He called last night and we talked for a while. I really didn’t think it would hurt—talking to him—we haven’t seen each other in forever. “I don’t have feelings for him anymore,” I thought, “One conversation won’t matter.” But I woke this morning to find I was wrong. It did matter. His voice is now stuck in my head, his words swirl in dark corners, his ideas make sense. And I wonder why I felt I had to answer, why I talked to him knowing deep down no good could possibly come of it.
He wanted to make sure I know just how hideous I am, how gross I look, how out of control my appearance makes me seem to others—as if I don’t already know. But my friend B always knows just what to say to make me dislike myself even more. And just when I’m ready to kick him out because I’ve had enough of his lies and humiliation, he’ll offer a suggestion that makes sense and I foolishly reconsider his plans. He brings back memories of how I lost 60 pounds in four months, of how good I looked, of how strong I felt, while minimizing the heinous reality of addiction and obsession and death. And I find myself thinking of all the things I used to do, of things I should perhaps consider again. After all, it always worked.
I think of it now because I’m trying to lose weight—again—and I’ve NEVER lost weight without him. Bulimia has always been my coach. No pound ever dropped off that he didn’t have an influence over. And though I know how to do it without him, I don’t feel like I can do it without him. He keeps telling me I won’t achieve the same results, it will take a long time, and I won’t be able to keep it off. He taunts me every day, every workout, every meal.
I look at that picture and just wish I could be her again. Because a long time ago in a land far away, I never felt like I wasn’t good enough just the way I was. When I was her, I didn’t struggle with my appearance or weight or insecurity. I believed people when they said positive things about me; I was out-going and happy and free. I didn’t think I was a failure. I felt lovable and loved.
But one day that changed and all of the sudden I wasn’t good enough or pretty enough or thin enough or smart enough or happy or out-going or free or lovable or loved. And B capitalized on that. Bulimia seized the opportunity and offered me a way to get those things back. That’s what he said anyway. But of course it never happened. All I became was more of the things I didn’t want to be—more isolated, more insecure, more bound. But somehow that payment seemed worth the reward. Because when you’re thin, people think you’re pretty, they think you’re healthy, they think you’re worthy. But when you’re fat, people are judgmental and make assumptions.
It’s easier to believe that skinny people take care of themselves, but when I was skinny, my hair was falling out, my teeth were rotting, and I could barely stand sometimes because I was so weak. It’s ironic, really. I’m overweight now, yet I’m healthy. The doctor even said so. I workout every day, I try to eat right, I make healthier choices. But still I am large and therefore, people have no idea how hard I try. And that’s where B comes in.
He magnifies my perceptions of what others think. He puts ideas in my head. I don’t really know what others think, I just assume and it all goes down hill from there. And I know it doesn’t matter what others think, but somehow after all these years, after all these battles, after all these wounds, after all the miles I’ve come, it still matters to me on some level. I don’t want it to, but it does. And honestly, I don’t know how to make it not matter. And I think that’s where the breach is; I think that’s how he continues to come in even to this day. I don’t know how to fix it because I don’t know how it started, because a long time ago in a land far away, none of that ever mattered to me.
I don’t want you to be worried about me or to think I’m falling off the wagon. I just wanted to share my daily struggles openly, even though it’s painful and embarrassing, because I want to encourage anyone else out there who may, like me, be fighting strong urges to go back to something that is unhealthy and unholy.
Be encouraged today. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. You can keep moving forward. You don’t have to believe the lies. You are worthy. You are loved. You are precious in God’s sight. There is nothing in your past worth going back to. Look at how far you’ve come. Keep fighting. Keep praying. Keep moving. It’s easier for your B, whatever that is, to catch you and lock you back up if you stand still. Let’s work together and lift each other up in prayer. God is on our side. He has overcome our enemy and we will prevail. Remember, greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world. No weapon formed against you will prosper. You are held. You are His.
Psalm 91 (NIV)
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”