First of all, I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me at all to tell me that they’re diggin’ the blog. As you might imagine, writing some of these things down takes some courage. It’s gotten much easier now that it’s all out there, but it’s still scary! Every kind word and honest conversation that I’ve had has confirmed that I should keep doing what I’m doing, and it means more than you can imagine. So, THANK YOU!
The past week has been strange to say the least. I suppose that for the first time, the effects of my eating disorder and overall emotional instability became too pressing of an issue to ignore any longer. I was broken up with. Or we broke up. I mean, it was kind of mutual. I can’t really put my finger on it.
Brandon and I met one night about four years ago. He was an active alcoholic at the time, and I was unaware. We shared a bottle of rum and fell in love because we both liked Radiohead, and we were drunk. Should I be surprised that things didn’t work out? I’ll skip over the middle part and get to the now. We went through a lot of things together, most importantly, Brandon’s eventual sobriety. He has three years under his belt now, which is truly amazing. Over those three years, he worked diligently to become the best person that he possibly could be. He graduated college and ended up with a job that he is passionate about while admirably devoting his spare energy to helping other men who struggle with addiction. Also during those years, we lived a fulfilling and fortunate life together. We loved one another unconditionally for the most part. We had experiences I wouldn’t have wanted to have with anyone else. We broke it off on good terms which is refreshing. I am already looking back on our past with love and very little resentment.
The past eight months or so, I wasn’t exactly what one might consider “relationship material.” Before then, my eating habits weren’t highly invasive. There was an unspoken rule about not using the bathroom after meals, and my worst days were marked by vocalized self-loathing, but I was physically and mentally functional. I was still myself. When things began their downward spiral, I slowly isolated myself, which left Brandon to take it all in on his own. He was nothing short of a miracle worker during this time. Despite his frustration, he provided me with a ridiculous amount of support. Still, when we hung out, I was often too cold and tired to get out of bed. These “dates” weren’t fun for either of us. At some point, I had taken to calling him at 4 a.m. when he would be getting ready for work to talk about how I didn’t want to live anymore. He would have just gotten out of bed, and I would greet him on the other end barely able to speak because I was crying so hard. Our level of intimacy dwindled to zero at some point, mostly because my body no longer produced any estrogen. I quite literally felt nothing, making any attempt to show affection feel forced and even painful. All of this lead to maintaining a relationship in which no connections were made in months. At a certain point, I didn’t care. I felt guilty, sure, but I couldn’t care because I was spending my time weighing out portions of kale and trying to regain feeling in my limbs. A time came during my recovery in which I realized that I hadn’t had a meaningful thought or conversation in months. Connecting thoughts into words and actions had become something that was difficult for me. After all of this, my condition took its toll on the relationship. Brandon was no longer my boyfriend, but a resource. It came down to an ultimatum some time in December; it was him or my eating disorder. I can’t say that the decision was clear, although it should have been. After begging me to get help, I finally accepted it. I wanted to make it work, I really did.
It’s been roughly six months in recovery now, which is crazy to even think about. I’ve come a long way, which is something we both recognized, but that doesn’t mean that the damage wasn’t lingering. Even more so, it seems that new problems came about. My preoccupation with food and exercise is still very present. For me, this is important. I do still have days in which I practice disordered behavior as I’ve written about. Mostly, though, it’s a relationship [with food] that I’m trying to “normalize” and fit into my daily life.
Thankfully, as an adult in recovery, I choose what I eat. Nobody is feeding me Pop-Tarts to plump me up, so I choose to focus on good nutrition. Whether or not I have an eating disorder, I believe that nutrition and healthy food choices should be something that an individual devotes a certain amount of time and money to. Brandon saw these efforts as disordered and obsessive. It’s understandable, because it’s still easy for me to get caught up. I am picky about the restaurants I go to, making it quite expensive to eat out. I haven’t attended a home-cooked meal with his family because I would have too many concerns about my food. He set a rule that I could not talk about food when we weren’t eating a meal. Woah, okay, slow down. I am dating a recovering alcoholic who talks about AA meetings, his spiritual condition, and interactions with sponsees on a very regular basis, and I’m not allowed to talk about food in a positive light? I understand that preoccupation with anything can be exhausting in a relationship – but I had trouble making the differentiation, therefore, I would not comply with this rule. All of the resentment and turmoil on his end was weighing on him, and he explained to me that he no longer felt like himself because of it. With that said, I can’t blame him for his decision.
Overall, I believe that we’re both in a place where we can no longer offer one another what is necessary for a functional and satisfactory relationship. We both ended up removed from ourselves, which made the barrier in our relationship much more prevalent. In the end, I just don’t think we could ignore it. We met when we were kids and we grew up. Now, it’s time to work on me. And I hope that he takes this time to refocus as well.
I’m moving on now. Something shifted that couldn’t be fixed, and I knew it. Naturally, this was all quite gradual, but the shift itself was rather sudden. In the past week, I made a plan for my life that is geared toward me and only me. I’m 21 and I’ve been in community college for a little while now. I was using this affordable means of an education as a way to retrain my brain after blowing off high school entirely. I ended my most recent semester confident that I had learned how to discipline myself academically, and I’m ready to go to a “real” college now. It’s not that this wasn’t in the plan, I just had my doubts. Today, I have none. I’m going to be moving to Washington state by October, and Brandon wasn’t interested in the journey. I’m going to deem this factor the cherry on top. Despite our (now questionable) devotion to one another, the long-distance thing wouldn’t have benefited either of us. More on the whole move later once I figure out what exactly I’m doing, but I am ridiculously excited to begin this next chapter!
So, there’s the short explanation. Also, we broke up at a CONOR OBERST SHOW. I had to laugh when I knew where the conversation was going. I mean, it’s brilliant. It was almost as good as the time we broke up before a Bon Iver show, except there were a lot more tears. Somehow, this time, I don’t feel quite sad. I feel liberated and comfortable with the idea that this is the way things were meant to be. I have been spending time reconnecting with old friends, making new ones, and absolutely loving the ones I see every day. I spent the last two days hiking around, sipping coffee outside, rolling around in the dirt, and running across bridges in the rain. I plan on making the most of my time left here in Pittsburgh this summer, and that simply doesn’t involve all the “what ifs.” Besides the Jack White ticket that belongs to me. I’m gonna fight to the death (or Judge Judy) for that one…