becoming infinite

always learning. always growing. always lifting heavy things.


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i haven’t cut myself in ten years, and this is why i’m terrified.

i’ve mentioned a few times before – most notably here and here – that i battled through an eating disorder for a pretty good portion of my adolescence and 20s. but something i’m much less forthright about is that years before i fell into the rabbit hole of anorexia and bulimia, i became ferociously addicted to tearing open my skin.

self-harm was a completely different animal for me to fight and attempt to conquer. while some aspects of it were linked to my eating disorder, most of it related only peripherally. i have no better way to explain it than, i just got hooked. anyone who has ever felt the grip of addiction can attest, to some degree, to that hopeless, helpless need, to the pathway of “I’ve got this under control” and “I could stop any time I want” to, gradually and then all at once, “Oh my God I can’t not have this in my life.”

and so at thirteen years old i became an addict. by seventeen i was running out of real estate, my hours upon hours spent attacking myself relegated ferociously to only those places where the cuts and scars couldn’t be seen.

not even a month after i turned eighteen, i entered Treatment #1.

less than a year later i started attacking my arms, my legs – things i had told myself i would never do. too obvious, too visible, too risky. my eating disorder worsened, i drank too much. i felt everything and nothing. and i tore into myself with a reckless, i-don’t-give-a-fuck abandon that would eventually lead me to Treatment #2, which slipped seamlessly into Treatment #3 when the kind folks at #2 deemed me a poor fit (i.e., a little too far gone) for their program.

I was in the beginning of my 6-month stint at Treatment #3 when i cut myself for what would become that last time.

it was February 15, 2005.

and here i am, ten years later. anniversaries like this are funny things. once i realized i had a “streak” going i began meticulously counting weeks, then months. at one year i bought myself a bracelet (which i still have). every year for the first seven years i got myself something on my “sobriety” date – a new shirt, a fun snack, something. at five years i got a custom-made necklace that i would wear every day for a few years, and after that, every February 15th. last year, when i thought i had lost that necklace i tore through my entire apartment until i finally unearthed it, tangled amid jewelry i rarely ever wore and had all but forgotten about.

and here i am. ten years. one decade. a pretty significant milestone.

but instead of it feeling celebratory, it all scares the shit out of me.

the terrifying thing about being addicted to hurting yourself is that you can never get away from your intended target. every night i go to bed in this body that i crave to attack, and every morning i wake up in it. we are inextricably linked, this body i live in and the demon in my head that yearns to destroy it. and even though it has been ten years – ten entire years – when i’m acutely distressed my default emotional response is to want to dig into myself.

ten years. and i am still frighteningly attracted to sharp things.

ten years. and when i feel like my heart is breaking, i am compelled to break open my skin.

ten years. and some days i am still that 13-, 17-, 20-year-old girl, literally shaking with need, and the best i can do is close my eyes and bite the inside of my cheek and remember, recall, but try not to fantasize. because that is too dangerous.

because it takes only eleven steps from my bedroom door until i am standing in front of the butcher block stocked with a plethora of tantalizingly sharp edges.

because there is no “only this once.”

because ten years is a long time. and while it may seem like a badge of honor, some days it feels like an albatross. like a thread that has been stretched just one inch too long, my timeline is fraying, spinning in upon itself, threatening to snap.

so i try not to think too hard. i try not to remember too much. but i try to remember enough that the ten years still seems worth it.

ten years. and i’m still afraid to let it feel permanent. because above all else, i am always myself. and this is part of my story; some chapters never end.

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730.

two years ago tonight, my mom passed away.

in every person’s life, there are moments that become benchmarks – from that moment on, you look at everything in terms of “before” and “after.” my mom’s death is that moment for me.

seven hundred thirty days. how quickly and slowly it passed.

the ripple effect around my mom’s death was shocking. i lost my relationship. i lost family members who were more interested in developing a conspiracy theory than being supportive. i missed what became my last opportunity to see my grandmother alive and well.

two years later, all of these aftershocks still exist in one form or another. and today, of all days, i wanted to really sit down and think about how i can make the third year without my mom the most meaningful yet.

i didn’t make New Year’s resolutions. but i am making Third Year promises.

i promise to finally let go of people who make my heart heavy. nobody can take up space in my heart without my permission; i’m freeing up room for more love by getting rid of those who i have allowed to stick around and breed sadness.

i promise to continue doing what makes me happy and what helps me be the best version of myself possible. if that includes a diet people think is weird, so be it. if that includes lifting heavy things until my calluses rip and i have a weekly post-squat zombie shuffle, who cares? and if that means that inexplicably out of the blue i’m just really fucking sad one day and really miss my mom and grandma, anybody who can’t handle that can just flip right off.

i promise to give myself a break. my mom was always trying to get me to rest, to take a day or even just an afternoon off. this is my last semester of coursework (EVER!!) and it’s important to me that i keep things in perspective. balance. breathe. enjoy.

and with that in mind…i have also contracted a head cold/the plague, and since today is also conveniently my rest day i shall be spending it doing just that: resting. this choice is also aided by the fact that i am so sore i can barely move!

if anyone needs me, i’ll be buried in blankets, scrolling the interwebs for some good keto-friendly recipes and making playlists for my return to the yoga studio tomorrow.

 


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one year off the table: a surgery no-love story.

today is my surgery-versary. one year ago at this moment, i was sitting (okay, laying) in pre-op, getting teased by the nurses about my black toe and blisters while my advisor sat in the corner of the room laughing.

she reminded yesterday about something i had forgotten: the day before my surgery she asked me who was taking me there, and i said, ‘eh nobody, i’ll walk.’ …’and how are you getting back?’ ‘i’ll call a cab.’ to which she responded that, no, absolutely not, she would bring me. and bring me she did. and stayed until i went into surgery, during which time she went back to my apartment and stocked my fridge. she was there when i came out of anesthesia, brought me home, and got me subway for lunch.

the first eight weeks after surgery were, for all intents and purposes, an absolute disaster. nerve block disaster, an unresponsive quad, and my personal un-favorite, the muscle spasm from hell. not to mention, of course, the mysterious way the nerve block didn’t flush out of my muscles, the ridiculous muscle atrophy, the 30-lb weight loss and subsequent chicken leg.

i slowly learned how to sort of walk. and how to sort of go up and down stairs. it took until almost september for me to fully straighten my leg when walking; until october for there to not be a noticeable gait difference.

in november i ran a 5k in 22:07.

that month i also started deadlifting and squatting regularly.

i ran over 100 miles in december.

i worked like a dog. not that working out was foreign to me to begin with, but it took on a whole new meaning. i became focused – fiercely focused – on getting stronger.

in march i pulled a 200# deadlift.

and just last weekend i ran a half marathon. in 1:42:54. a damn respectable time. in the top 2.5% of the 6600 female finishers.

this year has taught me a lot about patience. about listening to my body, and knowing when to push and when to back off. it’s taught me that sometimes working harder isn’t necessarily working smarter – bodies need a break every now and again.

my weight is right back to where it was pre-op. although, my body looks completely different – i’ve never had traps and shoulders like this before, that’s for sure! my quads and calves are still slightly different in size, but it’s hardly noticeable. my squat may still be abyssmal, but all in all i’m stronger than ever.

and i appreciate everything this body does, much more than ever.

so a very happy surgery-versary to me! thanks, Knee, for teaching me some important lessons while you were being a turd.


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if i could grant you just one wish.

my mom died a year ago today. she died late at night, although we’re not sure exactly when because my dad was asleep and didn’t find her until she was already gone. the coroner’s TOD is listed as 11:00pm – that’s when they got there and declared her deceased.

i actually didn’t find out until the next morning, when my dad called.

a year ago this time, my mom was still alive. i had seen her on the 3rd, we hugged and cried a little bit as i left to go spend a few days in CT with k before flying back to lexington. we e-mailed back and forth a few times that day and the next two. the last e-mail i sent was around dinner time on the 5th. it’s said simply: “love you!!”

i don’t know if she ever got it, because within a few hours she was gone.

i have much more to say. i have something exciting to show everyone. but right now everything just feels mixed up and backwards and sad.