I bought them at my lowest. In disbelief and in excitement, finally, I thought as I pulled them on in the dressing room. The nagging stomach pains dissipated as endorphins took their place. High-waisted, light wash blue jeans with “00” on the tag slid over my thighs and hips. The copper button glided through the opening, closing without effort around the small of my stomach.
Nothing else mattered.
I took them directly to the checkout lane, half worried the cashier would think the purchase must be for someone else–there was no way I could possibly fit in them. And half choking back pride as it tried to claw its way out and demand the entire store to look at me: I was finally thin enough.
Except I wasn’t thin enough. That’s how Anorexia works.
I put on those jeans this morning. On an empty stomach they closed after barely making it over my thighs and hips, thanks to some give in the denim. A constant reminder of body changes, though I can recognize that they may be minor–they do exist. Those jeans were bought about ten pounds ago, the amount of weight I needed to gain to regain cognition and have the ability to use therapy for more than meal support and recovery accountability. But that’s not what I was thinking about as the double zero waist band dug into my belly button. Anorexia did the thinking for me, pulling me into a hateful warzone spewing words of unworthiness over every inch of my body.
I took them off after six emotionally torturous and physically uncomfortable hours. I slid effortlessly into some leggings that don’t care if I’ve eaten lunch or not.
And I held back tears of grief.
Do I keep going on this unknown road of recovery, to an unknown weight range? Do I keep fighting this hard against anorexia?
Anorexia whispers gently, trying to be the comfort I constantly seek, that if I just calmly retrieve my scale from the garage and set out a precise and detailed plan for losing those pounds I’ve gained, I won’t feel this grief anymore. In fact, I won’t feel any negative emotions anymore. I will feel elated every time the number goes down. I will feel proud when strangers comment they wish they had my body. I will feel happy when the first words out of my dad’s mouth when he sees me are, “you’re looking pretty thin, must be running a lot, huh?”
The thing is, I don’t want Anorexia to take everything else from me, too.
Anorexia is a life-sucking, vile, conceited, manipulative, selfish liar. I don’t want to be any of the things I become when Anorexia sinks her venomous teeth into my veins. It is all-consuming and life-threatening.
And I think I want to live.
Like, really live.
I don’t care about the double zero number on the tag. Anorexia cares. I am not Anorexia.
Fitting into those jeans doesn’t help me give and receive love. Fitting into those jeans only serves as a direct flight to the grave. Even if only emotionally and spiritually.
I don’t want to be empty anymore. I want to be full of life, love, and nourishment.
But it is so hard to keep fighting and right now I just want to be wrapped up in loving, supportive arms.