Awakening this morning to the irregular presence of Flow, I moaned and moaned and moaned and moaned. Please, ask my mother. She’ll confirm my state of distress. Whining to her on the telephone, she replied, in absolute laughter, “You did this at age 12! You walked around like a duck, wearing your first sanitary pad! You are so dramatic!” And she continued laughing. As funny as the story sounded, I could not muster a chuckle, as my legs cramped too badly.
As I wasted $10 on a bottle of Aleve liquid gels (Aleve because it’s the only product to ever help my cramped legs during menstruation; gels because they’re the prettiest version)…
I realised that I must walk 34.2 minutes with one dog, to pay for this bill, one that did not exist last year because I was thinner (If I Could Menstruate, by Nicole Marie Story). Whilst contending with this agonising pain, my head retorted, “Just a few more months until it’s gone for good. Just a few more months until your state of Amenorrhea returns. Deal with it, for just a tad longer.”
To most, that would be disordered thinking, I am certain. But to me? It is my way of thinking. Along similar lines, the lovely Coffee Addict Greta recently announced that she has returned to a state of controlled restriction (Recovery Issues. The Part that Sucks). She does not fancy the manner in which her physical body presently exists, so she’s taken action. Yet she interprets her action as failure in “recovery.” My comment to Greta was this:
Bonjour! As we both very well know, our philosophies are super different. I don’t believe that recovery exists; you do. I believe that bulimia can be switched off; you believe it’s a process, involving the mind. You involve your emotions with the situation; I do not. If I did not know you, I would counsel you to toughen the fuck up. To grow a thicker skin (not fatter, ha ha). To accept that you might overexercise, eat more, eat less, etcetera, from time to time… but I know that’s not right for you. I know that you’d rather a hug which I shan’t offer either. I will rather send you photographs of Gwendolyn sandwiches… and this…
“Recovery” to me, means “perfection.” I am a perfectionist, so if I am “better”/”recovered” then I am “perfect.” Because there is no other option. So in addition to everything that I disbelieve about “mental illness” I do not think that eating or things related to body size management can ever be “perfect.” Therefore a person is not recovered (if I believed in mental illness in the first place, so we are speaking hypothetically here). Even when a girl is eating dead on balls accurate, exercising moderately, and not allowing consumption and expenditure to dictate her life… she shall still tweak something. She shall cut her apple differently on Tuesday. She shall skip lunch because of meetings, secretly commending herself for the accidental restriction. She shall run harder and faster than the girl next to her at the gym. Does that mean she is not recovered? No. It means she’s vibrant!
Someone like you, someone like me, is inclined to dwell on all of that. The apple. The missed lunch. The gym competition. Because EDs were so much a part of our lives for so long, we relate everything to it, in the back of our minds. And your recovery expectations, I believe, shall drive you bonkers.
For me, so long as I’m not bingeing and purging, I am not bulimic; and I am therefore wonderful. Each day after the binge purge concludes is a gorgeous changing situation. Everyone gains weight. Everyone loses weight. Everyone thinks about it. Those of us in The Bulimic Mafia just need to be mindful that our bodies are gorgeous machines. ONE system. Rationally speaking, our eating patterns and habits are a component of the system. They do not act alone. They act together. One does not dictate the other. Our bodies are a free democracy, and we must pledge allegiance to it.
You are not eating disordered if your eating and activities are normal, to YOU. What is recovery for you? Tell me the formal definition. Do your habits compromise your quality of life? Is it disordered when you work endlessly on a gorgeous fashion spread? Are you a workaholic? No. Your perfectionist tendencies affect everything in your life. So don’t allow the hang-up on the body to make you feel any less gorgeous. You don’t binge and purge anymore. You are not bulimic. Use your perfectionist energies for the good. And you’re doing just that with your pretty blog.
You are vibrant!
And vibrant she is. One of the prettiest people that I’ve ever been privileged to call ‘friend’, she is smart, fashionable, and kind. We’ve butted heads on our philosophies for so long; but I think that time has told that our individual, ever-changing experiences in life after Bulimia can help people to figure wonderful plans, creating their own binge-purge free lives. So I appreciate Greta’s honesty in feeling that she’s taken a step back, as of recently; when in reality, she has not, in my opinion. She is simply responding to that which she desires: a thinner body. Not anorexia. But rather a body that she can feel proud to strut up and down the streets of Paris.
A disorder brings one to ruin. A disorder is NOT something that is different from the majority. Uniqueness is not disordered. Unique thinking is not disordered. Simply because one experiences thoughts concerning body and food that one experienced during the height of Anorexia and or Bulimia does not dictate that one is a failure at maintaining good health. It simply means that only so much can be thought about the body. Who doesn’t assess their body as being fat or thin? Who doesn’t tweak their diet in response to displeasure with one’s physical self? Greta darling, you’re out of the trenches. And you’re a veteran now. The memories shall remain, but you’re not dead anymore. You’re alive, and you inspire me every single day. Fuck your idea of recovery.
What is your disorder?
© Nicole Marie Story Enterprises, LLC and nicoleandgwendolyn.com, 2011 – 2013.