What I did this summer…

This past year has been the worst year of my life.

I lost everything I have ever worked for.

I lost every part of who I ever was.

I lost my identity as a student.

All of those years I spent skipping sleepovers to study on Saturday nights. All those all nighters and late nights I put in to have an above perfect GPA…

Irrelevant.

I lost my identity as an athlete.

All of the days I spent mentally preparing for practices, making sure I got as much sleep as I could, making sure I was well fed, making sure I didn’t waste any energy I could need on laughing or goofing around.

Worthless.

I lost my friends.

All the people that I supported by trying to make them feel understood and of value enough to be known, didn’t seem to have the time to do the same for me. All of them were too busy to deal with a friend with such a delicate issue as anorexia. Or they just didn’t care enough to put in the time to figure out an approach to deal with it.

Do they say something?

Do they say nothing?

Do they avoid the topic?

Do they distract me with other things?

But most if not all of them just left. Some of them took the time to pass me off to a “qualified professional” but really they were just too focused on themselves to try to help me. I know it’s a tough situation, but in the end we make time for what’s important to us.

I lost my home.

All of the effort I had put into building a network of friends and family in Seattle was ripped away from me when I had to quit my job and move back home to go into treatment for anorexia.

It tears me apart inside that even after all of this I am right back where I started. I am right back at the highest weight of my life, feeling as ashamed and disgusted of myself as ever.

I put in so much work and sacrificed so much to finally have a body I was proud of, to finally look a way that gave me athletic and social confidence. And now none of those sacrifices are even worth it because I’m right where I began.

So now I have nothing.

No academic reputation. No athletic status. No friends or support or plans to do fun things. No body to give me confidence.

I am completely raw.

I am only left with the things that have held me back in life: crippling anxiety, wallowing depression, terribly low self esteem, and a verbally abusive inner critic.

I am not even on my own side.

Once again, I have nothing. I am nothing.

I am stripped clean. Bare, for everyone to see the most disgusting parts of me.

And to think that it could all be fixed so easily if I just changed my thoughts.

I’m sorry that I can’t. I’m sorry I am so sensitive. I’m sorry I can’t just get over these things.

They hold me down like anchors in an ocean w/ tons of salty sea water pressing down on me, filling my lungs and suffocating me. Holding me down while I try to swim towards the surface to take a fresh breath. Becoming more and more tired and defeated as I fight against something I don’t have the key to unlock and is too heavy to just swim away from.

This is the reality of things.

I can’t go back.

I can’t change what I’ve done.

I can’t change how things turned out.

And I think that is the hardest part.

The shoulda/coulda/woulda’s.

The hindsight 20/20.

The “if only I had done this differently…”‘s.

I live the reality of these thoughts and consequences of my actions everyday.

It is blatantly paralyzing how real these things are.

How I am what I’ve created.

How all the work I’ve done is out to see.

How I am responsible for my own being.

I cannot hide anything.

I have no secrets.

Not even how scared I am of this truth.

So what do I paint on this naked canvas?

What medium do I even use?

I am choosing a keyboard.

With these strokes I am writing a new life.

And hopefully these strokes may lead to steps and hopes may turn into reality.

Because I have spent too long doing things I don’t really want to do so that people I don’t really like or respect like me just in case I need something from them when really the only person I may have actually needed something from in the first place was myself.

Maybe what I needed all along was to say I am not a horrible person for wanting what I want or wanting anything for myself in the first place.

And maybe with that I’ll find the key.

Maybe then I’ll have the chance to swim to the surface.

With these keystrokes I take steps towards covering a blank page.

And writing myself a life.

Honestly,

-J

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