I’m happy to learn that I’m a good person, really. But how long do good people wait? I’ve been the patient one. Because I’m better at waiting than most. The understanding one. Because I DO understand. Honest because I can be, because it doesn’t always sound better, but it feels better. How long do honest people wait to hear the truth in return? To have something genuine thrown back at them? When does karma kick in? Because I’ve been giving, and waiting, and loving.
So, it turns out people read this. How cool is that? The answer is “Very cool.”
Before I worked at the flower shop that I work at now, I worked at a theater. For the total of one month. I hated the job, but looking back, I loved myself at the job. There are times in your life when you look back and realize that you would not do anything differently. I was myself there, I was myself to other people, I got along with with everyone, and when I left for the day, I left, not taking anything with me. No drama, no work stress. I stuck to my very few rules for work: Don’t say anything mean about anyone, and no matter what the job is, do it as best you can.
Every once in awhile you meet people and right from the start you know you’ll get along with them. This one’s name was Erik. I was hooked immediately, and when I found out he had a girlfriend, I made the decision for the first time in my life that I would just let it go. I could not and would not play with the lines between someone else’s relationship; I learned that lesson with Joel. I would like him silently and actionlessly. I would work alongside him, secretly excited, in my visor, oversized polo, and I-took-an-after-class-nap hair, and not say a word. I would act like I didn’t notice when I didn’t see him to say goodbye as I left, act like I didn’t memorize the days we worked together (“Oh! You’re working tonight? Crazy…) And I hoped like hell I would just turn into a lesbian. Very quickly.
I’ve always thought that the idea of secretly admiring a person from a safe and uncreepy distance was intriguing and beautiful; poetic.
The problem is, is in the past, my “secret” would last a day before I was either confessing my undying love (haha in one day, remember) or just be completely obvious. I used to melt to people. I’d let go of myself to be who I thought they wanted. For anyone reading, this is just a horrible horrible idea…never ever do it. You are a wonderful person right now and always, and changing for someone is ludicrous. ANYWAY, this time it was actually secret. I even met his girlfriend, and she was beautiful and clearly a great fit for him. We continued to work together, and I continued to be myself and keep my distance. Platonic. Not: Platonic-but-I’m-actually-trying-really-hard-to-win-you-over-(hair flip).
When I quit, I thought for an instant about never seeing him again, brushed it off, and walked out the door.
That was in October.
I got a message from him the other day; against his will, and morals, he secretly wished he had met me before his girlfriend.
And now I’m standing here, wondering “what the fuck?”
Love just doesn’t work out. You have two options: you stay in it forever, or it ends and it hurts. I have to question whether the whole “better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all” cliche is true. I think someone who was going through the end stages of a break up said this. Then a person apprehensive about entering a relationship read it, took it as fact, and entered into a relationship. The cycle continues. What DOES love actually do for us? It might make us better at loving, it might make it seem more rare and cherish-able when we find it; maybe it just gives us something to do and look forward to. But other than that…why not just eat the food that tastes great that you know you’re allergic too. Essentially, they end the same way. Your insides feel angry and you regret. Then somewhere down the line you think of what you “learned”, when really all you learned is irrelevant.
It’s like a shot of heroin: it will never be as good as the first time, getting it consumes your thoughts, and inevitably, you get fucked up.
The funny thing about uncomfortable shoes is that we can feel them pressing, squeezing,numbing and rubbing off pieces of skin, and yet we tolerate it. The even funnier thing about uncomfortable shoes is that when we try to put them back on after a few minutes of relief, the pain is unbearable. Inexcusable. We wonder how we could have been walking in them just minutes before.
It is amazing what we will endure when we feel it is the only choice.
I was trying to ask him about acceptance. And how it works. I told him that I’m sick of accepting; because once again I become the person who bites her tongue. The bigger person. He shook his head, and did the dance of dispelling. I love when he does that.
I was trying to understand how to accept without staying the same. How to accept while still having an opinion. How to accept while still telling someone, finally, after all this time, that you think they’re full of shit. And that you’ve always thought they were full of shit. That yeah, by the way, I’m still in love with you.
Because to me, acceptance sounded a lot like giving the fuck up.
Then I remembered that definitions are made up, and everything is made up, and I can do whatever I want. That rules are for those who need them.
Acceptance and I used to stand together in a room, acceptance staring me down with that condescending smile saying “Welcome to reality, bitch, deal with it and keep your mouth shut.” And I continued to hold me breath. Today that changed. Acceptance and I are now standing in a room together saying “Yep, this is what it is. What can you do with it?”
There are lots of red flags indicating that something’s wrong. The fact that I can’t hear my thoughts without giving into them. The way that I can’t sit still without feeling guilty. And finally, how I can’t sleep without my favorite little blue tylenol pm. 2, with a swig of water. I’m worried and thinking about everything, but I’ve been doing it so long that it’s second nature; It never seems to stop, and I can’t really hear it anymore. It controls me silently. Like cancer.
I just had to run-crawl up the stairs because A) I was in a hurry and B) My calves feel like sore cantaloupes from doing the row machine for the first time with reckless speed. My heart is beating so fast right now, I can’t even type what I want to say because it’s so intangible. I know with all certainty right now that my life is going to be HUGE. There’s a fear in me that it won’t even happen, but such a rush that it’s in me, everything I need is right inside of me. It’s going to happen. I’m going to make people laugh and I’m going to give them goosebumps. I’m going to give and I’m going to take and it will be amazing. And it will all make sense. Probably not that last one, but it sounded good.
Because there’s something in the way I laugh at myself, and something about the way that I stick to people, and they stick right back. There’s something about the way I get so excited and worked up about ideas, the way people say things, and the way I can’t help but say the first thing that pops into my head. I’ve fallen in love and broken up with the world so many times that I have no choice but to grab its attention.
And if in 30 years it turns out that I’m wrong…then at least this is just a blog post that no one (well 2 strangers) is following.
It swings back and forth, and everywhere in between. Waking up has been the worst, along with driving. Standing in Whole Foods was bad too. Crying in public places in general has been an adjustment. One minute the world is ending and I’ve lost the best thing I’ll ever have. (Swing) The next is a numb paralysis. (Swing) Then walking tall and singing Cake’s version of “I Will Survive.”
There are a few insights from today that are so crucial: 1. I’m a thinker. I think my way through problems, into imaginative projects, grabbing pieces of the puzzles and putting them together as I go. My relationships have been the first things to tug me around despite my best attempts at logical retorts. (Wtf mate? No one tugs ME around) My relationships have woken me up to the other half of me, the messy, irrational, sappy-song-listener, public-place-cryer that I didn’t know existed. 2. Logic/advice/wisdom have no place with love. They will not shift/influence/enhance it. Downplay it. Make it go away. All the logic in the world cannot and will not move the rocks in your stomach, remove the main stream the tears follow on your cheek, or loosen the tightening in your lungs. But it does swing back. It does. 3. The best things happen when I am myself. I didn’t see Brooks coming. I didn’t “hook” him. I was just wearing a vest and bowtie while complaining about my first job. We just grew into it. That relationship was the most healthy and natural one that I’ve had. I followed my heart and gut into it, followed them out of it, and continued to do so afterwards…even if it took awhile to speak up. He noticed me when I wasn’t putting on a show, and looking back I can see that that’s when I dropped the act for good.
"There are other fish in the sea." What they don’t go on to explain is that it is not our job to do all the work -cast a line and catch them, hold onto them until they flail and thrash away.
In fact, it has nothing to do wish fish at all.
My heart is panting from how exhausted it is, and yet I do have to admit, that running into an old classmate from middle school and reconnecting briefly earlier has been a nice fresh breath of “Oh yeah…other people DO exist.”
I was hoping each day would feel a little better, and maybe it does. Quite frankly this morning feels like shit. It’s like something has really changed. I’m not so much feeling it as I am sensing it right now. This morning feels SO weird. My room looks completely different and unfamiliar, last night seemed endless, and when my alarm went off this morning I didn’t even care. How can I care when I’ve got the casing from a love/heartbreak bullt lodged inside of me?
"Don’t they know that the AMAZING Dylan Mierzwinski is present?" "The one and only, greatest beauty of them all." Things he wrote me. I’ve googled "How to get over a break up" and similar combinations of words. I keep hoping they will say something different, but I already know to not sleep with him, to not drink myself to death, to remind myself that it wasn’t all great. I KNOW that, and all I can do is keep going. I hate how heartbreak makes your room look different, music sound hollow, the world feel like it’s actually no good anymore and that even though billions of people inhabit this place, I was with the ONE who is irreplaceable and has the best love. It didn’t hit me until I was driving to meet Aaron for a movie but: It took me over three years AFTER the relationship ended to realize I was dealing with love. And not only love but he was my first love. That should be an indication of how messy and crazy it is. My first love. HE was my first love. He WAS my first love. He was MY first love. He was my FIRST love. He was my first LOVE. I’m not the first person to write about love. But I am the first person to write about my love, and maybe that is why so many of us do it. Because despite all the similarities, none of our loves are the same, are they? Because no one can get inside of the space between two people to feel how intricate/beautiful/mystifying it is. Love is inimitable.
I hate it. I hated it when I was in it too. When Brooks and I were together, I loved swimming in it when he wasn’t around, because when he was there, fear was in the room too. And towards the end, when he was around I felt strangled and scared and wanted nothing more than to curl up in a ball by myself. It was so wonderful, and he made me feel too good. He was so interested in me..more interested in me than I had even been interested in myself and I didn’t understand. The first time I saw him I deemed him out of my league, never to like a girl like me. The first time we talked I had gotten new change for my drawer and said something like “look at how shiny these pennies are!”, an imbecile comment at first listen. But what he didn’t know was that I knew what I was trying to say. I was trying to say “isn’t it amazing how dirty things get just from touching human hands?” But it was enough. It started there. I was so proud of the way he looked at me. And I loved looking at him. He had electric light blue eyes and made me feel like the most important thing that could have walked into that theater wearing a maroon vest and black bowtie. It was enchanting at first, but I was so unsure, terrified of him learning about my life, my dad, my mom, the alcoholics who shouldn’t have had kids. So I pushed. Like I do. And as usual, it wasn’t until I was too late that I figured it out. Because that’s what love does for those not ready, for those not playing games; it takes your hand and leads you right into moving traffic. It’s a beautiful rush and then you hit, and it feels like you’ve hit everything, and everything is crashing into your chest.
I like the sound of shoes walking on gravel, and jingling car keys. The smell of laundry detergent. The way my hair blows in the wind when it’s wavy. My 16 year old cousin called an hour ago, drunk with her friends. I just texted Aaron and finally told him about this whole thing. “I Never Told You” by Colbie Callait is on repeat and I keep thinking about how warm that summer was because of him. How I’m scared I’ll never touch anything that great again. I’m a straight A student, with a great job that I love, who will be doing a dream film program this summer, with a loving family, an adoptive mother who cares about me, a beautiful warm house, food, air, and a best friend. And here I sit, miserable and heartsick. Afraid that the best thing I will ever have, happened when I was 16 and I hated it.
Brooks called. He took my call exactly as I intended (thank god) and he said he’ll always have a soft spot for me but the feelings are gone. He’s 100% in love with Beth Ann. The call hit me like a line of coke, a shot of heroin, a car accident’s rush of adrenaline. I shook, I cried, I felt hopeless and desperate. I wrote about it, wrote angry dramatic statements deeming myself incapable of ever being with anyone, took a shower, sang sad songs, and after, as I looked at myself in the mirror, I caught a glimmer of myself. Not just my physical self but ME. I can’t explain it any better than that. The pain and desperation and feeling of “MY WORLD IS OVER” that often accompanies a break up (even ones that happened oh I don’t know…four years ago) has slowly but surely started to dissipate. I can’t even describe this relief. The shit storm of realizing that the memories I’ve been holding onto are only memories no matter how alive I keep them isn’t all the way passed but the storm isn’t on top of me anymore either. Or rather, the storm isn’t inside of me. Telling Brooks was the best thing I could have done, him calling me back and being honest was the best thing he could have done, and where it goes from here, well friends, we’ll have to wait and find out.
A lot has happened; At least it feels like it. I’m listening to “Day Dreamin’” by Lupe Fiasco and I can feel the sex leaking out of me. Or maybe my butt’s just falling asleep. Not sure. Yesterday I met up with Melissa and attempted to drain all that was happening in my life to her. She -being in a similar rough spot- made me feel a little less crazy. She said a lot of things that made sense but probably the thing that made the most sense that I hadn’t considered was “punishment”. It explains the craziness in a way that I can’t. The eating when I don’t want it. The weight gain. The self sabotage. I asked my therapist about what I would be punishing myself for right as he was about to ask me the same question. For not being able to keep my parents around or happy. For not being wanted. For wanting to be happy when I “don’t deserve to be.” So today the focus changed to “not punishing myself.” I told my therapist about the resistance that builds when I try to change for the better. He says there’s absolutely going to be resistance in the beginning. He taught me about stepping back and listening to the craziness instead of giving into it. Hearing the persuasive arguments without immediately obeying. He suggested meditating and setting a certain amount of time and just listening. So I did. I set the timer for thirty minutes but could only do fifteen. It’s funny because I never really considered it this way. I waited for hunger today and just paid attention to the craziness in between. I’m not ready to call my mom yet. While I meditated I thought a lot about things I need to do, Brooks, and how it felt like things were crawling on me. I was bored and thought about how this was going on forever. I’ve thought of another painting, inspired by the ocean I’m swimming in now; my old shore still visible, the new one only a rumor. I wonder if I want both hands reaching for a rope, on second thought I’m not sure I want a rope, because a rope would mean something outside of myself pulled me out -when really I’m pulling myself through. I feel guilty for not learning/playing my guitar. I cried with Melissa and was so happy she was there. And that “Such Great Heights” was playing over the speakers. After, as I was driving to the theater, I tried desperately to make a plan. When I got there I didn’t see his car right away. I parked and before I could change my mind I was walking toward the door. I felt like the people knew I wasn’t there to see a movie and could see my heart thumping and my stomach turning inside out. As I approached the manager’s station I realized he wasn’t there, however, since I used to work there Jamie recognized me and I had no choice but to do something if I wanted to not look absolutely mad. According to yesterday me, my little brother is coming to town and I’m interested in their party room. When I got back to my car, I dialed his number; I was way too pumped up to not tell him at this point. The phone made a high pitch beep. I tried again. It happened again. “Move On” by JET came on my ipod…all bad signs. But I had to. 3rd/4th/5th try was a charm. My message was choppy and tongue tied, my hands shook, and I winced when I realized it was April Fool’s Day. I don’t know if he even got the message but I feel better knowing I said it out loud and chances are that somewhere out there, he heard it. Jack Johnson sings “too much silence can be misleading; you’re drifting, I can hear it in the way that you’re breathing.” And he’s right, silence is tough to interpret and dissect -but for the first time, I didn’t do it for his reaction. I did it for me. For my release. And where it goes from there, we’ll have to wait and see. “Make the love, paint the picture, write the song.”
I’m writing in the bathroom because this is where the life is right now. This is where the lights are on, where the music is playing, where I laid on the floor crying a few minutes ago trying to take my clothes off. I can’t even escape in sleep because my dreams remind me how lonely I am. For the first time I had to call my therapist and set up an “emergency” session. I didn’t use the word emergency, but I’m guessing he noticed the nonsequiter because he asked “are you alright?” The tears tried to start again but I just said “Yes, I just think it’s necessary, see you tomorrow.” Something has got to give. What’s the point of being intelligent if you aren’t even smart enough to stop hurting yourself? I want to kill myself today. But I’m not brave enough to do that.
My recent Brooks obsession is unsettling to say the least. I facebook stalked the shit out of him today; I felt so left out. So jealous of his girlfriend. I used to be the most beautiful girl to him, I used to consume him, me me me. Doesn’t he remember what it’s like to have me? Has he forgotten how much we liked each other? Doesn’t he remember how much we used to laugh? God, I do. I remember more and more of it everyday. I think I’ve done all of these things to myself and keep picking my own scabs. I want so badly to be wanted by somebody again. Maybe I’ve gone back to Brooks because he didn’t want sex; he wanted me—and as the lyrics go, “I want you to want me.” Eric wanted me too…but I didn’t want him. Did it really take me 3 years after Brooks, Jack, Joe, Jorge, David, and Eric to realize how good I had it with Brooks? How lucky I was? I think I’m holding onto a lot of guilt and regret. Is it possible to stop being selfish or only possible to stop acting on it?
February 21st, 2011 reads:
I can’t believe I still miss him this much.
Dear Brooks, I just miss you- and it feels gripping and never-ending. I know it’s been years, and actually the majority of those years weren’t painful or even reminiscent of missing you. It’s strong now and I can’t figure out what to do. Maybe I’ve been thawing out and am just now processing the things from those years, maybe there’s a reason for it, maybe I’m just clingy and crazy. But most likely, I’m just too late.
I think the worst part is that you’ll never know, and if you never know then I’ll never know either. I miss how gentle and soft you were. How romantic you were. How you never cared about image. I wonder if you’re the same. I wonder if you love me back. I wonder if there’s a god, and if there is, if he knows us, if he remembers us, if he’s got a plan. When I go to the movies I look for any hint in your eyes that says “yes.” I miss you for selfish reasons, because I loved how you made me feel and how we were together. I wonder if you and Beth-Ann are so much better, and if you’re callous towards lingering memories of me. I wonder if those memories feel the same way to you as they do to me. I just realized how real life is, and that you might marry Beth-Ann, that life is so serious. There’s no answer in the back of the textbook, no one that owes me an explanation, and that I might actually have to move forward, unknowing and without you. Forever. I wonder if justice exists, and if it does, would we come back to each other? I just don’t know.
Later, different entry, same night:
I’m listening to “Every Breath You Take” on repeat and writing bottomless love letters. If this were a movie and I were Jennifer Aniston or Drew Barrymore it wouldn’t be/look as pathetic. People in movies hold on for years and it’s endearing and it turns out well. This could even be better as a book, because it would be funny, and the answer would be found in the epilogue. But this is none of those and it’s shitty, and painful, and continuous. I want to know if I am crazy. What if we both think the ball is in the other’s court and so neither of us do the next thing? Clearly it’s in his court seeing as I mailed a letter and he’s dating someone. I wish I would have copied the letter I sent. I wonder if he has all the notes we exchanged. I obviously have all of the ones he wrote me…
February 22nd, 2011 reads:
I feel a little better today. I told Laura about it and she said the best possible thing: go at the situation thinking of how you want to be treated. And although that leaves me in the same place, I can believe in that reasoning much more than “everything happens for a reason.” If I were Beth-Ann, I wouldn’t want his ex approaching him. I hate that I’m an “ex”. Aaron said that Brooks mentioned that when Beth-Ann gets a teaching job, he’ll move to wherever she goes. This makes me sad too. I just can’t get over that his memories are my favorite.
I don’t know if I agree with “love is blind”, maybe because I don’t understand what it means, but I DO think that love has the power to blind- and chances are that since he’s in this relationship, no alternative seems good- and that is uncontrollable. I find that I don’t miss Jorge and Brooks simultaneously- because the feeling was different. I’m sure Dylan Feeling and Beth Ann Feeling are different.
You know that game “Hot & Cold”? Well the thing I hate most about situations like this (the ones that jar you) is that everything besides him seems cold. Specs Howard seems less appetizing, so does tv, movies, school, driving, my bed. Subconsciously I dance through my options in my head while listening to the words “warmer, warmer, warmer..” and I end up back to him, and my chest burns and the panic sets back in. It’s the same feeling as when you remember what you just forgot, or more accurately, when you remember what you just forgot you were worrying about.
March 1st, 2011 Reads:
I think I’ve moved past this Brooks thing.
March 31st, 2011 Reads:
I have goosebumps. Mostly on my arms. If I knew he were working, I’d drive there right now and look him in his eyes and tell him how I feel. Except I probably wouldn’t because I’m terrified. It’s not even that I’m scared or rejection, because it’s not like I want him to leave her. In my wildest dreams he and I would come back to each other, but not like that. Not under such hurtful circumstances. I’m mostly scared he’ll think I’m crazy, and that I AM crazy. That these feelings aren’t what they seem. I think he wouldn’t like a lot of things about me like my cold hands and classical music. Oh and all the other music that I like privately. He wouldn’t like that I’m not Beth-Ann, and that their friends aren’t our friends. But I think he’d like a lot of things about me too. like my singing voice, and my heart. I wish so badly that I knew the rules of this game. I’m not medicating with food right now and I think that’s why this is so strong right now. I’ve tried to let go of this. I wonder if he still has my letters. Michele says that having 20 years more experience than me encourages that I should tell him how I feel. That my feelings count just as much as everyone else’s. She says if I talk to him that I have to be honest and have no expectations. I think I do have expectations though: I expect to feel better at least a little when I say out loud all these things to him. I expect that he’ll at least appreciate it, me laying it all out. I expect it to be worded perfectly without being too many words. I expect it to be honest and beautiful. I expect good to come of it, be it an important lesson or otherwise. I want him. But I don’t expect him. I have the “I need to talk to you” text already written out. I won’t send it though, because that cheapens the authenticity and intensity of it. Now I want to eat. I’m going to shower first. I figure, if I’ve waited this long to talk to him, I can wait a little longer. I still have goosebumps. Now they’re everywhere.
My dad says with thick conviction “Well, just know you’re exactly where you should be.”
Should.Should.should.Should.SHOULD. I fucking hate that word. It is that word that has a leash around my neck.
I have not been eating as much lately. But I also have not been eating that little. I had been out of sleeping pills for awhile so I had been out of sleep. I restocked today. I also saw Brooks today. The funny thing about being exactly where you should is it hurts like hell. My dad takes a bite while I finish up a sentence about the media or what it’ll be like when I’m thirty or something. “What helped me,” he takes a drink of his orange juice, “was throwing away my crystal ball. Of course you have to plan ahead for the future, but you can’t stay there. Sure, I worry about graduating, getting another job, bills, blah blah blah, but then I realize that all I can do right now is go to class, do my homework and maybe I’ll get there.” He looks at me waiting for a response. Maybe he wasn’t. “I get what you’re saying, Dad, but the only thing more painful worrying about my future is being right where I am.” He talks about pain and how it instigates powerful growth. He says this and I picture the bones in my legs stretching.
I guess I believed everyone. I believed movies and families at bowling allies. I believed that people were having fun.
I think the feeling is “stuck.” I feel like the ground beneath me is always warm from being immobile, like when you’re in bed and keep moving your legs to colder places, only to find they’re all warm. I want to feel something cold inside of me, something refreshing. I want to cry so deeply that my insides shake. I want to laugh until I ache, I want to eat fresh mangoes and grapefruit for breakfast. I want silk, and rich colors, and solidity. I want to be moving and working and in passion.
Part of me wants to start ridding the artificial: the greasy potato chips and cheap oil dripping food, straw wrappers and old receipts. I don’t want anymore dry lips and pasty skin, chemcicals and side effects…I want plump, glowing, wholesome life. I want the basics of nature.
This is not what I thought this post would be about. I did not realize how much I yearn for authenticity. I want dirt, and fruit, and laughter, family, community.
Christine got a new car yesterday, her parent’s bought it for her which isn’t surprising in the least and yet I still felt shocked and jealous of her life. Of her lifelong toll of name brand volleyball knee pads and doctor visits. She was “good” and her family was “good” and their house was “good” and their neighborhood “good” while my dad was “bad” and his smoking was “bad” and me smelling like smoke was “embarrassing” and our house was “embarrassing” and everything full of shame. When I saw her car I acted excited. When I walked to my car and drove away I tried to remind myself how grateful I was that I even had a car, and that I can say that I bought a car, and how much more insightful and enlightened I am, and how I’m going to have a big life, and do big things, and meet big people, and instigate huge change. Yet I keep waiting for the day when that change will start. Today I did statistics homework all day while making my way through the whole first season of “That 70s Show.” I ate everything I could muster up, and I feel warm, and dry, artificial and stuck.
Marianne Williamson says that “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
On Friday during therapy I finally started feeling like I was allowed to do whatever it is that I want. “You’re not at dad’s house anymore. He’s not there.” I then thought about work, about drives home, about accusations, about how defensive I am. And how bad a rap “defensiveness” has. And how I had to be defensive, because no one else would defend me in those moments. Because it was all I had. I treat every place like he’s there. I’m sick of feeling bound in a “should be” life. I stand at the sink brushing my teeth imagining Michele acusing me of not vacuuming the places I said I did, about Laura questioning me about a customer and an order I took, about how it looks like I haven’t done anything when really I’m just a master at putting things back, at not leaving tracks. I go back and make tracks to make it look like I did what I actually did do. I think about the mania of feeling guilty for exhaling. I saw a pianist at Eastern on St. Patricks day in the evening, and I was afraid to scratch my cheek, afriad I would distract someone and ruin the performance. Afraid to show how disgusting I am even though I’m sure everyone eats what they drop on their kitchen floor. Afraid to let down the people who are never there. I even close doors quietly.
I want to start going back to basics. I want to weed out the excess and let people question me, and let my friends feel uncomfortable by change and by boldness and by the bigness of my spirit. People survived on a lot less and yet I find it difficult to delete my facebook for more than half a day. I want to cut out artificial processing, t.v., gimmicks, labels. I don’t think I want to be a vegan feminist who hates the world, but I know that I cannot continue to quench my thirst with sand.
All I want is to be honest. To turn off the automatic editing in my mind that turns all my statements into eloquent exerpts from a potential memoir.
All I want is bones and crevices. I want to be rail thin - “heroin chic”, I learned that’s what it’s called - I want to wear baggy clothes that sweep across the dips and curves of my smooth and fragile body. I want pointy sharp shoulders and gazelle like legs that don’t touch. The kind that look like they could break just by standing. I want long hair that drapes over my back, shoulders and chest. I want jutting out hip bones and defined lines on my back. I want to know what it’s like to feel a breeze on my stomach, on my thighs; standing on a hill with my arms extended, face up, eyes closed, breeze surrounding like sound. I want to curl up in a chair and slowly shrink away from the world.
In Michele’s life skills classes that she took in her twentys, one of the things she had to do was to boil down her issues to the one thing that was fueling all of them; the crux. Hers was “I don’t exist.” I sat on her bed and told her about my sleepless night last night, I told her about how I anticipate all the confrontations that I fear will happen. “Do you feel a constant feeling that something bad’s going to happen?” She asks. I think. “It’s more of a feeling like I’m always going to be in trouble. It’s nothing outside of myself; I don’t worry about storms or car accidents. I just always feel like I’ll need to explain myself. Defend myself.”
I was driving home from work today - still satisfied from lunch - when the usual argument started:
Me: I want cookies and ice cream
Me2: You’re not hungry
Me: You said I can eat what/when I want. We can stop on the way home.
Me2: (Gets excited) (Remembers G.Roth’s suggestions) What do you want the food to do?
Me: I want it to make me happy.
There it was. The simplest answer. I have a belief inside of me somewhere that food makes me happy, and it does not. At least it wouldn’t tonight. There was nothing it could do, nothing would taste good enough to change my mood. It wouldn’t make me laugh or keep me company. Yes, it would distract me. Distraction isn’t happiness. I understood that with all of my being, and so I went home where I talked to Michele then watched The Office in bed. I didn’t eat until I was hungry.
"If you don’t stop thinking so much you’re going to end up in the hospital." Michele says. This shocks me, part of it seems appealing. "You’re going to have a nervous breakdown." "I just feel like I can’t waste time, what if I miss an insight that I need?" "You won’t, Dylan. You’ll drive yourself crazy and feel more broken and unfixable." I tell her how unclean I feel; Repulsive. She talks about how she wants to be a cuddly mom but just can’t seem to do it. I tell her how I find it hard to be cuddly too and how my mom used to be that way. And I hated it. Michele is surprised and asked "Why? How did it make you feel?" I immediately think about the times my mom wanted me to sleep in her bed and would wrap me up and I felt trapped. I think about how she always wanted us to brush her hair. I remember feeling like she wanted something from me. It wasn’t just love coming from a parent. It wasn’t protection. It was desperation. She wanted love back. The way she asks you how your day is just so that you’ll ask her. Her grabbing my hand wasn’t "Dylan, I love you." it was "Grab my hand back." "I knew it!" Michele says. "I had a feeling she was the type to have kids so she’ll always have something to love, and something to love her." A few minutes later Michele asks to hold my hand because she knows I hate it. I miss the joke and grab her hand. How long is this going to last? Is this wrong? I hate this, I instantly think. I let go and resent my mom for making me hate human touch.
I go upstairs and watch The Office and fall asleep. I wake up and eat a few bites of dinner and a bowl of cereal, during which I volunteer to run and get everyone ice cream afterwards. During that bowl of cereal the ice cream no longer sounds good. I feel obligated to go out still. As I sprint upstairs for my coat I feel great. Satisfied. I order myself an ice cream anyway because earlier today I had wanted it so badly (a good lesson to pay attention too). I eat it so quickly, standing, as if I’m afraid I’ll rip it away from myself at any second. I try to remember to taste it. Do I like it? Do I enjoy it? No. It makes me feel sick, the bites are too sweet and thick, I power through to the last bite.
I read Michele the letter I wrote to my Dad. She says maybe more specific examples will bring it home. Maybe realizing my mom’s role in it will help me feel it. She thinks for a little bit. “It’s sounding like your crux is boiling down to be something along the lines of ‘I shouldn’t exist.’”
Michele woke me up this morning at ten asking if I was going to class today. I forgot to set my alarm. I laid there for awhile, got up and went to the bathroom and immediately wanted to go downstairs and dive into the food. For one thing, it’s breakfast time right? Plus, I think part of me knows that now no one is home and I would have the peace an quiet of a binger’s dream. I’m not hungry. My stomach is blank, and so I’m just going to stay upstairs. The thing I hate though is that when I get hungry I’ll probably be sitting in class and after class I have to go help clean the old house, then it’s off to Jen’s so she can convince me to join CloseUp again then straight to therapy. I just got really overwhelmed with my day, and all I want to do now is stay in. I need to take a shower, or I need to go to the old house before my 12:30 class to get a headstart on vacuuming. Maybe I use food as a porcrastination tool. Because when it gets down to it…I usually don’t want to do any of the things I have to.
All of my beliefs of what it is to be thin come from the images I see in the media. Thin people are clean and fresh, confident, successful, respected and worthy. How often I forget that ALL of those images are from places that I can touch and crumple with my hands. Magazines, advertisements, commercials…they’re all inanimate objects. I wonder how many target commercials it took before I started believing that being thin means spending time with your family and friends jumping and skipping and always smiling. I feel so alive right now, I’m about to do something not many people in this world do…I’m going to have complete confidence in what I have. Because what I have is talent, brains, beauty and one hell of a sense of humor. I will not let size 2’s stop me. I mean…really…
On July 3rd of 2010 I quit medical weight loss. That’s the day that I’ve deemed “The Day I Quit Dieting.” My aunt had handed me a book called “Breaking Free from Emotional Eating” by Geneen Roth, and I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I had considered my eating being the problem and the issues fueling the eating…not my weight. Even then though, I was drenched in intentions of losing weight. On March 7th of this year, I actually quit dieting. For all those people out there who think dieting is constituted by calories and broccoli, you’re wrong. Dieting is a mindset. A restrictive, manic and obsessive mindset. Geneen Roth and countless others have discovered that eating according to your body’s signals for hunger and satisfaction are all it takes to maintain a healthy weight. For skeptics, just look at the people who get ice cream on hot days and drink hot chocolate in the winter and keep a svelt shape. Well, even so, my existence for as long as I can remember was only at half mast, the other half would come to be when I lost the weight. I thought a lot of things would change when I lost the weight.
I wrote in my journal (March 7th) “I wonder if I want to be perfect or invisible.” And it is this statement that speaks louder than any other that the issue has nothing to do with losing weight, and everything to do with stepping back inside of myself.