Tuesday, December 28, 2010


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...


  1. I am thankful for the mule-like spirit in you, the blog that gave me hope, the "healer" who listened, the "guardian" who fiercely protected, those in the "guild" who never gave up on you, the "interpreter" who sought answers to point the way, and through it all pins and needles were felt in you and you had an awakening and you became the "writer". The "Narf" didn't get you in the end :-) The bedtime story did have a happy ending.

    Always proud and keep buggering on. Mama Yak

  2. You should definitely be proud of how far you've come. You're looking wonderful, Erin! I know it's been rough, but SO worth it. Good job, girl!

  3. This particular "thread" thinks you are amazing and beautiful...

  4. You DO look better, Erin! I'm glad things are turning around for you and that you can see an "end to the tunnel"!

  5. hats off to you ... for now celiac troubles seem so small :)

  6. I relate to you so much. I started developing very early as a child and part of my anorexia was a subconscious attempt to be a little girl again. I'm so terrified of getting my period back. :[

    Best of luck!

  7. You look beautiful! SO radiant. Thanks for sharing your story.

  8. You glow so beautifully!

  9. you have a gift in your writing. thank you for sharing your story :)

  10. Just re-read.
    Proud of you.


  11. d.nash - thank you...and thank you for reading my stories, and that you especially for your comments!

    bhive - I'm proud to be a 'chip' off you. <3

  12. Great job. Keep it going. And thank you.

  13. Congratulations Erin!
    One of my best friends had about the same experience you’ve had, and she came out of it with a whole new vision on live as well (she doesn’t fish though). So, I mean it when I say that I have a lot of respect for what you wrote here. It’s a pity that you live so far away, because I’d love to go fishing (and philosophize about all kinds of things) with you. You’re a Fly-fishing poet on the internet (and that’s very rare).

  14. Herringbone - Thanks, I will, and you're welcome. :)

    Lonesome Piker - It would be an absolute delight to fish and philosophize with you. If I ever make it to Belgium, you can be sure I'll let you know! Thank you so much for the kind words...they are truly appreciated, and encouraging in many, many ways...

  15. E, this is one of the truly honest things I've seen on the 'Net. Fishing hat's off to you, tipped in CO's direction.

  16. Flykuni - Wow, thank you so much! And thank you for going back and reading. You comment means a great deal to me...again, thank you so very much...!

  17. Not to sound too perverted but I'm all for women getting their breasts and a$$ back. =) Thank you for sharing and I hope you continue doing what makes you happy. You do look a lot healthier now than in the first pic.

  18. Kev2380 - hehe! I think most men are for women's breasts and ass, eh? ;-) You made me laugh today. For that alone, many, many thanks!

  19. I happened upon this link and am grateful for experiencing your brutal honesty. I echo Kev2380's sentiments :-) You're certainly not a waste, and I'm glad to know your work (writing, tying, fish wrangling, etc.).

  20. Rhythm Rider - Thanks for all the encouragement...I'm very glad you are here, along for the ride.

  21. Gosh Erin,

    Am am so glad I found your site and you are here to share.

    Best, Gregg

  22. Gregg - And I am so glad you are here to read, and share in return.

  23. I am thankful daily that you are alive and our red journey through life continues in various hues and views.
    <3 Mama

  24. I for one am truly grateful for this particular daughter, Mrs Block.

  25. Mr. Bamber,
    I too am grateful daily for my firstborn and smile to know that she now touches so many other lives besides mine. Thanks for being part of her virtual world and maybe one day the worlds will collide and a shared fishing adventure will be had.