Unfinished

I feel like I’m dying.

That phrase keeps repeating, on loop, in my head. I’ve felt so much worse than I do now, but when I’m narrating the feeling of this moment, what I feel when feeling overwhelms…

I feel like I’m dying.

I’m drowning in myself. My skin and muscles and fat are bloated and I– the little “me” that is myself– is buried deep inside and suffocating. I can’t read. My eyes won’t focus. I can’t eat right (too much or too little). Crowds hem me in and terrify me.

Food. I fucking hate it. I lost five pounds from vomiting and not eating for five days. Go me. Fuck you. Suddenly I remembered that empty feeling, that skinny feeling, that feeling that felt so manic and good. But I eat now, remember? So I couldn’t eat small portions or only on occasion. And when i tried, I ate too much. And eating too much is the purest form of self-harm I know. Food turns me into a monster. My body feels flush and bloated. I feel dehydrated and my lips are chapped.

My sister is here this week (Sunday thru Saturday). And she wants to “do” things. Which I’m fine with to some extent. But I’m, frankly, depressed. And I repeat:

I feel like I’m dying.

Tuesday was rainy and wet. We walked up to the Cloisters in the rain and wind. We got there, at last, soaked, and wandered through the museum. I love it up there. But I did feel distant, separate, slightly off. When we were done, I knew that I was hungry and ready to go home and curl up. Which we did. My sister fell asleep, and when I woke her because it was time to head to midtown to try and get Book of Mormon tix, she said, “Jazz club?” Which is the last place I want to go when I feel like shit. I said, fine, A and I will go down and do the lottery, and if we get tix, you can come down and meet us. She said okay.

I was in no mood. I sobbed over A’s subway sandwich before heading back, planning how to tell her I couldn’t possibly go out again. But I get there, and she’s curling her hair. I try to come up with a soft way of saying “I just can’t,” and finally just say, “I just can’t.” She’s disappointed, subtly, and I feel like I’ve done something wrong. Same thing happens

 

FUCK I LOST IT ALL. I finished this fucking blog entry after two fucking days and fucking wordpress lost it.

FUCK.

 

I won’t bother. Here’s this. The only thing worth sharing, anyway. See this musical. It makes things slightly better.

Weeding through…

Weeding through the medical records they sent me.

As expected, it’s nothing I haven’t seen before. The most interesting document is the initial assessment from my psychiatrist when I was about 9 years old. The words seem to echo hollowly, almost appear meaningless: “very perfectionistic, overly sensitive, shy, withdrawn little girl,” “extremely irritable, quick to flare, overly sensitive, etc,” “devaluing of herself, may make threats about wishing she was dead, talks about herself being a ‘bad person,'” “overachiever… wants to be the best and do the best.”

It sounds simplistic too me, almost offensively so. Words about “no signs of depression,” “happy and content most of the time,” “no unusual fears or phobic reactions.” I know, I know, that this was an initial assessment and things changed. I have my mom’s “book,” in which she basically wrote diary entries about my emotional health.

Even going through those entries, which I’ve read before too, are tiring to me. They seem one-sided, clinical. I know, I know, they can’t be any other way, but I wish there was something more here.

In these piles of papers, these yellowing sheets of lined notebook paper, I want to find an explanation. I want to understand what happened, who I was, where I was and how I survived. I want an explanation.

In a letter to my therapist and psychiatrist from my father, he writes:
“we’re both concerned that B’s egotism is so extreme that it impairs moral judgment. She seems utterly unable to summon empathy, and when she does her purpose seems more manipulative than empathetic.”

“B reports that she feels depressed. We know that she feels like a ‘bad’ person when her behavior is inappropriate, but we can’t help but feel sometimes that her apologies are manipulative.”

“To be frank, lately we can barely stand to be around her.”

I know, I know, that my parents love me more than most anything else on the planet. But flipping through these papers, notes, letters, diagnoses, clinical terms and records of meds increased and decreased, up on the Klonopin, down on the Risperdal,

Love and Updates

So. A didn’t take the tour. It took days of talking and thinking and worrying. I tried to keep quiet and allow him to make the decision solely based on the logic of the choice (minus my extreme emotional response), but of course that was impossible.

We pressed the “send” button together.

I think he’s still struggling with it (which I understand), and I feel supremely guilty STILL (which I think he understands), but there’s such a huge part of me that’s relieved.

We came back from his folks’ place on Sunday of last week, driving the rental with the kitty on his lap from Southern PA to NYC. Spur of the moment, since we had the car till late, we stopped briefly at the apartment to change and drop off food, and then he took me across the river to NJ for an amazingly fancy and expensive steak dinner (I had lobster tails, obvi). We had two glasses of wine each, salad, sides to split, our entrees, and desserts. Amazing. I felt guilty about the cost (unhelped by his constant financial worries and vocal stress about paying for that evening’s meal), but it was so lovely to be treated. I am a strong, independent woman (obvi), but we live such an even-keeled life (sharing chores, sharing bills, sharing responsibilities of all kinds), that being treated like a prized possession, worth splurging on, was amazing.

This last week, though I worked days, we kept ourselves busy with a week of fun. Tuesday night, Nutcracker at NYCB (my first live Balanchine Nutcracker, though I’d worn the video to shreds) followed by sharing a bottle of wine and desserts at a bar where we shared one of our first dates. Wednesday we had comps to Golden Boy (the Odets play) on Broadway. Thursday, therapy (I was having extreme anxiety about seeing “my company’s” show that night and about the very mixed feelings about seeing my mother, but I actually left feeling strong and uplifted– go therapist!!) then kitty vet appointment, then “my company’s” show. Which was terrible. And made me feel… less bad than I thought I would… but still. And having A there, actually, in a way, made it worse. I felt bad for exposing him to bad theatre and embarrassed for being associated with those people, but then, it was lovely to have him there to prove that I am a strong, lovable woman. Friday we went to the Big Apple Circus!!

So, it was a good week. Ups and downs, of course, but I love “doing” thinks, and I love him, you guys. Again. Ups and downs, discomfort and disagreement, but love. He’s my other. I’ve never felt that way before.

God, I wanted to post something specific… I thought about it days ago. But for some reason I can’t remember. I swear I’ll be back at some point… Lots to talk about, especially before I take A and the kitty home for the holiday next week.

Love you all. More soon.

B.

P.S. Told him, after a show we saw prompted it, that I trafficked in ED blogs. I’m now almost certain that he knows I have one. If he’s as much of a stalker as I am, he’ll find it. Which is maybe okay. As long as he doesn’t tell me. 🙂

“You are like nobody since I love you.” — Pablo Neruda

Happy Right Here

I told my therapist, when talking about my agent, that I was willing to lose weight, but that I refused to give it my whole brain. I choked up spontaneously as I said, “I’m just so relieved to not be putting my whole brain onto making myself a certain way or fulfilling some expectation.” I was really proud of this statement.

The truth is, I would LOVE to lose weight. I don’t know how much I weight right now (scale is packed, and I’m fitting into my clothes but I’d say definitely more bloated than usual from the BC), and frankly that both excites and scares me. I’ve never been an excessive “weigh-er,” but knowing my weight really can shift my mood and my brain all day.

This morning my boyfriend told me he felt “apathetic and useless” this week. He’s been really busy (both of us have) but when he’s not busy, we’re lying in bed and watching Slings & Arrows, or eating baked goods I made, or watching movies and drinking wine. He says that on the way home from house managing (at like 11pm), he knows he “should” and wants to be writing, but he ends up just sitting.

How familiar does THIS sound, ladies?!

My therapist calls these kinds of things “shoulds.” I’ll talk to her about a day I had and accidentally throw in a “I should have gone to the gym” or “I shouldn’t have reacted that way” and she’ll catch it. “Who says?” “What’s the worst thing that could happen if you don’t?” Sometimes, now, I feel like I give myself too much slack (stayed in today instead of going to an open call audition in Brooklyn, planned on going to ballet class but didn’t), but again, who says I “should” do anything? Why should the “shoulds” control my life?

I told my boyfriend some of my rationalizations: “You’re tired. You’re exhausted– your body and brain needs a break.” He says, “I’m happiest when my brain is going. I don’t like not using it.” And I replied, “Sometimes even brains need a break.” I realized that this conversation was exactly like a conversation I have had in my own head countless times.

Something I’ve learned in the last few years is how to respect what I want, not what “they” think I “should” do. No one is watching me. Brain can’t handle reading right now? Okay, it’s tired. I’ll listen to music on the train. Body refusing to want to exercise? Maybe try again later, but maybe just assume that it’ll be ready to go again soon and it’ll let me know. Dreading an early morning audition I’m not prepared for? Don’t go. Sleep in and don’t freak yourself out.

It’s constant negotiating; constantly reminding myself that I can be the decision-maker.

Now, I live with a boy. A boy whose diet is very different than mine (I don’t eat meat, he’s a carnivore, among other things). I’ve had more ice cream since moving in with him than I’ve had in the last year combined. I don’t think I’m gaining weight, though. I think the abundance of food is a comfort… I don’t feel like I have to gorge. I get to eat breakfast and sometimes other meals with him. I don’t feel like a pig when he’s around. I’ve barely binged two or three times. Sometimes overeating, but nothing that derails my day or even necessarily puts me over a major calorie edge. I can’t weigh myself. And y’know, I think I’m just all around happier.

So yes. I’d gladly lose weight. I know that I “should.”

But I’m so enjoying living in this moment, so enjoying not letting obsessive thoughts and other people’s “shoulds” get in the way of my happiness, that I wouldn’t sacrifice any of it.

I’m not fat.

I’ll dye my hair for her. I’ll get new pictures for her. I’ll learn how to put on makeup for her.

But my happiness is more important than a number on the scale. I may lose parts because of it, but I won’t lose the ones I’m mean to have.

I’m happy right here, thanks.

I believe that we, that this planet, hasn’t seen its Golden Age. Everybody says its finished … art’s finished, rock and roll is dead, God is dead. Fuck that! This is my chance in the world. I didn’t live back there in Mesopotamia, I wasn’t there in the Garden of Eden, I wasn’t there with Emperor Han, I’m right here right now and I want now to be the Golden Age …if only each generation would realise that the time for greatness is right now when they’re alive … the time to flower is now.”
Patti Smith

Hold Me

Last night, after cooking dinner with him, sweating off all my makeup in the humid NY air and over the pan-seared salmon and risotto, after playing with his dog, after we ate and drank and laughed, after we kissed tightly, me on my toes, arms wrapped around his head, his on my back and my hips and my butt, we stood still. My arms circled his waist, his draped around my back. His head was on mine, his breath on my ear. My face was turned in to his neck, pressed against his skin. I clutched him tighter than I have hugged anyone in a very long time. I thought I might cry. I was having an emotional experience totally separate from my sexual attraction to him, totally separate from a normal hug. I held onto him as though he was the last solid thing in my life.

I wish I could tell him that. I will, someday, when I can tell him more about the twirling, whirling, gusting darkness and struggle inside, when I can say more than “I was a tough kid” or “I just came from therapy.”

I wish I could tell him that touching him, holding him, makes me feel so safe, it almost scares me.

I will.

Medical Records

Sometimes too often, I find myself struggling to fit what I remember about my childhood into my sense of who I am today. When I meet people these days, I seem to be a quirky, friendly girl, of course with problems but nothing too crazy. They don’t know about my struggles with ED, they don’t know about my depression. And they truly don’t know about what I went through between the ages of 8 and 14. To be honest, neither do I.

I ordered copies of my Behavioral Health medical records this week. I knew that asking for your records was something you were allowed to do, but I’d never considered actually going through the process of getting them.

I told my therapist about this decision, feeling a bit shy. Like I said, I sometimes think that I steep myself in the struggles of the past too much– making too much of the manic depression and the screaming and the anxiety and the bedwetting, exceeding its importance in who I am today. I rarely talk about it now, never with my parents, who saw me through it, and only at key moments with my closest friends. I’m not ashamed… it just doesn’t seem to come up.

But I think I continue to return to those years for a reason. My memories of what happened are jumbled and vague, flashes of images and emotions with no sense of chronology or cohesion. I have no language to talk about “those years,” besides just saying “those years” and hoping whoever I’m speaking with understands.

But understands what? Not even I know. And that’s why I’m hoping for some kind of sense of understanding to come from reading my records. I do know that it’s highly likely it will be far from enlightening, highly likely it will just frustrate me in its vagueness. But I have to try.

It may not be a part of my everyday life, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that “those years,” and all those feelings, all that pain, still lives inside me, somewhere, deep, longing to be understood.

“You’re a fucking idiot.”

That’s a quote from one of the members of my little theatrical mansion-commune last night after a few glasses of wine.

He apologized this morning, assuring me he meant it ironically. Of course I knew that.

And I told him, last night, and this morning again, he was right.

This comment came out of a discussion about the boys who hover around me. There are two, both incredibly attractive, both accomplished in their fields, both of whom I’ve had a little somethin’-somethin’ with already. And both promised to come see this show, and both asked to stay over. The one I’m really focusing on is the one we’ll call “Eyes.” He said he’d come next week, and could we have a pajama party? Obviously that’s code for something. And it got me excited, because unfortunately, I’m head over heels in love with him and have been from the first moment I saw him.

The bad news is, that after an amazing, epic, seven hour “date” (which involved dancing and kissing, FYI), on the way home he told me “I have a girl in my life.” Whatever the fuck that means, it ain’t good. (For the full, unedited tale– it’s LONG– refer here: https://twirlinggirl.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/22/).

So basically, this is what it is, as elucidated by my dear friend last night:

“So this guy is an asshole who treats you badly and will continue to abuse your heart. And yet you will continue to let him. You’re a fucking idiot.

He’s right.

(ooh, that’s a good end to the entry… unfortunately I have more to say)

Yesterday in therapy, I was focusing on all the good feelings of the show and this great group of people. My therapist was guiding me through enjoying the feeling of that in my body. But then my hands flicked over my face, skimming over a pimple. Immediately, the feeling of “full-heartedness” was gone, and I couldn’t get it back.

I told my therapist that I’d lost it. She asked what had stepped into its place. I had a hard time putting it into words (therapy is hard, y’all!), but basically what it was is that feeling of: “Oh good lord, why are you happy about yourself? You are ugly and fat, and whatever specialness you feel right now is going to get shot down the second you walk into an audition room or the gym or into a theatre.”

So what is that part’s purpose, my therapist asked. What does a part whose job is to pull me back down from happiness and the feeling of being “special” into the feeling of being inadequate do for me?

I think there are a number of reasons.

1. It’s trying to protect me from getting hurt. If you’re mediocre, you’re not surprised when you encounter cruelty.

2. “Special” is a dangerous place to be. I think this stems back from early childhood, where I was popular and well-liked, without really trying or thinking about it. Then a girl came into the school, and after befriending me and taking me deep into the bowels of secret-girl-sisterhood, proceeded to tear me down, stripping me of my power, turning the rest of the class against me, and essentially turned me into a pariah. I’m genetically programmed to have psychological issues, but this bitch got those motors running full throttle.

3. And when it comes to boys, feeling mediocre and being “chosen” makes me feel special. There aren’t many ways, when I so frequently feel inadequate and ugly and like a terrible non-human, to make me feel special again. One of those ways is the attention of attractive boys. Now, this is not to say that I seek this attention out– but in the case of these two men, these two men “totally out of my league”— I continue to seek their attention because it makes me feel like less of a homely disaster. Yeah, and that’s healthy.

So all of this to say, no, I’m not generally a fucking idiot. But in terms of these boys, these gorgeous, asshole boys (who I KNOW would NEVER come see my show unless there was something in it for them– “Eyes” didn’t even see my last show, in which I played the lead, even when I got him FREE TICKETS) I am a fucking idiot.

So let’s just check that off the therapy checklist of things I’ve gotta work on.

It’s getting long.

What Once We Felt

I spent a portion of tonight re-reading many archived emails deep in the “vault”: I have archives in my box that go back to September 2008.

I can’t say it makes me feel good, but I know why I do it. I do it to make sense of the things that happened to get me to where I am. Because I do this… well, not infrequently… I remember most of what’s there. But occasionally I stumble upon something that really hits me.

Here are a few things, for my reference, so I have them in one place… and I wonder if some of them bring up things for others. Sending love.

B.

November 2009 – Feeling Like a Victim

Tough session with [therapist] today. It started great… I told her about how great it felt to do Katie’s birthday, a lot of what I expressed to you on Friday. But somehow we sort of got on how I have a hard time feeling like I know how to care for others (I never know what to say!), and maybe that’s because I don’t know how I want to be taken care of. I ended up telling her about this weird thing I have about always wanting to be a victim– like loving being in the hospital when I got that kidney test done, all the Holocaust and Salem Witch Trial obsession stuff– weird stuff. What amazed me was how often I feel that way (wanting people’s pity, wanting to  suffer), and although I don’t totally know why, part of it ist that I feel like I need some sort of validation to be in pain. Like my life didn’t give me any reason to be in pain, and an outward, excessive expression of suffering (like being in a hospital) would allow me that. I feel that way shockingly often.
 
[Therapist] had me try and isolate a place where I felt truly sad– the place that I feel like I need a “reason” to feel. From there we spent a long time “exploring” this deep, ancient grotto of sadness. That sounds really esoteric, but we sort of found this imagined location where I spent a long time. We didn’t “discover” anything, I didn’t have any great realizations, but we explored. It wasn’t a comfortable place to be for a long time.

November 2009 – What Is Going On?

[Therapist],
 
I want you to know some things that I haven’t yet expressed. It is really, really difficult for me to say them, and I think that’s part of the reason I haven’t yet. I wrote a list of sentences I wanted to share and am sending them to you in this sort of unfinished form because otherwise I’m not sure I’d be able to.
 
I eat when I’m not hungry
I feel as though I can’t stop eating
I feel guilty afterwards
I don’t starve myself after I binge, and I don’t purge, so that’s good
 
Even though I know I should gain weight (I bought a scale and I weigh between 98 and 102lbs) the idea of gaining weight is really scary to me and repulsive to me.
 
I love cooking and making food. When I binge I don’t cook, I just eat. I don’t focus on anything but putting the food into my mouth. There is no joy in it.

I hide this from everyone—I only binge when no one is looking.
 
Besides the binging, I am a very healthy person. I feel good about the way I treat my body beyond this one thing.

February 2010 – What People Are Saying / What I Am Feeling

Then, after I finished classes, I got a text from the Theatre Department manager asking me to come to her office. I went up, and we talked about some work things/business stuff (because I’m the head of the department’s assistant, so I help with money and paperwork stuff). Then she asked me to sit down. When she almost started crying, I knew what she was going to bring up, and sure enough, she told me that “there is a lot of concern in the department about whether you have an eating disorder.” She was really sweet and caring (as everyone is when they talk about this stuff to me), but in the place I already was yesterday, it was especially hard for me to hear and kind of put me over the edge. I didn’t know what to say and I just felt really lost and misunderstood. I told her what I always say, about the fact that it was accidental and I know it’s weird and I SO appreciate the concern and all of that, and also that I am making direct efforts to help myself. Of course she was really wonderful about all of it, but I felt self-conscious and really sad all through the rest of the day.

On my way home, I called my mom to tell her how it went, and opened up about how frustrated I was feeling. At some point she said, “I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself, but I’m sorry it had to take your hip injury to make you realize that you need to deal with this problem.” I reacted to that, saying that I had been taking care of this particular “problem” long before my hip started hurting (I’m not sure if I told you, but the hip stuff may be related to demineralization, which could be related to the weight loss). I tried to explain to her what I was hearing and what I didn’t agree with in that, and we came to a kind of understanding, but I think therein lies the root of what I’m feeling right now…

 I wish I wasn’t feeling quite so hyperaware of how other people are perceiving the way I look, and I also wish I didn’t have to jump through all these hoops with doctors and meds, but that’s sort of where I’m at right now. I feel a lot of resistance towards calling the internist and even more towards the nutritionist (I think because I don’t want to be seen as someone with a problem with eating that has to be fixed– I just want to keep doing what I’m doing). And, frankly, I don’t want to take the birth control for very vain reasons– I felt moody, I broke out, and I gained weight. I know the goal is to gain weight, but I want to do it on my terms, not the pills’ terms. Maybe that’s a sign of a “problem,” but I still want to be in control of the things that happen to my body. With all of these things to change how I’ve been going through my life the last few months (a life I feel REALLY good about), I’m feeling nervous, sad, and lost. I’m feeling a lot of resistance to all of this but I think I just have to buck up and do it. I do want to be healthy. But I wish it wasn’t mixed up with all of this.

February 2010 – Acting Notes Sound Like Porn

First Orgasm Sillhouette – we will look at this today but maybe you can sit on his lap on “why are you so sweet, so juicy, and so bad?” – so that it is easier for you to climb up the wall?  I want to hold your back arched for a bit longer with your hand up before you moan.

March 2010 – Bragging

And then I rediscovered this: one of the final scenes from the play I did in Feb/March 2010. It was for a forum at my school about Religion and Madness. I went to a Jesuit school. I flashed a lot of people. You’re welcome. Don’t judge me.

 

ABC ED

How old are you?

22, but I turn 23 in exactly one week. Hooray?

What is your gender?

Female.

Do you consider it possible to recover completely from an eating disorder?

Hmm. I do think it’s possible to recover in terms of symptoms– ie. not starve, not binge, not purge, normalize eating patterns. However, my experience of my ED, at least so far, is that it has changed me. I believe my ED is a symptom of my depression, and now that I’ve used this symptom to control my emotions, it will always be a tool available to me, just like self-harming, just like all these other protective measures I use to regulate myself. I don’t think I, or anyone really, can go back to exactly the way they were pre-ED.

Do you consider media (magazines, television, etc) to encourage and contribute to the spread of eating disorders?

This is a complicated question. The media does not cause EDs,no. Have I found it hard to manage gaining weight and maintaining self-confidence and integrity during recovery in a world (and a profession) where size is key? YES. It’s as though an extra layer is put on the process of recovery. I needed to weigh more than I ever had in order to get my body back into functioning mode, but it was nearly impossible to separate my pride of being where I needed to be to be healthy from the self-hatred for being above a “perfect” weight. In other words, it just worsens things, I think.

What do you think is the primary cause of an ED? If you believe that different disorders manifest differently, please specify.

To be honest, I can only speak for myself, but I think it’s the case for many of us. I believe that my ED was a manifestation of other psychological disorders in my history– bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, OCD. It was a new method for me to self-regulate. Personally, it had NOTHING to do with how I looked or the desire to be “perfect” or “remain a child” or those other things people tell you cause EDs. I think each person is different, but like other forms of self-harm, it’s a way to keep scary emotions at bay.

Would you classify yourself as currently suffering from an eating disorder?

I tend to say I’m in recovery, or I’m recovering. That word is meaningless by itself, but to me, it means that I have all the tools in place to move forward– but it means nothing about my “success” in “beating” an ED. I still fuck up, constantly, but I feel my brain and my intentions are in the place where I am slowly, but surely, moving towards health.

Have you ever been in therapy? If so,when?

I saw a therapist as a kid, from around 8 years old to 13ish. I took a long hiatus, when I was doing “well” and my mother crowed on about how I was “fixed.” Obviously, that’s not the way it works, so I started seeing a therapist again in fall of 2009 (funnily enough, I entered into therapy, without meaning to, right in the middle of developing the restriction portion of my eating disorder. In June I called her and told her I wanted to meet, July/August was the first stages of my ED, and then I met her for the first time in Sep. Classic.)

For how long have you suffered from an eating disorder?

Summer of 2009 is when it started, so going on 3 years now. Jesus.

How would you describe your experience with therapy, if applicable?

I couldn’t really tell you what it did when I was a kid, but now I have such a strong relationship with my therapist I think it does a lot. She’s the one person on the planet who I can tell literally anything to with no repercussions. She’s also given me an entirely new language of talking about and processing my feelings. I think our work together has literally changed ways that I think. It’s a great gift.

Do you consider yourself a happy person?

Yes. However, I’m also one of the saddest people I know. Basically, I’m chemically imbalanced in every sense of the word. But I do go through my life with great wonder and joy. (my laugh/cry is legendary)

Do you share the nature of your disorder with anyone in your personal life? If so, describe this relationship.

I sent an email to about 8 of my closest friends during the deepest part of my ED, letting them know that I was struggling and working to recover. I have never talked directly to my parents about it. In the last year, I have talked about my ED (usually just the restriction part– I still find binging to be waaaaay too shameful to discuss with even my therapist) directly with two or so friends. I do not share gory details with anyone except on the internet.

Do you actively hide your disorder from anyone in your personal life? If so, please elaborate.

Not really. I don’t talk about it, never let on if I’ve binged. Sometimes I’ll say “I’m having a rough day,” if the ED has disrupted me in an extreme way. It’s not necessarily that I hide, more that I don’t volunteer information.

Are you a competitive person?

I kind of think I am. I’m not into sports or anything, but I do like to keep one step ahead of the pack. I think it’s tied to my perfectionism and my deep desire to keep everything under control.

Do you believe that you will ever overcome your ED?

Yes? I mean, it’s already been over two years I’ve been actively recovering and I still trip up all the freaking time. I hope someday I have more good days then bad, but to be honest, the recovery process has been even longer and more fraught then I ever thought it would be. If I every do “overcome” my ED, I imagine it’ll be 10+ years from now.

jesus, that’s depressing.

Little B

Thanks to ALL for the support on the booking of that job. I still feel like I’m flying a little bit each time I think about it. Beyond all the rest of the “stuff,” this whole process has just reinforced the fact that life is unpredictable, unplannable, surprising, and comprised of uncontrollable ups and downs. My life, at least, but I think probably everyone’s lives. I shouldn’t even have been allowed to audition the first time because I’m non-equity. And then I booked the show. Life is weird, y’all.

Yesterday in therapy, I brought this great news to H (my therapist). She was very excited for me, I know, and honestly it was the first time I’d really talked about how it made me feel, what it meant, what it even was. She allowed me to effuse prolifically, something that I’m often shy about because my brain says, “It’s therapy! Stop talking about your happy stuff, work out your shit!” But hell, sometimes the good stuff is important to bring into the room, says H– no shame (oh shame, you old goose).

I described how I could talk about the logistics of the part for ages– what it pays, what being Equity means, why the schedule works, why the part is good– but what has really changed is this feeling inside me. Very quickly, from one of the worst weeks in a long time, where all I wanted to do was disappear into myself and become totally translucent, I felt solid. I felt as though there was a think beam of bright light in the center of my chest. It didn’t make me want to scream and brag and run around, it just changed the inside of me. When I walked down the street, I felt more solid, more human, as though I’d been filled with something thick and warm that no one needed to see or understand but that I could feel.

Near the end of the session, my therapist asked me what would happen if we brought “Little B” into the room. “Little B” is the part of myself/memory of myself at age 10, deeply bipolar, depressed, and incredibly alone. She lives in perpetual sadness, banished to my childhood room after an explosion of anger which nearly instantaneously turned into pure guilt. The moment H mentioned her, my eyes filled with tears and my breath caught. I could see her, see the pain in her eyes (as an actor, I have quite the imaginative faculty– my therapist loves me).

It was a complicated moment of imagination. I knew I couldn’t save her from her sadness, and I knew it wouldn’t make her feel better to say something like, “You’re going to be an Equity actor at 23!” She will still be sad, and she knows she’s going to be successful. But in my mind, I put my hand on her chest, that warm, thick, glowing inside of me now giving a brief moment of comfort to “Little B.”

That little girl is an enormous part of me. She is in me every moment, and she won’t ever go away. I cannot cure her, because I’m not cured. I simply love her as much as I can, and accept that she, in all her sadness and anger and shame and loneliness, will appear for the rest of my life. But I’m so glad that at least in brief moments, I can give her a bit of warmth, a bit of solidity, a moment to breathe and feel the ground beneath her.