There’s a movie (I know, I reference them way too much but come on, I used to work in a movie theater for geese and meese!) called Stranger Than Fiction where Will Ferrell’s character starts hearing Emma Thompson’s voice narrating his life. Well, it turns out, she’s an author and in all of her books, every character dies. I won’t reveal any more but what happens when the opposite happens to you? What if every book you pick up seems to be about you? What if every time you try to educate yourself, become more diverse and intelligent on a particular subject, or even explore someone else’s point of view, you find yourself instead reading about what you experienced just this morning? I’m stuck in this loop. I’m watching the same horrible things happening to myself and the worst part is, I’m choosing for this to happen. I made the conscious decision to pick up that book. I made the conscious decision to read it. Alright, I may not have made the decision to be the way I am consciously, but I’m here and that’s who I am. I’ve been in therapy too long to know that that isn’t going to change overnight. But this creepy reverse Mirror of Erised (Harry Potter reference, kudos to those who understood! And kudos to those who didn’t and still put up with my bullshit!) is scaring me a little bit. Should I be concerned for myself, or the world? Should I be worried about my own well-being or the fact that this world has gone to such hell that people like me are the only noteworthy people that are…well, noteworthy? Whoa, okay, let me start over. Eating disorder. I posted last mentioning, well, really in-depth covering my newest “symptom”/addiction/obsession. My body. Not wanting this to become a problem and thinking the only way to do this was through the knowledge-is-power approach, I thought I’d see if there were any books on eating disorders at the library while I was volunteering there the other day (yea, it’s basically a full-time job now. I’m there every day!). I grabbed one and sat in the aisle to read it (it was a sort of Chicken-Soup-for-the-Anorectic-Soul type of book), flipping to a random page. The girl I managed to find in the pages of this thin, hardly used edition could have been me. I shit you not. She described herself (and note: these are her own words for herself. She was writing this about herself) as being obsessive, even as a small child, controlling, a perfectionist and often striving to be better than the best. Are those not ALL qualities I possess? I know, I know, I can practically hear Allister saying, “you possess other qualities. That isn’t all of who you are,” or something along those lines. It isn’t but this is her description, pre-treatment. And thinking back (and I’ve been giving it some thought…not a safe thing to do really, especially near anything explosive. Do not attempt this at home), this was/is totally me as a child/young adult. Even with food, something that I had never included in the equation until now. The obsessive-compulsive, neurotic type of behaviors have always been there. Now, that being said, I slammed the book shut right then and there but forced myself to check it out, thinking there might still be other cases, or exceptions, that would be relevant or helpful. Got home, stripped to my undies because my clothes were literally ripping (and I think it was because the shirt was old, not because it was too small but that’s what I equated it to and had to sit in silence, thinking about how disgusting I am), hid behind my bed in the dark and tried to read the book again, this time from the beginning. I got a little farther than before (starting from beginning, though), trying my best to ignore the voices in my head telling me that I’m too disgusting to even be reading this book. Then, I got to a case study. As soon as the subject started describing themselves, I literally threw the book across the room. I pulled my knees to my chest and started crying, just quiet enough that no one would hear me. I hid the book under Poco’s bed so no one would find it, even accidentally, if they came into my room. I put it in my bag this morning to take with me to the library but it hasn’t been touched since. The same thing happened with the DSM-V. I know what you’re thinking: “why the hell did you even open that?” But it was in the same section…I couldn’t help it. All I can think about is food. All the time. Not that I want to eat it but every moment revolves around when I’ll have to get dressed, show myself in public, take clothes off, anything like that. I even had a dream about stuff like that. Every conversation I have, not by my own choice, is about food or losing weight. Every time someone wants to go somewhere, it’s for food. Humans need food to sustain life but what if they don’t want it? What if there is a psychological desire to not want food? Then what do you do? I look at nude photography books in Barnes and Noble because I envy the women in those books. Their bodies are beautiful enough for someone to photograph them. Someone thought they were worth looking at. Someone, somewhere, at least once, found them physically attractive. And even if not their faces, their frames, their breasts, elbows, knees, hips, all of that. All of it is sensual and beautiful. The books I look at are not erotic nor are they sexual in any way. They are classy, poised women and photographers appreciating the beauty that is the human body. All of them except mine, that is. Those are books I can open and not have my life looking back at me with dark eyes. I don’t have to be staring at all of the ugly emptiness. Too bad those are the same books that cause the ugly emptiness in the first place.
My blog isn’t usually about eating disorders but it looks like it might be drifting in that direction. Class, welcome to orientation.
Humans like a bargain, a deal, a trade. Nothing in life is free. So why on Earth, Mars, the Moon or Jupiter did I think that I would just slide so easily from being this depressed lump of coal to this beautiful shining butterfly? A beacon of hope for all who came across her path and listened to her story? Seriously. What the HELL was I thinking? Obviously, I wasn’t. Back to my first point: trading. Even before money, people traded things. Sure, someone got ripped off or the deal wasn’t fair in some way but it was always an eye for an eye. I mean, seriously, that was written down on a tablet somewhere thousands of years before Christ. It was literally law. It’s like human nature. Money was invented (weird, right?) and then you were trading capital for product. Doesn’t seem like a trade, but technically that’s exactly what it is. You worked for the money, they paid you for your services and you, in turn, pay for whatever services you need. The never-ending chain of commerce that has become our society. Why is this relevant? Because like I said nothing in life is free. Two weeks ago, I wrote and said I was feeling okay. Better than okay, if I dare say so. I was feeling optimistic, enjoying the nice weather and really getting into this volunteering-at-the-library thing. And it had been going on for a little longer than two weeks. It wasn’t a steady incline or a sudden burst of energy or anything. It was just as ‘they’ say, a cloud of scribbles drawn by Harold and his purple crayon. I was all over the place most days. As an overall feeling though, I felt better. Then, well, I traded. I don’t exactly know with whom I traded…the mental health gods, the Fates, myself, but I started to switch gears. When I had my gallbladder removed, I literally didn’t eat for like a week. And even before that, my eating was become erratic (at best). I was losing weight, not necessarily on purpose, but at the same time…it was intentional. My mom and I weeded my closet of my “fat clothes” to try and cut down on the space I was taking up in the spare bedroom (I literally have two closets worth of clothes…but not in a good way). Things were fitting right and left: dresses, shirts, shorts, jeans, slacks, all things I hadn’t worn in years. A trade, no? It wasn’t necessarily for the better. This little, joyous moment quickly turned into paranoia and fear. Every time I got dressed, it took me twice as long because I look disgusting in everything I wear. Whenever I eat, I’m very, very, very particular about what goes into my mouth, what time and who I’m with. My mom, Thomas and I went shopping earlier today and my mom said I could pick out a new bathing suit because the only one I have is too big. I got into the section and was looking at them, thinking how cute they were when this horrible image came into my head of how utterly horrific I was going to look in them. I literally ran from the section and had to keep from having a total breakdown in the store by making for the nearest check-out line. Even now, as I sit here, I’m feeling bloated and disgusting because I ate dinner with my family. I didn’t have a lot but, the point is, I ate. I ended up finding a smaller-ish bathing suit in my mom’s adventure-of-a-closet and we went to the pool (it’s Memorial Day weekend, it was gorgeous out, I had to!). I jumped in once, immediately decided that everyone (and I mean everyone) there was looking at me so I had to get out. I dried off in the sun, tanning a little bit too. But I still felt like everyone was staring at me. When we got home, I took a shower (because let’s face it, even with chlorine, pools are still pretty gnarly) and washed my hair. I managed not to look down too much, which usually starts this ugly train off its tracks anyway, but when I got out of the shower, I couldn’t help but look at my reflection. When you step out of my tub, you are looking towards the medicine cabinet (which is a mirror) and the mirror over the sink (did I say mirror already? Well, it’s a mirror). Unless you close your eyes, you can’t not see yourself when you get out of the shower. I dried off, avoiding my own gaze, and wrapped my towel around myself. But before I moved, before I stepped away from the shower and left the bathroom to get dressed, I caught a glimpse of my tan lines. And I don’t even know if they were tan lines, it might have simply been shadows. Regardless, the lighting in the room made my arm appear half its size. I still had my almost-manly broad shoulders, round face and bony clavicles but my arm had lost all of its toneless fat and wide, shapelessness to the shadowing in the room. That particular body part looked like it belonged to a prisoner-of-war from a country that saw a lot of vitamin D. It was just the one arm. And I was so hypnotized by it that I didn’t move for what could’ve easily been five minutes. And then, this little vapor of a thought entered my head. Aren’t I supposed to be disgusted by this? Shouldn’t I be repulsed at something so thin, so small, so skeletal? Yes, yes, I should. But I wasn’t. On someone else, I knew I could have logically seen that being so thin so unhealthy, that it wasn’t sensible or safe. On me, though? It was exactly where I wanted to be. I told Allister and my nutritionist, Flower, about this problem escalating. Allister and I both agree that a problem shouldn’t be created where there isn’t one. Flower thinks how I’m eating, not necessarily what I’m eating, should change. But, at the same time, Allister acknowledges that if this is a problem, it can’t be ignored either. And I’m really scared that is what it’s coming to. Things are changing quickly. More quickly than I thought they would. I thought by telling someone, even though I didn’t want to, it would be okay. We could nip it in the bud, cut off the snake’s head but instead, this hydra has grown three more. I can’t seem to curb it. Whenever I notice that I’m being obsessive, it’s too late. I can’t pull back the reins, the damage is done and the sickly, oozing, squelching sound of three new heads are filling my ears because I realized too late that rather than destroy it, I simply decapitated the hydra…again. I need to trade in my sword for a flamethrower. And trade in this eating disorder-esque behavior for…for…what? My depression? Because that cave was no better. Howl’s Moving Castle (haven’t seen it? Go see it! Spoilers!) had a door where you could turn a wheel and the same door would open up to different places depending on where the wheel was positioned. It seems like all the options on my wheel are dark, scary, caves that lead to nowhere. Except you don’t find out they lead to nowhere until you are so far wedged in that you can’t even see well enough to know which way is out so you can turn around. So what am I trading this for? Another cave? More darkness? A rocking chair for a porch swing? Either way they don’t get me anywhere. Humans like trading. They don’t like getting swindled or taken advantage of but they like trading things, even if they’re trading one evil for another.
Which would you prefer to watch: a train wreck or a wedding? Most people would outwardly choose the wedding but we all know, deep down, the train wreck would be the ultimate option. For centuries, people watched gladiators fight lions and each other to the death, kings and queens behead their siblings for the right to sit in a lousy chair, bar fights haven’t just provided entertainment for people since the days of Edgar Allan Poe and ultimate fighting has skyrocketed to the top of the viewing charts while wrestling holds its own, even after all this time. I mean, I know if I had a choice between catching The Wolverine or the Oscars red-carpet pre-award interviews, Wolverine would win every time (and it’s not just because Hugh Jackman is in it, thank you very much). I would like to think that I would choose the wedding, that I would want to be able to look at cuteness and happiness, be content with everything there is in the world. Part of me though, says that that’s not how things go down. Humans want gore, they want guts, they want blood. Okay, so where is this vile talk going? Well, I’ve said before that I never write when things are going okay. Why not? Maybe that’s why. This little hole-in-the-wall of a blog was supposed to be my safe place to curl and whisper obscenities at anyone who had a problem with the other cool alley cats that hang out here; the people that society has deemed unfit for “normal” life, the ones that will never be crammed into their mold so they don’t want to cross our paths for fear of catching whatever unseen bug has started eating away at our gray matter. If I start talking about good stuff, if I let the light in…isn’t the wholeness, the solidity of the darkness shattered? If I start talking about anything positive in my life, I’ve become an idle alley cat and allowed a mouse to chew through the black ether that surrounds me. I have to chuckle to myself because literally, in like Vegas-style flashing neon sign, “RECOVERING” just flashed through my head. Allowing a few mice in does not always equal an entire infestation (*voice in the back of my head* “yes it does…”). And besides, pshh, I’m the coolest alley cat there is. I’m like Thomas O’Malley. I got skills! I can handle this. Okay, so this is the part that I will give you a reprieve. If you want to discontinue reading this entry (hopefully not my blog, that would turn this alley cat into a very sad…house cat practically) because you aren’t doing so well and think that hearing about my not-so-utterly-disgusting week would be enough to want to track me down and throat-punch me well, please, by all means, save me a bruised trachea and stop. If you want to hear about my week (yay!), continue kitten, and I shall tell you a tale…
Job hunt is still a no-go. I’ve been…okay, I’m not even gonna finish that sentence. I’ve told my mom and Dr. Glover that I’ve been applying like everyday. Not quite the truth. My resume is on a few career websites and when I remember, I apply. Allister heard it a little more correctly in me saying that I apply when something comes along, but with the hospital systems and such, it’s not really worth applying over and over again. Once your information is in the system, it almost prevents you from putting in multiple applications within the same system. Totally BLOWS. But, you know, so does not having a fucking job. I stopped physical therapy, my one of three connections with human beings per week. The others were with Allister and Allison, which I manage to maintain pretty well. Physical therapy stopped because I met all my goals and what was left to be done had to be done on a continuing basis so…they weren’t going to keep me. Great. Awesome. Crisis? No, I actually managed to wade through those waters without drowning. But, now I am like literally trapped in my house. I have no excuse to leave and don’t have money to just leave whenever I feel like it (gas is wayy too expensive for that shiznit!) so I’m back to the job thing. But I can’t make people hire me! If people could do that, no one would be unemployed, everyone would be a CEO and have multiple homes and drive an Aston Martin! (Or a Porsche, I really, really like Porsche! Not quite as finger-in-the-air as AM but hey, still worth something!) How do I fix this dilemma? Well, after batting it around like a cat with a ball of yarn (can you tell I’m stuck on the cat thing now? I don’t even dig cats like that! Like I don’t mind other people’s cats but I would never personally have one), volunteering came up. I searched and searched for volunteering in my area. Alas, everything was happening closer to the city. And again, gas is too expensive for people (without jobs) to just be running all over the place, doing shit for free. I love volunteering. I really do. Like, if I were in the right physical/mental state, I think I would totally join the Peace Corps. or something. But, fiscally, I have to be smart and responsible, something I’m usually not, but trying to be better at. And it’s not smart to drive to the city all the time without a source of income. Well, handled this little problema rather ingeniously, I think. Thomas has been trying to keep up with a series of comics that never seems to end. He orders them through the library he works at but because he’s in school, he had to cut his hours back. The library calls you whenever your order comes in so we get like a million calls a day saying his order is ready for pick-up. Whenever the order is completely there (it’s seriously like 10-12 books at a time), I go pick it up since I have so much free time. My mom has worked at the freakin’ library part-time since I was like 10 so I know everybody there, which means it doesn’t matter who’s working, I can go up there and interact with them. And that’s exactly what I do. This week, it went from picking up Thomas’s order to helping one of the librarians reorganize an entire section of shelving to picking up another Thomas-order to checking things in to reshelving to pulling things…it has been about 15 hours total in volunteer time within a 2-day period. The great thing is that I would’ve had to go up there anyway. And after talking with the volunteer coordinator (who I have also known for basically my entire teenage/young adult life), she has given me weekly responsibilities as a volunteer. I’ve also talked to Nora (again, established relationship since forever ago) about trying to get a position as a page. And everyone agrees that it would be best to start off volunteering. So I figured, what the hell? I’m not doing anything, I love to give my attention and focus to something else and at least I’ll be out of my own head for a while. And I have been. I think I’m slowly forgetting the alphabet because I’ve had to alphabetize so much but hey, maybe I’ll finally learn it backwards so in that off chance I get pulled over and asked to recite it in reverse to prove my sobriety, I can (don’t drive drunk, people. Don’t do it! Seriously though, why is that a sobriety test, I don’t know the alphabet backwards when I am sober so why would I know it when I’m drunk?) Towson University emailed me to say I have to take math placement tests to figure out my current standing (I. Hate. Math.) at some point this week as well (not that I have to test, just informing me of my need to test). Well, normally, I would be a total frazzled, whazzed-out ball of nerves at the mere mention of math and testing in the same sentence. I mean, just math itself is enough to send my blood pressure skyrocketing, and my blood pressure is freakishly low most of the time. I suck at math. All of it. Even what most people call “simple stuff.” And to make matters worse, I’ve taken math in college so that means that whatever I took, wasn’t high enough for Towson. Placement testing + already taken math credits (yes multiple credits) = having to take math credits at Towson. Bleh. But, you know what? I didn’t totally lose my checkers. I might’ve exited the email and slammed my laptop shut a little too hard. I might’ve put my shoes on and went to the library with the radio turned up slightly louder than what my brother might have thought was comfortable. However, I didn’t cry, call my mom, spiral into some horrible worst-case-scenario panic (okay, maybe for like a millisecond), or break anything reasonably valuable. I was a little too eager at the library, I think, but peppiness does not always mean manic and peppiness annoys more than hurts. And before all of you sexy alley cats came to hear me meow and mew at the moon, I was thinking out loud to my mom as we walked the dog and I said a statement that didn’t send chills down my spine or make my teeth chatter as it passed them on its way out of my mouth. “This just might…might be doable. If I got a job at the library, went to Towson but lived at home, kept up the whole therapy choo-choo; there’s a chance I won’t completely explode this semester.” Typing it now, thinking about that moment, I have to pause and hang my head. Is it really doable? Is it possible, that I, Lucy B., have, at any time in her young life, a chance at a moment that isn’t completely filled with self-induced stress and the weight of the world resting on her wide-f0r-a-girl shoulders? Sounds sketchy to me. Iffy…at best. But then again, I’m an alley cat. Sketchy, iffy and not-quite-certain-this-will-work-but-we’re-gonna-try-it-anyway is my business!
I have this horrible habit of only writing when things are really in the shitter. I mean, that’s the only time I seem to be able to step back and ponder the true questions of the universe: is there an afterlife? Does God exist? Will I ever get over this? Is world peace possible? What happened at the end of The Sopranos? When things are going well, the turquoise-tinted (my favorite color, and a beautiful stone. Rose is so over done!) glasses come on and there isn’t a single problem. Even things that would normally upset and cause an issue become nonchalant; tiny little molehills compared to the mountain of delight you’re feeling. On Easter, I got really sick. Hospital, surgery, the whole shebang! Afterwards, I felt much better. So much better in fact, that things seemed…good. I use that word so tentatively but that’s the best way to describe it. Things were good. I was in a good mood, the weather was nice (except for those horrible rainstorms), I was busy with appointments, friends and family. I was in a pleasant place. But it sort of happens like a bubble. You create this beautiful, color, vivid thing but it’s so fragile, so breakable that the slightest touch can pop it. This little bubble of suitability popped. I was doing fine when things got a little dicey. Because of my surgery (and even prior to it), I wasn’t eating well. But now? Well, now it’s a problem. I’ve become a little obsessive with it. I admitted it to Dr. Glover earlier and immediately regretted it. Now, I’m being roped into seeing a nutritionist. I haven’t seen/talked to Allister about all of this. I’m just freaking out. And of course, there was no way I was going to tell my parents. This is all happening so fast. My little bubble of contentment was so perfect and great. I was thriving and doing well. I was looking for volunteer positions, medical assistant jobs, hell, I got accepted to a school to finish my bachelor’s degree! (Okay, that process was started long before this little bubble was created but getting the news sure did help keep it afloat!) And now, it’s unraveling and it’s all my fault. I’ve always been tempted by loose threads. You have one on your shirt and, as you get older you know what’s going to happen, but you pull it anyway. You watch the hem come undone, then the first layer and so on and so forth, until you’re standing in a city square, topless, wondering who the hell stole your favorite sweater. Well, silly, it was you. You did it. A little while ago, as I was falling asleep, I got one of those Earth-shattering ideas. The kind that makes you wonder why you’re even bothering to fall asleep because you could so totally cure cancer right now. I was wondering why people get offended when they’re called “normal.” Everyone wants to fit in with the curve, be the same, swim up the same river, go with the flow but as soon as you suggest that they’ve succeeded in this attempt, they draw back and refute any evidence. They get upset and declare that they are the king of freaks, that there is no one who is further from normal than they are. But when that sort of thing happens, it changes the normal. “Everyone’s special…which is another way of saying no one is.” I’ve been searching for the “normal” in my life. A job, a degree, some semblance of what society deems acceptable so that I can continue in my life. But when I stop and think about it, all of those things aren’t going to change anything. People are so dependent on material to make them happy and I do not want to be that type of person. I think about death a lot. Just out of habit. And I often wonder what people will be remembered for. What will I be remembered for? Coloring in the lines and being so mainstream that I fade away without even a puff of smoke to celebrate my existence? Not cool. If this whole eating situation becomes something, it becomes something but I am not going to let it define me. I refuse to be my diagnosis. I refuse to identify as the person who’s always sick, the one who is teetering on the edge of hospitalization (no matter the kind). That won’t be me. I like Doctor Who and I want to be able to say that I could be his companion. Before I always denied it. I always said there was no way it would happen. There was no way I could leave this routine, leave my medication, leave my family but you know what? I need a dose of adventure. I need something in my life that is going to change me for the better, not add extra weight to the cinder blocks that are already on my feet. Sometimes, I feel bad for people that don’t experience emotions the way we do because it’s not as intense. It’s not as powerful and they can’t express it as…effectively. Alright, alright, the way I express my emotions isn’t necessarily effective but you get what I mean. They’re soda cans under pressure, waiting to explode and I’m sitting over here like a bottle of water that’s been spilled. Everything is out and flowing. And as of right now, that’s okay. That’s okay.
*quote paraphrased from The Incredibles…love this movie!