Today I had such a nostalgic experience.
I am putting together a big piece for the newspaper at school about the different kinds of students living in the various kinds of housing we have on campus. So today, I had to go find freshman who were living in the dorms.
As I was walking around and seeing all of them sitting together in the recreational rooms, eating together in the cafe, and hanging out by the pools, it literally brought back all the feelings I had my freshman year in college.
I remember how care free I was, and how free I thought I was, now that I was away from home.
Interestingly, as I was thinking about that time, I remember the very first assignment that E had me do in treatment. She had me write about a time when I didn’t live in my eating disorder.
I wrote about my two first years in college.
Since I was reminiscing on those times today anyway, I decided to go back and read what I wrote in that assignment, as I have not looked at it since I wrote it. Here are the highlighted bits and pieces from what I wrote.
Date written: December 8, 2012.
“There I was, my freshman year in college. It was me, my roommate Katie and our two other roommates and a few friends who we met along the way.
We would go to our classes and by the end of the day, our favorite part of the day had come—dinner time. Dinner time didn’t just mean food-it meant time to socialize, to meet and gather at the café and laugh and joke about our day and about each other.
Tuesday nights were always the best though. Late Night Tuesday’s were the greatest. The café’ was open until 11 p.m only serving desserts like churros or ice cream sundaes. We would all go together and totally indulge. Sometimes, we would go twice so a friend didn’t have to go alone. Life was good then.
During the weeknights my roommates and I would watch movies in the common area each with our own pint of Ben and Jerry’s, thinking nothing of it. We would talk bad about the RA’s and the girls we didn’t like, and vent about life. We gathered, we socialized, we lived life, life was good then.”
OK, so at the time I wrote that, I associated everything, including emotions, with food, which is why you see so much food in those paragraphs.
But the main point that I took out of that writing assignment, was that I loved socializing with my friends and I loved being around people.
I remember reading that assignment out to E, and I remember crying.
I never thought I would be able to get back that life again.
I never thought I would go and eat with friends again. I never thought I would get to socialize and be care free again.
Up until today, I didn’t even think about that assignment once since I started recovery.
The crazy thing is, that even though I am not living in college dorms anymore and totally re-living that experience, I have found that kind of happiness again in my life.
I do socialize with friends now.
I love going out on Saturday night with my best friend and going out to eat.
I love being able to hang out with other people, even the girls in my summer school class who I don’t know well, and just being able to talk and laugh.
That care-free, loving life feeling, does not need to be kept in my past and in my first two years of college anymore.
I wonder what it would be like to re-do that assignment now, and write about an experience during my recovery where I felt I was living without my eating disorder (and there have been many).
Anyway, I guess my point is, that it is so beautiful to me, to look back at that first assignment and remember how I thought that kind of “loving life” feeling would never come back to me, yet, over the past 155 days, it has started to find its way back to me and I hope it stays.
Has it come back in the same way? No.
Does it entail me eating pints of Ben and Jerry’s? Probably not.
But, it does entail me living again and me laughing with friends again.
Most of all, when I read that assignment again today, I realized that I kept saying “life was good then.”
The keyword being then, as in life was no longer good when I wrote that assignment.
I truly feel I can say, in this exact moment, that life is good-and it’s good now in this present moment. That goodness is no longer stuck in the back then’s.
Life was not only good back then when I didn’t have an eating disorder, but hell yeah, it’s good now too, and it will only get better the more I progress in my recovery, and to that I end this post as I smile and say hello life.