This letter to my co-workers, in which I told them up which orifice (s) they could shove their diet contest, along with some thought-provoking responses I received, have really got me to thinking.
I'm jealous of those dieters.
I'm jealous that they got to lose weight and I didn't.
I'm jealous they were part of a group and I wasn't.
I'm jealous they got to stay and be friends and I felt backed into leaving.
I'm jealous they got compliments on their appearance and they stopped calling me "cute" and "tiny."
I don't know.
Maybe I shouldn't be jealous because I've been on a seven-year long diet (basically). An ED is not a diet, but still the resemblances remain. I know how to restrict my food. I know how to lose weight. And I also know how to gain it all back. That's an option that is no longer open to me, should I want to retain any sort of semblance of life. Dieting is not an option for me.
And I never realized how lonely that choice might make me.
I can diet. Lord knows I can do that. But these past few months I have been awakened to the fact that I have to make the conscious, knowing choice NOT TO DIET. There are lots of things I make the choice to do: keep my hair short, pierce my nose, not wear makeup, etc. I like being a little different, a little out of step. That's cool to me. However, I don't like how isolating recover made me feel during these past few months.
I thought anorexia was lonely and isolating, which it was. Probably way more isolating than not being part of a diet contest. But I had pinned so many hopes on recovery, so many hopes, among them that I would get to rejoin the human race again. So I go back to work 6 weeks after attempting suicide, hoping for the best and realize: nope. Can't join everyone again. Everyone isn't healthy for you.
The tiny world I had hollowed out for myself over the past few years was collapsing, and all of a sudden, I climbed out and realized I couldn't find shelter anywhere else, either. Loneliness is a huge huge huge issue for me. I have great online friends. I have great friends in other cities. Yet I spend all my evenings out with my, um, parents. My parents are great people. But they're not my friends. I don't feel I have a good place to turn. I don't have the tools yet to buffer myself from all of the shit the world throws at me. I can kind of wing it for a while, that's true.
I guess I just wanted my co-workers to understand more of what I had gone through. To feel some of the same repercussions. I would never wish them the hell of an eating disorder. But there's this small child deep inside that wants them to feel, however briefly, the same pain I felt. Like when this woman I was in treatment with kept pissing me off until one day I just completely lost it in her face and then kicked the wall hard enough to leave a dent. That poor unoffending wall. The dent was still there when I left. The wall (to the best of my knowledge) hadn't done anything wrong. It was there.
The dieters aren't innocents. Nor was I. But they were there. And they were a good target, and I took a swipe. Maybe justified, maybe not.