I wake up without an alarm at 4:45am, it’s the fifth time I’ve woken up throughout the night. Often to use the bathroom, anxiety runs rampant even in sleep.
Before moving an inch, I recite the mantra “I love and accept myself” in my head, an affirmation slowly slowly coming to fruition. Never am I deterred to its slow power, even in the long process of this journey through “fucking life”.
I open my hips, left, right, both crack like rice crispies, along with my knees. Elbows next; crack, crack.
I roll over and make it to the floor; 23 pushups, up to 20, then three “zeros”. It used to be 60 before I broke my rib and pulled my intercostal. Straight arm plank, elbow to knee, 30 reps. Hold plank, no time in mind, just until my arms give out…they give out before my core. Onto elbows. Side to side, back, forward, circles. Arms give out…onto knees, 10 circles each side, up down.
Stretch legs. Runner’s lunge.
Then prep morning tea…and brush teeth wash face.
Abs, round 2. Onto the back.
Today’s no different from every other morning, in the beginning routine. But what’s an invisible illness is the amount of anxiety and stress I feel in my body. I inflict it on myself. I’m so looking forward to the wedding today, my dear cousin’s celebration in London, ON. Tomorrow is also a rest day, I’ve finally gotten back to the divine honouring of this need of mine. I probably need like, 7 rest days a week….for weeks in order to heal from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, but fuck man, one day a week is all I can handle with the amount of monkeying my mind does. Right now. (But I’m considering forcing rest on myself by boonying–it and camping for a week real soon, like, August- accepting available companion friends who might be keen- let me know! Or else alone).
The more my mind moves, the more I want to move my body.
I am authentically an athlete. I know this. But atm, I’m abusing my body so much. I move it to escape. I move it even when my muscles are screaming for stillness. I move it to the point of breaking my bones (stress fracture this past January).
Everything hurts, all the time. My knees have fluid in them. I no longer am properly released in my tissues from a foam roller; I use a PVC pipe and lacrosse ball instead of tennis ball. I write this pose in pigeon to release my chronically tight ass.
I miss running freely. My cortisol is so high right now, and I’m in such a state of fight or flight, that my digestion sucks: it doesn’t work. My body is so much trying to survive that the hierarchy of needs is halted at the gut because that comfort is a luxury I have no energy to attend to right now. Nutrition and energy go towards keeping myself alive. Already my nails are literally eating themselves, I pretty much don’t have a thumbnail on my left hand, or big toe. The protein is spared, purely for nutrients in order to keep my heart beating.
I know I’m skin and bones. I don’t like it.
Imagine being so anxious that you can’t breathe or bend down because you’ve got chronic burps. Imagine doing 52 minutes anyways on the helliptical (that piece of shit machinery/blessing somehow because running would leave my feet with cracks in my bones atm).
20 mins warm up
20 mins (1 min ez/ 1 min sprint – hoe dryheaves)
5 mins tempo
2 mins easy
2 mins hard
2 mins cool down
And in my head, this is “nothing” when what I used to do when training for Triathlon was so much more. Or running, so much more. I would do my masters swim workout, then the grouse grind, on the reg.
Heart pounding, catching burps of Gerd coping in between rest. My body is so stressed. I consider the elliptical “nothing” training, and am so chronically exhausted that anything I do leaves me wiped, but I know my heart is one hell of a fierce muscle, in my SOUL. I’ve got that kick, man, and when healthy, I can win shit.
I’m not there right now.
I went to the wedding after this, and it was hard. I let go of controlling the food there, I let go of yoga on my rest day (can’t even imagine doing anything that Sunday- stress from the emotional whirlwind of Anorexia monkey mind games left me zeroed). I let go of going to bed at a precise time. I let go of my breakfast (always either a smoothie or berry omelette).
I let go of “free range organic non-GMO”) and had pulled pork, eggplant parm (I YOLO’d and scraped the coating off the fried eggplant and no dairy right now bc my skin’s not loving it), veggies with who knows what kind of dip, hummus, nuts, salad, some lumps called “dressing”.
I brought snacks, but nothing near compared to the anality of what I did when I went to Mumbai, India some years back for my Yoga Teacher Training (holy shit man, I dehydrated cabbage with nori-rolled nut filling and bought “no-sugar-added” beef jerky, beet veggie leather, collagen powder….chia seeds! (and more).
I packed a big cauli salad.
I usually have early dinner, and then snack pre-bed. I rarely eat out. I control everything.
After my morning breakfast, gym, and packing and lunch, my parents picked me up, and after packing all my monkey-mind things, I totally flopped my body into the car seat–wiped as hell.
They next few hours would be more stress though.
We got lost, I miscalculated when dinner would be, yadda yadda yadda: I CANNOT CONTROL LIFE!
We got to the wedding and I ended up calling before hand, to see if my plate could be saved in the chance that food was served and we weren’t there….”God” would’ve had it though, that right when we got there, our table was called for food. (jah bless).
And I ate, I ate till full, normally I withhold so I can control when I’m hungry for “snack”.
And then I danced, I danced with my dad, it was so fun, I danced and learned some linedancing (reminded of hip hop dance class circa grade 6…sosorryforthebellbottomsandtiedyeglittershirtsmiddriffcutoff- am I right Nikki miggle and Alley*Cat? Genevieve?! dirrrrrryPOP)
Anyways, I requested Africa, the goddamn remix bc thatshitsgold (but yes Jen, you’re right, Toto is Original Bae).
Liz, the bride, was resplendent, absolutely a vibrant beauty, not only in the dress and smile, but in that lady’s soul. She lives in the moment, you can see “presence” in her eyes. You can feel as she listens to you speak. She is there, not in yesterday, not in tomorrow, or even the next breath. She rides life’s waves, and survives ticklish toes for a pedicure (although the rad woman wore cowboy boots!!!!!!!)
That’s how I want to live my life; present. I want to not control life, but adapt to its ebbs and flows. I can’t control the river’s path, because sooner or later, it forces its own direction, and I abide.
It’s events like this that teach me these lessons. I let go, I let be, I trust that I’ll be supported by this earth in one way or another, because I was born for it. We are born to flow with Life.
This shit’s hard. I don’t know exactly how I got here, only that it was a compilation of moments leading up to maladjustment and pain and trauma slowly compounding. I will come out of it the same way, slowly, compoundedly, adjusting.
Thank you all who are supporting me, honestly, your words of love and empathy envelop me in a cloud of safety and compassionate peace.
And here’s a plea for celebration and rest to all suffering from Eating Disorders, or any other coping mechanism that Humans face.
We are not alone.