Rainy Days and Stereotypes

Rainy Days and Stereotypes

I landed on the coast an hour ago. It is raining and the clouds are hanging ominously low over the mountains, obscuring them. I am here for work for four days. I arrive ravenous from a binge/purge session last night. There is a basket of fruit in my room when I check in and I make my way through a banana, grapes, an apple and a peach. I find some hummus and cherry tomatoes in my bag and eat those too.

I want to dial room service and order a few plates of food but I try to resist for now. My room is stocked with fruit, vegan protein powder and a few other unfortunate things (mentos and a chocolate bar from the fruit basket), which I try to avoid. I put a pot of coffee on to brew and curl up in the chair by the window and stare out and the grey drudgery. Surprisingly, the wet weather seems to match my mood. At least when it is cold and wet I can hide my bulk under a few extra layers.

I think back to a conversation in the airport when I arrived and met some of the other faculty that will be in attendance for the week. They introduce themselves and their disciplines:
“Stephanie. Jazz.”
“Sam. Tap.”
“Marnie. Modern.”

I introduce myself and my discipline – ballet.
“Oh, we were looking around the airport to see who looked like a ballerina.”
I smile weakly.

I don’t look like a ballerina. I never have. I never even came close to it despite the depths of hell ED has taken me too. I feel like I will be a disappointment to them but, in reality, I am mostly just a disappointment to myself.

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8 thoughts on “Rainy Days and Stereotypes

  1. Melia says:

    FB,

    I love reading your blog; your writing is beautifully executed and it always inspires me to do some writing of my own.

    Your recent posts make me sad… I struggle with an ED as well and it is exhausting. I set aside specific days when I can binge (usually after a few days of starving myself)… but, as usual, I always end up feeling even worse. I can imagine that it must be even more difficult with the pressure of your profession and the expectations that go along with it.

    Funny, because I have food in my apartment that is waiting for me, but for some reason I am so down I don’t feel like touching it at all. Have you ever gotten treatment for the eating issues? I see someone weekly, but not for my eating disorder… I do find that my eating habits stem from early childhood events. Regardless, it feels like it will stick with me for the rest of my life though, like a never-ending struggle (I am certain anyone else who struggles with an eating disorder feels the same about theirs). However, I did read recently about one girl (on a message board) who cured herself of her binging/purging episodes by identifying every single trigger and doing everything possible to eliminate all of them…. it allowed me to look at my own eating habits in a different light, but still, I lack the motivation to do anything about it.

    To your readers, you aren’t a disappointment. It is brave of you to share your struggles. And it is also admirable that you don’t let “it” consume you… You still wake up and live your life (even if it is just doing the bare minimum) and that should be celebrated!

    Fondly, M.

    • M,

      Wow….thank you so much for what you wrote. The thing I love most about blogging is connecting to other people and hearing their stories and struggles. I have seen people on and off for my ED but I have never been “cured” and know that I never will. I think what breaks my heart the most is that I am battling hypo-thyroid and can’t seem to get thin, no matter what I do.

      I think identifying triggers and trying to eliminate them is genius. Lately, I have managed to cut down my binges from almost daily to a couple of times a week. The rest of the time, I am trying to restrict or to eat “normally”, whatever that means.

      I am currently lying in my hotel room, battling the desire to binge and purge tonight. It just never goes away. But, messages like yours light my day and make the struggle a little bit easier, knowing that I am never alone.

      Take good care of yourself,
      FB

      • Melia says:

        FB,

        How long have you struggled with Hypothyroid issues? I’ve done a bit of personal research on the matter (was once diagnosed with it, but eventually realized it had developed as a side effect of a medication); I feel like it’s one of those things (not to make it seem like you should “have it under control”… I cannot imagine your current frustration) that could be somewhat alleviated by changes in lifestyle/diet. I had a doctor who tried to convince me of going on hormone replacement for a recent imbalance of hormones, when really the simple solution was adjusting my diet and getting treatment/recovering from a recent traumatic experience. I feel like people with eating disorders tend to be prone to hormone imbalances (including thyroid). On a side note, the past week I have felt like s*** (have not been able to eat as much as I normally do, even when restricting), and as a result, I can feel my lymph nodes swelling up due to the calorie restriction and stress. I don’t know if there is a more natural solution to the thyroid issues, but if it is preventing you from taking control over your weight (hence making the eating disorder more chaotic than normal… and perhaps creating a vicious cycle!), maybe it would be helpful to do some research and see what else you can do to address it. I hate leaving my health up to doctors and Western medicine… I’ve done it for practically all of my life and it only made me feel like I had LESS control over MY body. I’d love to go into more detail for you, but unfortunately I save all of my really insightful thoughts for my own literature.

        I hope your days get easier… I’m rooting for you!!!!! 🙂

        Hugs,
        M.

      • M,

        Thanks for sharing your insights about western medicine and alternatives. I think I share some of the same feelings as you. I did visit a naturopath for 4 months but at that point I was so sick that I needed thyroid meds in the long run. I agree that ED and hormone imbalances go hand in hand so the sad truth is that I probably gave myself the condition and then made it worse.

        Recently my doctor lowered my dosage which is why I have experienced the awful weight gain. I think perhaps there is always a benefit to adjusting diet/exercising. Until I get ED under control (assuming I can or even care too), I think I will stay on the meds to keep me stable but I am always happy to try alternative things if you know of any.

        Sorry to hear that you have been feeling so bad. Why the stress and calorie restriction. Only share if you feel you can but in the mean time I am thinking of you and hope that you can take care of yourself.

        I wish you happiness and health today. Be kind to yourself.

        FB

  2. Hey friend,

    Just know that you’re not a disappointment. You can’t be. You are just you, and whatever ideal–yours or anybody else’s–is just that. An ideal. Not a reality. And not something you need to conform to.

    It’s not easy to feel pressure to change who you are to fit the mold–I struggle with it daily. In fact, one of my yoga instructors flat out told me my body wasn’t right (“you’re not as muscular as you were when you started here”–which was when I was a vegan and restricting calories and overexercising. He also made me stand with my feet apart during tadasana because my knees were too close together–which is a consequence of the weight I gained while I was healing my ankle, not because my knees are out of alignment.). But I went back to yoga the next day and the next. To spite him, with my non-yoga body? Maybe, but more because I really just love practicing. I’m not going to look like the thin, lulu lemon model wannabes in the class. I have curves now. They’re a part of who I am. I can’t starve that away, because then I will lose me.

    It’s not easy–it’ll never be easy–but just know that you’re not alone…and that no matter what your shape, you are the only you out there who can do what you do. Give yourself a hug for being strong enough to write your truth, even through the pain.

    Much love to you,

    Kaila

    • Thank you, Kailia for your kindness. It is messages like this that give me the hope that one day I might make it to the other side of ED. I applaud you for persevering with yoga. Lately, I haven’t been practicing because of the weight gain because I cannot stand to look at myself. But, I miss yoga and need to get back into the routine of doing something good for my body, regardless.

      Sadly, I haven’t learned to get past the point of losing me as I (try to) starve my curves away. I still care more about the skinny than about health or sanity. It is skewed but I have faith that one day it won’t be so.

      In the meantime I take courage from your words and thank you for them. Sometimes a candle in the darkness is all we need to light our way until the dawn.

      Much love back to you,
      FB

  3. Sometimes, reading your posts makes me feel normal. What I mean by that is when I was living in my eating disorder, between message board and support groups and treatment and blogs, I was surrounded by like-minded people. They all understood my normal. Now, having been considered a recovery success for that last couple years, I try not to frequent eating disorder websites (even ones that are recovery-geared) because when I dwell on them, I find them very triggering. Most of my social interactions now are not with people who struggle, or used to struggle, with eating disorders. However, I still have the same thoughts you express many times, and when no one else around me understands what that’s like, it’s slightly frustrating, irritating, and isolating. If I’m around “normal” people too much, I begin to feel “abnormal”. So reading your blog helps me to feel ok about myself.

    • I understand what you mean about “normal”. Whenever I stray to far from ED, I feel abnormal but that being said, I try to avoid anything TOO triggering. I realize sometimes I am triggering in my writing but I try more than anything to be honest and sometimes funny. Because otherwise I would just cry.

      I am happy to see you back at WP. I missed you. Thanks for all your comments. They always touch me.

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