This is how I wake myself up:
I shop at a very expensive yoga clothing store. As a ballet teacher, I wear that type of clothing 6 days a week for work and get a special discount there because of my position.
A few weeks ago I had a gift card to said store and went to buy a new yoga top and pants. I don’t try things on there. I just grab them in a size 6 and they fit***
I got home and put the yoga top on and it looked awful. The built-in bra didn’t cover my boobs – it fit in the band around my ribs, but the length of the material was just to short to comfortably cover everything and not squish them awkwardly. I was disappointed as the top looked pretty on the hanger, but I knew a size 8 would be too big around the ribs so I went to return it and get my money back.
“What was wrong with it?” the stick insect behind the counter asked as she rang through my exchange.
“It just looked lovely on the hanger but horrible on,” I responded without going into detail about how a 6 fits in the ribs, but doesn’t have enough material to contain my boobs.
She looked disparagingly at me, “yeah you do have to have that certain body type for this top.”
I think my jaw hit the floor.
She kept looking at me.
“Well obviously I just don’t have that body type,” I responded incredulously.
She smiled in mock sympathy, “I know what you mean.”
I took my money and left in disgust.
*** I used to be a size 2 or 4 in this store. Barfing at my own fatness.
I finally went back to gym today.
After nearly 4 weeks of being depressed and unmotivated, I dragged myself there and it felt good. I sweated and exercised long past the burn. I remembered endorphins and exhaustion and how satisfying it is to pound my anxiety away. Sadly, last night I caught my reflection whilst wearing a bikini. The extra girth and heaviness and cellulite was upsetting. I think I haven’t fully acknowledged how much size I have gained in the past 2 months. I am not brave enough yet to weigh myself.
I did however, come home, eat dinner, purge it, eat second dinner with my boyfriend and purge that too. Everything else today was coffee and celery. I feel like I am back on track.
“Hello giant,” a coworker greets me at ballet. I am wearing some sky scraper heels and trying unsuccessfully to hide the 10lbs I have gained since June.
“Please don’t remind me that I have giant genetics,” I implore him.
“Oh you have the “V” gene,” he says giving me a salacious look. “V for voluptuous”
My jaw drops in horror.
“Don’t say that to her,” another co-worker interrupts. “She thinks voluptuous means ‘fat’.”
Well we all know that’s what it means.
I have been back nearly two weeks. They have been a blur of emotions and days and I cannot quite recall them in minute detail.
I have existed: gone through the motions, done what’s expected of me at work or home.
I have not eaten. I have eaten too much. I am now full of emptiness; of leavings and longings and loss.
In the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep (too scared to close my eyes, too numb to keep them open), I wandered into the kitchen in my underwear and started foraging for food.
The sight of my mostly naked body was simply an annoyance. Instead of halting me, it spurred me on. I made pasta without thinking about it. I could have gone to sleep hungry, but instead I started looking for comfort in carbohydrates, for happiness in the bubbling tomato sauce and for love in the soft, melting cheese. I let it caress my insides with warmth. I let it soothe me. I ate sitting on the floor with my fat rolling out around my panties and bra, cushioning the agony, shielding me from the dying sensation that will not leave me alone.
I sobbed into some wine. I wailed in a bubble bath. Tears and snot and mascara mingling with the grimy water, dull as my soul.
I am a tomb of nothingness.
We go to the wedding today. I wear 2 different outfits: one to the ceremony and one to the reception. I don’t eat all day so that I might look vaguely acceptable (to myself or perhaps some passers by). My boyfriend doesn’t look at me, or notice me, or comment on my apprearance. Given the horrible things he said a few days ago when I was trying on dresses for this event, maybe it is a blessing – you know the kind they say come in “disguise”.
I starve and I primp and I preen. I paint my face and curl my eyelashes and spritz and tease and my legs are tanned and my collar bones are glittered. I brush and comb and fuss and tuck and pin and change and inspect and criticize and adjust and ruefully accept the outcome. We arrive at the ceremony and he says a blanket “you guys looks snazzy” to all 3 of us. Snazzy…the epitomy of compliments. The truth is he only has eyes for his daughter. When she is around, his son and I cease to exist. I get compliments from his friends at the wedding. Complete strangers talk to me in the washroom telling me they like my dress or hair. One woman hugs me and uses the word “gorgeous”. My boyfriend barely acknowledges me. He is disconnected, preoccupied and I am just the maid who had fed and cleaned and dressed and delivered his children to him while he has been drinking with his friends.
He takes his daughter “for a walk” which is code for calling her mother. I sit at a table for ten fat, repulsive and alone, staring into my appetizer, looking for love. After the briefest pretense I walk away from the table and in my high heels and lace and pearls and curls, I toss back up the disappointment. There is not enough wine to soothe my discontented soul.
His daughter is sick and whiny. She takes up all our attention. There is no time for “us”. There is no hand holding. There is no smiling into each other’s eyes. There is no dancing at this wedding. I hold her and she fidgets, unhappy. He holds her. She cries for cupcakes. No matter what we do, she is fractious. We are home by 10:09pm on a Saturday night. I wanted to slow dance in his arms and dream of our wedding which we both know (but won’t acknowledge) will never happen. The kind of things you do when you are only 9 months into a relationship. I wanted the overflow of love and happiness from this union to flood out hearts. But there are children to take care of and his stomach is upset by the Indian food (which I hear about in graphic, unromantic detail), so we go home. I pour myself wine in the kitchen, take out the flower from my hair while my boyfriend puts his daughter to bed. His woefully neglected son comes to me in the kitchen and tells me that he feels like we don’t love him. I wrap my arms around him knowing exactly what that feels like and hating myself for not being able to stop him from feeling it too.
Here is a list of things I vowed to never do again in a relationship:
I never even thought to add that I would never date a man with kids because that was never part of any equation. In fact the day before our first date, I swore blind it wasn’t a date simply because he had children and I didn’t want to get involved in that kind of situation. Don’t ask me how my big list of DON’Ts is going…
Some days I look at my life choices and laugh at myself because they are just so laughable. Who does these things? Who makes these kind of dumb decisions? Who doesn’t learn the first time around and keeps repeating the same mistakes?
Well…I never said I was smart. After all, I am a fat bulimic. And, on that note, I have started purging again.
I had to. Life is boring. It is mundane and of course I swore blind that the only reason I would stay was for an extraordinary love. Yes, I am waiting for the kind that sweeps me off my feet. The kind that they write about or make movies about. I said I wouldn’t stay if it was just going to be ordinary. Well guess what? It is ordinary – EVERY DAMN DAY And I don’t think it is ever going to be enough for me, in the same way that I will never be enough. I am bored by the routine.
My heart is somewhere else. We all know that. I have never made a secret of it; never hidden it. I am a discontent. I am a dreamer. I am in all likelihood delusional. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that every day is the same: wake up (chronically sleep deprived) to a dirty, disorganized house. Try fruitlessly to clean or tidy or sweep or do dishes or put toys away or stare at the mess and die on the inside. So much for a never-ending love story: it is more like never ending laundry. Nothing I do makes a dent in the chaos. Go to gym or work or both. No matter. I am eternally fat anyway. Come home to cook and clean and clean and cook. Who cares. It never ends. Try to be the perfect step-mommy. Fail. Try again. Fail harder. Give up. Cry in the bath tub. Pull myself together. Have a melt down. Drink excessively. Try to instill some boundaries. Fail, of course. Bake some healthy cookies. Feed the kids candy. Give in. Hate myself some more. Read a self-help book. Realize I am a bitch. Make school lunches. Realize I am not their mother(s). Try again. Fail again.
This is our “dating”.
I have started starving again during the day from the anxiety. I have started coming home longing to binge my way to oblivion. I look forward to drinking the most. What else is there to look forward to? No date nights (no money). No weekends away (no money). No wining or dining or shopping or movies or drinks or vacations or diamonds or roses or who cares anymore. I am obviously not worth those things.
I have made his life infinitely easier and made mine infinitely harder. I thought somewhere along the line there would be some reward, a payoff…something to make it all worth it.
There is the perfunctory “I love you” in the darkness before sleep (no sex – again). It is sad and empty and it sucks the life out of me: not my mistakes, but the ones that I’ve agreed to pay for by being here. That I will pay for over and over again every day of my life that I chose to stay. I try to tell him that I am not meant for this life. That I am not the person for him or his children; that I have made the wrong decision. He doesn’t believe me. It is like he is fighting to hang on to me because he wants someone to love. I would want to be loved if it was me in the situation instead of him. I get it. I keep saying that he needs someone else. That I am freaking out. That I made the wrong choice. He cannot allay my fears or calm me. He is too tired to see that this will not work. It cannot. There is no time for us. There is no foundation to build a life upon together. There is no room in his life for me to squeeze into. I don’t want to be mummy number 3. Third place does not sit well with me. Failure is my biggest trigger.
And yet he loves me, despite my failing. He loves me and I don’t know why. In 32 years I have never managed to love myself. He told me this week, “you are much more loveable when you aren’t trying to run away”. I am always trying to leave…
I sit here alone in the dark on one of our only nights without kids. I am serenaded by the hum of the dishwasher in the kitchen and the washing machine in the basement. At least in the dark I cannot see the mess (I have made of my life).