I miss the compliments you would give me. I miss the motivation you gave me every day. I miss laying in bed at night feeling so much pain but loving how hard I was working to keep you there beside me. You were my best friend for months. Just like any other friendship you were there for me, making me feel comfortable and being there when I wanted to numb some pain.
When times got tough I turned to you and you made me feel good about myself, reminding me that I was strong and that I was capable of accomplishing anything. You told me I was better than other people because I was able to manipulate my desires and find superiority. It wasn’t sugar coating though, you always reminded me that there was room for improvement. There would always be something more I could do on my journey to happiness.
But just like so many other friendships I’ve had you were destructive. Its hard to see when I’m with you, but you really don’t want the best for me. You are selfish, and you just want me to make you look good, regardless of any pain that might cause. I know that I had to let you slip away, but when I spend time with you all the memories come back when I used to feel great. No one knew you were the reason I could stay so happy, everyone just thought I was naturally contiencious and determined and healthy. We still cross paths secretly, but its not the same. You are disappointed in me and how lazy and pathetic I am without you. I still love the attention you give me though, some days I beg for you to come back into my life. Some days I wish I never broke the cycle of who we were. I love when you pay me visits, I listen to the advice you give me in my head and know that you still believe in me to be a strong person again. I wonder if maybe I do need you, maybe you are the only answer to all my problems.
I need to be happy without you. I need to be happy alone. It will take patience. It will take balance. I’ll have to accept my self hatred and learn not to nurture it, but to hear it. To eventually quiet it. You can’t fight my battles for me anymore, especially because being with you was a battle of itself.
I’m alone without you. That’s ok. Alone does not have to be negative. You don’t hold the key to my happiness, no one does. In fact, there is no key. And this “happiness” I have grown to idolize is nothing more than a delusional notion that life will be better later, as long as I punish myself now. Happiness does take patience, but patience does not have to mean suffering.
I cried out in pain, and I want to thank you for hearing me and teaching me that it is possible to change myself. I’ll try to change myself again, and to find habits that are good for me. Your friendship drained me, and I’ve spent the past few months feeling helpless, letting my old demons come back and taunt me. They remind me of how weak I am, how I have no self control, how I should just stop trying to treat myself well because I’m destined for nothing but insignificance and ugliness. They tell me I’m just a child, imagining my problems, making a big deal out of nothing. Normal people don’t act like this, why can’t you just relax like everyone else. Its ok to hurt yourself, they tell me, it really won’t make a difference because you’re already so low, you’ve already done so much damage. They bloat me up with gered, and then you come back and laugh at me. You are disgusted that I gave into gratification. Real success takes hard work, why did you think you could enjoy these little pleasures? And then for hours, or maybe days, I am disgusted at what I put into my body. Why even feed myself at all?
Sometimes I can’t feel anything. This time its lasting weeks. The voices in my head battle each other, one sitting on each shoulder. They both think they know how to support me. But I don’t have a devil and an angel, instead I have two destructive commentaries. One is fat and impulsive, the other skinny and mean. The fat girl tells me its ok to binge eat, skip my workout, take the third nap of the day. She tells me I don’t need to call my friends back, they don’t really want to be around you anyway. You won’t enjoy being with them. Your depression is too bad today, just stay home and wallow in it. Maybe if you stick around long enough someone will make you eat and finally you can feel some stimulation for today. Who knows, you might even enjoy that. The chance of a possible spike in pleasure is worth the extra 600 calories. You can just burn it off when you are anorexic again.
The skinny girl tells me to wake up before everyone else, pour some milk down the drain and leave out a dirty bowl and spoon. Then you can run while everyone else eats and you won’t have to smell the toast and omelets. She plans out the portions for the rest of the day, and yells at me when I take more than the allotted handful of grapes that were scheduled for three o’clock. She tells me to put on those shorts that I squeezed into 5 months ago, and look at how my cellulite sticks out from them, and how they don’t hang loose like they used to. She scrolls through old pictures and reveals all of my ugliness. I was ugly even when I followed her orders, but that was 20 pounds ago and at least I didn’t take up more room than I deserved.
I know everything about nutrition and exercise. But usually apply none of it to myself. I’m happy after a run, when I watch my body be strong enough to lift weights, and when I go to bed just tired enough to be accomplished. I like to cook and eat clean, I like to learn about what every vitamin can do for me and how much protein I can find to sustain the muscles I trained for. I feel good when I balance myself, I know how to keep my body healthy to supplement my mind and soul. I know what a good eating day it, I know the lasting effects and bliss that come after a full body workout. I flow in a routine, and I thrive in a healthy one.
Remembering this is important, I know that a bad day isn’t indicative of my character. I try to remember that I am stronger than the voices in my head. I’m even stronger than the opinions of other people, than the triggers that make me feel like my life is a battle that I just won’t win. I’m not “fucking ridiculous and trying to make everyone uncomfortable” because I’m not hungry for dessert. I’m not “trying to give my sister a problem just like me” because I say that maybe you shouldn’t try telling her what she likes to eat, or dictate how much she is allowed to put on her plate. I’m not “too old for an eating disorder”. I don’t work out too much. My frail and underfed body isn’t “so sexy its practically a fetish”, at least I don’t think it should be. I’m an athlete, I don’t run like my butt “is just too big for you and your legs don’t know what to do about it”.
The hardest one to remember is that I didn’t make this up. These are real feelings and I’m tired of feeling guilty about them. When I’m having a panic attack because my arms are fatter than they’ve ever been before its not an irrational display of someone who can’t handle a diet. Its a grown woman who has never had a healthy coping mechanism. Who fixed all of her problems with shaming, hatred, cutting, starving, careless sex, and most often from seeking out people who confirm the belief that I am not good enough. Its not really about eating. I can’t be upset at everyone else who does not understand that.
And all of this is why you, my old friend, need to stay out of my life. Because you make me feel like I am better when I am smaller. It is your voice that led me to conclude that I am better when I strive for a perfection that isn’t attainable. You told me I was finally happy this time. You taught me a new way to cope, and we both pretended like it worked. I need to let you go, and I think that every time I do I get a bit stronger. I’ll keep believing that every day I am coming closer to fighting on my own.
I miss you. But I miss the old me as well.