Filed under: doubt, emotions, Gardening, love, poetry, Uncategorized, writing
A sestina, written early in the relationship with the king of vacillant winds and discarded dreams.
It was my birthday when we met,
and I was first enveloped in your smoke.
We wandered, my skin burning, in the garden.
your friend trailed behind, embodying my doubts.
Compared to the maelstrom of my thoughts,
I barely said a word.
Perhaps I have way with words,
but only in subversive meetings
with myself where my thoughts
are suffocated in smoke
What do you care to grow in your garden?
Are you even a proper gardener?
Carefully choose your words
and silences. My doubts
are hungry and eager to meet
the man behind the smoke
usurping my productive thoughts.
Should I share the thoughts
I’ve etched into my garden
sand? Will they dissipate like the smoke
from your cigarettes and the words
from your mouth when our lips meet?
Can you cripple my doubt
or am I right in doubting
your capacity to calm my thoughts?
When you and my id have finally met,
will you still want our infested garden?
Will you cull it with your words
or gas it in a pesticide smoke?
I can tolerate the smoke.
I can breath in poisons and exhale the doubts
and come up with clever wording
for my thoughts,
but I let noxious weeds flourish in the garden.
They grow so tall our eyes cannot meet.
Words unspoken each meeting
planted this doubt in the garden…
and smoke does not slow the infestation of thoughts.
Filed under: autobiography, Binge Eating, body image, cognitive theraphy, doubt, Emotional Eating, emotions, fear, love, self-help, Weight Gain, Weight Issues, Weight Loss, writing | Tags: College, life, Stress, Weight Gain, wieght loss
In my previous installments: “The Younger Years” and “Losing Weight the Wrong Way,” I shared how I had become a plus sized child and teenager before abruptly losing ~120lbs. within the span of 4 months via eating an extremely restrictive diet while over-exercising. Over the next couple years, I would attempt to get a handle on my disordered eating before ultimately failing.
After my friend had pointed out that I was showing signs of anorexia and non-purging bulimia, I tried to rectify my habits. After a few weeks of continuing my food journal, I still had a reluctance to eat more than 1,000 calories a day. Even if I didn’t write calorie amounts down, I was still doing estimations in my head. I concluded that I needed to stop keeping it. Instead, I focused on reasonable portion sizes, while still working out at least 6 hours a week. This strategy worked very well, and I managed to maintain a weight of roughly 145lbs. for roughly one year.
I have to admit, that year was pretty great. Even though I still wasn’t totally happy with my appearance, I felt empowered. I did a lot of things I had previously been scared to do. I joined my high school’s Speech and One Act teams as well as participating in Quiz Bowl. I wore attention-getting clothes that my old self would have never worn.
I was still getting used to all the appreciative attention for my looks from the opposite sex, and often reacted to it badly. Example: While exiting a music store, some guy whistled at me. As it was unexpected, I laughed loudly and closed the door after me. Only after I left did I realize how mean that must have seemed.
Since that guy was obviously not quite a charmer, let me give another example: In my junior year, I was approached by the little sister of one of the few boys who had been nice to me all through grade school despite my weight. He had sent her to ask if I would go to a dance with him. Dumbstruck, I just kind of stood there blinking. She made a knowing face and said, “Ok.” Then she left, and I slowly parsed together what had happened. Although I certainly would have gone, I was too shy to say anything to either them after that.
Then, half way through my Senior year, I started dating a goth boy who fancied himself a romantic. He regularly took me to dinner, bought me little gifts, made me photo collages, and (this is the cincher) talked to my mom even though she’s so brain damaged she mostly only said no. (Unfortunatelymy mom’s condition hasn’t improved since then.) While I had dated previously, I think half of my motivation was just to be able to tell people I had a boyfriend. I never did really let my guard down around the guys I was seeing. However, the goth boy’s patient devotion and acceptance allowed me to let him into the tangled web of emotion I usually kept between myself and word document. He was the first to get my crazy. I still feel sorry for him.
One thing he did for me was help me embrace my body despite it’s imperfections. For the first time ever, I felt comfortable in a swimming suit.
While we dated, I gained 15lbs. We spent all of our spare time with each other, and although we went on long walks and got –ahem- other forms of exercise, all of the dining out went to my waist line. I went up a size, but I wasn’t too worried about it. My ideas of small portions steadily grew.
After graduation, I moved an hour andhalf away for college. Goth boy and I had made plans to get an apartment near campus, but those plans fell through after he failed to save enough money. As a result, I was poorly matched with my roommates. There were two girls from a private, Catholic high school, and a cheery former cheerleader. They all kept everything super-tidy in a specific way, loved reality tv, and country and pop music. I was in hell.
Aside from a few bright spots and a wicked wardrobe, my first year in college wasn’t much fun. I was an outsider in my own home, I didn’t really have any friends going to the same school, and I got to see my boyfriend 3 times a month if I was lucky.Although I did get out occasionally with the help of a few area friends or my twin aunts who lived in the same city, it wasn’t frequently. I coped by immersing myself in class, books, cartoons and junk food. Some days I would forgo meals entirely in favor of junk food. Other days, I would I sit down with a half gallon of ice cream and a spoon, eat it all, and then purge. The change in eating habits didn’tshow, probably more due to the fact that walking was my primary mode of transportation (I had elected to leave my car at home to cut costs and the bus frightened me)than my burgeoning bulimia.
In my second year in college (I was 19), things had evened out a bit emotionally. I lost the boyfriend, brought my car from Dad’s place, got a work-study job in the library archives, had friends on campus, and had cool roommates whom I got along with reasonably well. Although I began smoking cigarettes and drinking occasionally around this time, I was generally more well-balanced, and as a result I mostly didn’t binge-eat. Between my work, school, social life, and romance, I didn’t have time to. Once again, dating led to poor food choices like fast food or sit down restaurants with enormous portions, but I managed to stay around 160 lbs.with an intermediate amount of exercise.
Things didn’t really start to go downhill until I was living alone for the first time in my third year of college, but the decline didn’t take long. I shared a story about my childhood clepto-mania with a party cohort I had idealized as a buddy flick-like friend. Long story short: After activating the bad influence, I carried on by myself, landed myself in legal hot water, lost my job, was sentenced to jail time, and moved (while still going to school) rather than deal with it. The resultant stress led me to binge everything: food, alcohol, cigarettes, basically anything enjoyable I could get my hands on.
I am not sure exactly how long I was “on the lamb,” but it was only a few months. By the time I weighed in when I went to jail, I was something near 180lbs. (I was pretty stressed out, so I don’t remember an exact number.)
Contrary to popular opinion, I found it quite easy to lose weight in jail. The food was disgusting. I didn’t care how hungry I was, I found most of it inedible. I lost 15 pounds during my 28 day stay, but that weight came right back when I moved back to Dad’s house for the summer. Dad was understandably frustrated with me, as I had hidden the entire ordeal from him until I was physically in jail. I internalized ever little thing he said in anger. I felt worthless.
With the help of my generous Aunt Corrine, I returned to college in the Fall and proceeded to make a huge mess of everything about six months later.
Next Installment: Coming Soon
Thousands of tiny feet secreting slime
so it can steadily creep
(using muscular contractions)
up the vertical, but pitted face
of self confidence.
The trail attracts others.
They mate, cords of mucus
suspend their writhing bodies
until both are spent.
They lay about thirty eggs each.
Armed with salt, still haven’t killed them all.