Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Monster Under the Bed

Have you ever had a fear you held so close it nearly suffocated you?

No matter how you tried to shake it off, leave it behind, call it out, kill it... it always came back

I've been walking around with my secret fear for years....since 6th grade to be exact.

It used to be an occasional acquaintance, but now we are inseparable. I never leave the house without it.

My fear wakes me in the morning and sends me off to bed... it haunts my every thought.

My fear has many names, though they all amount to the same snare of insecurity and inadequancy. My fear is my monster- shoved underneath the layers of fa├žade, hidden behind the closed doors of my heart.

I first was introduced to my monster-fear in the 6th grade on the soccer field.

"Too bad you haven't lost all your baby-fat yet. Don't worry- you will eventually."

girls in middle school can be so mean

Thats when I first noticed.
I wasn't perfect. I didn't look like her. I didn't fit. I wasn't good enough. From that moment on, I was super-glue. Every comment stuck to me with a death grip that wouldn't loosen.

"Some day you'll have a body like that"
but that someday never came.
"Don't worry, you'll never be that big"
but if I was- would you still love me?
"You just have a bigger frame. You're big boned"
BIG= bad, unwanted, unloved, gross. I therefore am those things
"Some of us just aren't naturally skinny, it's not your fault"
then whose fault is it? Why do I feel like the world is punishing me then?

In 6th grade I made a vow. I will be *that girl (*skinny, tan, long curly hair, dark eyelashes...fill in the blank)
At twelve, I decided to start counting calories. Writing down everything I ate. Sucking my stomach in so hard my back muscles cramped and my guts felt like they'd explode. I stood up straight. all the time. (didn't mama always say that you shouldn't slouch- you looked better straight?) I wore tight tank tops under all my shirts. maybe they'd hide my extra pound. I changed in the bathroom stalls- never in the locker room. I hid every inch I could.

In highschool I transferred schools. I met girls who didn't plot my destruction. Who cared. Who loved me. for me. not my clothing size or brand name. I became closer to my Lord who called me by name and knew my inner most parts. I was content on looking at Him.

Then I met a boy. I thought I was the lucky one. I thought because he picked me, I was special. I thought I was finally that girl I wanted to become so badly. I took my eyes off the Lord and look down. I looked at my reflection. and I sank....

"You'd look really good if you wore this"
if I wear this then he'll love me more
"I used to think you were too tall for me", "At first I thought you had a big nose"
how can I shrink myself and cut off half my nose? always wear flipflops, learn to use makeup to shadow and draw attention away of nose...
"I love that I can fit both hands around your waist and touch my fingers"
if he can't do that anymore, he'll think I'm fat. measure yourself and never forget that number
"You're so hott when you're tan"
he wants me when I'm tan, if I'm wanted- I'm loved

I took every comment, compliment or critique and buried it deeper and deeper, painting its words across the walls of my heart. It wasn't too long before those words defined me. Defined my thinking, my opinions, my decisions.

I felt loved when he noticed my clothes, my hair, my face.
I thought he cared when he made the decisions for me.
I thought he'd love me for me if I said yes.
Yes to that outfit, yes to only his calls, yes to dates every night
yes yes yes.

But I didn't feel loved. I felt trapped. Empty. Worthless.
I could never be that girl. not completely. I couldn't be that beautiful, that skinny, that perfect.
I wasn't in control. and I hated that.
I reverted back to the 6th grade. I wrote down all that I ate. I started with three meals only. then two. then dinner. because my parents watched me eat dinner. then I made excuses. I wasn't hungry. I was tired. I had homework. I already ate.

My brother locked me in the car and demanded to know why. I lied. he knew.
I started drinking juice to fill me up. to stop the embarrassing stomach growl.
I got an stomach ulcer. it felt like I was being stabbed repeatedly in the gut.
but thats how I felt anyways

My parents found out. They watched me eat. I was tempted to induce bulimia (by God's grace I never did). I fell into deeper traps until I finally said no. I broke up with boy. I thought my life was over. I realized I had life back. Jesus called me out of the pit. He gave me grace enough to stand. He healed my wounds.
But I wouldn't let Him heal bitter. I wouldn't let him touch insecurity.
I kept my fear to myself.

College brought new light to my tunnel. I made new friends. Stepped out of my comfort zone. I became a different person. A person I liked. in public and in the confines of my own space.

I met a boy. a friend from the past. I put up a wall, kept him at arms length. I wouldn't go back to that place. that place where I couldn't breath. I wouldn't let myself lose control. I needed control. But this boy was a man of God. He loved me for me. He waited for months and months. I finally realized this man was my own. My missing part to make me whole. I finally told him I loved him too. I also told him I had issues. That I was chipped and broken in places. That though the deepest part of me was only his- my emotions had been spilled out and trampled on before shoved back inside me. He said he loved me anyways.

This man was a soldier. He left for Iraq. He was gone 12 months.

I couldn't control the distance. So I controlled my appetite. I lost 15 lbs. I loved it. I stopped eating again. I lost more. I joined a gym. I lost more. I got a tan. I felt like that girl again. but I felt empty again.

My Soldier came home for R&R and asked me to spend forever with him. I said YES!
I spent the last half of deployment distracting myself with wedding plans. and every single model wearing a wedding dress. No longer was sunkissed good enough- I had to be TAN. I needed that little belly bulge to be nonexistent when I looked down. Armpit chunk? I would cut it off if necessary. Needless to say- I delved into perfectionism.

Perfectionism my friend, is a death trap. It is insecurity in art form. For my own type A personality, I battle (battle as in fight with- I don't know as I've ever WON the battle...)perfectionism every day. On good days my sick pride tricks me into thinking perhaps I've mastered it. On the realistic days I equate my worth to gum on a shoe (ok- so slight exaggeration, I know God created man in his image). all because I can't be perfect. and this makes sense to me?

Well wedding day came and I was far from perfect. But I felt beautiful because My Soldier saw me as beautiful. I felt skinny because I couldn't breath that sucker-inner was reigned innnn!!! I felt tan because I had half-cooked my skin in the tanning beds. I felt noticed. I felt a little more like her (whoever this "perfect" girl is supposed to be).

Ever heard the saying that all things come full circle? or history repeats itself? It did. My cycle kept spinning further and further... Like hundreds of other ladies, I started the pill just before getting married. and it screwed me up. mega time. I became hypoglycemic and started passing out. (Low blood sugar and the whole starving thing, they just don't jive together well). So the doctor suggested switching kinds. and I did. No weird passing out/throwing up trauma. Just weight gain.

As you may have figured- that didn't set with me. A quick 10 lbs gain and I was spinning out of control again. So I flushed the pill. done. I figured- no pill, no weight gain. Starving will set in and I'll see that horrid number decrease again. wrong.

Instead I saw the number increase. Less eating. still gaining. I freaked out.

I went to the doctor. she told me I had an eating disorder. Compulsive eating. aka-binge or starve. In simple terms- I had broken my metabolism and it no longer worked. Though I used to be able to starve for the days following a "bad night" and lose weight- that no longer worked. My body was accustomed to starving periods and rapidly stored intake as fat for the "hibernation mode".

This shocked me into reality. I hadn't realized what profound effect the world's views had on me until I stared at a diagnosis scribbled across lab tests. I had done this to my body. I had in a way created the monster myself.

Admittance and acknowledgment is the first step right?

It's been about three months now and I can honestly say I've made significant ground. I am eating every 4 hours (for the most part) as directed to re-train my body and metabolism. But it's hard. I hate the disgusted feeling of eating while also feeling like the last thing you could possibly want to do is eat.

I thought I was doing great. and then I read this amazing book. And I once again was hit with reality. I may be making efforts to heal my body. But I am doing nothing to heal my soul. my heart. my spirit. I am merely trying to regain that control I love and need so dearly.

Can I share some of my "cringe" moments with you? These moments are the ones in which I realize that I really need God's grace and help. That I'm not at all in control and I have no right to be. These are the moments I look at myself and think- I did I get here? Who is this person I am seeing? Bare with me if they are jumbled, my guts are mush just admitting this to you all....

I've gained 32 lbs in the last year. thirty freakin two. I can barely say that number. I loathe that number. I would like to go to war with that number.

I most likely would have skipped out on graduation commencement if I hadn't known it would break my parents' hearts. The thought of 4000 people staring at me as I walked across the stage really did nearly kill me. I deleted most of the pictures. that moment will never happen again.

I begged my husband to buy an eliptical so I could cancel my gym membership- I never went because I knew people thought I should live there.

The last time I dressed up for my husband I almost passed out because I thought it wasn't good enough. I would have lived in hoodies and jeans if the summer temperatures hadn't come.

I change my order at a drive-through depending on whether a male or female asks for my order. I can't have a sugar calorie drink if a guy is working- I get a nonfat xyz..

Every Sunday morning results in a puddle of tears as I try and find something to wear that doesn't involve baggy t-shirts and jeans.

My most recent meltdowns have resulted from finding the "perfect outfit" for blank occasion:

Last weekend was a womens retreat that our Church hosted. I almost didn't go because I couldn't stand the thought of woman looking at me and the weight I've gained.

A close friend had a pre-wedding bbq and I literally cried the entire hour drive because I knew I'd be the heaviest girl there. I wanted to be that girl again. The one who looks perfect on her man's arm and everyone stops to admire. I'm terrified that he isn't proud to show me off. I'm terrified that others will wonder why he chose me.

Its moments like these that I just wonder what in the heck happened to me? I used to be confident, at least on the outside even if I was falling apart inside. But I started looking around too often, instead of looking up.

Instead of clinging to His word and perfect promises I cling to words of hurt and pain. I focus on statements like these, where my past rushes back in seconds:

"You know that girl that was here- the fat one- a size 8?..."
so if you're talking about a size 8 being fat and I'm a size 12 what does that make me?

"You look like you've been eating a few too many cookies there don't you?"

so a family member was confused and though I was the pregnant niece...but still- if I was that would not be the thing to say!

All these thoughts swarm my head day in and day out. I can never escape them. It's taken over. Taken control. It governs my decisions, my committments, my ambitions, my dreams, my marriage. my friendships. It has invaded and its got to stop. I don't know how. I just know WHO. Jesus is the only answer. He is my only hope. He alone can fix this broken heart and mend my weary soul. There is no other who can restore like He can.

Am I alone in this fight?

Do you wrestle with inadequacy and insecurity?

Are you afraid for the world to see you and not like what they see?

Is your worst fear entangled in lies from the devil?

Do you have a secret fear?

Hi, I am a child of the Most High God.

I was made perfect IN HIS IMAGE.

His grace is sufficient for me.

I am weak.


I'm starting over with his mercies new each morning.

Will you join me?


beka said...

So real.
So touching.
The rest of the family is nearing the end of Rigoletto, and that Love is a melody song is playing. Soundtrack? Oh yes. Your post made me cry.
And just to pick one thing out--I'm not tan, and it's virtually impossible. My genes are not capable of making my skin tan. *sigh* But whatever, right? It's the inside. It's HIM that matters.
HIS Love.
It's amazing. But so easy to forget sometimes!
Thank you for writing this really honest post.
Amazing perspective! God really IS so good.

Kayla Sue said...

I WILL join you.

You are not alone...SO not alone. I could have written almost everything you just wrote myself...and did, at one point.

I was getting emotional just reading about your struggles...because I too find myself near tears before I leave the house or go to get togethers...and all the other things you said.

Thank you for opening up and touching me through your post.

I don't know you, but I'd be willing to bet you are beautiful!

Anka said...

Hi Kalyn,

I somehow got on your website, don't really know how actually :) But I read your blog and even though we haven't talked since like high school I just wanted to say that I think you're incredibly brave for posting this!
And some parts are so recognizable (except for me it's my height :)

And I just wanted to let you know that I'm praying for you and the struggle that you are facing!


Jessica said...

oh I can identify with your post so much.
I struggle with my weight... a lot!
I struggle with self perception. I am always the one looking around the room thinking...yep, I am the biggest person here. It is very heartbreaking.

But, you are so right...
Jesus is our only hope. And I am so thankful that his mercies are new every morning.

Kelli said...

Oh My Goodness...what a heart~gripping story! You are so strong to share that story! What a powerful testimony you have as you depend wholly and solely on Your Savior!! You brought tears to my eyes, I wish I could just hug you =) WOW!

Stefanie said...

You are NOT alone. I too have been there. I too am still there, I am not sure if it ever goes away, it will always been in the back of your mind, taunting you, but the healthier you get the less able you are to hear that evil voice telling you that you are not skinny enough, so you are not good enough.
It may not be my place, but try and find a good therapist or a local ED support group. These two things got me through me ED and helped me find more conductive ways to cope with feelings,stress,ect.
If you ever need anyone to talk to please e-mail me!

Whitney said...

I struggle with my body image. I wish I could lose weight. Granted, I haven't tried lately. I am starting too though. I eat all the time, and don't want to stop eating what I'm eating. I have Neurofibromatosis, so I have tons of birthmarks. I have a huge one that covers my neck and arm, plus bumps on the top part of that arm. There's really nothing I can do about it. People have said to me: Have you been burned in a fire? Do you have self-tanner that isn't blended in? What is that (while touching it)? Did you have a tattoo removed? It kills me and I hate wearing sleeveless shirts or halter tops because I am afraid someone will ask.

Choco Girl said...

Oh my gosh! THANK YOU so much for being open and vulnerable..I don't feel alone!

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