Autumn Memories

Hurt and anger come from the same place. Usually if you feel verrryy upset with someone it’s because they hurt you deep inside and you want to pull the thorn out so you lash out and say things you’d never say otherwise. My anorexia is a lot like that. My self-harm is a lot like that too. I don’t even know WHAT I’m angry at but I feel so much hurt or this anger deep inside and I just want to hit something or yell but instead I hurt myself because I don’t want anyone else to see this side of myself.

I have been getting so much done over here. I have really done amazing. But I beat the crap out of myself for not doing better and my eating disorder is kicking in hard, trying to use Teddy Bear’s betrayal as an excuse to get me to go back to the gym and stop eating.

I cried over my granola this morning. I’m starting to get those little waves of emotions that you’ve been suppressing before that big wave that takes you out hits. Which scares me because I have been there before with that wave and guess what I don’t like hospitals!

I am feeling even more distance between myself and other people right now and this voice in my head literally wants me to go back to being bones. Just disappear. You don’t need to eat. And when I put my hand anywhere and touch myself and it’s not visibly bone the voice gets louder and at the next meal it gets very upset with me.

I have been suppressing my PTSD and I know this because I can feel it right under the surface but I won’t let myself feel or think anything about the last assault. About my stepgrandfather. People are always curious why I’m always going to doctor appointments because I “look so healthy”. I’ve learned the hard way that pain isn’t always apparent even if you look for it. People can be going through horrible painful things and their makeup and hair can be perfect, concealer over the dark circles, lip gloss over the lips that were bleeding yesterday from anxious hands ripping the skin off, small hairs being torn out by anxious hands.

I don’t want to feel. I don’t want to feel anything. I’m in that phase where I am so close to a healthy place and where I can make big steps for recovery so naturally my eating disorder and self harm urges are off the charts.

Tava, one of my Tongans, I just call him my boy in my head because I do that to all my guyfriends. They are my boys. I don’t care if they are 25 years old and they think that they are so mature they are still my boys. When they get engaged I give them away to their girlfriend but before then I will always protect my boys.

I never really developed the usual sense of what is feminine what is male. As long as I can remember my stepgrandfather’s excuse for torturing me was that I was a woman and he had some church authority over me that made me his property. In layman’s terms because he was a man in the church and he had a patriarchal position he owned women and he could treat women however he felt like because he was so damn special. A little girl growing up in the LDS church faced with that message on one side and on the other “trust in your priesthood leaders they will take care of you, they speak as the voice of God” can you imagine how bad my world was shook up when I realized this wasn’t true? Not only was a sexually tortured by a man who was supposed to be this role as the voice of God, kind, caring, compassionate, protective, all that jazz, in following the leadership of other Priesthood leaders brought me a lot of pain and misery. Despite everything I was told I was brought so much suffering by church culture and by misguided members.

I think if you truly knew me you wouldn’t blame me for not going to church anymore. I have to go back when semester starts or my college will expel me but until then everytime I was going I came home in tears after just one hour, exhausted, hurting, and wanting to kill myself more than anything else. Everything there just seemed like a reminder that I wasn’t good enough. That I’m not the cookie cutter LDS woman who wants to get married and make babies and be Relief Society President. Who loves the Young Women’s program and Girl’s Camp and EFY and all these programs to help the youth develop the proper outlook on life sometimes true and sometimes false.

I love to dance. I love to wear tanktops. I love to wear shorts. I love to wear both of those things for sports. I want to love my body. I don’t want shame to be the reason I dress “modestly”. I want to go to church for the right reason. I want to go because it’s the right things to do for me. I want to honor myself and stop listening to these people always telling me what to do. Just because you wear the badge of “Mormon” doesn’t mean you’re truly better than anyone else. And I understand that many people outside the church are like that too but I’m in this bubble at my LDS college of people whose answer to most of my problems are “Go to church” and they don’t understand how much it hurts me.

Last Sunday when I came back from bodyboarding (and my guyfriend still didn’t visit. Played me again. Made me cry again. So much for all those promises.) the first guyfriend I ran into he meant well. And he’s really strong in the church. I told him I didn’t want to go to church anymomre and he just got this look in his eyes and said “What happened to you?”

I went through hell and I realized if I wanted to be happy again I needed to honor and respect what my body, spirit, and mind need in order to heal. I need to let go of self-judgment. I need to let go of my eating disorder. I need to get everything out of my life that brings me more unhappiness and instead fill it with practices that honor my true self. That’s what happened.

I’m not even going to add what it feels like to be a raped Mormon woman in the church. I feel so… disconnected. I can’t talk about what happened at church. I could but we saw how that went last time. I thought I could trust them because they were church members and again was struck hard by betrayal. That LDS free pass? Yeah they don’t deserve it anymore. I was talking to a member of security and apparently sexual assault happens ALL THE TIME at my BYU campus and we don’t talk about it. There’s no support group for these women (and men) who have this problem. We don’t have longterm counseling. We don’t have a psychiatrist on board. BYUH SUCKS as far as mental health care and health care in general. There are so many good things about this school but this issue is swept under the rug. Eating disorders go untreated. Depression goes through a quick maybe a few months of counseling from a counselor. Sexual assault survivors don’t get a support group.

This is disgusting. This is disgusting that BYUH presents this perfect LDS face to the world when in actuality they don’t take good care of their students who have “taboo” issues. This is one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen. The things people hide because it’s convenient… It’s cowardice. It’s denying a truth and in denying this truth a lot of people get hurt. I personally have suffered so much because help was unavailable. Because care was insufficient. Because of lack of support in the church.

I have an appointment with my new therapist today and I have to say I feel really depressed because I feel so alone. I think there’s a lot of people who love me and would care if something bad happened to me but I can’t feel anything. I don’t feel any connection. I don’t feel their support.

Sometimes what I want is just for companionship. I just want someone to sit next to me and just be there one of those times when it’s the worst. I just want a hug or a hello or… but what I really want is just to sit silently with someone maybe outside looking at the sky and this beautiful island and just to have someone there. Really be there with me. Silent companionship.

Having Tava show up the other day he said God arranged it and maybe he did. I don’t know how God feels about me. I prayed every day for three months and asked him if he loved me. And I didn’t feel anything. When you feel abandoned by God. When you can’t answer the question “Who is God” anymore. When someone says “God loves you he’ll take care of you” But you don’t feel any of that it breaks something inside. And then you go to church and it’s more of that. More of how you should feel about God. More of how you should be happy to obey the restrictive commandments. How you should strive to get married and have that perfect family. There is very little wiggle room there for someone like me who can’t feel anything and what I do feel very well is pain.

I get that this is a depressing post and most of my posts are depressing but the point is that I have this great potential for happiness and love but it’s been choked out by depression and mental illness. My emotions feel broken. I feel broken. I feel desperately alone in this whited sepulcher full of men’s bones. I feel like I’m moving through water. I feel like this time.

I was in the mall back in Arizona during the fall and my family hates the mall because of the almost pornographic advertisements and the worship of secular things like money, possessions, appearance. But I was there in the autumn wearing my knock-off Ugg boots. My shorts that were torn up and right at my knee. A Roxy jacket I bought secondhand. My usual ponytail. I was young and for me that mall was a wonderland.

There were these beautiful golden lights that glittered and glowed. There were beautiful pictures and beautiful clothes and jewelry and a bookstore full of treasures. Tomes of knowledge, fantasy, other worlds to escape into. It was warm in there and the aromas of pumpkin spice and smores, autumnal scents tugged at the edges of my attention.

But the part of that experience that was the most beautiful was the lights. The lights were like this magical world and they were beautiful, this fantasy world where I was a beautiful young girl walking through this beautiful world by herself, dreaming of hot chocolate, piles of autumn leaves, wonderful storybooks. Where things didn’t hurt so much and I didn’t have to worry about money or my parents or any of the things that made me cry on a regular basis. The girls at church who bullied me. None of that. It was an escape.

Sometimes when I feel really down I think of those lights. Since I’ve been so hurt and depressed I feel like everyone else who would wander through that autumnal season and that mall full of beautiful lights and smells… I feel like everyone around me can see the lights. Like they are part of this beautiful world they can see and touch. They can feel the warmth. They can see beauty and feel better.

But I can’t even imagine it very well anymore. Day to day I feel like this dark cloud raining on everyone and everything I touch. I love rain. But not when I’m the little black raincloud. Other times I feel like I’m in that water. Like I’m behind the glass at SeaWorld. I can see the people through the glass but no matter how close I try to get this glass is in my way. I’m in the water and they aren’t and I can see them but I can’t touch them and they can’t touch me. I’m in this enclosure I can’t get out of and I know I should be a free dolphin dancing through the waves but…. I’m too sick and weak to dance like I used to.

I have flashes of beautiful moments. Looking at flowers. The sky. Dancing a little bit around the kitchen listening to Bollywood music. Laughing with people. Smiling.

But I can’t reach through the glass. I don’t know when or if I will ever be free again.

With Tava and some other people I’m going to consciously try to feel. When I speak to people I’m going to try to be mindful and reach down into myself to see if there are feelings. I want to try connecting with people and I’m thinking about the list.

I texted him yesterday and asked for a visit. Also asked if he had Advil because I strained my hip flexor again (yeah I know don’t remind me I can beat the crap out of myself just by walking down a hill I am a very gifted, graceful athlete thank you). But I was feeling depressed and exhausted. It wasn’t about the Advil. Just like cutting isn’t about what is stressing me out. It was about trust.

One of my tests for trusting someone is if I ask for something if they will do it I will trust them a little more. I tend to ask for something I’m struggling to do on my own like I couldn’t really walk yesterday when I got home. I tend to measure how much I matter to someone a lot by how they respond when I say I need a favor. Not to a crazy amount. I try to be considerate of them and only ask for small things. But thing about last night was I didn’t care so much about the Advil. I can handle an incredible amount of pain. I wanted a visit. I was testing to see if he would show up for me.

It’s not about the Advil at all.

So I asked for a visit later this week and he said he’ll message me. And I’m going to leave it for the rest of the week and just wait and see. And I’ll make my list. I am taking this as slowly as I can because when I attach fast it has never ended well. OK well attaching to anything besides a dog has never ended well for me especially in the guyfriend department. But I want to give it a little try because if I can have a few people that I can start to feel safe feeling my emotions around it might help me stop turtling. It might help me pull out of this…

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