“But I don’t have any evidence,” I say as I hold back tears if for no other reason than to be able to hear how she responds.
“Do you want me to say it?”
Say what? What is she going to say? What does she know that I don’t?
“Yes, just say whatever it is.” I mumble as my stomach becomes prickly. I don’t know what she’s going to say, but my body surely does.
“You said, in very clear and complete words last Monday, I don’t want to be hurt. Do you remember how we switched places, and you didn’t recall?”
“Yes,” I say trying not to cry still because I sense what’s coming.
She makes a motion with her hand near her lower midsection to match the words she says next: “You said you felt like you had just been sexually assaulted and you felt pain in this area.”
I do remember saying that part. I’d completely blocked it out. That day was scary and confusing and most of it was lost on me as soon as I left the room.
“I remember that part…” I trail off and begin to cry, face buried in her chest as if I am five, and her body will protect me from the perpetrator who is surely coming right then and there.
I have felt like that a lot. That I needed her to protect me, physically, with her whole body, but I didn’t understand why.
The puzzle pieces rush together like magnets and my entire life suddenly makes sense.
“Sexual abuse.” She says. I don’t remember the words before or after that, just that she said them.
Tears keep coming because it’s like we’ve solved a mystery that has been painstakingly grueling. My entire life flashes before my eyes in chronological order and I am not dying; I am realizing her words are about me and my life and everything it has affected is suddenly and completely blaringly obvious. I feel relieved and sad and hopeful.
I feel good.
I feel hungry.
I say the words out loud. Little me has the most courageous voice now. She is asking for everything she needs and saying everything that comes to her mind.
I am given a banana and as I’m eating it I am aware that it seems as though I should feel wrong for admitting hunger, and worse, asking for something, and even worse–eating all of it.
“It’s as if I suddenly don’t need the eating disorder to protect me. I don’t even want it to. What is happening!?” I feel apprehensive and a bit anxious about this freedom from the pervasive eating disorder voice that lives constantly in the forefront of all my thoughts. It doesn’t feel temporary. It feels real.
My therapist is quick to remind and prepare me for when that evil voice does come back. I get that. But I am also aware that each time the eating disorder has taken over, the amount of time I’ve spent in it’s throes has been shorter and shorter.
“I’ve been walking around with a cloud over me and today I can see the sun.” For a minute, I almost feel elated that the sun exists.
It felt overwhelming. The chaotic mixture of gratitude, intrusive images, feeling completely protected and safe, massive grief and sadness for little-me, and practically feeling my eating disorder leave my body all at once.
I am not saying, nor do I believe, it’s going to be flowers and sunshine and happiness from here on out. I am saying I know, without a doubt, I will get through this. There will be life and love and authenticity on the other side. Everything makes sense for a reason, in God’s timing, and I know this now. I know it with my whole heart. I am so thankful for the safety, protection, understanding, validation, care, and most of all; love, from my wolfpack. I am so lucky to be their baby cub, and that they can hold all of my parts with equal care and love.
That is how I got here.
That is how we got here.
That is what gave me the strength to find my voice and use it.