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Tuesday in December
I won’t pretend like it’s easy to talk about. After roughly twelve months of struggle, I still have scars that I feel physically and emotionally. I will sometimes listen to a song or hear a certain phrase and the memories will come back. A consequence of a decision made three years ago that still affects my life today. I won’t pretend like it’s hard to talk about either. It has been over and done with for years, not much of a bother except for the occasional reminder every once in a while.
“B----- is such a loser. She dresses like a slut and copies everything I do…“
I remember vividly some of the days from that time; others I can’t recall at all. I remember certain events that I laugh about now, but display just how troubled and twisted I was. I remember the numerous visits to doctors and therapists, every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I remember the anger that would swell in my heart when the therapist would try in vain to get me to speak. All the time she would talk, I would keep my head down, never making eye contact. Like a CD that keeps skipping, my mind would play the same message over and over: I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be here. Every time I would enter her torture chamber, I would be greeted with a smile and an invitation to sit down. The last thing I wanted to do. She would always ask if it was okay for her to pray before we got started. I would mumble under my breath and she would talk to a God that I had no connection with, a God who had left me in my time of need. So I would sit there as she prayed, with my head still stuck on the same song, over and over: I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be here.
“B----, we actually had something we wanted to talk to you about tonight. Your dad is going to move out of the house for a while. No, no it won’t be permanent. Don’t worry. He will be close and come by often. Don’t cry…it will be okay. Would you like to see where he is going to live?”
I remember the times my mom would look at me and say “We are going to get through this, B-----. I love you and I hope you know that.” I would sit awkwardly and uncomfortably, thinking she was crazy. I never understood her message of love or how much it really mattered during that time.
“He is right over here. No, we don’t know what is wrong yet. We have given him multiple epi-pens and they provide temporary relief, but they don’t seem to be working. We are doing everything we can for now. We will have to wait until his blood work comes back.”
I remember the visits to the doctor and how they showed what a desperately lost little girl I was. I remember the times prior to the doctors, locking myself in a bathroom stall, chugging as much water as I could until I felt like I was going to throw up just to make myself heavier for when they would weigh me on the scale. I remember stuffing my pockets with batteries and change – anything that would increase my weight so I wouldn’t get yelled at for being too skinny.
“B----, B----, make it stop. Make the pain go away. Please, please just make the pain go away.”
I was desperately convinced I had no problem and anyone who thought I did was obviously mistaken. This “problem” was something I could control. In a world where everything was falling apart, this was a place I could have a direct effect on the outcome. For once, I had a say in my life. Even if my life was crumbling around me, my weight was something that I could keep stable. It was something I had a say in.
“B----, it is final. Your dad and I are getting a divorce. He thinks it is best.”
It was this mindset that got me into trouble in the first place. Like a child playing with a blowtorch, I didn’t understand how wildly out of hand this could get. I could control it for a while, but soon it started to control me. If by lying to a friend or a parent I could skip a meal, I would do it. I became manipulative, bending to every desire of the monster that I foolishly thought I had under control. All this time, I was still convinced there was no problem, still convinced there was nothing wrong.
“The sleeves hide/all the pain trapped inside/
we stick to the status quo/ that’s why you are never going to know.”
As monsters normally are, mine was always unsatisfied, always craving more and more of me. The more it took from me, the less of me there was. And until one Tuesday in December I was blind to the truth of what had truly happened to me. It wasn’t until I caught a glance of a paper in my doctor’s office, my name on the left, my diagnosis on the right that I truly understood. Diagnosis: anorexia. As unbelievable as that sounds, it is my story. When I saw that paper, my eyes were opened to everything they had missed before. I saw what it had turned me into - a liar, a manipulator and a terror. It was a realization that both relieved me and terrified me.
“I wish I could wipe your tears away/
erase this stupid broken home.”
The following months are a blur to me. I don’t remember much of what took place, but I do remember that Tuesday in December as the turning point in this story. I remember that week as the week I decided to say no to the monster. The week I decided to put my foot down and no longer listen to its schemes. The week where I was blind at the beginning and could see at the end. It wasn’t a miraculous recovery or an immediate change of heart, but it was a baby step in the right direction. And for that, I will always remember that Tuesday in December.
“ Perfect love drives out fear.”
I still feel the scars from that year quite often. They are healed, yes, but still present. I can feel them at times, even with the monster gone. I am not proud of some of the places I’ve gone and things I’ve been. I’m not proud of the lies, manipulation and anger that controlled me for so long. But it has never gone to waste. I know what it feels like to be that person and I know the pain and terror that comes along with it. I have felt the need for control and the struggle to fight against anorexia.
“God, I want to praise you for today. You have fought for me and taken me back.”
I am not proud of where I have been, but it is something that is seldom understood unless you have been there. For that, I am glad that I have known the monster - its power and its terror. I think back now to sitting in my therapist’s office listening to her say a prayer that I didn’t understand to a God I didn’t understand. I think now of my mom’s affirmation at every point. The countless times I felt her take my hand and say “Were going to make it through this. I love you.”
“I want you to know/ this hurt me deep/
but I can forgive you/because my own forgiveness is seen.”
People now ask me why I believe in God, why my faith is such a huge part of my life. They ask me how my mom and I are so close and they wonder how it is possible that we get along so well. Most of the time, I try to explain. I will try to show them the things I have seen, the despair I have known and the hurt that has been so close to my heart. I now realize that the whole time I thought God had left me; he had always been by my side watching over me. I see that my mom loved me not just when I listened to her, but when I was impossible to love.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love.”
I look back on my life - the person I was, who I am now and who I want to be. I see what I’ve gone through and the love I was shown through it and at once I know who I want to be and how I want to live. I want to show others the love I have been shown, to be there for them even when they don’t understand why. I will never be glad for what happened, for where I was. But I can use it.
And I intend to.