Month: June 2013

Curves

you’re right, i do want curves
the curve of my delicate collarbone like a shelf over my countably infinite ribs
the curve of the side of my hip
jutting out from the diminishing flesh
like a rock ledge
something to hold onto
when everything else is slipping away.

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What Remains

As much as I consider myself a creature of habit, I feel myself inevitably drawn to change. Restless, even. Unwilling to stay in one place for too long. Physically, mentally, what have you. Things cannot remain as they are.

“Let’s go get our daiths pierced. Can you help me rearrange my room? I want another tattoo. What do you think I would look like as a blonde?”

I keep hoping that someday I’ll be happy with the result. That I’ll figure out the key to solving all my problems is getting my belly button pierced, being the best friend of some specific person, and wearing size 2 jeans.

I don’t think it’s that easy.

I want an answer. Can there be an answer? Is it like algebra, where some combination of x, y, and z will all of a sudden add up to what constitutes as happiness or perfection? Or am I destined for failure if I try to reduce it to something as simple as a mathematical equation?

I don’t know.

Sometimes I convince myself that I can be happier if I can just be different. Smile more. Be more outgoing, get skinnier. Talk to strangers. Wear crop tops. The problem is, it doesn’t work.

I’m drawn to change because I’m itching to get out of my own skin. To be somebody new every day. To reinvent myself every time something happens that doesn’t fit into my plan. I shed pounds like they are the sole embodiment of everything I don’t like about the person I’ve grown to be. The less there is of me, the easier it is to switch personas. The less there is of me, the less there is to hate.

I know the answer isn’t as accessible as I want it to be. I know I’m not getting anything out of running away from the things that make me uncomfortable. I’m not going to learn to love my body by manipulating it into some warped size. I’m not going to form strong relationships with people by deciding that none of them are worth holding onto.

The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same.

Vignettes of an Eating Disorder, Part 4

I stood on the bathroom scale trying my hardest to focus my gaze on the number below me. 111? Or did it say 117?

YOU FAT PIECE OF USELESS SHIT. YESTERDAY YOU WERE 115. HOW THE FUCK DID YOU GAIN WEIGHT, YOU UGLY LITTLE FUCKER?

Tears bubbled over my eyelids and slid slowly down my cheeks, stinging my raw skin. I’m sorry. I’m a failure. I’m so, so sorry.

I promise I’ll do better.

10 of the Happiest Moments I’ve Ever Had

10. My car broke down on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere, while I was driving two of my best friends to get Thai food. We waited for the tow truck and hiked almost a mile back to camp, where we broke into the snack bar and ate Reese’s pieces on top of the boathouse as we watched the sun set over the lake.

9. I left the senior banquet early with a few friends. Since we were restless and not ready to go home, we parked the car quietly by the side of a pond – and as soon as the coast was clear, we wriggled out of our dresses and dove in, floating in the cool water and feeling the glow of the perfect crescent moon.

8. My cousin Nathan was only a day old, wrapped tightly in blankets and stubbornly refusing to open his eyes. Feeling his tiny body in my arms was the most terrifying, amazing, and beautiful experience I have ever had.

7. The first time I ever took a bow by myself, an orchestral medley echoed in the background, and my eyes brimmed with tears as I saw an entire row of audience members rise to their feet.

6. We laid on the floor of the Jones Great Room, our heads creating a circle of shadow on the dimly lit planks beneath us. In a single moment we all understood how important we were to each other, and our performance the next night was so unified that even the group ended in tears.

5. My best friend and I gallivanted energetically through the woods behind her house, caring little about the nicks and scrapes that covered our skinny adolescent legs. When we returned from our adventure, we stuck Band-Aids all over ourselves and laughed until we couldn’t breathe.

4. I got back to staff house at 7:32 am with a soaked shirt and swollen red fingers. But all I felt was euphoria, because for the first time in my life, I’d finished a 6.2 mile run without stopping.

3. The night I graduated from high school, I opened the time capsule I’d put together with my little fourth grade hands only to discover that I had been convinced at the time that I was going to join the army. I joined my entire extended family in poking fun at my past dreams and giggling like children until our stomachs ached and our faces were stretched with joy.

2. On my birthday, my best friend told me that my recovery inspired her to seek out her own.

1. Every time I write a snippet for this blog, every time I get to put thoughts and ideas into words, I fall in love again. Instead of hating myself, I love something. Over and over again. Forever.

Vignettes of an Eating Disorder, Part 2

My alarm went off at 9:00 pm. I was downstairs with my laptop and my psychology notebook, making stacks upon stacks of flashcards.

Hunger gnawed slowly and steadily on the lining of my stomach, and dizziness struck me like a mallet as I stood to climb the stairs. For a moment I was simultaneously filled with unbearable misery and unfathomable elation as my body’s recognition of its emptiness grew stronger. An untouchable high.

One small mug of sugar-free hot chocolate. My reward for keeping the day’s intake significantly below my caloric limit.

The furious activity of the boiling water reminded me of the energy I no longer had.

The Morning After

Love Is In The Air

Flickr

I wake up early, like I always do. The beams of sunlight surround me like a blanket as I glance over at Emily, who is softly snoring next to me. Every one of my senses is heightened; I can hear the girls upstairs whispering foreign words and scraping their cereal bowls with spoons. In the glow of the daylight I feel whole again.

I stretch out my arms and watch as my hand slowly blurs. Like my memory, it remains just out of focus. I clasp my fist around air and close my eyes. I think I fell in love last night.

How do I know? I remember little things.

I remember you were laughing and I looked over and saw you, and I thought you might have the kind of smile that could change my life if I let it. The kind of smile I’d be willing to spend my whole life looking at, working hard to make you laugh so I could claim part of that silly grin as my own.

I remember laughing about something so hard I couldn’t breathe, and you reached over and put your hand on my knee, with amusement in your eyes, and asked me if I was okay. As I nodded our eyes met and and the place where our bodies connected began to glow like the kindling of a fire, like water that had just begun to simmer.

I remember resting on the arm of the couch and you sitting down next to me, the two of us ignoring all the heated conversation around us. After what felt like a lifetime I slid sideways off the arm until every nerve in my body sparked and buzzed toward yours. When I looked up into your eyes and the corners of your mouth curled up curiously, I was overcome with the desire to dive in and taste every bit of you. I couldn’t help thinking if everyone else were to suddenly disappear I would have reached out and traced the outline of your lips with my finger, capturing every inch of your perfection before it was gone.

I remember, at the end of the night, when you got up to leave and my entire left side ached from the constant tingling. For the past several minutes we hadn’t said one word to each other, only passed a Rubik’s cube back and forth as we both struggled to finish it, neither of us remembering how to finish the top layer. We understood each other. We were both a little lost.

I don’t know. Maybe that isn’t love. I have nothing to compare it to.

Emily stirs next to me. She feels the sun too, I know, and she is probably recalling the night’s events with the same fuzzy wonderment. I peek over at her, but do not speak. How can I tell her that I have fallen in love with a stranger?

It is almost certain that I will never see him again. Someone else will spend their life sharing his perfect smile and quiet confidence. I will never get the satisfaction of knowing I captivate him, too, never know the thrill of more than just a static touch. If it is love, it is only a small and unsatisfying taste that leaves me desperate to feel it again and again and again.

In my mind I have captured the night in powerful vignettes, memories that I will always recall as my first taste of love. Although I am awake, I roll silently onto my side and drift off again, not into sleep, but into possibility. For the first time in a long time, I do not give up hope.

When Writing Isn’t Enough

Writing is my drug. I am a junkie for words. The more time I spend getting thoughts out of my head and onto paper (or into a text file), the more time I want to spend continuing to do just that. I let hours dwindle away without so much as a glance at the world outside my imagination. I have been known to pause mid-shower to step out and make note of a brilliant idea that just popped into my head. There are times I cannot sleep because the creative engine in my brain is chugging away at top speed and conveniently forgot to replace the brakes before it left. I crave the grip of a pen, the delicate tapping of a keyboard. It enslaves me. It is my greatest and most euphoric high.

Like many writers, I am a keen observer. I look for life’s little nuances, the ones that point to the potential for a great story. I notice things that others might not. I capture fleeting moments not with pictures, but with words.

So what happens to someone like me when words fail?

Everyone has experienced a moment like that. Looking out over a colorful sunset so powerful not even a photograph could capture its beauty. Thinking about someone you love without a clue how to describe your feelings toward them. Moments that are felt so deeply and wholly that they are impossible to articulate using mere language. These miraculous fragments of our lives are what define and motivate us, and yet they cannot be shared in their entirety with anyone. They belong to us alone, pieces of our deepest selves. No matter how many times we try to explain them to others, they will never be so firmly integral as they are to us.

The challenge of capturing these moments is undertaken every day by writers, photographers, musicians, painters, and countless other artists. Many have risen to the occasion and created masterpieces so moving they can bring an audience to tears. But a vast majority of the human race lacks that seemingly innate ability to express the inexpressible. We face the unfortunate possibility that the people who experience the most profoundly life-changing events are among those who cannot describe them. That scares me. And it also scares me that I might be one of those people.

When I witness a moment of true beauty or clarity or raw sensitive emotion, I commit it wholeheartedly to memory. I notice the way it feels all the way into the tiny crevices of my bones, cementing every piece of it into the very essence of my being. But I am perpetually tormented by the idea that I might never be able to to find the words to share that moment with anyone else. Even now, as my fingers hover over the fading letters on my keyboard, I worry that the words I’ve penned today have not successfully conveyed the enormity of this issue, and of my own fear and disappointment.

The greatest tragedy in a writer’s life is realizing that not everything is expressible in words, and that some moments live only in memory. But perhaps it is also a blessing. If the one certainty is that words cannot always be sufficient, then writers are unquestionably human, and thus are defined by that which is beyond the depth of their craft. When writing isn’t enough, we live.