Saturday, July 21, 2012

dear you

Dear you,

We've been through a lot together.
Sometimes, I think you're great, but most of the time we've known each other, I've been less than cordial to you. I have a lot to apologize for.

I'm sorry for poking you, pinching you, weighing you, cursing you, even wanting you dead.
I'm sorry for starving you because I thought you were too big and too ugly.
I'm sorry for not being able to look at you in the mirror without getting sad, or even angry.
I'm sorry for hiding you under clothes too big or clothes so many because I was embarrassed of you.
I'm sorry I wanted you to look like someone else.
I'm sorry for not listening to you when you SCREAMED for me to change. I heard you, but I didn't listen.

Years ago, I would have even apologized to you for "letting" someone else hurt you, but it's not my fault. And it's not yours, either. Nothing you did made you deserve what happened, no matter what other people might say. Believe me when I tell you this.
In those times, I hugged you, cried for you, tried to comfort you.

It took a long time, but I now see that there is so much more to you.

You are STRONG and healthy. I can see muscles, now. I see strength.
You are beautiful. You are, dare I say, sexy. You have boobs, hips, a waist! They're awesome! They're not things to hide, but things to appreciate.
You are affectionate and a comforter. You give hugs. You give kisses. You hold hands. You pick up babies and cuddle them. You rub the bellies of animals and touch their noses to yours.
You smile and laugh. You make dumb jokes. I can see the beginnings of creases in your face, but that only means you've smiled SO much.
You can make music. You can SING! You can play instruments! With a guitar in-hand or piano keys under your fingertips, you are home. (We'll work on you being more comfortable with a microphone in your face... You can do it!)
You are smart. You get things. You learn easily.
Your hands and feet bring love and the Good News to people who have never known it.

From now on, I will try to enrich you, every part of you.
I want to keep you strong and healthy. I will go to my boxing class and do pilates at home. (Maybe, I will even run more! Maybe...)
I want to keep your mind sharp with books, articles, games, and dialog with friends. I want to keep learning things.
I want to keep your mental health in check and go back to therapy the moment I think I need it again. I need to remember the tools I've learned and put them into practice.
I want to surround you with wonderful, healthy, honest people. They sure do help you to be the same. I also want you to stay away from the people and things that will hurt you.
I want you to be confident. I want you to stand up for the things that aren't right, the things that hurt others.
I want you to keep learning about Jesus. I want you to love like he loves.

So, for now, I will sit alone in my apartment in my underwear, and be okay with it. I will drink my glass of red wine, not thinking about the calories but thinking about the health benefits and the lovely way it tastes. And I will paint a picture with my acrylic paints, because you are so good at that.

I love you.

PS - Read other love letters here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

the subthreshold

I had a mild setback with my workouts.

Last Thursday, we did a lot of upper body stuff: pushups, burpees, bag work, & mitt work. I guess I was a little too hardcore because I was ACHING the next day; everything from the chest up hurt.
A few days later, the pain on my right subsided, but my left felt worse. Upon closer inspection, I noticed a bulge on my ribs under my left armpit; it was painful to the touch. I was so swollen that it was actually messing with the nerves in my arm/hand.

After much freaking out and Googling, I determined it was only a strain (and not a tear).* I had to accept I wouldn't be able to box for a couple weeks.

On top of this workout-reducing injury, I have gained about 4 pounds in the past 2-3 weeks. The rational part of my brain understands this is most likely muscle weight, especially since I've been better about eating protein after my boxing class. The irrational, anxious, eating disordered part of my brain screams, "OMG, IT'S FAT! IT'S FAT! FAT FAT FAT. OMG, YOU'RE GAINING WEIGHT. YOU ARE FAT." Then: "Where is the fat going? Can I see it? Is it here?" *pinch* "Here?!" *pinch pinch* "If I can't work out, it's going to get worse! I HAVE TO WORK OUT. I can't lose what I've gotten out of this so far! I HAVE TO WORK OUT."

I wish that part of me would disappear already. I want to think rationally. I want to do what makes sense.
(I have done some CRAZY things before, but I'll talk about some of those in another post.)

"As a general guideline, it appears that one third of patients fully recover [from an eating disorder], one third retain subthreshold symptoms, and one third maintain a chronic eating disorder." - Cleveland Clinic

I am definitely in the "subthreshold" category. It never goes away.
Maybe I can quiet it, or at least recognize it, but it will always be there, whispering snide remarks, promising mitigation of my anxieties, tempting me to be its only friend...

Even now, when I am HEALTHY – sculpted, thin, eating well – it whispers.
Even when my boyfriend tells me I'm beautiful and he loves my curves, it whispers.
Even in the moments when I think I can appreciate my own body, it whispers.

I have realized therapy for me will be a lifelong process. Not continuously, but continually.
I was talking with my therapist about this, and I named several times I already know will warrant me going back: when I find out I'm pregnant one day (and throughout the pregnancy as my body changes), during significant changes in my children's lives, through moves or job changes, etc.
(My therapist applauded my self-awareness, at least!)

And I say "going back" because my workplace is switching insurance companies and my therapist will no longer be covered come August 1. :( I've decided once that date hits, I'll take a break from therapy to see how I handle things...

Some good news: after my trainers worked with injured me during just one class, my muscle feels better! At the earliest, I'll be boxing again next Monday, but I don't want to push it.

*Y'all, I seriously forgot what a strained muscle felt like. I haven't had one since high school...possibly middle school. Then, I worked out every day and usually didn't get sore/strained. With boxing, I only work out twice a week and I still get sore after EVERY class.