“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
–Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Miles Last Week: 58
Total Miles: 2644
In the past, I’ve had a friend or two and such apologize to me for some sort of crazy, be it their own or someone else’s. I typically just shrug it off and tell them not to worry about it, but some personal things have happened in the last couple of days that make me want to reiterate the following point bluntly and loudly.
You are not alone in your crazy. You think you are, but you aren’t.
I can hear you telling me that I am wrong–that you, in fact, are the one soul on Earth that no one else could possibly understand because only you know your own personal trauma.
Well, yes and no.
Yes, you may be the only one who knows everything that’s happened to you. No, that doesn’t mean you’re alone.
We all have crazy–every single one of us–but most of us end up feeling isolated because we don’t want to share it or burden others, or we think that no one will understand.
My personal crazy (in my completely subjective, not at all professional opinion) is likely rooted in a lot of warped body image issues, stemming from whatever underlying, deep-seated insecurity, self-hate, depression, or anxiety I’m repressing. I’m also a ruminator, which is pretty much a four-syllable word for over-thinker. (It would also be a terrible superhero name, but I suppose “The Ruminator” could be a mildly decent super villain.) Actually, rumination tends to involve over-thinking, plus endless dissection of some choice or event, plus obsessive reflection, plus lots of time and optional quantities of junk food.
Have I mentioned emotional eating yet? That’s definitely part of my crazy.
I may not know what your crazy is, but I’m betting it’s taken you to some pretty dark places. Mine has. The following are all things about my crazy that I’ve considered putting on this blog dozens of times, but I always stop because I tell myself that they are too serious. The truth is that I’m absolutely terrified to put these things out into the world. But after the last couple of days, I’ve been forced to acknowledge what a dark place isolation will take you. At the very least, I want people to know that they aren’t the only ones in those cold, muddy trenches.
I suppose the good news is that this is the Internet and no one will probably read this, right?
1.) I remember the first time I realized I was fat.
I was in elementary school. My best friend was at my house, and we started spraying each other with water because that’s what kids do sometimes. Her pants got soaked, so I offered her a pair of mine while hers dried. As she pulled them on, it became clear that they were several sizes too large for her, which she thought hilarious. She laughed and laughed and laughed as she pulled them on and off without undoing the button. I tried to laugh along but was mostly holding my breath and trying not to cry from embarrassment. (Side note: I feel absolutely no ill will toward this person. We remained good friends for a long time. I just remember this as the first time I felt ashamed of how I looked.)
2.) I used to spend a lot of time utterly convinced that my friends hated me because of the way I looked.
When you’re a teenage girl (or, really, a female human at all), you are required at some point to believe that you are fat and to proclaim it to everyone else so that they know that you know what your physical flaws are. Even my thinnest, most athletic friends would have something negative to say about their bodies. One curled herself into the fetal position while proclaiming, “Look at all my fat rolls! I’m disgusting!” Then, I, a legitimate overweight kid, would look in the mirror. I figured if my friends thought they were fat, then they must have thought I was a whale.
3.) Growing up, I was constantly trying to shrink my stomach.
It really wasn’t that difficult. You would just skip a couple of meals every now and then (maybe one or two a day), your stomach would shrivel up because it wasn’t being filled, and then you couldn’t overeat because your stomach wouldn’t be able to hold too much food. It was obviously a flawless plan to a teenager’s mind, and there were two victories to this system: feeling full without having eaten everything on your lunch plate and the strong belief that you weren’t anorexic because you were technically eating (even though you were still starving yourself). If you did it enough, you would probably even stop feeling hungry–which was the obvious goal. Of course, then you would binge, curse yourself (and worse) for stretching your stomach, and start the whole thing over again.
4.) At seventeen, I tried to buy diet pills.
The cashier wouldn’t sell them to me because I wasn’t eighteen.
5.) I thought I was prepared to be a martyr for my “cause.”
This is probably the darkest thing I can remember. I distinctly recall writing “I will lose weight or die trying” in my journal as an adolescent. I honestly couldn’t tell you whether I truly meant it, but to me, that isn’t necessarily the important part of what happened when I wrote that. I remember feeling a twisted sense of victory at the sentiment. I felt like putting that sentiment into words on a page meant I was truly committed.
I may not know what your crazy is, but I do know that the worst things you can feel are alone and ashamed. No one should ever feel that. Even if you aren’t ready to talk about it, just know that you are not, despite what your head or anyone else may be telling you, alone.
If you do need to talk to someone, please, for the sake of your mental health, do so.
Like 80% of the things you listed here are all things I struggle with. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been thinking about writing something similar, but I always felt like it would open myself up to a sort of vulnerability that I don’t know if I can handle.
And the first time I realized I was fat was in the first grade when I girl named Megan McVay turned around to me in the lunch line and said “you know, Marisa, you’re really fat.” And then she waited for me to acknowledge it, like I needed to say “I know. Thank you for telling me.”
I take great pleasure in knowing that now her husband cheats on her and airs it all on Facebook, mainly because I’m evil.
That’s basically the reason to have Facebook, isn’t it? To see how terrible people you used to know turned out?
And quite frankly, I think I’ve spent the last couple of days trying to firget that I posted this. I’m still considering taking it down. Vulnerability is not fun. Repression is where it’s at.