August 2, 2008
New Poem, "Mirrors and Glass"
I haven't really posted much of my poetry on here, but thought I'd post this one.
I'd be interested in your thoughts on this.... Thanks!
Mirrors and Glass
Stare into mirrors, windows, glass--
any reflective surface and turn
like a ballerina on stage, searching
staring, looking for imperfections I believe
exist. Even if no one else can see.
It's not vanity, but I honestly can't see
what they all see, can't believe
in their mis-perceptions, their constant questions searching
for answers; for reason I can't give. Instead I turn--
silent-- and walk away. You can't put me under glass
and scrutinize me like a laboratory insect. Glass
kills when the reflection burns hot enough, turns
even the strong ones into dust. Leaves others searching
for the whys and hows, unsure what to believe.
Leaves them wondering how it's possible I can't see
the same truths, same perceptions they all see.
Each day, each night melts into another. Warps my beliefs
with misguided truth and leaves me searching
for an exit to this endless road, with its constant twists and turns.
How did I get back here again, staring into mirrors and glass
looking for answers to questions turning
circles in my mind; searching
for something else to believe in.
Open these eyes so I can see.
Convince me to believe
there's an end to this desperate search
for meaningless answers. Turn
my gaze from mirrors and glass
back towards something stronger.
June 21, 2008 (c. Wendy Bradley)
June 21, 2008
An Endless Uphill Battle
Since leaving treatment in July of 2006, I have done a lot of thinking. But even in the days and months spent trying to find answers and reasons, all I'm really left with is a lot more questions. How did I get back here again, and why? And how did I get here to begin with? I was doing fairly well with things after I left 6 mo. of inpatient treatment. I had learned a lot and I had made some changes. Yes, every meal was still a struggle, and it was still a battle over what I would/could allow myself to eat on any given day. But the difference is that I was eating. I was allowing myself to do so, rather than just throwing up my hands in surrender and walking away, never dealing with the struggle in the first place. It is easier to just not eat than to sit and convince yourself several times a day that you need to eat. It's harder yet to actually do it.
So much has happened, so much as changed over the last year alone that I find myself here yet again, facing the scale and finding that brief moment of happiness as I see the numbers even lower than yesterday. Not by much, but less is less, no matter how you look at it. I can't deny the fact that I find a sense of comfort, safety in the old familiar routine; in the excuses and "no thanks" when offered food. I can't deny the brief moments of pure elation when someone says I look like I've lost weight again. I can't deny how much I love the emptiness, the slight --but constant-- dizziness. I'm not blind: I DO see the hollow eyes surrounded by dark circles, the sharp angles of cheek bone and jaw line, the ribs and hips protruding against the thin fabric of summer clothing, the tendons and veins quite prominent beneath the thin skin of my hands, arms, legs. I can feel each vertebrae, like little steps up my back. And somehow I find comfort in all of this. Somehow it makes the rest of my world manageable. Somehow it makes it all ok, and just a bit easier to handle.
Even in the comfort, however, there are brief moments of fear. Because I don't know when or how I got here. "It wasn't intentional" I say, emphatically. "It's not like I set out to try and get back here again...." She looks at me, fear and sadness registering in her eyes and says nothing for a moment. "But how hard did you try NOT to get back here again?" she finally asks. And the question hangs over our heads for the rest of the hour. I don't have an answer to that.
Sometimes I wonder if there really is a way out of all of this. Sometimes I wonder if this battle is all my life will ever consist of. I know differently because I know there are people out there who really have recovered. Completely. But I have a hard time believing things will turn out the same for me. Why? Because I turned 29 on May 26, and I've been fighting this battle for the last 19 years now. Over half my life. And just when I think I'm finally starting to figure things out, something happens and I find myself running back towards what is familiar. I find myself in an endless cycle of tearing down walls and moving forward, to quickly rebuilding those same walls and running straight back towards starvation.
I want to recover, I want to be past all of this. But just as much as I want recovery, there's a part of me that doesn't want to let go.
And I don't know which one I want more....
January 21, 2008
New Year, New Start.... (maybe)
(also posted on my Xanga site, for any of you who visit both).
A friend of mine, on her photo-blog wrote: "I guess that my career and my life will be filled with a perpetual struggle to find my voice. In a way, that's comforting, and if nothing else, it won't be boring."
I am always amazed at the random moments when little things like this find their way into my day, catch me off guard and make me think about things. Example of random moment: It's 1:40 a.m. and I am in the middle of writing a 22 page IEP for my psych class. For whatever reason, I decided to check out A's blog and see what's new, and I stumbled upon the above referenced paragraph.
And I read it once. Then twice. Then sat and thought about it and read it once more. Because I understand it. And I can relate to it. And I know exactly what it means. If there were a single phrase to sum up the... intensity... of my art or my writing or what goes on inside my head 24/7, she just wrote it: in essence, it all comes down to that "perpetual struggle to find my voice".
The difference between us, however, is the fact she has embraced that ideology as one of comfort; something to look forward to, whereas I've always faced the struggle in defensive mode, ready to fight. But maybe I've been wrong....
And maybe the difference between living and a life is found, not in the degree to which one succeeds in finding her voice and making it heard, but in having a voice to find in the first place. Without that constant, continual fight--- you are silenced. And a spirit whom is silenced begins to die. And you become empty. Numb. A shadow or a shell of your former self, with nothing constant to hold onto. I've always said my ED was my one and only constant. My comrade. My stability and the one thing I could depend on when everyone else walked away. And in some ways, this is true. But maybe I've been wrong on this too. Because the fight has always been there. It's not the ED that has been the constant-- but rather, the struggle to find my voice, my space, my place in this world. That struggle has never gone away. When all else is stripped away-- what is real will still remain. When you take away every factor that plays a part in my ED-- food, body image, family, weight, husband, etc. and on and on.--- the one thing that remains is me. Wendy. Still trying to make my voice heard in a world that moves too fast for me to keep up. And I'm forever falling backwards, being left behind. And instead of fighting for it, embracing that struggle as one that lets me know I'm still alive, I've spent all these years fighting against it. Keeping it quiet. Not saying what I need to or want to. Not saying what's in my head or what I feel. Sometimes I even keep those things from myself, so that-- when asked-- all I can do is sit there and say, "I don't know". I think mostly it's a fear of simply just allowing myself to BE. Here. Now. Right this moment. But I spend all this time looking backwards, trying to make sense of things, or looking forward trying to get everything figured out. In the meantime, I miss the everyday stuff. The little things. The seemingly unimportant things. (On second thought-- it's those "everyday stuff" sort of things that make life what it is. Without it, life would be nothing more than a series of empty moments. And emptiness only fuels the hunger, the drive, the need to find one's voice.)
Interesting thought: A searches for meaning hidden inside photographs; finds her voice by turning pictures into words.
I search for images, meanings, metaphors hidden in words, find my voice by turning words into pictures.
It's a universal struggle, regardless of the art-form, I suppose.......
(And the cynic in me jumps in and asks: "How can you go searching for yourself when you don't even know who you're looking for?")
Good question-- but one I can't answer.
February 6, 2007
Just over seven months have passed since I left treatment. Every day is still a struggle, as I fight to keep moving forward, while old habits and methods of dealing with life still infiltrate my days. I wonder sometimes if there is even such a thing as complete recovery from anorexia. After 17 years of this, some things are so ingrained in my head that doing anything different seems so foreign. So wrong.
October 21, 2006
A Long Road
I've been out of IP treatment for almost 4 months now.
Coming home and readjusting was almost harder than going in the first place. When you spend months and months, day after day in group therapy and individual therapy, and more or less relearing how to live a normal life-- going back to the old life, the old atmosphere, same influences is hard. It's hard to remember what direction I'm supposed to be going when it seems, at home, it only goes one way.
I still struggle on a daily basis, trying to get my calorie level even close to the minimum requirements. I've lost all the weight I'd gained over 6 months while IP, in less than 3 months. Therapist is not happy. Obviously. And while a part of me IS happy about it, (as the anxiety, depression etc. was the worst it's ever been, due to unaccepting the weight gain), a part of me is also worried. The ED thoughts are so much less intense, and I often don't think about food or weight or eating. But that in itself is an issue, because then I forget to eat. But losing the weight has never been easier. I didn't see it, didn't notice it. I'd managed (somehow) to convince myself that my clothes (from after IP) still fit the same, even as my husband and others made comments about how big they were getting. I denied it, made excuses.
And I'm still torn on being ok with where I'm at, and wanting to lose more weight. It's been so easy thus far, if I just keep doing what I'm doing, I'll lose it fast. But at the same time, I don't want to go back where I was. I can't do that again. Not just for me, but for my husband, my job, school---- all the people I've hurt over the years by the things I do to myself.
And yet--- even this knowledge doesn't keep me from wandering that same path.
It's a long road. Confusing. Lonely.
I'm just trying to make my way to the other side without losing myself in the process.
My friend, Alyssa Schukar, a photojournalist, is doing a project on eating disorders. She followed me around for several months, documenting my life on film. Even meeting me up in Canada at the treatment center. She's put up a mini-version of the project on her website
Click on the second photo that comes up, where it stays "Story". And see a small clip of the project.
Let me know what you think! Either here or via email--- Enigma0526@yahoo.com