Every day, for the last 43 years and 214 days I have had to see your face in the mirror and hate your imperfections, your little acne, the profound dark circles under your eyes and that fat that seems visible only to you. I can feel your heartbeat while your eyes check the number on the scale every morning, eager to see if you are more lovable today because the number went down. I pee, poo and sweat with you, I know your smell, and I enjoy when you fart and put your nose under the covers to get a real sense of how disgusting you are. I really like that about us. The fact that we can share that moment and feel good about you, about us. The smell of what should be expelled and rejected from your body is what brings us together. It is an authentic moment of intimacy and I would really miss it if one day your shit started smelling like flowers.
I was going to talk about how pretty you are under all that make up that you learned to put on so majestically, that everybody thinks that you are actually pretty. I was going to say how proud I am of your courage, but I have seen you doubt so many times that I know that your courage is a lack of options and not a choice. I was going to write about the amazing mother that you are, but I remembered that now and then your children act up and remind you that maybe you are not doing a good job; that they are going to be fucked up somehow, and it’s going to be your fault. Instead, I decided to talk about your farts and how much I like their smell. I love that you embrace all that is rejected, ignored, repelled, excluded about you. Your farts, your ideas, your beliefs. You are your own admirer; the only person who has been able to keep up with you since you were born is you. I really admire that regardless of difficulties and sometimes the immense desire to just end it all, you still keep going, carrying yourself around, sometimes like a corps sometimes like a treasure, but always there. I’m happy you didn’t give up on us. I can see a bright future and lots of hope in our relationship. Never stop smelling your farts. Never stop embracing your shit.
Your Secret Admirer
Photo cred. Ronnie Khalil
Dear Eating Disorder
A LETTER TO MY EATING DISORDER
My un-dearest ED,
Where do I begin? You know every deep and dark secret about me. You have caressed the worst of me. You have held me when I felt alone. You have kissed me when I felt unloved. You have touched wounds I felt ashamed to show. You played my heart like a violin, sad and crying through my veins. The thing is, I have always loved the saxophone; vibrant and alive. Nothing you have ever allowed me to be. But oh how the tables have turned in recovery. I know you better than you know me. See, I know EVERTHING about you, but you know nothing of my best. You fear that part of me. The most beautiful thing is how much of my best has grown from my worst; the worst that for years you so cruelly used against me. I see you so clearly now that I don’t hate myself. You thrived on my worst. You constricted me like prey to a python to keep me alone. You kissed my insecurities and fears like you were all I had. You touched my wounds to infect them and keep me wounded. In words on paper it seems it should have been so easy to walk away form you and never look back. But in reality, recovery was the furthest thing from an easy choice. It burned and stung and made me want to burst out of myself. There were times it felt uglier than you. But that’s when I learned healing is a pretty word that isn’t always pretty. I had to disinfect my wounds and open them fresh. I had to immerse myself in salt, learn from them, understand them. I had to feel them and let them heal me good. I had to face my self, raw and vulnerable. I had to let you go and you made your disapproval known. I vacillated, I doubted, and nothing felt right. Until I started to hurt less and realized wow, this is healing.
Unfortunately for you I have every reason to get rid of you. I have a sister who believes in my strength. I have a mother who believes in my kindness. I have a father who believes in my intelligence. I have a whole family who believes in my impact. I have a friend who believes in my talent the way she believes in her own children. And another who believes in my wisdom who’s three year old son believes I am beautiful. I have friends who believe in my fire, my force, my flare. I have a treatment team who believes in my recovery. I have women who I met confronting their own versions of you, women who believe in my existence. And really I could go on. I have an army of love and support. An army who caress the worst of me, who hold me when I feel alone, who kiss me when I feel unloved, who see my best always. I have the one person you never hoped I would find; I have me who believes in every corner and every crevasse of myself. Nothing can save you now.
Dear Friend that Called me Fat
I honestly think that I am not fat, I think my body looks fine. When I heard you calling me fat I really didn’t care so i didn’t pay attention to the fact that you called me that, but thank you because you made me feel like I have something to prove everyday. You remind me that even though you have another opinion of me I still accept and love the way I look. Without you I wouldn’t be the the new and improved person that I am now.
Your friend, V.
I’ve heard it said that life is so subtle you often don’t notice walking through the doors you once prayed would open. That has never been truer for me than with loving you. I will make this brief and simply thank you. Thank you for never giving up, for choosing my future even when you didn’t believe in it, for allowing me to learn to love you. You are strong and you are brave. I love you.
Your not so secret admirer.
My mom has always called me “Pretty” since I was born. Many people think I am pretty but a pretty face doesn’t mean a pretty life. I have to be myself regardless of people’s opinion of how I look or who I am. I have to make a continuous effort to ignore criticism. Throughout all this, I still manage to love you. I don’t know how but I do. My mom says I should feel lucky for the way I am…I hope one day I figure out why. In the meanwhile I will always love you, remember that…
Your Secret Admirer.
Dear Dark Circles
Dear dark circles,
I have a secret to tell you…I mean, it’s not one you don’t already know, but I don’t think you know how strongly I feel about you. I have been trying to eliminate you for as long as I can remember. That’s right. I want you to stop existing, caput. Gone. But somehow you seem to be a persistent part of me that refuses to leave me. I remember how red, and blue, and grey you got when I tried that cream to bleach you and you decide to be allergic to it and really stand out. People stopped me in the streets asking me if I was ok. Thank you, that was unwanted attention I didn’t need that day, but you managed to provide it for me.
Other times though, I feel you talk to me in your own particular way, like those times I spent the night over thinking things that I shouldn’t care about or times when I was crying and you were there to remind me that if I keep crying you are going to turn red or even blue. What an emotional piece of skin you are! You are just like me! …And this is how I have a moment of realization: an understanding of my relationship with you.
Oh my dear dark circles, I love how you talk to me, even if I try to cover, mutilate and bleach you. I love that you show my flaws, my darkest feelings, my sadness. You are the part of me that expresses all that I don’t want the world to see of me. You make my beauty perfect. You make me human. I really love you.