Alive… Alive…

I think the worst moments of being anorexic is when you turn on your phone and you see the ads

For me it’s athletic ads. I watched a movie called Stick It and serious body envy.

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and cried for hours

There are so many messages I grew up hearing, so many lies to unlearn. They don’t feel like lies, they feel like the truth. Lies become truth if you hear it often enough.

Messages like “You’re worthless” “You’re a whore” “If you dress like that boys will rape you” “You’re ugly.” “You’re unattractive” “You should enjoy this because you’ll never know love, what man would take you after what I’ve done to you? Be grateful for my love”

And being in sports. You have to be thin. You have to have strong muscles.

And… I hated being a girl. Sometimes sexually abused children disassociate from their gender. I did. My entire life. I dressed like a boy. I occasionally had a phase where I would dress like a girl but those were brief and agonizing because of the ridicule I suffered when I “did it wrong”. It was easier to hit the track with the boys. It was easier to be like them. Just walk it off. Be strong. Don’t cry. Feelings don’t matter.

And then I was fine with being a girl, but I had to be a tough girl. I had to be the tough girl who could run farther than you, faster than you. The fittest. The most athletic. The one who came up from the same workout as you smiling at the pain and just enjoying hurt because hurt had been part of her life for so long that this was nothing. She had to have strong muscles so she could carry her own bags, take care of herself.

A lot of my life became about being independent. The farther I went into my teens the more I worked on cooking, cleaning, budgeting, saving, working, personal health and weight goals, spiritual self-reliance. I wanted to do it alone. I rationalized my withdrawal by saying hey if you ever want to have your own family what if something happens to your husband

But the truth was that dream died a long time ago. I believed the lies. And I started to tell the lies. I couldn’t stop.

I already ate. I’m not hungry. I’m okay I just didn’t sleep so well last night. I left class to switch my pad. I wasn’t crying in the bathroom for half an hour, slamming my fists against the stall trying to break out of a flashback where my stepgrandfather raped me, caressed me. I flinched because you came up behind me. Not because someone before you grabbed me by the hips and that was how he caught me and raped me and when you touched my hips from behind it happened again.

I tell you I’m not pretty because that’s what I believe. I can only see the brokenness, the shattered pieces of my life, the pain. My eyes are darkened by past abuse. I can’t see what you see. The happy, simple pleasures in life, I’m blind to them now. I can’t even imagine a world where you live and are happy and can have relationships and can touch and hug and kiss and enjoy the feelings associated with it. A world where you can feel beautiful.

I can’t even imagine a world without hurt right now. I tell myself that this is what I need to expect, as long as I struggle with mental illness, I can’t expect support and love from everyone. Most people just can’t handle the stress. My family couldn’t. My best friend couldn’t. And I don’t have a choice. I have to.

Sometimes when I talk to people who try to “turn me off” when I open up and talk about the abuse I get angry. Sometimes I go into the bathroom and punch the wall and say “DAMN it must be nice to just be able to walk away from this! Just shut it out and pretend it doesn’t exist. Block the number. Turn your back”

Noone saw through me today. Somehow I concealed the gaping wound. My relapse. My depression was so heavy it was a physical weight on my body that made it hard to move, to eat, I couldn’t even remember my friends names through the dark water. The drowning. When all sound is blocked out except the crashing of the waves and the water all around so you feel nothing else and know nothing except that you’re being dragged downward and you can’t make it back up. Sometimes you can’t even feel the hands trying to pull you back up.

My best friends. I used to feel it when they prayed for me. It wasn’t anything big. Most of the time the change was small. I just felt a brief moment where I could “breathe”. But they’re not here. And I can’t feel anything.

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