The time will eventually come!
ADD ME PLEASE :D
A goodbye kiss
Two lips meet
For only a few moments
Cold wind blows
The tips of my toes
On which I stand
From prolonged conversation
That only went on for so long
Because I didn’t want the night to end
I was nervous as hell
Nervous, well, that’s new for me
Scared to meet your gaze
For fear that I may blush too much
Or kiss you too soon
Or babble nonsense
Your kind eyes and genuine smile
Are the sweetest I’ve seen in a while
My hardened heart they do beguile
I giggle when I speak your name
Please tell me that you feel the same
Your lips meet mine
For a few moments’ time
Your arm wraps around my waist
And then that’s all
We say goodnight
And then I blush, using all my might
To not shout out loud as I walk away
That it’s been a while since someone made me as happy
As you did today
Because of all the things I knew I missed
I forgot what it’s like to just be kissed.
Here I present to you my inner demon, Ed. I have chosen to make Ed real, and making him real means I can be rid of him.
Ed's full name is Eating Disorder.
My name is Kate, and I'm a recovered anorexic.
There are those who have not been able to handle my recent struggles with him; when I acknowledged his existence at the beginning of this term, Ed became a presence. He became real and I was afraid of him. No longer was I only afraid of being fat...I was coping with my fears and body image issues along with acknowledging my illness for the first time for what it really was. Ed wouldn't go away with good rest and vitamins. He wouldn't go away with a trip to the health center. I had to defeat him myself, intrinsically. Unfortunately, a few You're beautiful!s or You're not fat!s don't help unless you believe it yourself. You do NOT choose to be anorexic and you can't just make it go away with logic. Any comment about weight or looks or food is a moment of terror. Luckily, I had those supporting me in spite of those who chose not to. In due time, I was able to look Ed in the eye and say that I didn't need him telling me how to feel anymore. That happened yesterday around noon. I feel free.
I want to share this story with those who want to listen.
I am a dancer. When you stare at yourself in the mirror several times a week, for hours at the time, from the time you're a little girl, it leaves a deep, lasting scar. Starting when I was eleven years old, day by day I watched my thin legs with knobby knees transform until they had curves, watched my hips widen, my breasts grow, my ass round. I was an early bloomer and I stood a curvy giant among thin, young girls. I think that's when it all started.
I moved to the Czech Republic at thirteen. With no one to talk to, I became horribly depressed. My young teenager's body was still slowly developing into the woman's body it would eventually become, and I gained a considerable amount of weight--not good weight. I was sad. I'll never forget the conversation I had with my mom, screaming, eyes brimming with tears, when I finally recognized that I wasn't taking care of myself. I managed to stabilize at a healthy weight and shape. The European mentality is much more relaxed, and once I was happy I felt little need to worry about how I looked.
Back in the United States, I maintained a stable weight throughout sophomore year and had a decent outlook on my appearance. I was back to dancing full time in my dance company and I felt strong. I don't remember negative feelings.
The summer before junior year, it all changed. I spent the summer in Europe with my family and dropped weight, and stabilized there. I was thin and I felt beautiful. I didn't deprive myself and yet I can acknowledge now that this was when I started to become obsessed with the number on the scale. 105 pounds was intoxicating, and frankly, that was a healthy weight for 16-year-old me. Throughout the following school year, I maintained about 103 pounds. I didn't feel like I wasn't taking care of myself...but truthfully, I wasn't. I enjoyed being the little girl, the one who got lifted in dance numbers and looked so small next to her leading men. I didn't realize that although I was still curvy, I had lost those beautiful thighs and butt that were a part of me. I starved them away. I went hungry during the school day. I’d throw up stomach acid because I didn’t eat. I was growing into an illness, and Ed's voice whispered in my ear: "Stay small. You are beautiful now."
I weighed myself every morning and every night.
This behavior continued through the first half of senior year. In January, I began to face an identity crisis of sorts that left me sleepless and confused. I dropped to 100 pounds. I knew it was supposed to be scary, but I secretly loved it. I loved that I felt so small, so beautiful. Ed kept whispering. When my life fell apart in February, I felt like I lost control of so much when I had always had such power over my life; then Ed told me I had the power to control something, and that idea was intoxicating. I would wake up late, drive to school, go to class, stay for play rehearsal, go hang out with my boyfriend, go to dance, go back to my boyfriend's house, go home, and go to sleep in my clothes. No one would ever know what I ate besides me. I did have meals; I didn't completely starve. But I would lie: yes Mom, I had lunch, yes friends, I ate breakfast, oh it's okay, I already had dinner. I slept and slept and starved and starved, and whittled my waist to 97 pounds. I lied and told my parents I weighed more.
Looking back, Ed had control of my life. He gave me this faux sense of power because I could control what I ate, control that number on the scale every morning and every night. I remember smiling when the number at night was less than the number in the morning, meaning I'd starved myself smaller that day. I would bring a box of cookies to school and share them...and yes, that would be all I would eat that day. My clothes began to slip off. I didn’t lose my period so I didn’t think it was that bad; I have learned recently that because I was on the pill, I wouldn’t have lost my period anyway, so I may have reached that point. I will never know—that frightens me. I rarely was naked with myself. I took showers as little as possible to avoid looking at my body. I lived and slept in the same pair of jeans for days at a time. I was afraid to expose myself to myself.
I think Ed convinced me that if I started to disappear, those people who thought I didn’t care about what was going on in my life would realize that I did. That I cared so much that I was sick and fading away. But…I think I hid it so well that people didn’t recognize how serious my problem was. No one noticed. Even I didn’t notice just how sick I had become. I recall one girl from dance class, completely removed from my hellhole of high school life, who said “Katie…you’ve gotten really skinny.” I awkwardly mumbled an acknowledgment and that was that. Life went on.
I eventually gained the weight (and even a couple extra pounds) back by May. I felt hideous and fat. I was embarrassed to wear the small shorts required for a dance costume for my company’s spring show. I was only 107 pounds, and I thought I was fat, genuinely. The number haunted me. 107. 107. I’d cry if one morning I was 108, God forbid. At the end of the month, shortly following graduation, I was diagnosed with pneumonia and was sick for the entire month of June. How disgusting is it that even though staying inside all the time during a beautiful month sucked, I was happy because it helped me lose those “extra pounds?” Throughout July I was happy—but still recovering from illness. In August, I mourned the death of my dear friend. Just prior to going to school, I was down to 103 again. How sad is it that I remember the numbers so vividly and yet I have no recollection of how my body felt?
I was 106 when I went to Dartmouth. By the end of October, I had gained ten pounds. Not all of it was a good ten pounds, but looking back, I become healthy in a whole kind of way that I hadn’t experienced in quite a while: I was happy. I was happy, and I ate. I was happy and didn’t worry or starve away the pounds. I had joined a hip hop dance group and the change from years of ballet to intensive hip hop changed my body; biceps developed, my ass returned, and my thighs grew strong.
And my God, I hated it, because I went home and my pants didn’t fit anymore.
I sat on the floor in my closet one day over Winter Break and sobbed because I felt so ugly.
I vowed to return to Dartmouth for winter term with a new regime in plan. 110 pounds or bust! Gym every day! No carbs! Ed whispered to me: starve, no one will notice, no one noticed before. In place, my new goals did not make me feel thin or beautiful or sexy. I felt tired. I felt weak. I started participating in EDPA training (Eating Disorder Peer Advisement) because I felt I could relate to people with body image problems since I had so long struggled with body image myself. Little did I know that EDPA training would become more valuable to me than I could have imagined. Day one, I was asked if I knew anyone trying to recover from an eating disorder. I thought for a moment, and fear struck me. It was all I could do not to run out of the room. I walked home later in tears.
The only person I knew was me.
If anything, this only made things worse for a while. No longer simply afraid of being fat and ugly, I now had to cope with the knowledge that I had spent much of the last few years sick with a terrible mental illness. I had been an anorexic and still struggled with an anorexic mindset and anorexic tendencies. I was awkwardly thrust between wanting to stay hungry and not wanting to let myself be sick ever again. I struggled. I cried. It pushed people away, unfortunately. Some days I felt excellent. Some days, I felt worthless. My heart willed me to stay strong, knew that I was strong at the root of it all. Ed whispered. He cooed and said: doesn’t it feel good to be hungry? To be thin and beautiful? And as much as I fought and bit and kicked and screamed at Ed, his voice was ever seductive, ever present, wooing me.
A couple of days ago and I would have said I am a recovering anorexic. Yesterday, however, I was suddenly so brightly hit by this light, this sudden burst of insight, during EDPA training. We were having a discussion, trying to figure out why American culture is so obsessed with thin, and I realized…why am I so obsessed with a number on the scale or the number on the label in my jeans? Why do I seem to believe that I am quantifiable by a stupid number? I am so much more than a number. I am not a size zero. I am not nothing and I shouldn’t aspire to be nothing. I am fit. My thighs are strong and more muscular than ever. I have an ass that shouldn’t belong to me, a white girl. My waist is trim, my hips curve seductively. My face is no longer gaunt; my smile now has a face to fill. My arms are thin and reach beautifully when I dance. I am healthy. I don’t get dizzy when I stand up and I’m no longer cold all the time. Some parts of me are curvy, some parts of me are petite, and absolutely none of me is perfect. This is my body and no one else’s. I am healthy and almost 19. I shouldn’t want to be the sick, 17 of time gone by. Why focus on being the me from the past, when I have only now, only these moments to be the me of TODAY?
I ate cake last night. I licked the icing from my fingers.
And you know how I know things have changed? I didn’t feel guilty this morning, and I didn’t step on the scale. I didn’t stare at the toilet, wondering how hard it would be to make myself purge (a habit I gratefully never was brave enough to pursue). I kicked the scale, my enabler, to the side, for now, only to be used occasionally. I went to the gym with a friend and marveled in my body’s ability to be strong, to sweat, to feel the muscles burn; action that likely would have hurt me a year ago made me feel glad to be alive and well and beautiful today. I am an athlete. I am fierce. I am strong. I am beautiful. I’m the only me there is, and my body is one of a kind.
I don’t expect the whispers to stop. I don’t expect to have perfect self-esteem all the time. But, something changed within me about 24 hours ago. I stood in front of the mirror, lifted my shirt, and smiled as my fingers trailed the fine skin on my soft waist. I turned around and, for once, found the tiny dimples on the backs of my thighs precious. I am a human. I have lived. I will continue to live. My body will ask for what it needs and will keep me well.
I don’t belong to Ed.
I belong to me.
I am free.
A warm, floral comforter. A soft blanket wrapped around the shoulders. Golden tea steaming in a large mug, resting on a honey-wood dresser top. Sunshine spills in through the window, rays on the covers. The winter wonderland outside shimmers. Wool socks keep toes toasty and limber. A hot breakfast still lingers in my belly. Samantha’s delightful giggle breaks the simple silence from time to time.
It is a beautiful day, despite the chill of January.
Why oh why do I have to write this paper?
I just don’t have it yet.
Maybe it’s because my parents have both been so busy that we haven’t had the chance to decorate for the season in the house yet. Or maybe it’s because I just came back to 75, sunny, and brown after living in cold, snowy, lights-on-Main-Street, giant-tree-in-the-middle-of-the-Green for a while. I’ve been listening to Christmas music and watching some Christmas shows…I’ve even done what little shopping I’m doing this year (Mom, Dad, mom’s stocking…and like two more random people). I just can’t find the spirit.
I miss Christmastime in the Czech Republic. Yes, it was snowy and cold, but that’s not the point. What I loved about Christmas there was the utter lack of commercialism. Gifts were few and far between, well though-out if bought, but homemade more often that not. Christmas music didn’t play in stores. Decorations were old-fashioned, real - none of this “let’s see who can have the biggest, most electrically awesome display in town” crap. There was red velvet ribbon, maybe some pine, a few wooden decorations. The most ostentatious decoration was smack in the middle of town, in Namesti Svobody; a great tree, tall and beautiful, covered with simple, white twinkle lights and a star at the top. You really felt Christmas there, you know, the real thing. Not materialistic, commercial Giftsmas. Christmas. A time when man is supposed to love and feel gratitude for life and those living it. You don’t need to be a Christian to understand that.
I believe presents are okay…just put thought into it. Get something someone would actually use, or you know would be very special to him or her, or that is an inside joke kind of thing and would make that person laugh and feel happy. The generic iTunes or Starbucks $10 giftcard (unless you know someone who WOULD actually truly benefit from that) shows no thought. No caring. It’s simply: let me buy something that can work so I can cross this person off my list.
My friend and I have decided that in lieu of trying to buy something for each other, we’re just going to spend an entire day together, morning through to the next. I imagine we’ll meet up for breakfast, go do something fun, snack at lunchtime, do something else fun, grab dinner, watch a movie, and stay up all night talking. That kind of quality time with her is so much more valuable to me than anything she could buy me, especially since we’re going to school on opposite sides of the country.
Funny. Writing this all down has left me a little inspired to put Giftsmas to shame and really enjoy Christmas. I feel better now….but maybe it’s because it’s cloudy and gray today. Oh well. Whatever helps, I guess.
1) Help in whatever way you can, girl. Do not brush away the problems of the world simply because you can’t solve them. If you do your damnedest, then your children will do their damnedest, and then their children will do their damnedest, and maybe, eventually, the problems of the world might begin to get better.
2) Money cannot buy happiness. Money can, however, help provide opportunity, education, and a healthy and comfortable lifestyle. Do not make life about money, but do not be so ignorant as to think it is unnecessary. You may not be the most privileged person in the world, but you got to grow up with a lot of resources. You want to provide the same for your children.
3) But, remember that what makes you happiest is helping other people. A smile on someone’s face is worth so much more than a piece of green paper.
4) Appreciate the healthy body you have. Maintain it. Use it. Use it to help those who aren’t so healthy. Feel the muscles in your legs and feet and arms and torso when you wake up in the morning. Be glad you are not broken. Be glad you can walk, run, climb, reach, carry. Most of all, be glad you can dance. You are lucky enough to be able to do what makes your soul happy.
5) Your education is one of the most precious gifts you will ever receive. Be grateful for where you are - be proud you worked your ass off to get yourself there. Now don’t lose sight of why you chose Dartmouth in the first place: the community, the family, the humanity. Let THAT be your most important education. What you learn in the classroom is only secondary.
6) Do not waste time being unhappy.
7) Do not regret the past, because you can’t change it. Use what you learn to affect your future, and be grateful that your past (however much you dislike it) led you to where you are today.
8) Time seems infinite, but you are not. Time is a person’s most treasured and valuable possession. Do not waste yours, or that of anyone else.
9) Remember that love is not the ultimate goal of life, contrary to what Hollywood tries to teach you. Do not spend your life hunting. Find a partner as equally passionate and humanitarian as yourself, who will love you and the children you hopefully create. And when you do, do not waste time (see above) gazing helplessly into his eyes. Hold his hand as you both look outward, and feel a little more whole with his presence.
10) Love deeply. Sing loudly. Dance powerfully. Laugh often. Cry sometimes. Get enough sleep. Eat well…but don’t forget a little wine and chocolate. Appreciate the small moments. Cherish the love of an animal. Kiss. Don’t forget your friends. Listen. Take in the earth. Smell flowers. Smile. Go skinny dipping. Enjoy your youth. Enjoy your age. Choose to be young; growing older is required, growing old is optional. Become a mother; give the world the precious gift of a new being (and you know you want to be a mom more than almost anything). Never stop moving. Stargaze. Hold hands. Travel. Don’t forget where you come from. Don’t forget where you want to go. Take a break sometimes. Do not fear death. Celebrate life.
“I have often dreamed
Of a far off place
Where a hero’s welcome
Would be waiting for me
Where the crowds will cheer
When they see my face
And a voice keeps saying
This is where I’m meant to be
I’ll be there someday
I can go the distance
I will find my way
If I can be strong
I know every mile
Will be worth my while
When I go the distance
I’ll be right where I belong
Down an unknown road
To embrace my fate
Though the road may wander
It will lead me to you
And a thousand years
Would be worth the wait
It may take a lifetime
But somehow I’ll see it through
And I won’t look back
I can go the distance
And I’ll stay on track
No I won’t accept defeat
It’s an uphill slope
But I won’t lose hope
Till I go the distance
And my journey is complete
But to look beyond the glory is the hardest part
For a hero’s strength is measured by his heart
Like a shooting star
I can go the distance
I will search the world
I will face its harms
I don’t care how far
I can go the distance
‘Til find my hero’s welcome
Waiting in your arms…
I will search the world
I will face its harms
‘Til find my hero’s welcome
Waiting in your arms…”
I’m sick and tired of the haters. I know I’m going to do great, wonderful, and just things in my life. I will not work in a cubicle. I have dreams and they WILL be realized. If all goes as planned I’ll have a badge and a gun and a brilliant mind, and I will bring justice to this world. And when I see you again, fucker, I’ll prove to you that I have achieved more than you could ever imagine to do yourself. So this is goodbye for now. So long, you arrogant son of a bitch. Screw you.