Monday, November 4, 2013
I was so nervous that morning.
Probably straightened my dress at least ten times.
Crossed and uncrossed my legs.
Checked my messages before beginning.
"You're a fucking bombshell. You're gonna look great, sound smart, and crush this interview. I believe in you. Go get it. You were made for this. Don't take no for an answer."
I'll forever be grateful for him pushing me to do a better personal statement, for pushing me to be more confident, for teaching me to demand better for myself, even if it's only a semester.
A text from L saying he would be praying for me, that I would do great.
Another from one of my best friends wishing me well.
We all sat in the conference room not knowing what to expect, what to do to make ourselves stand out.
"Alright, why don't we get started? How about we get your name, which program you're applying for, where you did your undergrad, and what you would like to do."
A few people started, putting their best foot forward.
One of the School Psychology applicants tried to overemphasize that relationships with the kids was most important to her, recounting a story from the previous week.
Another girl talked about how she worked for a year for a low income housing place and felt that she wanted to work with at risk teens.
Everyone had done their undergrad at this university.
It came to my turn and I looked at each faculty member confidentially in the eye.
"My name is Eve and I'm currently a senior at the University of."
One of them nodded and began to write notes on who I was.
I had never been more proud to go to my college than that moment, knowing that it was a Research One university, knowing that despite how much I had loathed doing literature reviews and research methods, I had been prepared for graduate school.
"I'm applying for the Clinical Counseling program and what I would like to do is work with eating disorder patients."
He looked up again, intrigued.
Half of the people who had went before wanted to work in schools or with at risk teens.
Here was a new one.
"Really? What makes you want to do that."
"It's a really difficult disorder to treat and there aren't very many effective treatment plans available and so I just would really like to work with them because there's a need."
He looked down at his notes, writing, "You know, it's funny you say it's difficult. Recent studies have found that eating disorders and OCD are the two hardest disorders to treat. There's definitely a need."
He looked up, smiling, I, returning his gaze, smiled back.
"Good. Thank you, Eve."
A few of the applicants shifted in their chairs slightly, the next few embellishing more on their stories.
I had been memorable.
From there, we moved on to discussing the diversity vignettes, what we found most difficult, how we felt doing them.
Everyone discussed race as their most difficult.
They talked about cultural things that would make it difficult to relate as well as that the state was lacking in diversity so they had not gotten to work with people of different ethnicities.
"What about you, Eve?'
"I didn't think race was hard. It doesn't matter what color someone is or what their cultural background is; they're people. The trick is to just understand their culture enough to understand what's causing them to feel what they do. People are people and we all feel the same things, it's just a matter of what context it's in."
Again he smiled and searched my eyes slightly.
"You're saying it's the individual?"
"Yes. Exactly. We have to look at it like that, not just seeing race."
Pause, both of us looking at one another again, me throwing in a smile.
Later on, we were required to role play with a graduate student while a faculty member observing how we communicated.
My randomly assigned scenario was a girl that was worried her friend had anorexia.
I passed the activities designed to observe my group and communication skills and was straightforward and candid in my answers.
I wanted it.
I haven't wanted anything so badly lately.
My dad never called to see how it went.
Maybe I'll fill in the gaps of our relationship another time.
It matters, the people that check on, encourage, and love you.
I ended up finding that I was blessed with many to make up for the ones that don't.
Everything was going well.
I was trying to be introspective and work on myself.
About to graduate with my bachelor's.
Worked up the courage and confidence to apply to graduate school.
Had a hobby that facilitated positive body image.
A temporary relationship focused on enjoying the moment and learning about self.
My home life had settled down.
My friendships were great and my relationships with the family members I was close with were good.
That's when it's best to strike, often times.
As we put on our clothes I turned around to look in the mirror.
Bending slightly to the side to inspect my ribs which were no longer prominent.
As I pull up my pants I graze my hips to feel for my bones, ever so discreetly.
They're not poking out either, just laying below the surface, but still touchable.
None of the dorm food has been healthy and I can't spend my money on food constantly.
Sometimes he would sneak me into the dining hall so that there were better things to eat.
Spearing some steamed zucchini and carrot I said, "This is so good. Really clean. I love it."
"You have a weird way of describing food."
"Huh? No I don't. Fitness people say that."
"Yah, but you use it to describe flavor."
"Hm, I hadn't noticed."
And I hadn't, but I had noticed the way my body had filled out, shapely.
For a while I had like it, being a woman.
But painfully aware that I was gradually becoming unable to see myself as I really was again.
Couldn't tell if I was beautiful or fat or fit.
Walking into the bathroom, staring at the little pink tiles, contemplating purging just a little.
Wondering how far I could go restricting while maintaing the muscle I had built.
That lesson in a dance that you've long learned the steps to.
Grasping at my own skin wanting to peel it off again.
I'm too much.
The thought rolled out from my mind and down the side walk with the fall leaves.
She sat down in front of me, cunning, hollow, beautiful.
"Why do you think you'd be a good candidate?"
"I was there when you needed me most. Emotions are intense and every time you let them out, you make mistakes. They're not big, but you have to learn to mediate yourself a little better. You're prone to boughts of selfishness and immaturity."
"You didn't help last time. In fact, you set me back."
"I know, and that was wrong of me. This time will be different and we'll do it slowly. You don't have to dive in. Just use me as a sort of moderation."
"It's never just in moderation."
"I don't think you're the right fit for me now. I'm trying to move on with my life. I want to grow up, be happy. Be healthy."
"You're not focusing well on school these days, making poor food choices, feeling overwhelmed by all the newness. I could ease it, just a little. No one even need know. Our secret. I saw you trying to unzip yourself again, saw your brow furrow as you opened the fridge. Hating the way jeans feel and the way the sheets didn't feel as beautiful on your bare skin next to him."
"It's just a bump. Recovery wasn't supposed to be easy."
"I saw you."
"Saw you hesitate at the weight, check for bones and spaces, procrastinated again."
"It's just a little while. You know you are't focused without me, assignments not as good. Grad school is coming up. You can't slack off like you did in your undergrad."
"Maybe, maybe I can do this on my own. Things are working out."
"And they'll be even better."
She stood up and sauntered to the door, looking over her shoulder, "Just consider me."