My body image is terrible today; I feel awful about myself and my appearance, like I’m some sort of frumpy, pudgy lump o’ shit. Couple that with returning to the environment where I had been the most active in my behaviors, the ground zero of my eating disorder.. oy. Not a good mix.
Today I had gone to my family’s old apartment to move some residual stuff out before my grandmother and her nurses move in. I lived in the two bedroom apartment with my sister and our parents for the past four or five years, spending most of high school and summers home from college there. We’ve since moved out – my parents to a rowhouse and my sister and I to a new apartment of our own – but it still holds a lot of memories, and I felt weird going there after not stepping foot in the place for so long. There’s too much bad juju. But my dad needed help packing boxes and I had already put it off long enough so – away I went, slinking into the lion’s den.
As soon as I stepped inside I felt embarrassed, as though the ghost of my former underweight self was eyeing me up and down, taking in all the curves and flesh and fullness, and hissing in dissatisfaction. I looked at the bathroom and remembered all the times I had purged there; looked at the bedroom and remembered all the times I had beaten myself up because I hated myself. The walls once covered in “thinspiration” now bare since my mother – after finding out I was anorexic – had ordered me to rip the damn things down (“They make me sick,” she had said, and I had been so mad). The lock box under the bed still held my obsessive food logs and pills and measuring tape.. the eating disorder was everywhere, like it never left. I wanted out of there – bad – because I knew that my old self would be disgusted at the way I am now and I couldn’t bear that disappointment. And then I couldn’t bear the fact that I wanted approval from the personified entity of my distorted, sick self – I mean really, how fucked is that? It was all so overwhelming that I felt a panic attack coming on. I started to cry; I wasn’t expecting myself to get so triggered.
“Okay, so let’s talk through it,” she said. And we did.
She helped me a lot, as mothers tend to do. She reminded me that I’m in a better place now – both physically and mentally – and that this apartment is becoming something great for my grandmother. After some minor renovations and a paint job it won’t even look like the same place anymore, and I’ll be forming new, positive memories there with my grandma. The apartment is just a place, a collection of rooms – it’s not a portal to my old self. As it stands, I have to go back tomorrow to finish packing, although I’m really not ready to be submerged into such negative energy and potentially get triggered again. I’d rather stay home, curled up in bed, practicing some tried-and-true avoidance.
I can’t bring myself to eat today: I had a scant lunch and the thought of dinner seems like a joke. And not a very good one, either.