03 April 2010


If only I could live within all the beauty of this world and beyond . . .

If only I could be free. I dream of freedom. It remains elusive, and I am beginning to think I am impeding  my own recovery from anorexia. I am beginning to realize that I only I hold the key to being well. My doctor asked me the other day — why do I persist in trying to prove to myself that I am unable to recover, when I was able to do it before. But, I said, that was just weight restoration. No, he replied. You were beginning to be restored to life.

As my mind flies back to the months before my relapse, it really does seem like a dreamworld. Now I've re-entered the world of Ana. Every morsel is suspect; every bite is taken with fear.

Still, I dream. Why can't I stop? Why can't I just accept I have anorexia and let it take its course? After all, Ana keeps throwing her tricks at me and I fall for every one of them; I try everything I can think of to destroy my body. In the process, I sometimes feel I am destroying my soul. Even today, I tried (but failed) to purge a normal meal. Both my doctor and a good friend have told me God must have been watching over me during my first failed attempt to purge. If so, how long can I expect God to be patient with me?

Oh yes, I've written my obituary in my head many times and my greatest fear is that it will read that I died of "complications due to anorexia nervosa." That will be my defining moment, what everyone will remember about me. That I was thin, and that it eventually killed me. And nothing else will matter — not being a loving (albeit difficult) wife, daughter and sister; an award-winning journalist; a graduate student who has been called "brilliant" by two different professors; and, most importantly, someone who cannot live nor breathe without writing.

Still, I dream. The pictures of above are beautiful representations of my dreams of recovery. I want to dive into the colors, be immersed in the rich reds and deep blues. I want to swim amongst the stars, stare in wonder at the constellation of Cassiopeia. I want to dance with the fireflies.

Today, I moved amongst the butterflies at a local exhibit. The soft creatures fluttered around, gliding in and out and stopping to rest on a succulent flower or juicy bit of apple. The room was warm and humid, filled with people. The butterflies sometimes appeared a bit dazed by all noise and confusion.

Then I came upon a broken butterfly. Its brown and blue wings were ripped in pieces. This butterfly seemed tired, and fluttered by itself and would often hide behind a potted plant. My heart reached out toward this broken butterfly; its body was broken and my body is broken. The butterfly rested on my finger after some gently coaxing, and I whispered assurances that it was still beautiful in spite of the tattered wings.

For a few moments we were friends, and the butterfly's wings fluttered opened, showing the still-brilliant blue of a dusky sky.


Telstaar said...

I love this picture of the butterfly... how we all need people to treat us like you gently treated that beautiful butterfly... how much do we need people to see the brokenness and take a risk on the potential and stick with us until we can show (and even see for ourselves) the beautiful blue inside of our wings... xo

I Hate to Weight said...

ah, it is devastating what eating disorders take from us.

i used to say i am my eating disorder. and i'd argue hard with anyone who disagreed. the ED was my whole life and mind and even my heart

you're an award-winning journalist, a brilliant student and a born writer.

one day you will begin to enjoy these things again.

do you resist recovery? i know that feeling. i'm still drinking. and i've been taking prescription drugs on and off to "ease the pain" of my life at the moment. (i haven't written this anywhere else.) too afraid my fiance will find it.

enough about me. keep writing, angela. have faith that you absolutely have the ability to recover. be gentle with yourself

Jenn Lynne said...

Wow. This post has so many thoughts within it that brought about a lot of emotions from me. I too had a talk with my doctor this week. She told me "jennifer, God has given you a deck of precious cards and now you're only holding onto so many. You must keep hold of those that you have left and stop throwing them away. They are precious!" It has really stuck with me.
And then your description of the butterfly...wow. And just the symbolism of butterflies in general made this post so moving. Thanks for sharing!

Kris said...

You have a gentle soul and a considerable talent with words. Together they make you very special. You are much more than your eating disorder, but, like when you have a sunburn, that is all you can think about. You will heal and your talents will take you far. We who read these post are smart people from many walks of life who have valid opinions. What I have read in the comments is that many people are feeling a comradeship with you, that you have touch a tender spot and given it words. Thank you. That is very hard and admirable. xx kris