if i were to look through my old journals – the ones from about 1999 until maybe early 2010 – i would probably lose count of how many times i wrote that i wished i could just be normal. to me, normalcy meant not hating myself. it meant being able to eat without falling apart or into a panic. it meant not constantly having numbers running through my head. it meant taking things in stride – can’t work out today? not a big deal. catered party at work? no sweat.
if i were to pinpoint when my real final push into long-staying recovery began, i would put it at april 2009. i’ve had some ups and downs, of course, but my eating disorder has been largely under control since then. almost four years.
and now that i’m fully existing and functioning in the “normal” world…i’ve come to realize that i don’t want this any more than i want my eating disorder.
it’s “normal” for a woman today to dislike herself, dislike her body, covet everybody else’s physique but her own. it’s “normal” to feel guilty for missing a workout or for having dessert. it’s goddamn “normal” to do half of the things i did when i was sick.
why the hell did i ever want that?
now, four years later…i don’t want to be normal. or at least, not that kind of normal.
my new normalcy is learning to loosen the reins – my workout got pushed around yesterday because of the snow. we got more snow last night and today and it looks like my weekend 10-miler just isn’t going to happen. maybe it would be normal to feel guilty and lazy and “fat.” but i refuse to abide by that law of normalcy.
shit snow happens, man.
my new normalcy is listening to my body. there’s pushing through discomfort – tough lifts, a rough run – and then there’s training mindlessly through and over injury on top of injury. that doesn’t make you tough or “sooooo dedicated!!1!” it makes you unhealthy and obsessive. it makes you the me of five years ago. and trust me, that was not a good time.
normal for me is eating well, eating for fuel, but also eating joyously. it’s getting into the gym to lift because it’s fun. the weight floor has become a big ole playground for me; i can’t wait to get there and mess around every day, push some boundaries. normal is running because it’s my therapy, because it makes me feel so alive and liberated.
normal is learning to appreciate this body i’ve been given. sure, maybe it didn’t run ten miles today like i had planned; instead, my body and i did laundry and got through a massive pile of grading and coursework. and that’s okay.
after 10+ years of desperately wanting to just be “normal,” it has finally occurred to me that being “normal” is only marginally better than being sick. it wasn’t normalcy i craved; it was health and happiness. and here i am, healthy and happy and as abnormal as they come.
well played, life. well played