Coming to Terms.

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My sister is getting married in June! JUNE! EEE!!! I am SO excited. She has picked out GORGEOUS dresses for us to wear, BEAUTIFUL flowers to adorn the space, and, most importantly, has set about ensuring that the cocktail hour is a feast not to be missed.

But here’s the thing: The gown I had to order? WAS A SIZE ~TEN~.

10. one-zero TEN.

I think my wedding dress was a sample ten, and they had to cut that thing apart and make me a whole new dress from the refuse. And now, this thing that’s a size ten, this enormous tent of a sheath, it is STRAIGHT-UP FITTING ME. FOR REAL.

Part of me wanted to apologize to the salesperson, to explain how I used to be a size zero, how I used to buy clothes in the CHILDREN’S department at Target. But the larger part of me – the better part, pulled it the hell together, smiled, and agreed that the ten fits much better than the eight. I spent the ensuing months resigning myself to being the Fat Bridesmaid. You know, the bridesmaid who isn’t the CUTEST but has “spunk” and can drink most of the groomsmen under the table. That’s me.

I went for my first fitting the other Sunday fearing the worst, and you know, the thing doesn’t look half bad. My mom is not the greatest iPhoneographer, so I’m not sharing those images, but let’s just say I looked somewhat… regal. And with the hair and the flowers, I’ll bet nobody will even THINK to ask if I’m pregnant. And if they do? I’ll challenge them to a tequila-shot competition.


TBH, sometimes it’s like, FML. And that’s OK.

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I had it all set in my head to write this great “I Overcame My Eating Disorder” post, and then, unexpectedly, I had cause to watch some of my wedding video. It totally took the wind out of my sails, people. I was so thin then, and I mean, I LOOKED happy enough.

The gist of it was that my aunts came in to town last weekend – three of them – and of course it made me think about how my body has changed since last they saw me. And like, I don’t go around all the time feeling bad about how I look, but let me tell you I tried on my entire wardrobe before deciding what to wear when the whole family met up.

Thing is, I don’t know how to write about this. I don’t know how to write that sometimes I look in the mirror and literally do not recognize myself. I’ve been eating disordered since I was 14, and I always want to stay positive and light for teh interwebz but sometimes it’s just not that easy. If I want to keep writing, if I want to keep being honest, then I really have to admit. It is not that easy all the time.

Why do I want to share this? Why do I want to expose myself in this way? I mean, everyone’s weird about their body, right, why put it out there? Because nobody TALKS about how they’re weird about their body. Nobody TALKS about how it feels. And I think that’s important. At least, it makes me feel better to think that.

So we went out to dinner, my aunts and my parents and me, and we all had Bloomin’ Onion and steak and what have you, and the whole time I was feeling like this huge whale that probably should have gotten a salad instead of a filet mignon. And at the end of the meal, my aunt leans over to me and tells me how amazing I look. That I really look amazing.

This, from the woman who probably remembers me as I was in my wedding dress, all thin and beautiful. This is me then, just after the wedding, on our honeymoon in Mexico. What you don’t see in that picture is my bulimia. And now I don’t have that. It’s cause to be happy. It’s a reason to be proud.

Right?


Free Advice: if you don’t know, probably just don’t ask.

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It’s no secret that I’ve gained some weight since B! moved out here. All told, there’s around a 35 pounds from lowest to highest. And, you know, I’m not in love with it, but it’s not like it’s wrecking all my time. I just ate a fro-yo cone with sprinkles. So, there.

But it’s gotten a little awkward lately. More specifically, people have started asking me if I’m pregnant. And I’m not talking like “that random stranger this one time”, I’m talking PEOPLE. Like, best friend people. Like, coworker people. People people. More than a handful. And it’s never just like, oh are you pregnant? It’s always like:

“Boy or girl?”

“When’s the due date?”

“I hope she has your hair!”

For any readers who may themselves have asked the burning question in question: it’s not the asking that bothers me. I’m well aware that I’m no longer the lithe sprite of yesteryear, but I’m also no longer smashing dishes or throwing glasses of wine at things. My eating disorder is in remission. I have a full set of dinner dishes. Weight gain is a small price to pay for sanity, I think, although it’s not always appropriate to say in the moment.

What bothers me is the whole awkwardness of the situation. Like, they say it, and then I have to say, you know, “no”, and then they get all flustered and I just laugh and smile because really – REALLY? It’s funny. Come on, you know it is.

That said, I’m still thinking of getting a couple T-shirts made that say “NOT PREGNANT, JUST FAT”. It’s summertime now. Anything goes.


I’m not ashamed to admit I was wrong.

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So just when I was about to give up on exercise, I lost five pounds! Or at least, that’s what my scale tells me, when it’s not telling me I’m fifteen pounds lighter than I know I am. But woah! Hey! This whole “moving around” thing really works!

The concept of losing weight, of course, got me thinking more about being eating disordered. I’d have thought it would be triggering, gaining all this weight, and then I thought that losing weight also might set me off-kilter. Thankfully, I’m not finding that to be the case. I don’t like the gym quite enough for it to become a negative behavior, and, since I’m burning off some calories working out, I don’t feel as compelled to use other bad habits to offset my long-standing love affair with food.

Not it was ever about food, really, it was about feelings – feelings I didn’t want to have. I ate to distract myself and the other was a release. I did it when I was angry sometimes, when I wasn’t sure what else to do, and then it just became a utilitarian function. A fact of life. A habit. This is what I feel like my shrinks don’t get: by the end, it was just something I did. It had no meaning! And maybe that’s why it has been (relatively) easy for me to give it up.

This is all very new to me, right, so let’s re-evaluate in a month or two, but I’m beginning to think that my little sister might have been on to something with this exercise thing. Her and a bajillion other people.


Free Advice: Pinterest edition

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I have this picture of how I used to look. I’m wearing cutoff jeans, a sports bra, and a bike helmet, and I’m fist-pounding the sky on a bridge over Storrow Drive. You can see each and every one of my ribs. It’s online somewhere I’m sure, but I’m too lazy to go find. Anyway, this look is probably not healthy. It’s probably what the tabloids like to call “scary skinny”. But I didn’t WORK for that body – I just purged myself into it. It actually got awkward – people would see me eating whatever I was eating and ask me how I did it, how did I stay so thin? “Bulimia” was always on the tip of my tongue as an answer (I’m nothing if not direct) but a polite smile and a nod would usually suffice.

These days, nobody’s asking me how I did it.

And so I’m going to the gym.

I was kind of all whatever about having to actually EXERCISE my way into a body that didn’t make me want to self-immolate, until I saw this image on Pinterest. “YOU EARN YOUR BODY”, it says, in boldface white-on-black, and underneath are a series of resolutions ending with the vow: “I will earn my body”. And this? This totally threw me.

I realized, suddenly, that this body has always been a “thing” to me, something Other, and whatever it looked like was not good enough. Whatever it FELT like was not good enough. In fact, whatever it felt like was usually pretty bad. But now, now that I’ve kind of made this commitment to work myself back, I wonder if maybe, finally, I’ll feel at home in this body. I wonder if one day I’ll have a body I’m proud to earn.


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