Day 364: A Goodbye Letter To My Scale

Hi guys,

With tomorrow being the very last day of this one year journey, I have decided that tomorrow will be the day that I smash my scale.

The poll that is up on the website has almost 50 percent of votes saying to smash it, so that’s what will happen.

Throughout my recovery, I have written many letters on this blog. I have written letters to Ed, and I’ve written letters to myself.

And now, I will write a goodbye letter to my scale. I am sorry in advance for it being long, but I just have a lot to say to it.

My letter to Ed was not a goodbye letter, as I don’t think that Ed will ever leave my life forever. However, I can and will and have learned to live above him and to live free of him.

But this letter to my scale, is indeed a goodbye letter, because after tomorrow, when I smash it and then throw it away, it will forever be gone.

I haven’t thought about what I would say yet, so here it goes.

Dear scale,

My precious, only trusted, heavy and white scale.

Where do I begin to start to say goodbye to something that over many years, and pretty much my entire life, (except this one year journey) was such a huge part of my life?

Everyday, and many times, every hour, particularly for the past three years, you specifically were my life.   There were other scales over the years,but you were the one that Ed and I picked for the worst few years of our time together.

I remember standing on you on my 18th birthday, on my 19th birthday, and on my 20th birthday. I remember standing on you the day I had surgery.

I remember standing on you the day my grandpa passed away.

I remember standing on you on my 21st birthday, and my 22nd birthday too.

This year, for my 23rd birthday, you were not around.

Do you remember the many times that I tried to give you up, and yet I always came back?

One time I gave you up for a week. One time it was for a month. And one time, I was even sure I could do without you because I placed you at someone’ else’s house. Only to find myself speeding over to that house once everyone left for work to go stand on you once again.

Do you remember when your batteries ran out, and I was late to my family dinner, because I had to go to the drug store to buy new batteries for you?

Do you remember the times at 3 a.m. when I would pull you out from under my bed and stand on you when everyone around me was asleep? It was like our own little secret. Just you and me.

Do you remember when I came rushing home from my vacation in Big Bear last year just to run and stand on you to see what bad news you would give me?

I’ m sure you remember everywhere I put you; under the bathroom sink, under the bed, and even in the kitchen one time.

I’m sure you remember the way my feet felt when they stood on you, because I sure remember the cold metal parts of you on my feet too.

I remember the clicking sound you make when I had to turn you on.

That sound will haunt me forever. It was the sound I woke up to every single day, and sometimes in the middle of the night, for years.

And no matter how many other scales I stood on at a doctors office or someone else’s house, you, my dear scale, you were the only one I trusted.

You didn’t even start out as my scale.

You started out as someone else’s scale who I lived with. At first, I only took you out of her closet when everyone was asleep.

And then, you moved with me into my new apartment.

And then you moved with me into a new home.

Somehow, along the way, Ed and I made you ours. We didn’t even care that you once belonged to someone else.

But last January 21 of 2013, I gave you up for good.

For the past year, you have resided somewhere with E (my therapist). I don’t know where, and I really don’t care to be honest.

And I know that E does not care about you either. I gave you to her because her strength is far beyond yours and I knew your presence wouldn’t bother her like it would bother me.

I wonder how you feel now that you haven’t been turned on for an entire year?

Do you feel lifeless? Do you feel dead?

Because that’s how I felt every time I stood on you.

Maybe now you can understand my life with you for those years.

And I might add, dear scale, that tomorrow, I will be smashing you.

But before I smash you, I will make sure to remove your batteries.

You will never be alive again.

I am not sure if you will break completely, but I will be using the heaviest hammer that I can hold and I am going to read you this letter, and then I am going to smash you as hard as I possibly can.

And then I am going to throw you away.

Do you know what I’ve accomplished this year without you, scale?

Do you know that I was the top senior reporter for my university newspaper , even without you telling me what number I weighed during it?

Do you know that my brother called me his hero all because I decided to value myself on who I am, not on you or Ed?

Do you know that without you, I graduated college? I graduated college on a day that I have no idea what I weighed that day.And it was at the best day ever. My Facebook status for it got over 140 likes.

Your weight for me could never get that kind of popularity.

Do you know that my family still loved me this year? Even though I wasn’t the number I always wished you would show me?

Yup, they loved me, supported me and carried me through even without your number.

You used to be my only truth; my only definition of who I was.

But I’ve learned over this past year, that I am not a number.

I am not a size. I am not even a definition of anything.

I am me.

And me is no longer a part of you, and you are no longer a part of me.

And therefore, tomorrow, we will officially part ways.

And I am not only smashing you for me.

I am smashing you for every single person who is part of this journey.

I am smashing you for the other birthdays and days and lives of others your’ve ruined; I am smashing you for every single fighter in the support group ,and I am smashing you for the many people who said this blog saved their lives.

Do you remember when I gave you to E, my only words when she asked me if I had anything to say, were “hello life?”

I remember that.

I’ve found that my soul is my new truth, and your number no longer defines me, dear scale.

And because of that, I officially say goodbye to you.

Sincerely,

Shira.

Hello Life.

hammer

Advertisements

Day 357: Closer Than I Was Yesterday

Hi everyone,

I was sitting in E’s office today (E is my therapist) and I was telling her how I felt so chubby today and not good in my body.

I was expecting her to say something like “let’s find out why you are feeling this way,” or something like that, but that’s not what she said.

She just answered one simple statement: “why do you have to be chubby? why do you to look a certain way in your body?”

I didn’t get it at first.

“Um…what do you mean? If I’m not chubby than what am I,” I asked her.

It was a serious question.

“Your Shira. Why can’t you just be Shira?”, she said.

I didn’t know how to answer. I think it was one of the first moments in therapy all year that I actually  had nothing to say for a split second.

Why did I have to define myself as chubby today? Why do I have to define myself by my body checks every single morning?

They are good questions that I don’t totally have the answers to yet.

Why do I think that being Shira means having to tag on a label about my body to that, like chubby or skinny or whatever other word that can be used to describe someones physical being?

I’ve spent pretty much my entire life since I was 8 years old calling myself these labels.

In some parts of my life I labeled myself fat, in other parts I labeled myself chubby, and in other times I labeled myself skinny. Regardless of what time period I was going through, I always used one of those words as my label.

And of course, I used my weight as a label  too.

I still remember how much I weighed the day my grandfather passed away-becasue it wasn’t a good number but I “allowed” myself the extra room because I was so sad, I told myself I could give myself a break.

These numbers and labels have been such a huge part of how I’ve  defined myself for so much of my life, it was honestly mind altering when E asked me why I even had to be any of those things.

Almost one year into being scale free, and I never thought about that.

Who would Shira be, without her being attached to a chubby or to a skinny or to a “I’m sore” today?

It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to think about.

I know who I am without my number on my scale for almost a year now; that I know because I’ve been learning that through this year. And I love who I am becoming without that number to define me.

I love the writer in me.

I love the reporter in me.

I love the sister in me.

I love the friend in me.

I love the fighter in me.

But numbers and labels are two different things. A number is  fact, a label is a feeling.

But just Shira. Plain and simple, no extra labels-that’s totally different.

I guess what I walked away with today, because it was a day of much self doubt, also in other areas of my life, is that when this blog is over 8 days from now, I am not going to have all of the answers I thought I would have.

I may still label myself with those names or those words.

Or I may not.

I am learning.

I used to think that after this one year journey, it will have meant I was cured from Ed and cured from all the negative ways I used to view myself.

That is far from the truth.

And I am glad I can be accepting of that.

The closer I get to this blog ending, and the more I start to wrap things up, the more I am learning that this one year was not meant to be a solution or an answer; it was meant to be the beginning of something.

I have a long way to go, far past this one year journey, until I think I can figure out who Shira is-with no labels attached.

But I am ok with that.

I’m not where I thought I would be at the 8 day count down to this one year journey being completed,but then again, how could I ever know where this journey would lead me?

But I do know I am a lot closer to being where I want to be than I was yesterday; I am a lot closer than I was the day before, and I am a lot closer than I was 357 days ago.

Hello life.

Day 351: We Are Worth Fighting For Ourselves

Hello everyone,

While today wasn’t as good as my many of my good days in recovery have been, it was better.

I still did way more body checks than I would like to admit, I tried on two pairs of pants just to see how they still fit, and I let Ed talk to me for a little longer than I would like.

But, it was a better day than yesterday.

There were definitely hard moments in my day today, like when I went to go get frozen yogurt with one of my brothers and I let myself put some extra toppings. Ed was not happy.

There were hard moments when I was eating dinner with my brothers because I didn’t know how the food was made.

But above it all, never once did I space out into Ed’s world and never once was I not in the moment.

Every single second spent with those three beautiful souls today was spent with them in real life, not in Ed’s far away life.

And I made sure to smile, laugh and love each of them as best that I could, even when Ed was trying to hug me as I was sitting there hugging them.

Today wasn’t better because Ed was any quieter than the past two days, because he wasn’t.

It was better because I am actually taking a moment right now, as I write this, to be proud of myself, which is something I don’t do too often.

Despite Ed’s voice today, I surpassed it.

When he tried to wrap me with his presence, I wrapped myself with my brothers instead.

When he told me to not eat with them, I smiled through my own self doubt instead.

It was hard.

But it was also showing me that I still have the same fight within myself that I had when I first started this journey almost one year ago.

And as many good days as I might have, and as many bad days as I might have, I am beginning to see more and more, nothing can take that fight away from me.

A year ago, Ed would have won me over today and I would not be sitting here in front of this TV sipping hot chocolate with whipped cream and watching a movie with my little brothers.

It doesn’t matter what kind of Ed battles I had to fight today–the jeans, the food, the mirror checks–the fact that I am here on this couch in this very moment, reminds me this fight is worth it.

I don’t know if fighting for a life of freedom from Ed and a life of living in recovery truly ever stops, but I do this: we are worth fighting for ourselves.

Hello life.

 

Day 348: My Extended Holiday

Hello everyone,

My alarm went off this morning waking me up to go to the gym, and the first thing I felt was that my body was sore from the food I ate yesterday.

Feeling that soreness was Ed’s way of making me feel guilty about whatever amazing food I ate yesterday, and it was his way of telling me to go work it off today.

But I knew I was meeting my friend Anna for lunch today (and I was meeting her for dessert too- Anna and I always need dessert) and I really wanted to dress up and feel really good when I went. I don’t know why I wanted to, but I did.

I only had time for one or the other: go workout and go see Anna sweaty and in yoga pants, or take my time to get ready, do my hair and feel good.

Despite Ed telling me to go to the gym because of the food I knew I would eat with Anna, I decided to stay home and get ready.

Sometimes I think that getting ready and feeling good about ourselves, wether it be the way our hair looks, or the outfit we choose to wear, or the make up we wear, can make us feel even better than some workout at the gym.

And indeed, that was the case for me today.

It was a different kind of self care.

And when the jeans I decided to wear were a little tighter than usual, (which I already knew these pants are kind of tight, and it was a totally Ed based choice to wear them, probably in the hopes I would feel guilty and eat less today or something because of it) I decided to throw on a loose shirt over it and carry on.

The problem was not solved forever, but the problem was temporarily solved.

I looked good. I felt good. I felt comfortable.

I didn’t feel like I just had some great workout, but I felt pretty, and I think that actually felt better than sweating at the gym today.

So on Anna and I went to have our lunch and two desserts.

Two, yes, two.Two amazing desserts.

At first, I left that restaurant thinking “Oh my God, Shira, you’ve been eating so bad for a whole month straight now. Holiday season is over. Stop with these lunches and mid day desserts.”

But then when I really sat and thought about it, and walked myself through my own thoughts, I realized that while it is true that holiday season is over, the birthdays I celebrated this week were not over, and the birthday I am celebrating tomorrow with my other cousin is not over,and my lunch dates with friends are not over either.

So maybe my  holiday food vacation is a little bit extended?

Even though I do feel guilty and anxious right now about this entire month of sweets and big lunches and dinners, part of me is feeling proud and part of me is laughing at Ed that he can’t stop me from enjoying them.

I am in the time of my life right now where I am transitioning from college into the working world, trying to find a career and trying to establish my life.

If in the mean time of doing that, I happen to have time for birthday lunches in the middle of my day with my cousin, dinners with my family during the week, and lunches and dessert for no reason at 2 pm on weekends with my friends, then why not?

Although I might not feel so great right now, I know that there will come a time in my hopefully soon to be career and job oriented busy life, where I am sure that I will miss the days of mid day lunches and desserts, and miss the days of birthday celebrations and dinners in the middle of my week.

So for now, even if Ed trying to ruin it for me, I am going to try to enjoy my extended vacation-delicious food and all.

And it’s really not the food that makes these lunches, birthdays and dinners so special, it’s the freedom that comes with being connected with others that makes it special.

But, if I had to choose between a special meal with loved ones that included Ed approved food, or choose between a meal with loved ones that is down right delicious and yummy, even though it’s not on the safe calorie list, I will take that one.

It’s not that long ago that I let Ed keep me in my house every day and every night away from the world , isolated, deprived and unhealthy.

Now that I am able to go to lunch, dinner and dessert, I think it’s ok that I let these extravagant meals and social gatherings last a little over the one month allocated to holiday eating like other people do.

After all, I have many years that were taken by Ed to make up for.

Hello to my extended holiday and hello life.

 

Day 347: The Other Side

Happy Friday guys,

If you guys remember, yesterday I wrote that I was taking my cousin out to lunch today for her 18th birthday. She is actually my step cousin, but really, it’s the same thing.

This was a lunch that Ed was begging me not to go to.

After yesterday’s food coma that uncomfortably lasted all night long and even into my breakfast this morning, this lunch was the last thing he wanted me to go through with.

But I had a very special and personal reason for taking this 18-year-old young woman out to lunch today. Her and I have a very special relationship. Other than being family, we are also friends, and I am also her tutor.

I was her tutor for a few years now, including during my worst times of my eating disorder.

And while I was battling with my own eating disorder, so was her mom. But her mom has been battling with an eating disorder for years now.

I saw first hand with my own eyes how her mom’s own Ed crept into her life since she was 16 years old, maybe even before that.

I would hear her tell me how she wanted to lose weight, which diet she was trying today, and I would see her papers on her door that were taped up there that listed all the ways she could lose that weight.

I would see all of this when I would go to her house to tutor her. And what did I do when I saw this?

I would stand in front of her mirror, lift my shirt up, and tell her how fat I got and how I was the one who needed to lose weight;not her.

I would let her mom, who because she didn’t eat, found solace in feeding others, give me food to take home that we both knew would be thrown away.

But this girl, my cousin, she is the other side of Ed.

She is the side that we don’t talk about.

She’s the loved ones who are affected by our Ed’s, who when we are so locked inside our own disorders, fail to see the impact it has on them.

Along my road to recovery, she has stood by my side, she has lifted me up when I was down, and she has tried to get her mom to read this blog in order to help her, although she never has.

It was crucial for my recovery that I went to this lunch today.

Going to this lunch meant showing her that it is possible to live a life free from an eating disorder, even if her own mom is still stuck in it. Going to this lunch meant showing her the beauty in the fact that we can now eat together and have a good time together.

I was proud to walk into that restaurant with her next to me.

And right as we sat down, the most unexpected and most inconvenient thing that could happen, happened.

Out of all the places to eat and out of all the people in the world, in that exact moment, I happened to see my ex-boyfriend of three year’s, sister, husband, and their baby.

This was the same family I wrote about only a few days ago who I said leaving caused me the greatest heartache this year that I’ve ever known.

This was the same family that I was the maid of honor at their wedding.

This was the same family who I cried tears of joy when I found out she was pregnant with the baby they were now with.

And as we made eye contact and I got up to say hi, they walked away.

Just like that. And got in their car and drove away.

I was shaking and I was heart broken all at the same time.

This lunch was my cousin’s lunch, it wasn’t about me. But in that moment, there was nothing I could do but just say “oh my God” a hundred times over.

I didn’t want to eat anymore. I didn’t want to be there anymore. I wanted to cry.

But just like my cousin was the other side of Ed who we don’t want to talk about, so was this family. Except they were the other side of my heartache and my past that I don’t like to talk about.

It’s the other side that I need to let go of.

I had two other sides standing right in front of me.

One, my cousin, who’s side of the Ed world she lives on, deserved to be free of today with me. And one, the other side of leaving my past behind me, had just walked away.

I had to choose which side I wanted to save.

I chose her.

It took me a few minutes to gather myself together, but I decided I was going to stay present during this lunch.

We ended up taking about her friends, her surprise birthday party that she just had, and her plans for going away to college.

When we finished eating lunch, she even thanked me for sharing our meal together, because she enjoyed eating it with me much.

And of course, not only because I love dessert, but because it was her birthday, and what kind of birthday is complete without a dessert, we had to get dessert.

She asked me if I would have some.

At first, I was thinking to myself “girlfriend, are you serious? Of course I am having some!”

But then I remembered, that this is the same girl who I once ate cake with on her moms birthday, only to leave early because I had to go to the gym to work it off.

This is the same girl who I told I ate a bag of carrots a day as my meal.

I was no longer shocked why she asked me if I would share this dessert.

And when I said “hell yeah,” we ordered and it was the best dessert, ever.

Not because of how it tasted, but because of what it meant.

She was once part of my Ed, as if being part of her mom’s Ed wasn’t enough, I let mine into her  life too. She represented  the other side of my eating disorder, the side that I didn’t care who was affected by it, as long as I was “skinny” that day.

Today, she became part of my side in recovery.

That dessert became part of my side in recovery.

And with one part of my past leaving me today forever, I let a new part into my life–the part where I showed my cousin the recovery side of me and celebrated her 18th birthday with her with lunch and dessert.

And as far as I get in my recovery, I hope to never forget those on the other side who were affected by my Ed.

It is because of that reminder, that I find strength today to continue in my recovery, and let my past be my past.

On with recovery we go.

Hello life.

Day 346: Food Comas

Hello everyone,

Let’s start off with the fact that I am currently in a food coma. And a major food coma at that.

Before I had this food coma, let me back track to earlier in my day and tell you about what I had planned to originally do today-or well what Ed and I had planned to do.

Today was my first day back at the gym since I was sick for a week and half and I couldn’t work out during that time. Honestly, I would like to say I walked in there feeling good and strong, but I didn’t.

I walked in there feeling like I was buldging out of all my clothes in every area and pretty much just uncomfortable in my own skin and for moments of time, I really thought that I was one of the biggest people there.

This is so not true. And will probably never be true, but this the kind of stuff Ed tries to feed me with, and I use the word feed because when I listen to his lies, I literally feel like I am swallowing them into who I am as a person and for that quick moment, I let it define me.

I looked in the mirrors at the gym while I was walking on my treadmill, after I was done walking on my treadmill, and even as I was walking out to my car.

Ed, Ed and more Ed.

He was holding my hand the whole time I was there. He was literally hugging me, holding me, and pinching any extra skin he didn’t like on my body.

So anyway, this was when I thought “It’s ok Ed, it’s ok. I will just eat totally on the meal plan today, nothing extra , and you can just be quiet.”

That didn’t quite happen because I went out to dinner with my grandma and my sister at this restaurant where they fill your table with all these yummy foods that are never ending.

Deliciousness, yes.

Ed approved, no.

So now I am here, in my food coma, writing this post.

I am also writing this post knowing I am taking my cousin to lunch tomorrow for her 18th birthday, and I also know I have a big family dinner tomorrow night too.

Ed wants me to not go to either because of this dinner tonight.

He wants me to sit here and cry because of how full I am.

And to be honest, it wouldn’t be so hard to do that. Actually, it would be easy to do that considering how I am feeling at the moment.

Yes, I looked in the mirror way more times than I would like to today.

Yes, I am not happy about my current food coma.

And yes, I am still going to go to that lunch and dinner tomorrow anyway.

And you know why?

Because I would rather sit here in my food coma and even cry over it if I have to, than cry another night because I am scared that my heart beat is too slow because I didn’t eat, or cry another night because I ate one extra piece of gum that I shouldn’t have.

If I cry over this food coma, let it be a victory to me that the reason for my tears is not one that my eating disorder caused.

They will be tears caused my recovery. I can live with that.

And with that, I just finished reading an email that another fighter, we will call her B, sent me in which she told me she just tried pasta for the first time in a long time, and she ate this amazing dessert called Hershey Symphony.

If B can do that, I can get through my food coma.

I even told B that I need to try Hershey Symphony now too. And I will. And it might be another food coma night.

And that’s ok with me, because what is life without Hershey Symphony and dinners to enjoy with friends and family?

It’s a life filled with food comas, some uncomfortable ones, yes. But it’s also a life filled with freedom, family and deliciousness.

Don’t we all deserve that?

I guess I can handle a few more food comas in that case. Bring it on.

As B wrote to me today, “Hello Hersheys symphony, hello shrimp pasta, hello snow, hello 2014, hello life.”

Day 343: The Best Monday of 2013

Happy last Monday of 2013 lifers,

So I kind of stole my own words out of my mouth with how I wanted to start this post with my own greeting, but today is the last Monday of 2013 and thinking about that had a strong impact on me.

When I was locked in Ed all of the time before I started recovery, Monday was my most hated and dreaded day of the week.

Monday was the day after I would let myself “binge” on Sunday night (which looking back now from a recovery standpoint, I was never binging, I was just simply eating), and so it was the most restrictive day of my week.

I would wake up, exercise, sweat, eat 15 prunes throughout my entire day, and then workout again at night, all in efforts to lose whatever amount of weight I had gained on Sunday.

It was prison. It was robotic. It wasn’t free.

I would go to sleep on Sunday’s feeling so full and yet so mad and angry because I knew what Ed had coming for me on Monday. And I don’t think there was a Monday that I ever didn’t listen to Ed while I was locked in him.

He owned every single Monday-every single Monday of 2012 was like that, and even a few in 2013.

But today, I spent my last Monday of this year far away from the trapped soul I once was when I was living, walking and breathing as Ed.

I am still getting better from being sick, so there was no working out today. Instead, there was a therapy session with E.

And then when I got home, it was time I organized my room, and in the process, I ended up organizing my jeans.

OK, so even for people without eating disorders, going through old clothes can be hard, but for people in recovery, it is even harder.

Obviously, I wish I didn’t try any of the old ones on. But I did.

I already told my mom yesterday for all the world to see on this blog that I need new jeans, and she was so happy to buy me some, so why even try on my old ones?

I don’t have an answer for that other than Ed.

But, I tried on three pairs. Three. It wasn’t all of them and it wasn’t the whole drawer. And they were the ones that I also got in the beginning of my recovery which just like the ones from yesterday, are also now tight . So I gave them to my housekeeper.

She was so happy because she said her granddaughter would fit in them.

Knowing that my old jeans that at one time were my first pair of recovery jeans could now make someone else happy, made me feel happy too.

Instead of going back to yesterdays cycle of why they once fit at a time when I thought my body was no longer changing, I decided to just move on. That was yesterday’s lesson, so let’s just leave it in yesterday.

Also, not to put anyone on the spot, but in the meantime of my cleaning I got an email from someone named Rachel in the UK asking for some hello life Bracelets. Rachel, so sorry to address you here, but it’s important to me I get back to everyone, and your email address is bouncing back to me so I can’t respond to you.

The contact me form worked, so if you use it to send me your address, I will have the bracelet on their way to you shortly.

So anyways, right as I was about to write this blog post, I realized that I didn’t’ do a body check this morning.

This is the first time, and I mean first time, ever, that I have not done a body check in at least two years, including my time in recovery and including the entire time of this blog.

I was trying to think of what possessed me to forget about the body check this morning and I was trying to think about what could have been so important that Ed made me forget to do it.

You know what I was doing this morning?

I was texting my 10 year old brother who has the flu and is sick at home, and I was giving him advice on what to eat and drink to feel better.

My care and love for him was greater than Ed’s demise for me.

From Monday’s being my most hated day of the week, to this last Monday of the year being the first time I didn’t do a body check, a day where I gave away old clothes, and a day that I took to rest my body because I am sick, I think it is safe to say that I’ve taken my Monday’s back from Ed.

It was the best Monday of all 2013. Save the best for last right?

Hello life.