I began to share with you my experience with grief the other day, and had to stop. What was coming out was debris from an old, deeply scarred over wound that is in the deepest, darkest pocket of my heart.
I have always remembered that I told my dad that he was the best daddy in the whole world, but it had never dawned on me that those were the last words that I said to him while he was still living.
I mean, what a blessing. A gift, really.
Something beautiful was able to surface underneath that thick, calloused part of my heart.
I told you that someone told me to mourn in my own way in a previous post, and I thought that I did, and with flying colors.
I’ve always been one to seek out applause and approval, so naturally, I wanted to be the best mourner out there. I thought that looked like someone who didn’t cry, who carried on normally, and who didn’t make things weird around people.
Seriously, if you want to kill a moment or just be completely awkward just say “My dad is dead” nonchalantly as if it were just any other idle piece of conversation.
It’s not that I didn’t miss my dad, I just wouldn’t think about it. I shoved all the pain right back into that wound, and forced it shut by applying diversions that could weigh down my thoughts.
I became an incredible student. In middle school, I thought school was boring and spent most of my time doodling and daydreaming. However, once high school started, I was making all A’s (except a constant B in math because math sucks).
I stayed very busy learning and excelling at sports. I was in the Beta Club and on Student Council. I took photos and edited pages for the school yearbook. I sang, acted, and danced in all the performances that were offered to us.
I dated a really nice guy that I really shouldn’t have dated because I only started dating him because the one guy I liked was dating someone else. In the end, our relationship was just toxic. We were both good people who weren’t so great together.
When I was in 10th grade, I developed anorexia which flourished over that following summer, and I went into my junior year, tiny, tired, and in an incredibly deep depression.
In the midst of all the activities I was involved with, my paper thin body was pitifully hiding that scar tissue with all the grief and pain I had never faced. Anorexia eventually became friends with bulimia in the form of taking boxes of laxatives a day, and working out to the point my knees were over-extended and swollen.
I was someone who always felt the pressure to be put together at all times. Hair, make-up, clothes; those things were pressed on me by my dad. With that said, I would show up to school in my PJs, no make-up, no contacts, with a greasy,messy bun on top of my head. This was because I had jumped in bed at 3:45pm the afternoon before, stayed asleep until 10:00pm, got up to do my homework, and was asleep again by midnight. I would wake-up around 10 minutes before my first class started just so I could get as much sleep as possible.
I didn’t want to hang out with friends, and never really enjoyed it when I did. I just wanted to sleep. My irritability was through the roof. I didn’t care about myself, so I found it hard to really care about other people.
My eating disorder consumed my thoughts more than anything. I was so miserable inside that I thought if I could achieve a certain weight or size then I would be happy.
I can remember grabbing the my love-handles (I’d kill for those love-handles now) and squeezing and pulling on them so hard it brought blood to my skin.
I could eat whenever I wanted to. However, I distinctly remember telling my mom “I hate food.” Often she would see me picking at my plate and snap “Just eat that!” That instruction helped in the moment, but it never did in the long run.
I needed to be in a facility because I was slowly killing myself. But I don’t think anyone really saw it that way.
I read in books and articles that most eating disorders stem from control issues. I would read that and roll my eyes. I did NOT have control issues. I just wanted to be thin.
It wasn’t until recently that it occurred to me that it WAS a control issue, and that I was struggling to control the wound inside my heart that was festering with infection underneath all of that thick, scarred tissue.
At the time, I had friends confront me about my eating and my weight. I would often deny it as being anything. Eventually admitting that I had an eating disorder as if it was something to be proud of, as if it was the way to have a great life, as if it weren’t a sickness.
The couple of times I did cry out for help, it was met with silence then nothing. If you don’t confront something, it goes away, right?
W R O N G.
Not eating made my body susceptible to illness, and I don’t know if I had Mono or some other infection, but I kept a swollen throat, sore muscles, and over-whelming exhaustion for more than a year.
As much as I hated myself and everything else around me, I still finished my junior year with a 4.3 GPA and as MVP of my Cheerleading team.
Too bad I missed the award ceremony because I was sleeping.
Until tomorrow, friends