Tag Archives: enough

Justified

6 Mar

I have always felt the need to justify my existence. I’m not really sure when it started; I have no particular experience to point to, no exact moment in time when I can remember its instillment. There is neither any gradual buildup that I can trace; this need has just always been there, within me, existing.

Perhaps it’s from the early Catholic training I received, the anti-hedonistic education I received since birth. Perhaps it is the messages, subtle and otherwise, that pleasure should never  be a reason, only an unhoped for side effect of righteousness, to be found only after death in a heavenly afterlife. Perhaps it’s that I was raised in an environment of business and consequences; my father, a self-employed salesman, and my mother, a harried keeper who ran around cleaning up after him. There were costs to life, and if you did not put in the effort to stay ahead of them, debt was an inevitability. Therefore one must justify every expenditure, and behind that, every whim. Can you pay the price of what you want? Can you afford the cost of what you are asking for? Are you providing enough return for this air, this water, this space that you are soaking up and taking in? Because if not, then there will be someone to come collect your dues from you. And you may not like what they take.

Perhaps it is that – I can remember creating powerpoint presentation as a fourth grader whenever I wanted to ask my parents for something: a book, a dog, a birthday party. Here, mother and father, are the reasons I want this thing. Here are the reasons that I am sure this is truly something of value to me, something worth your funding, not just some passing fancy that you will not see the returns of. Let me explain the form of my liquidated joy. Let me explain why this matters. Let me explain how giving me this thing will pay off for you, too. Let me show you how this happiness of mine is a worthwhile venture for your capital. Let me use these graphs and these bullet points and these arguments and persuasions to prove to you that I – that is, this thing that I want – is not just a risk. Let me show you why it is worth it.

Let me show you why I am worth it.

Or perhaps, perhaps it’s really that the universe somehow screwed up royally when I was born, and I was brought into this world with a piece of antimatter snuck into my core. And it’s been sitting there ever since, slowly annihilating me from the inside, destroying my internal and leaving me empty and so I have always felt this need for external, objective justification of myself because it is the fodder I have fed this antimatter core, the material I have been using to build myself up and keep the destruction at bay. I have needed to constantly build myself up because there is something else within me constantly tearing myself down. I have needed to prove myself to create a positive existence within myself that is being constantly drawn toward the negative.

Alright, alright, it’s probably not that I’ve got a bit of antimatter in me. But you have to admit, that would be more exciting.

And so I don’t know. I don’t know why I feel this constant imperative to show to myself – because it is to myself, really – over and over and over again that it is all right for me to exist. That is okay for me to be happy. The idea of doing something, well and truly and solely for my own pleasure – that is still an idea I am learning to be comfortable with. I mean, I’m still learning to be comfortable at all. In my body, in my mind, in my relationships. There is always some latent dissatisfaction, some missing piece, some screw up enfolded in the obscurity of a past that I somehow didn’t quite catch, that holds me back from every being truly happy. I mean, most days, my goal is just to not go crazy. Recently, a day without breaking down crying on my dorm room floor has been what’s counted as success.

Maybe I’ve just distorted that line about “everyone is here for a reason,” the whole “your life has a purpose” spiel. There’s a reason for me?! My life has a purpose?! What if I’m screwing up and not following through on what that reason for me is?! What if I’m doing it wrong?! What if I fail, don’t ever fulfill what my purpose was supposed to be?! What if I just fall short?! Every breath for me is a beat of “am I doing it? am I doing it? did I do it now? is this okay? oh god oh god oh god oh god…”

Heh. And people wonder why I have anxiety…

No, I am not looking for you to tell me that I am justified. I am not looking for you to tell me the right answer, to insist that I am alright, that it’s all okay, that I am good. You see, that’s part of the tricky business of the internal ruckus of mine. I require outside feedback to let me know that I am okay (because I couldn’t ever just trust myself, could I? that’s not objective observation…), but if I feel that it was given because I asked for it – well then, that just voids it right there. It’s like leading a witness in court. You said that because I directed you to. You may really mean it, but my brain doesn’t care about that. Nope, the only praise I can accept is the kind that has been spontaneously and freely given, that I have earned but not fished for.

(By the way, Miss Kim, I’m going to tell you again that I love you forever for the random messages you send me at like two in the afternoon while you’re at work that just pop up on my facebook chat telling me I’m pretty. You are a glorious, wonderful human being and I cannot exist without you. Also, I’m probably going to buy a mattress soon, like, for realsies and probably just have it delivered straight to the apartment, because fuck transporting queen-sized mattresses in a compact.)

I hope you all have a best friend like Miss Kim. Like Miss Kim, mind you. Because Miss Kim is mine. All mine.

*Ahem.* But really, I do. And I hope even more that perhaps this best friend is in fact some part of you. That perhaps you do not need an external positivity feed like I do. That perhaps you already have your own sense of justification, built into the infrastructure of yourself.

That would be nice.

But if you don’t – well, I understand. I’m here with you, too. And here’s to hoping that one day, we will be able to tear out that pesky piece of antimatter (using proper protective gloves, of course, gotta be careful when handling antimatter…) and finally fill that whole with some brick of justification that will finally stay and stick.

And until then, here’s to searching.

This is not different.

26 Nov

Eating disorders tell a lot of lies. There really is no area of life, whether it’s looks or self-worth or grocery shopping or fitness or school or parenting or relationships or anything else, that an eating disorder will not lie about.

Eating disorders will even lie to you in recovery.

This is because eating disorders are self-obsessed fuckers that will do anything to try to get you to take them back, to pay attention to them again. They will tell you that they’ve changed, tell you about all these new options and choices, trying to make you believe that things won’t be the same as before.

Whatever new lie an eating disorder is trying to hook you with, I promise, it is no different than before.

It’s something I’ve had to be wary of, myself, throughout recovery. I know that my eating disorder will try to come up with new images to try to get me to strive after. My ED will tell me that where I am, right now, is not good enough, that there is still something I need to do, even in recovery, to be better. Because the thing with ED’s is, as Amber of “Go Kaleo” puts perfectly, enough is never enough.

Let me be more explicit about what precisely I mean by ED’s “different” lies:

1. You don’t need to focus on losing weight, just being toner!

Aah, the “toner” lie. This is the one that ED tries to hook me with most often. “We won’t focus on cutting down calories or losing weight,” ED bubbles optimistically, “we’ll just work out more so that you’ll have more defined muscles instead!” ED goes on and on about how I won’t look lazy, with all that muscle definition. How I’ll get rid of some of that treatment pudge that comes from being forced to gain weight while not working out. (You know, so the weight can turn into fat cushioning your internal organs LIKE YOUR HEART and allow for better myelination IN YOUR FUCKING BRAIN instead of just becoming muscle that’ll further metabolize you to death.)

Uh hunh. We’ll just make my arms look toner. And then my legs, and then my butt, and my abs, and to do that we’ll just cut out a little bit of dinner here, skim off of breakfast there, just to give a little edge to the muscle cutting. And then we won’t worry about how we’re tired all the time and attached to abductor machines by the hip and have maybe dropped a few pounds since this all started…

Yeah. I see where that’s going.

2. You don’t need to overexercise, just be more regimented about your fitness plan!

“Ooh, let’s download this gym tracker app!” my ED suggests. “Then we can keep track of how much weight your lifting, and how far you’re running, and how long your aerobics circuits are going!”

Yup. And then perfectionist me will see it all before me, and decide it could be better. And so I’ll lift more weights, run farther, work out longer.

And longer and longer and longer and longer.

And I’ll have to keep track of every fucking little detail, every day, looking up ways to get better…

Mhmm. I know that neuroticism. Sure, it’s just getting transferred from calories to weight reps, from low-cal recipes to track laps, but it’s still the same. It’s still an external valuation of my self-worth.

And you know, I’m pretty sure I’m worth just a bit more than how many push ups I can do.

3. You need to eat more healthily.

Uh, wasn’t this the same crap that got me into all of this to begin with? Good foods/bad foods? Eating celery instead of pretzels, a banana instead of fried rice? Sure, maybe I had a cheese quesadilla from late-night coffee house every night this week. I’ve still eaten spinach and strawberries and some more spinach too (dear college board plan, can we change up what vegetables are both offered and edible? thanks much.)

You know what? Next week, I might have a cheese quesadilla every night too. And I’m gonna be just fine.

4. You need to shape up your body some so that you’ll be more desirable.

Anybody else getting bored with? Sounding the same yet to y’all too? I almost fell into this trap over this summer. My boyfriend was away in Japan, and my ED attempted to fill my head with visions of thinner, firmer arms and six pack-esque abs. “Ah, how you’ll turn him on,” ED whispered in my ear.

Lemme tell you about how in the end I didn’t buy into that plan. Yeah, since Japan boy’s gotten back, haven’t had any problem turning him on.

Mmmm, no problem whatsoever. 😉

5. You need to prove you’re still driven.

“Remember when you got up at 7 am every day to go to the gym? Even when you’d gone to bed only three hours before? Man, you were tough. What happened to that will power? What happened to that drive?”

Um, I think I diverted it to doing things that actually make me happy. Remember that whole thing about moderation and taking care of myself and learning that “indulgence” is not in fact a four-letter word? Remember that whole thing about life not being a contest, and “proving that I’m better” than everyone else, proving that I am “extraordinary” not actually making me any stronger or safer or happier?

Oh, apparently you forgot. Well then it’s a good thing I reminded you.

 

Fellow recoverers, eating disorders are liars. No matter how good a plan whatever new proposal they’re trying to throw at you may seem, I promise, look at it closely enough, and you will find the exact same things your eating disorder beat you down with before.

Because when it comes to being “good” for an eating disorder, there is no difference.