I’ve been having a pretty good week. Riding this wave of contentment has felt great. I haven’t been looking for reasons to be dumpy, and when some reasons have presented themselves, I’ve dismissed them and moved on. I’m not sticking my head in the sand, I’m just comfortable with not letting anxiety and depression take hold of me. It’s been great.
But it’s funny how it can sneak in a back door, when you least expect it.
So there I was, minding my own business, working on a Christmas present for my dad (I’m giving him a framed family portrait of our whole family – but having to Photoshop some people into it, which is somewhat time-consuming). I was browsing through old photos so I could find the people I need and I stumble on an old portrait session of myself with my mother. And I was thinner. And pretty. Wow… I was so pretty.
Now, two things happened:
- There is a really great picture of me with her, but I didn’t want her in the photograph with me. At all. Like….not.even.a.little. So I pulled it up and removed her, digitally. Which kind of messed with me.
- Spending that much time on a picture causes you to actually *look* at it for a while. And the whole time I’m looking at my face thinking, “You were perfect back then. Look at your face shape and your eyes and your lips. You were stunning.” Were. Was. And then….that messed with me.
And so the pain took hold. And for a while I was stuck with it. I was remembering how painful that visit from my mother was. I was remembering the emotional turmoil I was in. And then….I was remembering how it felt to feel pretty and desirable. To be fair, that picture was taken only 15 lbs from where I’m at now. But those 15 lbs might as well have been 150 lbs last night.
I remembered the mistakes I made that led me to disordered eating. I remembered the damage I caused my body. I remembered the damage I caused my soul. I started recounting all my mistakes. Friends I lied to, horrible things I said to myself….the selfish way I neglected my husband and child. I knew, in my head, that the girl in that photo wasn’t better than me. Actually…she was way worse off than I am. But she was me. And I am her. Last night, I just couldn’t escape that.
I went to bed and had very restless sleep. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, I had a nightmare. Among other, very personal things that happened in the dream, there was an ugly little tar-covered demon chasing me. I kept trying to get away from it, but it was always right there, just reaching out to get me. It was scary. And sad. I woke up screaming and terrified.
I was awake for a while after that. And thought a lot of about what that dream meant. And it occurred to me: that demon was *inside* that girl in the picture. But not in me now. Sure, I have to be vigilant against it. If I let my guard down, it’s too easy to slip into bad habits. But that thing isn’t in me now. And it’s clear that I don’t want it.
I did fall back asleep, finally. And woke up this morning feeling a little relieved. Although it was scary, my subconscious was reminding me that I’m not in that place anymore. I’m just not that into you, Bulimia.
And then, I was reminded that I was beautiful, and real. And human.
It’s probably a break through for me. I was able to feel the pain, and move on without it. That’s a big deal in these parts of the world. It feels good to be able to move past it. Yay for me.