Am I me? I am plagued by this question lately. When do I get to know that what I do is because of who I am and not because of who ED made me to be? When can I stop worrying that I’m doing things because ED is tricking me into doing ED things? When can I trust my own head? And really, what makes this head of mine my head? I know that ED is gone. I know that I’m not going back to him. I know these things, but do other people know them? I worry that people question my actions, or at least the motives behind my actions. Should they still be questioning my motives? Are they really questioning me or is it just me afraid that people are questioning what I do because they are worried that ED is in here somewhere? That was the whole point of blogging from the moment I came home from Melrose. I wanted people to help me and question me and keep me on track. But now, how will others know my head is on straight? And because I worry that others worry about me then I worry about my worrying and worry that maybe I’m not okay. Do you get it?
Have I confused anyone yet? Yeah, welcome to my life somedays.
I scared Benj a couple of weeks. I’ve been getting up onto the toilet more often to check my clothes in the mirror. It never occurred to me that this would be a worrying behavior until he voiced his very real concern. He knows the past, and he still has that edge of fear that the past will become the present again. And I cannot fault him for that. It’s happened too many times. He knows more than any other person the agony of living with ED. He can’t go back. When he said to me that he didn’t like me checking in the mirror, I was truly taken by surprise. Because in my mind, I’ve been standing on the toilet to see in the mirror because I’m switching to fall clothes now, and how will I know if my outfit is put together right if I don’t look in the mirror? I didn’t have to look in the mirror this summer because I wore the same 7 dresses over and over. Nothing new. Now it’s a different look and I have to put my outfits back together. Is that weird? Is that me body checking? Or is that me fashion checking? Am I convincing myself my outfit looks right or am I convincing myself that my body looks alright in those outfits? Is that normal? Do other females do this? I truly don’t know because I haven’t been a normal female for a very long time. How often do other females look in the mirror? WHAT IS NORMAL?
I love to exercise. Is that normal? I like to exercise early in the morning. Is that normal? I have friends who would rather sleep in than wake up early to exercise. Sometimes I feel like people think I’m strange for liking to get up early, even on Saturdays. I look forward to Saturdays at Snap the most. I love the solitude of the quiet building. I love the freedom of moving from one exercise to the next at my own pace and desire. Am I strange for liking to exercise by myself? I do enjoy my social days at Snap, but I find it relaxing to exercise by myself too. Is that normal? Is that ED hiding my actions? Is that ED isolating me? Or is that simply my personality? Is that Rhonda who likes to be alone sometimes? Is that normal?
I have an exercise routine. Is that bad? I stick with routine because I like the predictable. Some would say that makes me boring. I say it keeps me grounded. I know what to expect; I don’t have to make plans each day for exercise because in my world, it’s built in. Monday – swimming. Tuesday – Snap. Wednesday – sleep in. Thursday – Snap. Friday – swimming. Saturday – Snap. Sunday – walk. I don’t exercise to excess. I refuse to wake up before 5:00 on any of those days. For me and my past, waking up anytime before 5:00 signals over-the-edge. That also keeps me within the boundaries of a normal amount of time spent exercising. But even on Saturdays when I don’t have school to get ready for, I don’t stay at Snap longer just because I have free time. I know sane. I have no desire to cross the line into insane. I have noticed lately though – I like the challenge of seeing if I can go longer on the treadmill than I have been. I’ve got 25 minutes mastered. Can I go 30? Can I push harder? Is that bad? Is ED dictating for calorie burn? Or is that me loving the challenge, loving the sense of accomplishment in going beyond what I had thought was my limit? What is normal?
I ran a 5K last weekend and I loved it. So much different from the one I ran in August (read the blog). I felt freedom in running last weekend. I pushed. I passed people. I sprinted for the finish line. We weren’t even being timed for this race. We ran for breast cancer awareness, in honor of those who have fought and those who fight now. I didn’t use a running app to keep my pace or give me an official time. I don’t know how long it took me. I started out running with a friend, and I was fine pacing with her. When she decided to fall back, I ran on at my own pace. And my pace was faster. That was okay. I was okay. I wasn’t going all competitive commando on her. I simply ran. All I know is I ran because I loved it, I loved the challenge, the excitement, the sweat, the push to finish strong, the camaraderie, the feeling of accomplishment at the end. Is that a normal feeling for a normal runner? Is this what running without ED pushing at my back feels like? Is that normal?
Sometimes I wonder if I could start completely fresh, in a completely new place where no one knows me as Rhonda who had an eating disorder but as Rhonda with no background, what would my normal be? Who would I be? Indications lately have pointed to the fact that I am not who my mind has told me that I am for 17 years. I think I might be a leader. That knocked me on my backside when someone told me that because I’ve hid in corners for the last almost half of my life. I think I might have opinions that I want to share. Oh my word, I’m caught off guard that my brain does think on it’s own. I think I like to challenge myself and push myself to meet new goals. And I do that on my own without an imaginary fiend whispering in my head to make me do insane things. And I think, I truly think, I love to run. Not as a calorie burning activity; but as a mood-boosting, relaxation-inducing, mind-calming activity.
So if I started a brand new life somewhere, would people see ED in me? Would I live worrying that ED was in me? Would I live wondering if I was normal or would I step into myself without the reminders of who I was when ED held me down? These are questions I ask myself. These are questions I struggle with. These are questions I’m working very hard to find answers to. Breaking a mold that’s been forming my entire adult life takes work. I handicap myself when I’m surrounded by the life I led with ED. Without meaning to, these shadows haunt me. I was a very different Rhonda for a very long time, and for many people, that’s the only way they ever knew me. I have to remake my mind daily, discover for myself who I am daily, show people in my life who I truly am, rewire my own beliefs about myself constantly. And find my normal.
I need to trust in myself. I need to stop living defined by the lies ED fed me. I need to stop worrying that people see ED in me. I need to rewrite my story. Because I am a new creation. The old has gone. The new has come. Am I normal?
Yes, I am my normal.
With confidence, I will live my yes.