Monday, June 10, 2013


Summer has always been magic for me. I'm not sure why. I guess for the majority of people it usually is. 
Sometimes I just want to tell you all stories because memories come in pieces to me and then emotions, and I just feel the need to open the window and let them out, so I will. 

I was 15, going on 16 when I got my first real job. It was working on a ranch of one of the people we went to church with. 
At the time minimum wage was$6.50, I think. I got $6 and free room and board since I stayed there Sunday night or Monday to Friday, maybe Saturday depending on the work needed done. 
This was when my eating disorder was at it's strongest and when I was just realizing that I wasn't dieting. 
I was anorexic. 
It still didn't quite click though. 
It was just nice to know that I would have a job, be making money, and get out of my house that was so suffocating with all the turmoil.
For a few months I had an older boyfriend (18 or 19). 
A cowboy for sure. He could actually stand on his horse and crack a bull whip and the horse wouldn't bolt or move an inch. 
I remember us riding in that old beater pickup of his, me in the middle, country music up, him shifting gears and my hand on his Wrangler jeaned thigh until we were at speed and he would take my hand in his. 
Seems cliche, but even as I write this I smile at the thought of it. 
Back then I was even more emotionally unstable. Everyone had just found out about my sexual abuse and I was an emotional ticking time bomb. I couldn't bring the same amount of feeling he could. 
He left me at the beginning of the summer, a little after maybe. At the time I think he may have been seeing someone else, maybe cheated, I don't know.
All I know is that I found I was heartbroken, emotions surging where they didn't belong, long after the fact. Story of my life.

And so, my summer began. 
The work is hot and hard and I have even more respect for those that make their living in agriculture. 
With daughters grown and out of the house, M and D gave me their youngest's room to stay in. 
M would knock on the door at 7 am to rouse me from my tired bundle of blankets and bones. 
Hair up, old jeans on, tank top. 
Pulling my sleepy eyed self to the breakfast table. 
It was meager, if I remember correctly. 
M and his wife would eye my food, maybe lightly tell me I would need a little more than that for the busy day ahead. We would say grace and ask for a productive day ahead, give thanks for things, then read a daily devotion before heading out by 8 am to work. 
I hated the morning hours. I don't know why. They always seemed to drag on unless we were moving cows. 
We would always listen to the news radio station too, which didn't bother me since I've always been interested in politics. 
Lunch would be between noon and one and was Midwestern to the bone. 
Hamburgers from the beef they had raised, green beans, maybe sandwiches, iced tea, chicken made with cream of mushroom soup. 
It was still delicious and I was starving.
Still I would take meager portions, still five more hours left of labor.
Back to work.
When I was working alone, fencing in the 90 something degree heat, I would listen to country music and alternative rock. 
I think I was trying to be someone I wasn't since everyone at my small school was rodeoing or grew up on a farm or ranch. We were all country kids, for the most part. Only a handful of us didn't quite fit the lifestyle long term. 
Anyway, I tried, and I love my roots. 
Time was a transient blur and yet eternal. 
The burst of May's spring came and transformed into the softness of June. 
Even to this day June is my favorite month.

My dad's in the summer

It was a quiet summer for companionship, but a friend of mine, K, lived just down the road from M's house. I would make my way over after a long day of work to find company. 
Earlier that afternoon I was looking at the pasture lands interrupted by corn fields and with my tanned arm hanging out the truck window I saw a crew putting up a pivot in the field by the house.
K told me my old boyfriend Z, who I was missing, was working for the crew. I thought I had seen him driving on those dusty roads. Hope. 
Those feelings of angst dotting everyone's teen years. 
We started taking the horses out for night rides after we were both done for the day and supper was eaten. 
M's horse I got to use for the summer was tall, maybe 18 or 19 hands to his withers. Definitely a climb up. Beautiful dark brown with white and tan small spots and fading. His name was Shack and I grew to love him. 
Up and down we would ride, through the hills, down the dirt roads racing. 
Leaning forward in the saddle, giving him his head, both reaching for the imaginary finish line, one body, horse and human. Sometimes I wouldn't be in as good of a position in the saddle and so I would grip harder with my thighs and grab a fistful of his dark mane. 
Nothing makes me feel more alive than when I'm on the back of a horse. It's been a couple years since I've ridden and I crave it, crave the pure and wild abandoned freedom.
One hot evening we rode across the way into someone's field, looked around to make sure no one was watching, tied the horses to a tree, and played in the pivot, getting soaked from head to toe.
My eyes scrunched up and lighted, mouth in a huge smile as we danced between the stalks of corn. 
Giggling like idiots, we ran back to the horses, jumped on, and raced off, my bony butt slipping and sliding and grabbing the saddle horn to steady myself as I dripped water all over the leather. 
Dying evening sun drying us off. Talking about love. Talking about life. Talking about nothing and something. 
Unsaddling them, finally relieving them of their duties to go roll in the dirt then bolt off into the pasture to rest.

One night I came back to her house and I'm not sure how, but I had managed to talk to Z again a few times. Maybe he contacted me. Maybe not. I don't remember. 
That night K's parents and siblings were gone and he came to the house with things for us all to drink. 
Now that I remember, he drank a lot of beer as it was. His mom's death years before still weighed heavily on him.
Watermelon and Apple Smirnoff wine coolers. The drink of my teen years. 
We began to become slightly tipsy and K went off to the kitchen. 
I asked if he missed me at all. 
He said that he did, he'd seen me around, knew I was trying to just get a look. 
Blushing, I couldn't deny it. 
Tired green eyes peering into bloodshot blue eyes. 
We both wanted the same thing.
"I'll take her home," he told my friend as she walked back into the room. 
This time I sat on the passenger side. Moon high in the sky waxing soft silver.
Pulled over on the rode between her house and M's. 
Soon I was in the center seat and we were kissing, picking up intensity.
Windows were down, laying me back, hip bones poking him. 
All that was left between us used for the fire under those stars.
I was home late, but not past midnight, silently creeping into the house. 
It was all I needed, that long string of kiss after kiss. Just a taste. Just the feel of his chest under my fingers. Just a resolution to the story in my heart.

After that night, things faded out again and I didn't see him until August.   
He told my friend at the rodeo that he wasn't interested in a bag of bones. 
July came and it was hay season. My tractor was a cab with only one window, sometimes the second, that would open and no AC. 
Any other person may have sweated death, which I did a lot of. 
I brought my Ipod and mechanically raked while M came behind and baled. 
My favorite days, aside from moving cows, were the ones he would leave me to the west field to stack the bales. 
I'm amazing at backing up because of those hours backing up to the bales, hoisting them up, them neatly putting them in rows. 
Sometimes we would put up alfalfa, which had to be done at 11 pm, when conditions with temperature and dew were just right. 
The first time was scary and I didn't feel confident driving such a large piece of machinery into the early morning hours. 
It had to be done. 
Like most things. 
Then up again at about 10 for more work.
I lost even more weight and I remember myself feeling empty then too. 
I read a lot of books in that time, in the truck on the way somewhere, at night after my daily sunburn and shower. 
Lost in pages of lives. 
Lost somewhere between skin and bone. 
Lost emotion. 
Lost period of time. 
I wonder, and maybe you can tell me if it was the same for some of you, have you lost pages of memories from time periods where your ED was at it's strongest? I'm sure my mind checked out to protect me from their fighting, my abuse, my everything. 
All I can remember is that from July on I existed. I read. I worked. I would fall asleep on the living room floor and make my way to bed, exhausted. 
Headaches all the time (dehydration, I imagine) and so I took a lot of ibuprofen. The sun has kind of always given me them. Light headed. Lost. 
My mom was taking me to the doctor sometimes and I never registered why. At one point she told me it was for a physical to make sure my body wasn't being damaged. 
Too much protein in my urine. 
Going to internal medicine because something was wrong with my kidneys. 
I was the youngest person there. 
Counseling maybe now and then, but not often. 
I wasn't ready to talk about the things that had happened. 
Weighing myself secretly in my grandma's basement on the old scale where you had to move the measures on top.
I don't even think I received a formal file diagnosis. I've never seen my file, of course. 
My period never stopped, although I was very thin. 
1/4 of a pound from hospitalization, my mom told me. 
111 was the lowest weight I remember measuring myself at, although that was with clothes, no shoes, and grandma's old scale. I'm 5'8ish. 
And just like that, summer evaporated, leaving me now with residual emotions and images and no full story to place them, merely pieces.  

The progress I had made from those hours of hard work and no food is obvious.
I guess I post these to show where I came from, how different things are, how much life can change between 15 and 22. 

Here's me at that game. I keep this picture to remind myself of things. I'm not sure what. Maybe the dark place I came out of? 
It almost scares me now. 
My eyes look so dead. My face looks so pale. When I get too thin my crooked smile looks strange instead of endearing. 

Here's me now. When I put them side by side I'm just amazed at how alive I look, even if I'm relapsed. 
The top is you at your ultimate goal weight. The bottom is you at a healthy weight, even if your mind isn't. 
It may be my face, but I am you. 
I'm one of the faces of anorexia. 
I hate that word. It's ugly. I hate people calling it Ana.It's not a person. It's you. You alone inside of you in a dark and dry room with maybe only a crack of light coming from a door. There is no Ana. There's only emptiness.
I will never say I have it, not by that name and not by the clinical name. It burns.  
I long to ask my mom about that time but it emotionally aches. Her sadness burns. 
By the time I return to college my goal is to have asked her about that period of time, fill in the gaps. 

I recovered. One day I stayed at my grandma's house and was in the bathroom late at night. I can only give credit to God because in one split second of a moment he rescued me. My eyes worked. I saw myself as nothing. There was nothing left of me. I felt so much sorrow and so sickened. Little by little I began to eat. My first love helped me put on more healthy weight from 16 to 17. I was never fully recovered in my mind. Maybe for a few months at most, mentally, but that is my story. 

Maybe I told you all that because now I feel empty again. I feel lost again. Struggling with love again. Struggling somewhere and everywhere again. 
Wanting 122 and feeling such anguish that I weighed 132.6 this morning. Wanting to stop eating. Feeling like an adolescent still in a growing up world. 

It was sort of long, which I apologize for, but sometimes your heart leaks when your mind did too much thinking. 

My question for you all is when was your eating disorder at its height and how did you feel? What memories did you have? Were there gaps like mine? Did you manage to climb out and how? 


  1. Summer is wonderful! I get sick and tired of Pennsylvania manic depressive weather and once summer hits I feel like I might be able to escape from it all!

    Enjoy your summer.

    1. Yah there are long winters here now and then. I'm trying to and trying to have a good attitude. <3

  2. This post is wonderful, like a story. It sings of my image of rural America- My ultimate dream is to go to america, I hope I get there.

    Anorexia warps memories so badly, it plays such tricks with your recollections that I think it is a good idea to ask people how they saw that time of your life to see how perceptions differ.

    My eating disorder has had several peaks. When it reached its first peak when I was very young I remember how awfully long the days were, hurry down sunshine so I can sleep through the hunger. I remember black Early Gray tea and dry, brown toast and a particular cookery program I watched hunched by the fire.

    The second peak I remember that I had to tread a familiar route from my school to the old hospital for checks and appointments. The iller I got the harder it was to face that walk. Miles of concrete, legs and brain so so tired and so cold. But among all that bad I remember the warm cocoon of school, being looked after and having all your friends in one place was wonderful.

    The next peak I remember lying aching in bed. Bone ache. Cold. Despair. Only eating grapefruit and mouldy yogurt (I have no idea why mouldy!)I WANTED help then for once. I was giving up, begging someone else to live for me, make me well. I thought it would be easy. I remember dark, cosy evenings, a christmas of people crying at me. In hospital for new year.

    Last time I remember feeling TERRIFIED of losing my job. I knew I looked weak, I knew something was wrong- my body wasnt playing ball- but I refused to consider putting on weight. I remember stomach sickening nerves about work. Always thinking- is this is? Is today the day where I fuck up, faint, cause a terrible accident- get fired? I remember fighting and fighting admission. Nearly sectioned.

    I dont want another peak, not ever

    keep fighting and writing xxxxxx

    1. It is a story. :) it's mine. All real. I hope you get here too! We're pretty okay. :P

      It's interesting that you think of them as peaks. I think of them as canyons. The lowest low. I hope you never do either because it's absolutely terrible. Hopeless and horrible.

      I kicked hearing about yours though. I had ice cream and Captain Crunch cereal as the two foods I remember most. I swear I wouldn't eat all day as long as I could eat ice cream ha.

      Do you have a blog address? I'm not sure I follow since you're on Google+ and I would live to read yours!

  3. Wow, that's powerful thank you for sharing. Hmm, see I feel false sometimes, saying I have an ed, because I've never been bad. I've never been to the point where someone has said I look sick, that I need to eat, that it's noticeable.

    Regardless of whether or not I was super thin, I think the height was at 2 points. When it first started, I didn't just fall, I nose dived in the deep end. I loved it, it was new and it was an obsession sort of. I remember my then boyfriend's mom commented how I stayed so skinny "I don't know". He started to just comment and pick me up because I was tiny, but one time he commented how he liked how I was because he had dated very skinny girls and he didn't like it. Too bad, he didn't have to deal with me anymore: he slept with a whore, we broke up obviously, drama and insanity ensued. I was heavily depressed and numb for a while that summer, I started self harming and out right not eating a few weeks before we broke up, and then it just escalated. My family all thought it was the break up, which yes that helped, but it was just a blurry time, kind of like what you said. I was rather stupid back then, but that was in the first six months I developed an ED, it just sort of stuck. The worst day was when I was almost crying in the bathroom because I was going swimming (why I agreed to this I have no idea) with a friend, and I didn't want to come out because I felt obese and had fresh cuts. My friend said she was worried how I looked, I was down to 104-ish then (which technically isn't much because I'm short, but oh well). And then the soon-to-be broken up dickhead decides to stop by, it was tres awkward.

    The other point, was right before I left for college. I never reached a low weight but I had this notion that I needed to be incredibly skinny when I went off to school. I had an internship, was down to eating 1 meal a day, sometimes a snack. It was also continuing into my first semester of college. I think I got out of that a little bit by finding friends and getting a little happier, but it still wouldn't be a year til I started recovering.

    Fuck, sometimes I think I'm destined to relapse. I feel it sometimes, how easy it would be to stop eating. I think I work out too much to do that though. I like exercise, I like running, I like accomplishing things. Can't do that without food. I would like to fit into some of my shorts again though. I need to stop having these carb binge days. I'm relapsing in the opposite way, in that I'm overeating and abusing food that way. Ugh, I'll be this way forever. I'm sorry this has been a novel, I'll end it here. Love you hon, I liked this post a lot. Take care.

    1. You can write me a book whenever doll! I love hearing about everyone's lives and their stories! I asked the questions and I wanted real answers. :)

      College made me happier and fatter And now it's sort of like deadline hell only hotter lol. That really makes me stressed and unhappy.

      It doesn't matter if you weren't oober skinny. 104 is pretty damn small! They really are blurry times. It even goes by quickly or your recounting was you know? Like bf breaks up, family thinks it's that, college bam. You only remember some lows and it's all pale.

      Thanks for answering love! Really great to read! Lots and lots of live!

  4. You are a phenomenal writer. Your life... I'm glad that you shares it. It let me into you just a little, so that I could get to know you. Thank you for sharing. The picture of your dad's is beautiful! Just... Wow. Xx

    1. I don't know about that but thank you love!
      I like letting you all in. It's good to see I'm human. I like sharing thoughts and stories and all that and hearing all yours so it's just a good process. :)

  5. Beautiful and painful memories my love. The feeling of emptiness when memories hurt so much that they drag you behind. You're not nothing, it's just that moment when your past catches up with you and tries to drain you.
    I wish I could sent you strenght in a post package. Love issues are hardones, they hurt so deep... and it's always a risk. But everything will be just fine. Try to feel what you need to feel and remember something ed has taken away from you because it really does steal the memories.


    1. It felt good telling it. I like telling stories. May have to dig up more for you guys. :)

      I'm trying to be patient with myself and just be and experience and not hurry all the damn time. I'm going to try to slowly peel back the layers. <3

  6. Every post I read reveals a new facet about you that I wouldn't have expected. Working on a farm- wow, that sounds like a learning experience. The boys were jerks to you, but boys are mostly jerks when they're younger anyway. I'm glad you got through it.
    Those two pictures are a world of difference. You do look more alive now, more happy. I hope you are, even if you've relapsed. I hope you never have to get that low again.
    My ED was at its height in high school probably. It's funny because I try to forget periods of lots of binging and purging, and it usually works. The behaviors and emotions are lost once I vomit up everything. I know there was a time when I was doing it every day, multiple times a day, and that would be at my worst. But I can't pinpoint it, at least not right now.

    1. No, a ranch. Gotta get it right because they'll let you know there's a difference in this state. haha animals not crops. :P
      A lot of people don't expect it either. I've been the shot giver at branding and I've wrastled the calves before even at my lower weights. I'm pretty legit! :) just kidding. I'll see what other crazy things about me I can pull out and surprise you guys with.
      I don't care about him being a jerk really. It was just something that seemed important at the time and then it wasn't after we kissed that night. Closure.
      It really is. Like wow. Those aren't all my pictures from that time but my mom has the others or something. Someday I want to look.

      Man. I can't imagine. Sometimes I purge and one day I truly b/p'ed three or four times (a lot for me) and it wasn't even a true binge. Like two bowls of cereal in one "binge". It was awful and the memory is just of the food and the fast pace to consume and get rid of. Things would definitely fade if I did it frequently.
      Thanks for answering! :)

  7. Eve,

    Yes I can see how you see them as cannons. I guess 'peaks' is my word because I felt kind of invincible and the top of my game then. What game though? No one else was playing!

    My blog is

  8. My lowest would have to be last year - my first year at university. I wouldn't say that I have lost the memories exactly, but that time just seems a continuous blur. Everyday and night was the same, I would wake up thinking about food and go to sleep feeling unbearably guilty at all that I had just consumed. Whenever I ventured outside of the room that was my world, I painted on a flawless mask, ensuring that I appeared completely fine, normal, happy even to everyone around me. When really, even when I was with others, whatever we were doing I would be thinking of food , feeling guilty about food, planning when I could buy food without anyone knowing. In the privacy of my room I would binge, then feel overwhelmingly guilty and out of control, I would punish myself by self harming. I would avoid going to sleep for as long as possible, just so that I wouldn't have to wake up and because I knew that I would have to once again leave the safety of my lair. It is just a blur of emptiness and suicidality to me now.
    I think coming out of it involved three main things for me. The first was to be kinder to myself; not beating myself up for every tiny thing that I'd done 'wrong'. Easier said than done right? But I reckon the strength to do that came from my love for my family and friends - in March last year I ended up in hospital after taking an overdose and until that point I'd been able to keep everyone in the dark. But obviously that wasn't going to happen anymore and I couldn't argue that I wasn't hurting anyone anymore. So I forced myself to be kind to myself for their sake. The second thing was just doing the practical things that I could, like spending as little time alone as possible.
    The final thing was the hardest and took a long long time to even begin to try - talking. In all of the years until that point I kept all of my feelings and troubles entirely to myself, hence how no one had any idea that there was an issue. Talking about it doesn't necessarily make things better, but at least made me feel less alone and better understood. That way it was more difficult to argue to myself that people wouldn't feel the same if they knew what I was really like - because I was starting to let them see all that was underneath.
    I guess the point in looking back to the worst points is that we have come a long way since then, even if things aren't okay - they aren't as bad as they were. And you're right - you have to let things go as slowly as you need them too, because you can't force the healing to go any faster.
    Really insightful post, you write beautifully and I'm glad that you are trying to work through things this way. When things get bad again it's really difficult to remember that they haven't and won't always be this way, but you've gotten through worse before and so you can do this again! My thoughts are with you xxx

    1. I think people are no longer sensitive to others. You can hide behind smiles and say you're fine all day but all you have to do is watch someone's eyes and their posture when they talk to you. Thanks for sharing that!

  9. I don't know when my eating disorder was at it's height but I do have gaps of time I can not recall during my high school years. I was purging A LOT, maybe that has something to do with it. I lived in a house for a good 6 months and don't have a single memory of ever being there. I hadn't even realized it until just now while typing this :/

    1. Right? You go to remember something and it's just not there. Vanished. You want to ask someone about it but then you realize that you would have to talk about it and I just can't.