Guilt, Shame, Fear, Etc.

It’s the end of the day as I type this. Not necessarily a good one. I can’t put my finger on just why it’s so bad, but it’s bad. I think it’s more difficult to have a bad day when there’s nothing to attribute its awkward feeling to.

I laid on the sidewalk sprawled up the stairs while talking on the phone today, waiting for Savannah to get home. Luckily, I went back inside before she actually got home. It was about two hours later. A guy riding a bike slowed down to ask if I was okay, and I burst into hysterical laughter. I tried to tell him, “Yes,” but it came out as, “I live here.” Okay, I guess that means I’m all right. The neighborhood is looking out for me.

I went away to Chicago this weekend with Dean and Brett. Good times were had. It was my fifth time seeing No Doubt, and arguably one of the best shows. I did the usual city stroll – coffee shops, record stores, health food stores, etc. The batch of special brownies lead to a weird weekend adventure and a lot of laughter. The cool weather was mostly welcome. The pizza was especially welcome until today when my body realized the amount of it that I actually consumed. Chicago pizza is big pizza, y’all. For every slice consumed, you actually eat about four.

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So, I was in my therapy session last week, and it was one of those sessions where I delve into my optimistic master plan of the month. There’s always one good week out of the month, and I come up with some good stuff during that time. I’m pretty bored lately. I don’t have anywhere to be at any time, ever. It’s awful. (Someone please give me a real job). Anyways, that’s a project for another time. I thought I would embrace the spare time and get into some serious healing. Read books, meditate, discipline myself to work, cook food. Well, I can do that for about two days before it just doesn’t work. I really can’t put in a bunch of effort to feel normal everyday when getting out of bed before noon is seemingly impossible. I’m trying to come up with a compromise, here, like maybe it’s worth it to put in the effort (I know it is). I’m leaning towards the idea that one project at a time is better.

During the therapy session, I brought up the three feelings that have felt like a reoccurring theme in my life: guilt, shame, fear.

Long story short, old habits die hard. Point being, I’ve been bulimic for ten years and yeah… still right there where I started. Details aren’t necessary. It’s a compulsion I really don’t feel in control of. At this point, it has absolutely nothing to do with looking a certain way. It’s some strange addiction I can’t shake. Alas, it brings on those feelings I mentioned above. How can I possibly tell people about this when it’s so looked down upon, un-glamorous, shameful, disgusting? How can I admit this when I’m literally a HEALTH COACH for a living? It’s this deep, dark secret that I’m afraid would destroy everything in my life. At the same time, it’s so invasive that I look/feel physically ill and mentally exhausted so often that it’s hard to make excuses. Lastly, living a lie is dumb. This had become painfully obvious in a relationship for the first time in awhile. You know, when you’re trying to put off blatantly telling someone you’re nuts because they still think you’re perfect or something. So, jumping over hurdles here…

I decided to be honest. First with him, now with the Internet.

The last time I threw up, I was in the middle of my just-moved-into apartment. A clean slate? Sure, that’s what I envisioned. In reality, I was lying on the floor in the midst of boxes in tears. The heat felt like it was swallowing me. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t just lay there. It was all over now – the moving process – and I was all alone. So naturally, I did what I do. I ordered home furnishings on Amazon and then I ate a bunch of food with the intentions of making sure it didn’t stay inside of me. Immediately following the events, Savannah came upstairs unexpectedly. I looked like I had been crying presumably because I had just been vomiting. Divine intervention? I went downstairs with her for a little bit. She came up later on with a card she had written for me. Naturally, it brought me to tears.

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I feel guilty because I have people in my life who would do anything for me. A lot of them, too. My relationships are deep, unconditionally loving, and meaningful. They stand the test of time, distance, good, and bad. It comes down to me providing the same in return, but it still feels unfair. I know a lot of people who don’t have one person they can call on to be there while I have what seems like a small network of pseudo-therapists and best friends forever at my fingertips. They’re going to great lengths to catch me before I even fall, and I’m failing miserably at making it any easier on anyone – especially myself.

A week or so before this whole bit, I was laying in my bed in the middle of the afternoon. It felt like I was waiting for something. I had just had a night quite similar to the one I described above. I went to Savannah’s that evening and ate figs on her couch while I spilled my guts (no pun intended). The next day, my ex-boyfriend sent me a psalm entirely out of the blue. I’m not quite “religious,” but spiritual text has a way of appearing at the right time. I told him that I appreciated it, but I asked him what compelled him to send that my way. He had sent it to his sponsees (recovering alcoholics) and me. It felt very fortuitous, like he knew that I needed to be reached out to. He called me without me having to explain what it all meant, and I cried. It was liberating to be telling the entire truth for the first time in a long time. I don’t believe I have much to hide from the man who physically carried me into my kitchen to watch me sob while taking bites of an apple. These are things I like to remember when I think of where I am now.

I took away one major focus from this interaction: I forgave someone who caused me more pain than anyone else, and he now possesses the power to help me immensely. What if I could extend that forgiveness and power to myself?

I’m working on it. The thing about being on my own? Well, my secrets are mine to keep. Not so much anymore. Deciding to be in a long-distance relationship less than two months into knowing someone is a leap of faith, but I rely on intuition. It simply doesn’t lead me astray. That is especially true in this instance. Despite attempts at prying, I couldn’t quite put everything on the table. I’m not sure if it was a fear of being left, being misunderstood, or just being vulnerable, but I was afraid. I didn’t want to unravel anything before it even began. At the same time, I understand that hiding things that can’t stay hidden forever is generally a terrible idea.

I beat around the bush for awhile, but I decided honesty is in my favor. I explained to Daniel exactly what it is I’m dealing with and the response was overwhelming in the most beautiful way I could possibly imagine. We’re keeping a streak, and he’s making me crafts. Not only crafts, but he’s writing me poems. Daily.

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I mean, who does that? At this point, I certainly didn’t expect this information to cause much of a strain on our relationship in and of itself i.e. ending it. I think my main concern was a lack of understanding. In my experience, most people really don’t get what goes through my head and why the disordered behavior ensues. It’s hard for anyone to say much besides, “But, you’ve come a long way” or “At least you want to change” or something along those lines. Those responses aren’t wrong, but I’ve heard them a million times.

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I guess what I’m trying to say is that my boyfriend is an angel and how did I get so lucky and all those things. Being miles apart is incredibly difficult, and it’s weighing on me much more than I’d like to admit. At the same time, I can look forward to this every single day which makes every second worth it. But what I’m really trying to say is that telling the truth is always the best decision. It’s a lesson I learn over and over. This time, I’m not going to forget. I don’t think he’s going to let me. Here’s to 12 days of freedom and many more to come.

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