Sunday, February 24, 2008

Just Like the Movies

Hello again,

Sorry for the long pause in writing. Time slipped away after being sick for nearly two weeks straight (still recovering), computer woes, and something reminiscent of Seasonal Affective Disorder. This has been probably the longest, snowiest, coldest, gloomiest winter in memory for the Grahl clan. Sickness everywhere. Ice everywhere. Cabin fever everywhere. And nowhere to escape. Reminds me of a movie when a distraught family goes on an adventure but comes out hugging each other in the end...of course. Not much hugging going on around here these days. Germs rule. They're flexing their muscles and showing they're stronger than any superhero. In the movies, they'd be wiped out with the flick of a switch. Problem solved. Everyone goes home happy.

Let's be realistic. Real life has consequences, unlike the movies. I didn't want to believe that while growing up in my little anorexia world. I studied movies and how actors/actresses experienced their feelings, made their choices, and survived some gruesome encounter with an alien, wild animal, wild human, robot, underground world, or whatever Hollywood thought we'd like. I'd envy these big-screen heroes who stuck up to the villians and came out better people for it. After the flick, I'd always be riding a high emotional wave that made me want to jump out the window, into a tree, pounce onto the ground, and race off to save something. But then I'd wake up the next morning and be right back to square one, being boring old me. I did this often, and spiced it up with pretending walk, talk, think, dress, and comb my hair like my Hollywood idols. Sylvester Stallone was probably my favorite. I'd study him better than his own mother, and did all I could to chisel my body into his rock hard statue. But I'd always wake up the next morning being and feeling like unsensational old me. Again and again. Pretty soon I began taking the hint. I wasn't meant to be Sly Stallone, Cal Ripken Jr., or George Brett. But it took years for me to accept this fact. I liked the control I felt I had with wanting to be like anyone else but me. Just like the control I relished with eating/not eating whatever I wanted, exercising/not exercising whenever or however I wanted, and molding my daily dieting and exercise routine into the best it could be, unmatched by no other. It took pride. It took guts and self-discipline. It took...well, nearly my life.

Overcoming an eating disorder is like that. It takes a large gulping of pride, of giving in to the ED and saying "Fine, you win. Enjoy. I've got better things to do now." This is not a one-time event or even something that can be willed into being. It came for me after numerous trial and errors with making mistakes. Of experimenting with the wrong ways in order to discover that they weren't right for me. It meant taking care of myself and choosing to be good to my body and mind. I had to accept it wasn't selfish or greedy of me to think this way. You can do it, too.

Winter's going to last about another strong month here in weather wicked Wisconsin. We'll get through. We always do. Life will once again balance out to sunshine and warm weather, like health without an ED.

Till next time...