Four years ago

by MB in , , ,


Matthew died 4 years ago today. May 12, 2013. Mother's Day. Beth Israel Hospital - a place that no longer exists but which haunts me nonetheless.

I wasn't recovered 4 years ago - not even close - but I was in limbo. I wasn't unhappy. I wasn't purging. I wasn't anything. I wasn't fat and I wasn't thin. I just was.

4 years ago I wasn't in therapy - I hadn't been in therapy for two years. I wasn't on Prozac. I had never lost anyone.

4 years ago I split into two. May 12, 2013.

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Apologies to my body

by MB


Body - I am sorry.

For how I treated you and mistreated you. Not for thinking you were invincible (I always knew you weren't) but for not caring either way.

I'm sorry for not realizing that you were mine - my partner, my ally, my single and only resource in life. I'm sorry It took me nearly three decades to understand that you're the only body I get, and that I can't undo the damage I've done to you.

To be honest though, body, I can't apologise for all those times I wished you didn't exist. There have been many days where I wished you were nothing but a skeleton - a head perched atop an invisible  and irrelevant cumulation of nothingness. 

I'm sorry for popping pills like candy, for the time I got drunk at Carrie's house when we were 15, for vomiting Sunny D Lite and vodka in the secret park in front of her house.

I'm sorry for the cocaine and the Vicodin, the Percocet and the Ambien, the Tramadol and muscle relaxants, the MDMA, the Adderall and Ritalin and Xanax and Klonopin and Valium and tequila and Malibu and whiskey. For the empty bottles of Malbec and Cabernet we left under our bed. For the endless gin and vodka we snuck and refilled with water, and for the way we played dumb when our parents figured out what we had been doing.

I'm sorry I fed you all those the pills I found on the floor just to be surprised by what the high was like. I'm sorry I took Advil and laxatives and foriegn medication and Tylonel like tic tacs, rolling them them mindlessly into my mouth and washing them down with sentiment-laden wine at my first urge not to feel. I'm sorry for the boxes upon boxes of chocolate ex lax I ate every night before bed when we were 14, 15, 16, 17, even 18 when we should have known better - and I'm sorry for how I made you sleep on the bathroom floor as punishment for your lack of control, proof that you were as gluttonous and useless as I believed you to be.

Im sorry for last months 6 enemas and 50 laxatives, for the chronic overdose of self hatred and chemicals that landed us in the hospital, guilty only for letting others down.  

 ***

I'm sorry for the good sex that you had and were too drunk to enjoy, and for the bad sex that you had but were too drunk to refuse. I'm sorry you're still so confused and embarrassed about sex - especially sex with our partner - with someone we love. I'm sorry you flinch when he touches you, so frightened that someone might take your control away from you.

I'm sorry it took 11 years to feel vulnerable enough to have an orgasm during sex with a man. I'm really fucking sorry for that, body, because do you know how much great sex we missed out on when we denied ourselves the thing we knew we wanted most?

I'm sorry for how much I let you enjoy sex with Ed - I knew it was too much for you but I did it anyways. I'm sorry I let you fuck him in his office and then forced  you you to walk the  3 miles home, for how I punished you as you felt him drip down your inner thighs and legs, each trodden step oozing with sticky humiliation and regret. 

I'm sorry that my default response is always to blame you - to wonder how you've wronged me or led me astray. I'm sorry for the hate I still harbour against you for the way you developed and grew without my permission, how you visibly became a woman at the very same at which I wished to disappear.

I'm sorry for the sciatica and poor bone density, for letting the allure of a size 0 matter more than the strength of your most vital organs. I'm sorry that your colon - untrained by how I abused you with laxatives - has developed pockets on its insides, waiting to trap any infection that dare inflame it. 

***

Do you want the truth? 

I'm not ready to be sorry for sticking my finger (my toothbrush, a pencil, anything really) down my throat, because I never felt good about that. Bulimia, as straightforward as it was, has always felt shameful to me, and I am not sorry I did it to you. I think it taught you boundaries in some fucked up way. It gave you a moral compass for determining right from wrong.

***

I am sorry for how ashamed I was of you - how ashamed I still am of you. I'm sorry I don't find you sexy or cute or funny or likable or any of those things that other people say we are. I'm sorry I don't see it because I know that without my buy in, you can't see it either.

I'm sorry I blamed you for getting your period, and for how ashamed I made you feel when I wouldn't let you tell anyone. I know you tried, body - you tried to talk, and I'm sorry I didn't give you the words. 

I'm sorry for the time I spent duct taping and wrapping our chest as flat as it could possibly go convinced our lives would be better without boobs and a butt and the womanly features we so vehemently detested. I'm sorry I could never find the words to ask for what you needed - a proper bra, an explanation of menstruation, a mother, a hug, a cry, for someone to tell you it was going to be all right. I'm sorry that the only way I got those things for us was by sticking my finger down our throat and then waiting for someone to notice, because I know now that there are other ways to ask for help.

I'm sorry I tell you that there's something wrong with you every time your head hurts or you get tired or emotional, and I'm sorry for the resentment I harbour against you each month when you bleed between your legs, as though announcing to the world that you are a healthy body, that there is nothing wrong with you. I'm sorry no one knows the story of our first period, our first kiss, our first pregnancy scare, our first love, our first heartbreak. I'm sorry I made you feel like you were different - that those feelings weren't normal or valid, and that I denied you the chance to share them with other people and teach you that you're not alone.

Body, I'm sorry i've kept you a secret for so long. I'm sorry we've let other girls down by making them feel like they were alone too. 

I'm sorry I silenced you for so long, and that it still takes me a glass of wine or two to really talk to you (I'm working on that, I promise).

I am not asking for forgiveness, because most of what I've done to you is heinously unforgivable. What I"m asking for instead is the tiniest bit of trust. Trust that I can do better for us, because I think I can. And, body, I think I want to.

Signed,

- The stranger in the mirror