Tonight John and I tried to see Black Mass. He had free movie passes, so we couldn’t do the whole online ticketing thing; we drove to Woburn to find out they were completely sold out. (Duh. Every Bostonian who was separated by at the most three degrees from Whitey was all over that movie this weekend). However, the drive wasn’t fruitless: upon pulling into the cinema parking lot, I burst into tears and finally figured out why it’s been really goddamn hard gaining weight back since the wedding.
People who have eating disorders suck at transitions. Suck hard. Almost a year ago, I was going through two of the biggest life transitions one could go through. In a week and a half time period. (But I digress, I’m totally over how that all played out and still am not in awe of the fact I didn’t collapse). Around the time we got engaged, I remember vaguely thinking, “How-do-we-have-the-wedding-before-Dad-dies-I-should-probably-lose-some-weight.” But I do not tell a lie when I swear to you, I believed that I was just losing weight for the wedding. I truly believed it. That’s how sneaky that ED voice is. Sneaky as hell, right?
My own beautiful brother woke me up partially to this fact on his birthday, over crab rangoons and wonton soup. John had (beautifully and bravely, I should mention) complimented Vic on how much he helped Dad in his final year.
Vic had grimaced. “Are you serious? I didn’t do enough. I felt so bad…I felt like breaking down and crying every time I saw him. That’s why I always went to my room. I should have done more.”
I was humbled by his disclosure. He left the room because he couldn’t deal with his big emotions. I could stay in the room, and watch Dad stutter and fall, but only because I was starving myself. Vic left, I starved.
And so he died, and I got married. And I thought I would gain all the weight back, right away. Because it was for “the wedding”. But it didn’t come on at first; I was too committed to eating a rainbow of vegetables every. single. day. Control felt comfortable, soothing; routine kept me busy. After the first three months and an antidepressant tweak, things seemed easier.
Until about mid-July, when I realized a lot of chronological time had passed between the present moment and Dad’s death. That felt lonely and sad. It felt like I should be over it. It felt like…hollow.
So I started to eat…a lot. In fact, I started to not care about what I put in my body; at nights, I would stuff myself so much I would be sick. This is still sort of happening.
And I’ve gained weight. I’ve gained it all back.
It feels horrid. More horrid than when I was in treatment in 2005.
I couldn’t figure out why for the past three months. (I love how I can expertly sum up a client’s pathology in 2.5 minutes, but when it comes to my own, I wander cluelessly until living smacks me in the face with it). I was ten years out of treatment, armed with a million tools and skills, and here I was, squirming in my seat, not being able to withstand the tightness of my jeans. Couldn’t stand it.
The why was this: maybe if I stayed 20 pounds lighter than I usually was, time would actually stop, or even reverse. Maybe I’d be that August 10th 2014 Amanda again, scrawny, yet lifting my father to the bathroom. Maybe he’d still be alive.
Ahh. There it is.
That’s why I did it in the first place. Stop time, please.
I can’t end this entry without telling you how I realized this. I have this husband – this-couldn’t-be-less-like-me-in-some-ways husband, who is imperfectly perfect – and I still find ways to be frustrated with him. An example? He has no clue about eating disorders. Not about the nuances, or about how to support them. He will, however, be 100 percent supportive once I tell him how I need to be supported. But I still think to myself irrationally, “Why doesn’t he get it by now? Can’t he remember not to make comments about the food disappearing on bad days? Do I have to tell him?”
So on the way to the Woburn cinema, this imperfectly perfect husband was asking me why I was in such a bad mood. So I told him: bad body image was at a high, binge eating was at a high, and I was really goddamn frustrated at him and others around me for not remembering how to support me. Of course, this imperfectly perfect creature then became sad, and asked how he could be better. Which forced me to talk about it…
Which forced me to talk about it.
Because he doesn’t get it, it forces me to talk about it, and to be assertive, and to process it…
until I burst into tears in the parking lot at the local movie theater. (Finally, a release. No more empty-hollow-shoving-food-at-the-wound).
Thank God he doesn’t get it. I’m way beyond the idea of another person saving me, but he may be exactly what I need.