdly loud in the still night. He paused at the black mouth of an underground garage to let his eyes adjust before descending the ramp.

“If you plan on stopping me, I suggest getting out of my way,” Tanim’s eyes just barely picked Daren out in the darkness, a stray shaft of light glinting off the small blade in the man’s hand. The voice itself was warning enough – the knife merely made good on the threat. Swallowing, Tanim held up his hands and slowed his pace, leaving a good distance between them. “I don’t want to stop you,” he soothed, “I just want to know what you’re doing.” He nodded to the bag slung over Daren’s shoulder and the metal cylinder at his feet. The man had stowed two other such cylinders around the building in the time Tanim watched him; how many others he had already placed, Tanim could only guess.

“Too much evil has been done here,” Daren tapped the cylinder with one foot while his eyes pinned Tanim in place. With the same foot he then knocked the cylinder back, causing it to roll up against the support column behind him. He seemed to wait for some answer, perhaps a protest, but Tanim gave none, only nodded in understanding. Daren pocketed the knife, though Tanim knew it would be back in his hand in half a second if he felt threatened, and gestured into the bowels of the garage. “There’s one left.” He pulled the final explosive from his bag and set off into the darkness. Tanim followed at a wise distance.

#1973

I want to love you
but you make it so hard
we fight over everything
and you cry so fucking much
can you please get a hold of yourself?

I want to love you
but you make it so hard
you’re cold and breakable as porcelain
and anxiety riddles you like hairline fractures
do you even have a backbone?

I want to love you
but you make it so hard
you can’t do anything totally right
and mostly you just fuck things up
would it kill you to accomplish something?

I want to love you
but you make it so hard
you are flawed through and through
and have been from the start
must you always disappoint me?

I want to love you
but you make it so hard
I’m tired of giving excuses for you
and accommodating your whims
don’t you think you owe me by now?

I want to love you
but you make it so fucking hard
I want to find freedom in acceptance
and yet I slip back twice for every inch I gain
are you as tired as I am?