Yep, I'm watching the Miss USA pageant. More precisely, Jim and I are watching it while we eat chorizo, cheese and bread.
Did I feel not a twinge but a baseball-bat-wallop of envy when those girls strutted across the stage in bikinis? Well, yes. Their thighs DON'T TOUCH, I thought. Once upon a time, YOUR thighs didn't touch. Wasn't that great? And so on and so forth.
This brings me to the topic of recovery and that touchy, age-old question: can you ever be "recovered?"
I believe that in general, yes, a person can become recovered from anorexia and develop a completely normal relationship with food and the larger world. For myself? I don't know.
I am not the person I was fall 2005, when I staggered onto Ohio University's campus at a ridiculous weight (and that was with pockets full of coins and a heavy belt). I am not the person I was that winter, at my lowest weight, numb, cold all the time. I am not the person I was that spring, grimly downing three Ensures (the high calorie kind) plus dining hall meals just so I could stay in school. I'm not even the person I was a few years later, interning at the University of Delaware and eating gelato but still much too thin.
I'm bigger. I know sizes can be triggering, and I apologize, but I'm working on not being ashamed that I am a size 10-12, large or even extra-large. Part of this is due to my taste in clothing - ie, not-skintight - but it's mostly just because I'm bigger. I have no idea what I weigh - I haven't weighed myself in well over a year - but I know my body is different.
For one thing, I'm a hell of a lot more muscular and I love it. You were right, Jim, you were right - I love weight training. I love feeling so strong and I love that I'm not overdoing it. I know that I can't do weights every single day - I'd be so sore that I couldn't walk. I'm never going to be a female bodybuilder (I have a crazy aunt who does that - one per family is enough, thanks), but I love the feeling of being stronger. I told Jim I was embarrassed when a trainer at the gym randomly fist-bumped me, but I was actually stoked - maybe he thinks I'm legit. And you can't do weights if you don't eat. So I eat.
This year has been one of the hardest of my life. It's also been one of the best, since Jim and I got engaged and moved in together. You can't go through a year as eventful and not change.
I wish that all of this could lead up to a proud declaration that I am recovered. No quotation marks; fully and totally recovered. Unfortunately, I can't. The old anorexia voice is still there - right before I take a shower and I see myself in the mirror; when I try on clothes and nothing seems right. Sometimes even when I see those old pictures I start to think that wouldn't be so hard, you could get back there pretty easy. It's in the choices I make at restaurants, it's in the guilt I feel after a weekend of gustatory events.
Maybe I'll never be "recovered." Maybe some people never do. But even without the "-ed," I've learned that I can still live a full life. I can deal with the anorexia thoughts - they no longer stop me from working hard and loving harder.