“I see what I expect.” ~ Annie Dillard.
I just read her for my American Lit class, and I love that line. I know if all I expect to “see” in me is the worst possible attributes, then that is exactly what I’ll see: the worst. All I expect of me is a big, fat, slutty failure, so when I look at myself that’s all I see. A fat, slutty failure who is chipping away time, pretending to be in recovery, until she fatally falls.
All my grades in school seem to be on the “A” side. I’ve learned my grade in American Lit. is going to be a “B”, and there is nothing I can do about it. I’ve opted not to write our third and optional paper, because it won’t improve my grade. There is a slim chance in hell I could get an “A” if I made a 100% on my last exam. And don’t you know I will try. But knowing this professor who NEVER gives 100% on an exam since it’s all subjective, I'll more than likely get a "B" and I’ll have my 3.95 GPA lowered. And I’ll feel like a failure. Like everybody is better than me. And I know in my deepest heart they are.
I really didn’t know when I began communicating and eventually meeting abuser A face to face that it would have the enormous impact it did on me. I finally feel like I’m coming out of the fog I was in for several months. I just felt sick all that time. Hard to explain. But my mind was letting my body know it was under immense stress, and I felt like my body was giving out on me. The switches were unforgivingly incessant. I thought I was going crazy. I believe if I hadn’t have met abuser A face to face my grades might be better, because for weeks after we met I was seriously distracted to the point of not even caring what grades I made or what material we were covering. And nothing good came from the meetings, except maybe to confirm through his denial what he did to me. But even that is relative. As I was sitting in class tonight, I was recanting what he did to me, denying that he ever laid a hand on me, explaining to myself that I got it wrong. I still haven’t come to a conclusion on the topic.
My weekend was extraordinary in the fact it was unusual. I had a record-setting two days in a row of socializing. Very scary for me. I keep trying to remember what I did Friday but that is no good. Friday is gone to someone else’s memory it seems. Saturday I woke up and went to bootcamp that a “friend” of mine runs. He and I went to elementary, middle, and high school together. I only recently found him on Facebook, although I wasn’t looking for him. I was looking for another friend that I went to all the schools with and was fortunate enough to find her, and, thusly, him. So this was the second time I’ve been to his bootcamp and got an amazing workout. I was weak though. I haven’t been nourishing my body according to its demands lately, and Saturday I was paying for it. I met six other women who like to talk and laugh and workout. Some are older than I, some are the same age. After bootcamp, N, the girl I went to school with, asked me if I wanted to go for coffee. I was stunned that someone would actually ask “ME” for coffee. Why would anyone want to spend time with me I don’t know, but we had a Starbuck’s and talked for an hour and a half before time got away and we had to part company. We promised to do it again, and I believe she is crazy enough to mean it. We talked of seeing a movie and having a meal. She’s a great conversationalist and I hope I see her again.
Sunday I met up with a friend with whom I have been meeting and socializing with every weekend, L. If we skip a weekend, we try to make up for it during the week. Again my mind goes to wondering why she wants to be friends with me. What does she see in me that keeps her coming back. One day I’ll have the nerve to ask her. But on Sunday we met up where she lives which is an hour away. She usually drives to my neck of the woods, but I thought it would be fair to drive where she lives. We met and parked at a restaurant and she drove us to a walking trail. We walked for 4.4 miles and talked the whole time. There weren’t any awkward silences and the conversation kept flowing. She is also in recovery from an eating disorder and we’ve learned that our ED’s have taken on a very similar character and look. I try not to comment on how she eats (she still does rituals) or how she looks healthier now, but she made a tragic mistake of commenting on how I look like I’m doing fine. I didn’t show it but her comment bothered me. I’m hiding a lot of things from a lot of people, and I wanted to tell her ‘no! I’m not doing as well as you think,” but I feel like I’m the cheerleader of our ED support group, so I can’t let people see how I struggle. Her comment backfired in a way and made me want to act out in a way so that people will see how hard food still is for me.
After we finished walking we went to our favorite safe restaurant and ordered our food. There were moments in the meal that were silent, and it felt okay. It was a comfortable silence where neither one of us felt the pressure to fill the space with words. It was comfortable and relaxing, like we could just be ourselves. We both had anxiety going into our walk and meal together, but neither of us could voice why because we’ve been hanging out for months now.
Then tonight, even though I wasn’t social with new people, Husband and I went to a college basket ball game, which was novel for me because any time I’m not in school I’m studying for school. But not tonight. I wanted to be at the game and it was great. My school had a victory and the crowd was wild and into it.
The dreams seem to be getting better. I was having vivid, disturbing dreams ever since abuser A and I met, but they are becoming less malignant and detrimental. I am still having dreams, but I can’t remember them. I just wake up in the morning and they are on my mind, the periphery of my mind, but I can’t remember exactly what I dreamed. There is mercy after all.
So I currently feel a mix of emotions. I feel like a failure for not getting an A in American Lit, but almost, barely proud of myself for having stuck with it and completing out the semester. I feel afraid as well. I know I’m engaging in behaviors that are unhealthy and I need to get back on track, but I don’t know if I can do that before I hit a bottom. I don’t want to normalize myself and treat myself better until I can get as bad as I can get; then, maybe I’ll do something about it, but not until then. I don’t understand this thinking.
Though school has gotten better, it is still difficult to keep focus and my mind on class work. I have two exams coming up and I worry that it will be just as traumatic as before for having to sit for four hours accomplishing a test others take in an hour. Somewhere, something in my brain just clicked off and decided not to cooperate anymore. I don’t know how to get her back.
Will I ever get any of me back? Do I really want any of me?