Today has been a day of highs and lows the likes of which I haven’t experienced in a long time. If a day could be personified, this Thursday would have been the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde to end all Thursdays. Or really, all days ever.
I woke up this morning feeling decently positive and energetic. Breakfast outing went relatively well, considering that eating at restaurants is still incredibly challenging for me. Upon my return, though, the mood I was in and the general mood of the community as well took a definite turn for the worst. I went from practically giddy and skipping around as much as one can skip around in a facility that restricts exercise to the point of telling you to “stop standing for so long” while you wait in line to an abysmal state of emotion. I was angry, I was sad, and I was confused.
That’s pretty much how my day progressed from then on. I alternated between happy and sad on such extreme levels that it was honestly alarming. In the interest of full disclosure, I am currently actively being treated for mood instability disorder, which may later manifest itself into a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. This has been yet another difficult thing to come to terms with during a journey that’s been nothing short of the most trying thing I’ve ever done in my life.
And I suppose that’s appropriate in a sense, considering that this literally is a fight for my life. Every bite of food, every second I spend resisting the urge to exercise, every time I make a conscious effort to combat the negative thoughts percolating in my head, is a small battle won in a much greater war.
Why is this post titled what it is, you might be asking at this point? I’ve been blathering on for several paragraphs now and haven’t explained why it is what it is.
Well, here’s why. Today, as I stood to have my vitals checked for the billionth time in recent months, I put my feet together as I always do, let my arms drop to my side, and felt something I haven’t since way back in November. I felt my thighs brush together.
It seems such an arbitrary, fleeting thing. So the upper parts of my legs came into contact with each other. So what? People all over the world have this happen all the time.
But for me, it represents something greater. Weight gain, yes. A physical, tangible change that demonstrates how much progress I’ve made, yes, and a far more important yes.
Did it upset me? I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. In fact, I cried about it. I cried for a good long while. I called myself every nasty name in my book of horrendous, self-deprecating words, moped around for a fair duration of time, and then decided to do something radical.
I decided to tell my eating disorder to take a fucking hike. And I stood there and let my goddamn thighs touch and felt PROUD.
Just over a month ago I was in the hospital at a weight that could have rendered me lifeless. My muscles were atrophying, my heart could barely compensate when I did something as simple as move from a sitting to a standing position, and my bones jutted out at disturbingly grotesque angles. I was a walking skeleton with a thin layer of fat, tissue, and skin spread over me like too little butter scraped over toast. Are there still days where I look at myself and feel disgusting, fat, and ugly? Yes. As a matter of fact, that’s every day.
But then there are little moments like this morning, where I stood there with my thighs touching, that are signs of real change and progress. I stood there in the johnny I’ve become so accustomed to over the past months, my hair all mussed up from sleeping and a faint smear of leftover mascara under my left eye, and didn’t give a flying fuck about whether or not I looked any sort of beautiful. Because in that moment, I was doing something that renders me more beautiful than any amount of makeup, any clothing, or any weight will ever make me.
I was choosing to live. And if living means losing my thigh gap, so be it. If it means bloating galore and night sweats and chills as my metabolism comes to terms with the fact that I’m not going to starve it anymore, so be it. If it means hating myself with every fiber of my being, yet occasionally gaining the strength to challenge that mindset where I never would have dared to beforehand, so be it. If it means relearning how to love myself in the slowest, most painful way possible, so be it.
The picture that I chose to accompany this post was taken today on the way to breakfast outing. I could point out a thousand little details about the way I look that I find dissatisfying. I could tell you that my cheeks look pudgy, that my eyebrows are flat, that I look wider than two people put together, and that the grin on my face is the dorkiest thing I’ve ever seen. I could tell you that I’m posing like a moron, that my jeans look far too tight, and that the fact that I’m wearing a loose shirt isn’t fooling anyone insofar as hiding my extreme weight gain.
Or. Or I could tell you that I’m happy to see myself smiling. That I look genuinely happy, even if it is a bit silly to have stopped in the middle of the sidewalk for an impromptu photo op. That I’m glad I had the confidence to wear jeans, and that I probably look like your average, everyday twenty year old out in the world living her life.
It’s not supposed to be easy to live in general. It’s really not supposed to be easy when you have the added burden of combating a disorder that is trying to take away that life. And today, on my two months of straight consistent eating on a meal plan sans behaviors, I am thrilled with myself and the progress I’ve made. Even if at times it seems infinitesimal, even if at times it seems smaller than the now nonexistent space between my upper legs. I am living; I am fighting to choose life over death, and in so doing, I am beautiful.
Much love, and a little extra, as always ❤