Tag Archives: children

Home Time Triggers

135lbs

I am one week away from going home. My goal was to be in the 120’s by then. It isn’t happening.

Going home is exciting and stressful all at the same time. Exciting because I get to see everyone, stressful because of finances and many other things. I will be gone for 5 weeks. I leave my boyfriend and children behind which will cause me anxiety. I go to be with my family which will also cause me anxiety. Nothing is as triggering as going back to the root of your eating disorder.

I love my family. I am overjoyed to see them. One of my oldest, bestest friends is getting married and I have the honour of being her bridesmaid. I am, of course, worried about being thin enough in my bridesmaid’s dress.

I am torn: torn by my boyfriend not being able to come with me and torn by my family who need me too. I drop out of one life and into another, worlds apart. It is emotionally overwhelming.

I cope by eating, or not eating. When I eat, I purge. By the time I leave next week, I will be beside myself. I will cry all the way there and on the way back, I will cry all the way here for different reasons.

I had firmly believed, that I would be going home engaged to my boyfriend. He told me he would give me a reason to come back and I thought that would be it. Part of me imagined he would surprise me by buying a last-minute ticket and coming with me, or just showing up back home. I know I am setting myself up for a massive heartache. There will be no engagement ring. There will be no surprise visit. When I get back from my trip in July and am bereft and lost and distressed, he is going away for a week with his kids. I will need him, but they will need him more. Some days I just have to accept that this is how it is.

The heart wants what it wants and right now I want to go home and never come back here. This is no fairytale. There is no happily-ever-after.

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Wedding Weekend

We went away for the weekend to a wedding for my boyfriend’s cousin. We had the children with us and all his family had traveled there. After a lot of drama involving the mother of his daughter (she thought that she should attend the wedding and I didn’t), we managed to go too.

Road trips are hard for people with eating disorders. There is no routine, there are few ‘safe’ foods and lots of triggers. I was already high on anxiety from the drama by the time we left. I anticipated someone in my boyfriend’s family would make a comment about the little girl’s mother or make one of their stupid pregnancy jokes in our direction. Before we even left, I was on guard and expecting it.

Nothing happened. Nobody said anything dumb. We had a great weekend. We stayed with friends and drank wine and took the kids swimming.

At the wedding I had my heart set on a slow dance with my boyfriend. It was all I wanted. The night went on and on with no chance of it happening as we chased the children around and spent time with his family. His daughter takes up all his time and attention. It is just the way it is. When she is around, his son and I barely get noticed. I had a feeling that I was setting myself up for disappointment by fixating on the one moment I really wanted: a slow dance in his arms.

I do it all the time by setting my heart on something: a romantic date, a weekend away together, him coming home with me to meet my family and of course, an engagement ring. I leave in a week. There is no chance now that I am going home with a ring on my finger.

As the night wore on, I ate more (pasta, potatoes, bread, lasagne – all good for anxiety relief) and drank more and eventually went to purge it all. When I came out of the washroom by boyfriend was standing there looking for me. He had been looking for me for some time.

“Where else would you expect to find me?” I replied in tipsy honesty.

“I should have guessed,” was his response.

Normal people would have been on the dance floor.

By the time he came to get me for the last dance of the evening, his daughter was half asleep on my lap. Her needs trump my needs. I wasn’t going to move a sleeping child so I could go dance. I went back to the hotel and cried in the bathtub instead.

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The Aftermath

We “kissed and made up” as the saying goes. I don’t feel like we effectively resolved anything. We are back to our normal which means that nothing will change, but everything has changed and it can’t go back.

He carries on as he did before. I find myself questioning everything. Why give up a weekend to spend at his son’s lacrosse tournament when this man isn’t sure of how he will feel about me in a year? I looked at the house last night – a disaster as always – and I told him that they needed to clean it up because I wouldn’t. Why am I picking up after kids that aren’t mine when their dad won’t make a commitment to me?

I am loath to invest time or money or effort now that I know there is no timeline. I am withdrawing, pulling back, being selfish. I sleep in and let him get the kids dressed and ready for school by himself. I don’t do their laundry or pack their lunches. I want him to remember single parenting. I want him to realize what he has done and what he has lost in me when I stop doing all I did.

I am still hurt; wounded by words that cannot be retracted. The damage done is immense. It pervades every conversation. I have to keep reminding him that things are not what I thought they were. It’s as if he doesn’t even register the shift.

“Do you want to go look at a new car this weekend?” He asks.

“No. I think there is no point now. Perhaps when our situation is more stable. I will reassess in a few months and then think about it,” is my response. I have said quite frankly, that I made the decision to go look at a new car prior to our discussion when I believed that we were in a more secure position than what we are.

I went to see the ED counsellor and doctor for a check up as part of the program I am in. He asked about it at coffee.

“Am I supposed to be coming to some of these with you?” He seems stunned that I have been to several appointments that he does not know about because I didn’t bother telling him.

“Yes you are supposed to take part in a few things, but I told my case manager that I’ve had new information since the time I brought you with and that things have changed. I told her not to plan on you being part of this anymore,” I am as blunt as I can be. This is not a part of myself I am going to share with someone who is vague about our future. He looks hurt. He says “oh” and I leave it at that.

He brings up the long weekend. We were supposed to go away for our romantic holiday together which I canceled the morning after our fight. He hasn’t asked about it or referenced it since. It’s like he is immune to how disappointed I was after I had been looking forward to it so much. He hasn’t even acknowledged that I canceled it and how devastated I am about it. He is nonchalant.

“What do you want to do for the long weekend? Do you want to make any plans?” He asks, like nothing happened and he didn’t ruin a perfectly good weekend for nothing.

“What I wanted to do went down in flames,” I respond calmly. “I no longer care what happens this weekend.”

Another, “oh…ok”.

He doesn’t get it. Why would he?

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Mother’s Day For Non-Mothers

Today is my first official “unofficial” mother’s day. I say “unofficial” because my partner and I are not married so technically I am not a step mother. I say official because in the last 10 months it has been full on mothering for me to his two kids.

I have not been acknowledged either way by him today. The kids are with their mothers, obviously, even though it is our weekend with them. I realize I will face a life time of not sharing this day with them. My partner kissed me goodbye this morning when he left to go watch his son’s lacrosse game. He said, “if you speak to your mom tell her happy mother’s day from me.” He has never met my mother, but he thought to acknowledge her. He didn’t say anything to me. I didn’t get any expression of thanks or acknowledgement for the mothering I do to his kids.

I don’t know what I was expecting really. Last weekend some friends were over having dinner with us and my girlfriend said, “now you get to celebrate mother’s day”. I looked at my boyfriend and I said, “I don’t think he knew that.” My girlfriend ignored my comment and said, “no, you’re a mom now. You celebrate mother’s day.”

I know we get the kids back some time this evening. Part of me wonders if it will cross my boyfriend’s mind to do anything. Flowers? A card? I don’t know, does Hallmark make “step mother” mother’s day cards for women who aren’t officially step mothers? Part of me feels like if he does do anything it will only be because my girlfriend brought it up last weekend and said he had to. I feel caught in the middle. I do not get to not mother the children because there is no ring on my finger. I can’t refuse to change dirty diapers or hold sick children or feed them or take care of them or bath them or dress them or play with them or love them because there is no ring on my finger. I have to mother them regardless. And I choose to mother them because I want to. Who can not look at a child and love them? Who can not want to take care of a child even if it is not biologically theirs? It is not possible to look at them and not feel a bond to them after all this time. Every day that I am with this man, I make a conscious decision to love him and his children. It has not been easy. This week in particular has been the hardest one to continue to make that choice in the light of no forthcoming committment from him.

So this post is for the unofficial mothers. The ones who have made a choice to love other women’s children. The ones who are not recognized or acknowledged or appreciated for what they do. The ones that are reviled and hated by the biological moms instead of thanked. The ones who sacrifice themselves for children that will never call them “mum”. The ones who do everything that a mother does, which in my opinion makes you a mother. It seems the more I delve into step motherhood that the more obvious it is that people only acknowledge you as part of the mum club if you have been impregnated and pushed a child out of your vagina. I know biology is the least of what makes a mother a mother.

***

I got up, alone, skyped my mother in Africa. I poured my coffee and left for church. I had wanted my boyfriend to come to church with me today, but he chose to go to his son’s 5th lacrosse game this week. It seems fitting that he spent part of mother’s day with the mother of his son whom he is still officially married to.

I came home from church wondering if there would be anything. There was nothing. No flowers, no card, no present. The house is a mess, kids stuff everywhere, my boyfriend was sleeping upstairs. He asked how church was. He asked if I had spoken to my mother. He didn’t say a word about doing something special today or ask what I might like to do. I know I am waiting for some token acknowledgement that won’t happen or will be meaningless by the time it happens hours from now and is a fleeting moment he did out of obligation. He has had a whole day to look at me and say the words I long to hear “thank you for mothering my children”.

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Heartaches and Mistakes 

It has been a hard week. After the disastrous conversation with my boyfriend on Monday night about our future, we argued for 3 days. He was out of town and all our communication was via terse messaging.

At first I think he hoped it would blow over with a few “I love yous”, but I didn’t let it go. I stood my ground and told him it needed to be resolved.  After the shocking realization that our relationship was not where I thought it was and that we are not on the same page, I laid out everything. I addressed our ongoing issues with his absurd situation with the 2 mothers of his 2 children. I brought up his behavior of avoidance concerning the problems and how it all negatively impacts my life and therefore our relationship. I was as blunt and as harsh as I could be. I asked him why he would imagine I would want to stay indefinitely, without a commitment, in a situation that has cost me so much. I went into a lot of detail to which he responded in defense, of course. After 3 days I felt that the messages weren’t getting us anywhere, so I filed them away and stopped responding.

My anxiety was out of control for 3 days. I wondered about leaving him quite seriously.  I even found somewhere I could go live within 24 hours of the fight. I thought about the inevitability of the situation and my boyfriend never changing and that I have the nagging suspicion we will keep revisiting this same conversation. I wondered about my repeating habits and behaviors in relationships. I am mad at myself for the commitment I have made; for loving, giving and trusting too much.

In the end I starved and binged and purged and drank. There were no answers. Not from him or from the bottom of a toilet bowl where I heaved up anger and disappointment.

He came back from his trip last night. He wanted to hold me and kiss me and tell me he loved me. I tried not to cry. I wanted to push him away, but in the end I didn’t. I didn’t know how to tell him that I am still hurt and mad and that sex won’t fix that.

The world has tilted, we have shifted and I am not sure we can ever go back. It seems to me that this will be the beginning of the end. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt that he will do what he promised, but in my heart of hearts I know he will fail me. Just like the ones that came before, he will be no different in the end no matter how much he tells me otherwise.

I told him the fact that a question about our future blindsided him so badly and derailed us this abruptly was more telling than all the awful things he said.

I canceled our long weekend away in the mountains. I shed some bitter tears as I wept over the loss of something I was looking forward to so much. I had longed for a romantic, secluded escape together because we have never had one. I had even fantasized that it was when he would ask me to marry him. I was so sure that I would be going home with a ring on my finger that it seemed a likely choice it would be that weekend. Given that I have been waiting since Christmas for a proposal and that he told me on Monday night he had no timeline, wasn’t going to give me one because he feels “pressured” into marrying me and doesn’t want to make a promise he can’t keep, it is obvious that I need to stop believing in fairytales. I decided that I don’t want to invest the money and time into a weekend with someone who is not sure how they will feel about me in a year. As I wiped the disappointed tears away I realized that I will be home in four weeks time and will have a month to decide what my next step is.

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Someday…

   
This is a conversation with my boyfriend saying he will buy gifts for my brothers so that they like him “if I’m going to ask for your hand in marriage someday.”

If…

Someday…

I have been waiting for a proposal since Christmas. I know what these men are like. Someday will never come. This one keeps telling me he is different to any man I have dated before. I am yet to believe him. He is yet to prove it. 

I put my cards on the table when we started dating. I told him I wouldn’t wait around indefinitely. I told him I wanted a marriage and children.  I assumed all the risk and made a huge commitment moving in with him 4 months ago. Now he says “if” and “someday”. 

 I have already given him everything he could ask for: I have taken on his 2 children from 2 different mothers and all the ensuing baggage that comes with. I have tolerated the intolerable for him. It has been nothing but stress since the beginning of our relationship. I have given up a simple happy life for drama and complications because he has no boundaries and hasn’t sorted out the mess he made of his life. 

I have foregone dates, romance, quality time and swapped them for mothering, cleaning, cooking and never ending laundry. I have given up sleep ins and freedom for waking up early to dress kids and make school lunches. I have lost evenings of frivolity and fun to homework, bath time and bed time. I have taken on the financial burden of his children, spending money on them now instead of myself. I have given up a life I dreamed of in Africa with my family to make a family with a man who says “if” and “someday”. 

I must not be worth more.  

I only have myself to blame for giving him everything up front. 

I have put up with things many others would have walked away from because he told me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. He used to say, “I can’t wait for you to be my wife”. He never says it anymore. Instead he tells me there is a hole in his favourite underpants while we lie in bed and I am thinking of a wedding and children. 

And I know he thinks he is being a good guy buying gifts for my brothers. He would never understand how that statement could do so much damage. How triggering it is for someone with anxiety and an eating disorder. He will never know that I already have a date in mind which I will not wait past. 

“If” that “someday” takes much longer, I will be long gone.  

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Massage and Probing Questions

I saw a massage therapist yesterday to deal with 2 ribs that are out of place.

“If you are uncomfortable at any point, just say so and I will stop,” he instructs.

I don’t know how to tell him that people with ED are always uncomfortable. I am uncomfortable in my skin, lying naked underneath a blanket, wondering how awful my cellulite is as he squeezes and rubs. I am uncomfortable that someone is touching my fat; that the bones I long for are buried under layers of flesh. I am uncomfortable as his hands find thighs that are too big. I suffer repulsion on his behalf that he has to touch me.

He keeps up an incessant chatter. The conversation turns to me: where am I from, what do I do. The usual. Thankfully he doesn’t comment that I am too fat to be a ballerina.

“Do you have kids?” he asks. I don’t know if this is just conversational or not.

“No,” I don’t bother explaining that I live with someone who has two because that opens a huge can of worms. It is so complicated that I don’t want to rehash the story of my boyfriend and his children. (Although I “mommy” them, I am not officially their step mother. Apparently you can’t be acknowledged as any kind of mother until there is a ring on your finger and a piece of paper to prove it.)

“Have you ever been pregnant,” is his next question.

“No,” I respond wondering how strange it is of him to ask that of me. It would mean that I had suffered a miscarriage given that I just told him I don’t have kids. It seems an unlikely conversation to have a with a complete stranger, despite how intimately his hands were touching my body.

This came 48 hours after my colleague asked me on the weekend if I was expecting a baby. Why is everyone asking me if I am pregnant, if I have ever been pregnant or in the case of my girlfriend straight up telling me “it is your turn to have a baby. You are going to miss your window and regret it.”

My boyfriend already had 2 accidental kids. I don’t want to be the person he has a third accident with. I am having enough trouble wrapping my head around being #3 as it is. It isn’t special. It isn’t something that I feel excited about. There are a lot of comments and jibes about pregnancy and kids made in our direction. I don’t enjoy being the butt of the joke because he already had two kids with two different women. No one seems to stop and think how it makes me feel. No one acknowledges how hard it must be for me to be in such a situation and want my own children. He makes jokes about it too and it destroys me just a little bit more.

The only conclusion I can draw from any of this is that I am fat.

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Girl Code (And More Dumb S**t People Say To Me)

Everyone knows that you never ask a woman if she is pregnant. Girls especially know that this is a code you don’t break no matter how obvious it is.

Today a colleague at ballet asked me if I was pregnant while patting my stomach. She actually thought it was acceptable to pat my belly and ask if I was expecting a baby. I looked at her in horror. I told her that was a terrible thing to ask someone.

“Why?” she seemed surprised that I was upset.

“Do I look pregnant?” I responded.

***This is the worst part. Brace yourselves***

“I don’t know,” she answered.

I. Don’t. Know.

Well I am obviously fat enough that she thinks I’m pregnant. The sad thing about that is I have actually lost weight lately. That there was all the encouragement I need to keep purging, exercising and restricting.

The tragedy of the whole day was when I relayed the incident to a friend and they said to me, “well if she knew your situation, she wouldn’t ask.” Meaning that my boyfriend has already had 2 accidental children with 2 different woman and our lives are negatively impacted by it every, single day. Said friend then said this: “It’s not like you want to be the third woman to have his child.”

No, I do not.

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Unlovable

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. 

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Choices and Consequence

Here is a list of things I vowed to never do again in a relationship:

  • date a north American
  • date a non-Christian
  • date someone with no money and/or who wouldn’t pay for things
  • be the one who went backwards and forwards between 2 houses, living out of the boot of my car, during that weird in between part of the relationship when we weren’t living together
  • live together without at least being engaged first (hello, can I wait long enough for some commitment before giving up my maid services for free?)
  • wait endlessly for an engagement/wedding
  • move into his house rather than mine
  • be the one making all the sacrifice and assuming all the risk in the relationship
  • live on his timeline
  • give up the opportunity to move home for a man and stay in North America because of him

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).

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