I’m trying to skip rehashing the day as much as possible because this is not a diary. You and I are not telling each other anything new when we go over what happened, because we were both there. And it’s really boring and upsetting to relive everything.
A few things of note:
1. Yes, we got food after we bombed spectacularly. But it started off pretty slow and actually it might not have been as much as normal because the clothes we were in didn’t have much wiggle room.
2. We bought clothes to celebrate as well (bingeing and shopping – definitely a first), and nothing fit because of how big this body is now. I think this is the biggest it’s ever been. True, the sizes are different here and I’m already a head taller than most people, but I was fitting into most things when I got off the plane a couple months ago.
For some reason, however, we’re not dying on the inside.
Yes, this body is uncomfortable and hard to maneuver and I don’t like how blotchy and swollen its face is all the time, but besides that mild feeling of annoyance, there is surprisingly very little hatred.
It’s super weird. Is this apathy or acceptance?
Maybe just numb sadness. I don’t like wandering around gathering food to eat all by myself. That’s what this extra stuff on me means. I kind of wish I could just peel it off so I could get a good night’s sleep for once.
I still have this idea that this is who I am supposed to be. Like this.
And the reason why everything bad has ever happened is because I was fighting this. If I had just binged and “let myself go,” I wouldn’t have gotten so sick and had to leave school so many times. I wouldn’t have fake friends, I would have real ones because only people who see past exteriors would want to stick around. I wouldn’t have gone out and gotten into trouble with a body like this, I would have hidden it away at home and stayed safe.
Safe. That is what this extra stuff means. It’s like a weight anchoring me into a safe harbor.
Things are different now, though. Sort of. I’m not crazy like I used to be and bad things won’t happen if this extra stuff goes away. I don’t need padding and insulation from the world. I think I’m getting to know myself a bit better everyday, and this “real me” is actually just me when I’m 14 or so, bingeing everyday after school and riding the exercise bike incessantly and crying about everything being too big and noticeable and she wished she could just melt away into the background and get lost in the crowd rather than be this big blubbery bumbling giant.
I don’t think just eating and eating and eating because I’m sad or ashamed or embarrassed or afraid means that I’m letting myself finally become the person I had been trying to suppress this whole time.
That girl was really sad and alone. That wasn’t who she really was, either. She wasn’t the mischievous Cookie Monster stealing cookies from the pantry because it was fun to be bad and eat what and when she wasn’t supposed to. She was the Cookie Monster who started to eat the cookies to fill up the emptiness and drown all her terrible swirling thoughts and she couldn’t stop until she could barely breathe. That Cookie Monster is not who we were meant to be, although I love and care for her deeply.
I don’t know what to say or do because there is nothing I can say or do.
You were so far gone by then and anyone trying to do anything to you felt like it was an attack. You would just sit upstairs in your closet and cry and pray that they wouldn’t open the door and make you come out and tell you how weird you are because normal people don’t sit in closets crying and why are you even crying in the first place?
I’m not going to do anything but sit here.
And I know just sitting there also feels like a slight because if I cared about you, I would be doing something about this to make things better, but we’ve tried that. We’ve tried that, your family tried that, treatment centers tried that. Trying to put a lid on it or hide things from you or retrain you just make you lash out and get angrier, act out even more.
So I’m done with that.
I’m done with that and Ana is done with that. Even though Ana is really blubbery and soft (metaphorically) and lacks a spine and is starting to become annoyingly optimistic and girly again, I’m beginning to warm up to her. A tiny bit. Don’t you dare take this and run with it Ana, that’s all your getting and nothing more.
But anyway, I’m going to sit here in this closet and Ana is going to sit here in this closet, too, and you aren’t going to be alone. It’s like time traveling almost.
Thinking of myself being your age and having two older sisters sitting in that closet with me just sitting there and not treating me like I was weird and not even acknowledging that we were all sitting in a closet, just acting like we were hanging out having a tea party or something. I cannot tell you how much thinking of that makes everything hurt, but in a really good way.
Sweeping things under the rug is definitely not good (that was the opposite side of the parenting pendulum), but this isn’t sweeping anything.
It’s the opposite – just sitting in it, in that big swampy swamp, and being OK with it. I’m not sitting here thinking it’s gross and thinking you’re gross, I’m just sitting here and all I see is you. That real you that you think is buried at the bottom of those food containers.
You won’t find her down there because she’s right here, in the center.
So, I can’t help but acknowledge that this letter writing project has started to have an onion effect, where I peel off the top and then get access to the rest. Ana was just talking to me before, and now that we’re kind of getting along a bit, that lets me step aside so we can talk to the next layer in. Ana is 25, I am 20ish, this Cookie Monster is 15ish.
This seriously is the most bizarre thing ever and it doesn’t even feel that weird.
OK, I’ll stop. I can sense you getting annoyed with me already. This must be how Ana feels all the time. Ugh. I swear I’m cool and not as dorky as she is, you should be idolizing me, not shooting daggers at me.
OK, seriously done talking, I’m just going to sit here. With you.
– Cookie Monster (20ish)*
(*What do I call myself? I want to give myself a separate name, but then this just seems like it’s getting creepy. I’ll just have to think about this a bit more.)
What moment would you go back in time if you could to be there for your younger self when he/she needed you the most?