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3.31.2010

the white flag.

before beginning:
this is a continuation.
of a story. about ned.
ned being my nasty, little eating disorder.
he's the worst.
for more information,
check my sidebar
(under the photo of me in
the winter mittens).



i've been seeing dr. tom for going on two years now.

two years of ned being bearable. manageable.

partial recovery, this is called.

and so at the start of the new year, i decided it was time. time to recover just a little bit more. to push the partial more towards... full.

and so i agreed. to give in to all forms of treatment and thus learn to stand in front of a mirror and describe my body in neutral terms. when told of this treatment two years ago, i thought what fresh hell is this? occasionally over our time together Tom would bring it up--this mirror exposure thing as he called it--but one withering glance and he knew to let it rest for a while. when i am ready i thought. not before. not after.

but this new year brought new and unexpected courage. and i remembered a director in school who would say do things long before or long after you are ready. never at the moment.

and so, okay, i thought, before, before.

five times i stood in front of the mirror. five times i described the gentle slopes, long curves, geometric shapes of which i am made. and it was on the fifth time that i began to cry. and realization slowly unfurled itself.

for so long i have thought this was a battle between me and an eating disorder. and that was it (after all, wasn't that enough?). but now i know. now i know that the other battle is one between the part of myself that wants (needs) to believe in the power of thin and the part of me that recognizes what a small and laughable idea that is!

and so it was there, in front of the mirror, half-naked and tear-stained that i thought: give up. surrender. capitulate. offer this one up to the gods and say this is no longer my battle to fight.

i was toying with this idea. knowing it was in fact the answer, but fighting the last bastions of an eating disorder that claimed diets and counting calories and restricting foods could in fact-would in fact--work, when i picked up everything is illuminated, which has lied dormant on my nightstand (windowsill) for months. and there on the dog-eared page on which i left off,

for how long could we fail until we surrendered?

and there it was. the universe-God-whatever you choose to call it--the Holy Spirit's calming balm to my flailing spirit.

surrender, it is.

and so i surrender. i throw up the white flag. i give in and choose that wiser part of myself. and say what will be, will be. if this is it, then so be it. for love of myself and love of a life that is so much more than this thing (this nasty, nasty weaselly little thing), i. give. up.

but let me be very clear. surrender is in fact a verb. it is an active thing. a daily practice. a daily decision. daily? i lie. a near-constant decision.

because how can i make this clear? it is like... finding a new god to pray to--a new religion, a new set of beliefs. new stars by which to chart my course.

it's not easy. but it's so much better. already. the raising of the white flag. the process of stripping, standing naked and going ok, this is it. this is my body.

21 comments:

Candice said...

Truly inspirational.

Melissa said...

You're words are always so incredibly powerful. I've gone through something similar before, and I wish you nothing but the best. Hold you're head up high because whether you see it or not, you're gorgeous. Thanks for this!

iheartkiwi said...

"All of our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling."
-Blaise Pascal

Taylor Norris said...

Meg, this is huge! I really feel for you, in many ways. Thank you endlessly for sharing your story and congratulations!

Kristin said...

so brave - even when you don't feel brave

Shannon said...

You are one brave girl. Mirrors are scary things.

Fairfield said...

:)

Amanda said...

Your description of that battle between the thin lie and the surrender is so incredibly true and well-said. Thanks for articulating something that so many of us have struggled to put into words.

emilykmurphy said...

This is a beautiful post. You are so brave! Thank you.

jenna said...

Thank you for writing this.

laura marie said...

This made me cry... last year I wrote a short story about a girl with an eating disorder looking in a mirror and it won a contest - the judges commented on its raw honesty, the "strange lens" of those with the disorder. and in my mind i'm thinking "strange? oh judges, dear judges, you have no. idea."

Erin said...

Beautiful, as always.

heisschic said...

absolutely beautiful... im inspired (though a bit afraid)- to stand in front of a mirror and not try to see thin/chubby, fit/sloppy, but just see shapes.

stay tuned...

Brittan said...

I do hope you write a book one day.

Mrs. Blimes said...

thank you again and again for your honesty. its good to see real poeple out in blog land.

Shanley said...

I really struggled with an eating disorder in high school. i remember my boyfriend looking at me and saying "you're all bones. you're not even yourself anymore. you think that's attractive!?" and i wanted to die. its like life coming back when you begin to like your body. i'm still working at it - with you. it's a wonderful thing. life is messy, glad you're honest about the messiness. you're beautiful, i love reading what you have to say.

alisha said...

you're so lovely, meg. :) and it's going to be a lovely spring. i'm excited for this part of your journey... and i miss you.

Elizabeth said...

whoa... go meg!

Victoria said...

I love the way you write fee fee! It makes so much sense, i feel like your talking right to me! I think you are so beautiful and amazing! A true inspiration. I love you very very much xo

Erin said...

these sorts of things never respond to logic or rationality and they definitely don't give a damn about other peoples experiences yet i know it does me good to hear it anyways. and well - i can't help sharing it so here it is...

i was overweight growing up and longed to be skinny. Later in life - i got closer but in an unhealthy way. And as it always goes- i still thought i was fat and so ned became my best friend too (he truly gets around that whore). That lasted intensely for more than a few years. Then it lasted somewhat mildly for many more. At some point, he seemed to leave me for good.

And here I am now without so much of that struggle yet not naive enough to think that he wouldn't come back but the thing is. and the thing i want you to know is....

Right now i am thin. I am actually little. Not like when you're slightly below "average" and mom/grandma exaggerates and says "oh you're so tiny you don't have to worry about eating that piece of cake" and you just let it go 'cause they always use superfluous words carelessly like that. No, not like that. I am actually quite Little. And ya know what....

It didn't change a single thing about my life. Nothing. Nada. In fact- when i think of the times I was pursued by a boy or was in a relationship..EVERY TIME i was actually on the heavier end of the fluctuation. I buy sizes i never thought i'd wear. I look better in my clothes. Yet i am still sometimes anxious, worried, tired, lonely, discontent.... none of that changed.

It's hard to know...to really know.... but it truly is about our hearts and about Christ and about getting our minds off of our selves. 'cause it won't make you happy. i promise it. i guarantee it. it absolutely will not make you happy. it will not change your life.

But freedom. Freedom will.

And that's the real kicker...that the only result of keepin' ned around is further enslavement. He will always always always keep you from freedom and joy and selflessness. Always. He will always keep you from even a chance of a changed life.

(ok and now time for my disclaimers: i know it's not so easy to get rid of ned. i don't mean to make it sound like it is. and i'm not sure it's possible without Gods help. Also- i am glad to be healthy and i won't deny that i def. like being thinner than i was. i don't mean to say that being more healthy and in-shape and more as God created you is bad. it definitely isn't -- and i can't be certain but judging from your pictures, you actually look pretty healthfully thin too --but it just didn't give me what i was looking for. It didn't really change my life. It wasn't as huge as a thing i thought it would be. it was just "nice" and "nice" certainly isn't worth the desperate obsession and fight i had engaged in)

I hope that helps even a wee little bit. I just want to put flesh and real life/real experience on the platitudes we hear all the time...on the things we're supposed to believe but can't. I hope you believe me...especially when the lies are filling your mind. They are lies. i promise.

Robby Spratt said...

I know I'm still new to your blog, but I just wanted to tell you that this post is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. You are a remarkable person and I have confidence that you can overcome anything. :)