Normal?

Today, my kung fu is not strong. I'm feeling defeated, broken, torn down. My body is not cooperating, and that makes me feel out of control. It's a trigger. It makes me want to use old (unsuccessful, unhealthy) methods so that I can gain that control back.

I know it won't help. I know it's futile. I know that the fact that my leg isn't working properly has nothing to do with the fact that I have eaten ice cream for 4 days straight. It's not because I transformed a "Meals for Two" into a "Meal for One" last night.

Hey. What the hell...

I was hungry.

Did you know that this is a picture of me, taken in May 2002?

Did you also know that I was basically starving myself to death at this point in time? In November of 2001, I decided that I was going to weigh 125 pounds by my 25th birthday. I weighed about 170 at the time. I starved myself all through Christmas and New Years, and I was diligently keeping track of the 250-300 calories that I consumed each day.

I might not look like one of those 80lb bug-eyed anorexics on the Oprah show, but that's just not how I'm built. I have a naturally muscular, dense, athletic build, and the reality was that I was starving my muscles, my body, and my mind. I was emotionally void and exhausted.

I had cold sores all over my mouth most of the time. My mind was always fuzzy. I ate very little. While at work (since I couldn't usually find a way to purge), I snacked on one saltine and 1/2 slice of fat free cheese. At night when I got home, I ate one of those tiny ramekin bowls of packaged grilled chicken, frozen broccoli & fat free cheese for dinner every single night. Then barfed it up. Every. Single. Night.

This picture was taken when I weighed 145, about a month before I met my ex-husband. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted at this point, which explains my need at that time to get engaged to him 3 months later, and married a year and a day after our first date.

This is not normal.

Months later, I was binging and purging several times per day. I had starved my body for so long (again), that now I was making up for lost time. My body was holding on to every last morsel, for fear that I would starve it to death again. My cheeks were puffy from all of the fluid I was retaining, my clothes didn't fit anymore...all of the new clothes I bought when I was skinny again. I had been through this cycle so many times.

Binge, purge, starve, repeat.

It was normal.

One of my biggest challenges when I first started treatment was going to the grocery store and buying what I actually wanted to eat. There were so many "bad" foods programmed into my head that I was literally scared of food. I would go into the grocery store craving a bagel with cream cheese, then end up back in my car sobbing to my therapist over the phone (sans bagel and cream cheese).

This really happened. I really was afraid of bagels and cream cheese.

That's not normal.

I was sobbing to Jane as if the world had ended just because I had craved a bagel and cream cheese. Her answer to all of this unnecessary drama?

"It's just fu$king cream cheese!"

She stopped me dead in my tracks.

On days like today, when I feel broken, I recall Jane's words. I just insert the appropriate noun into the sentence, and it seems to be effective every single time.

My only relief today comes in the knowledge that my life is so much better now. Whether my leg works properly at the moment or not. I love, I am loved, and that has nothing to do with the fact that I ate a huge ice cream sundae last night with peanut butter, magic shell, and about a cup of rainbow sprinkles. Who cares. Sometimes people do that.

It's normal. It's just fu$king ice cream. And it was delicious.