This is hard to write.
Maybe, I shouldn't be writing it. But, nonetheless, I am...writing...an admittance of weakness through strength. This strength, this ability I posses to stick my head down like a work mule and bugger on.
Yes, I'll dig in my heels. I'll pull the plow.
I was always getting scolded at the conservatory. "You need to complain more...it's ok to complain. Say, this is too hard. Demand. Sometimes...give up." My hands are small; but, they were always given a man's fingering. They adapted, they chameleoned as male. They reached farther than they were created to, and today my left hand bears the stretch marks...longer fingers...and bent too.
But, if the men could play those lines that way, gosh darn it, I was going to play them that way too. I would reach 6 frets instead of playing the "easier" girl way. Even, if it hurt...and it did. My teacher would grow frustrated with me, would tell me that I needed to stop working so hard at hard things -- that I needed to take the easy and the comfortable road sometimes. Need I tell you that this is completely contrary to every ounce of my nature?
This ability to stick my head down and pull, metaphorically, very heavy things...was literally, very literally...almost the death of me. For the past few years, it really has felt like a war. And, I almost lost. Looking back I can see that now. I almost lost the fight, and I almost lost it while I thought I was fighting with all of my strength, utilizing all the weapons in my reserve...putting my head down and pulling as hard as I could.
As food was taken away from me, I limited it even more. It became the one thing in my life that was seemingly under control. The one thing that was stable, sure, planned...I hated it, but....it was there. And a lot of things weren't there; a lot of things in life were failing right then.
I did a lot of snowshoeing that year...alone. That "winter of my discontent" I call it. I walked through it, coldly. I lusted after the the snow. I lusted after its peace and its silence, as my thoughts loudly accused and condemned...I longed to lay down with it.....in it.....and cease. These thoughts scared me. But, just the same as animals go out alone to die, I see now, in hindsight, that this is what I was doing. I wanted to be taken, and the snow would never have me.
Now, I see that my semi-starvation, was almost a year-long "fast." It was me wearing sackcloth and ashes, you might say, to show that the state of my soul was not well.
Years have past.
It is well with my soul...
I haven't thought a lot about all this until recently I found a picture, hidden away in an un-named computer file. And, as a friend would say, it kind of stung me in the ass...
That was me. I believe at around 90 lbs. I got thinner. Another 10 lbs. thinner. Those years were dark. Very dark. Yes, I lost weight. And, I lost many other things along with the weight. A marriage, my breasts, any hopes of having hips...too much information? Sorry. It's true. I looked like an 8 year old boy. Menstruation stopped. I was too thin. My body couldn't function correctly. My brain couldn't either. I would run into the corners of walls, misjudge the distance from my hand to my cup, and just plain old couldn't think. I was wasting...away...
This will sound very macabre --- but, this wasting was interesting to me. Bones appeared out of my flesh that I never knew existed. It was like I was doing some twisted science experiment on myself. I couldn't sit on a hard-backed chair very long...my spine would bruise. My hip-bones stuck out like an emaciated milk-cow's. But, it was disturbingly interesting to see how far I could go.
People told me I was anorexic. But, I refused to believe them. Forget the fact that I was, at most, eating about 500 calories a day. Most of it was that my stomach was so soured with life, it couldn't eat. My appetite got lost trying to figure things out.
As I've gained weight back, I have felt vaguely prepubescent again. What are these? Breasts? hmmm. Slight curves here and there? Hips? Fat returning, behind? My body is doing strange things. Strange and interesting things. I wasn't sure I liked these things returning, at first. I am, you realize, the grown-up woman version of the little girl who cried her eyes dry when her mom took her to buy her first bra. This is usually a milestone, no? A "special" time for mother and daughter, one of those thresholds of life. I apologize to my mom now. That time was in no way "special." I remember standing in the dressing room, looking into the mirror with this new bra on, and crying. Loudly. This 'milestone' meant, to me, that I was becoming a girl. The final indicator that I was, in fact, female. I couldn't run around forest trails or build mudslides in the creek completely shirtless anymore. I was constrained. There was something, always, compressing...weighing me down. I didn't like it. No, I didn't like it...not one bit. I felt like a horse with saddle and cinch on for the very first time. I felt like bucking and kicking and biting it off.
Now why do I write all of this? Well, because, I'm beginning to realize that something beautiful can come out of ugliness. Because, all of that stuff, all of that ugly stuff, is why I started writing this blog. I had to dig my heels in, put my head down, and write about eating...to prove to my mom hundreds of miles away that I was, in fact, eating...that I wanted to stay...that I didn't want to waste. Really, it's why I started writing at all -- to work through the ugliness.
This is me now...as of 6:30 a.m. Tuesday December 28th...all 108 lbs. of Me.
I don't feel like I am wasting anything. There is still plenty of ugliness, plenty of mysterious grumbling of my insides, plenty of thoughts that scare, and plenty to write through...but, I'm living...