martes, 9 de diciembre de 2008

home for the holidays

I was just reading Tis the Season for Comparing, and find that I couldn't relate more. The Christmas card can easily become a perverse little self-check for me as I scrutinize my annual "selves."
But there's a different level of comparison that I dread as well: Returning home for the holidays gives also means getting to see all the friends I've grown up with. I love them unconditionally, and know they love me, but seeing everyone always stirs up a sea of anxiety. Among my closest girlfriends, there exists a steady healthy trio - sure they had their teenage bouts of anorexia (has any girl not?) - but by now they've now reached a pretty healthy, happy plateau. They enjoy dressing up for holiday parties and drool over yummy hors d'oeuvres but naturally stop eating when they're full. There are another couple girls who, having struggled with a bit of chubbiness, are not quite so carefree but are largely pretty pragmatic about balancing celebration and moderation. Then there's myself, and two other friends. We three, it's fair to say, have been highly disordered about food since high school. I don't think any of us have ever been dangerously underweight, but our bodies have fluctuated a lot over the years. While our particular ED compulsions are different (yay diversity!), we all often hover anxiously around the holiday spreads, stress about our wardrobes, and, above all, try to give the impression to our friends that we are "doing okay". When, of course, we're probably pretty obviously not.
This year, when I go home, I'd really like to try to do a couple things:
  • Dress up without stressing out It don't want to put on a short, strappless dress on New Years Eve. At the same time, I know that if I wear jeans and a sweater everywhere, I'll feel out of place and bah-humbugish as the only one without any concession to wardrobe festivity. So I'm going to try a compromise. For the first time in...years? I've bought myself a holiday dress I feel confident wearing. The shopping was long and torturous, but I feel so happy to go home armed with something pretty and comfortable.
  • No comments about looks I don't want to say "You look great!" and neither do I want to whisper about anyone's figure behind their back. People talk about these things, and it's not always evil, but I don't need to participate. Clothes & hair are fine topics, but it would be better to focus on meaningful stuff. There's plently of more important catching up to do.
  • Be honest about the state I'm in This last one is really hard, but I think it's important. I won't resolve, as I usually do on visits home, to exercise/not exercise, eat/not eat, purge/not purge... Of course I'll try to be as healthy as possible, but that type of resolution is usually counterproductive as I'm really prone to the "I messed up once so screw the whole idea" mentality. Instead, the main thing I want to work on is talking about my food, weight, and health issues when I need to. I have a lot of people there who want to support me, but over the years they've let me kind of pull them into my own denial about how serious my ED still is. It's time to start coming clean.
Since I'll most likely be getting some dental work done when I'm home, it will be a lot harder to pretend everything is okay. I think that's probably a good thing.
Alright then. Sounds like a plan.

5 comentarios:

Tiptoe dijo...

Ramona, going home is always hard. The comparison factor just makes it doubly so.

I think your goals sound great. People do often want to talk about weight, looks, the latest style everyone is wearing, maybe you can redirect the conversation to something else that some of you may have in common.

I hope you enjoy your new holiday dress! Dressing with confidence keeps the morale high.

Good luck with the dental procedures. I really do sympathize with you.

Anónimo dijo...

I'm a nightmare if I haven't seen someone for a week, I get paranoiad they will think that I have let myself go, so I can imagine what it is like going home for the holidays! I love the new positive changes you want to try out, they sound really great and I might try the first two myself. Good luck with the dental bits and bobs

Lola x

ramona dijo...

Thanks guys! I'm looking forward to having you both "with me" over the next several weeks. Crossing my fingers...

MelissaS dijo...

first, i love your profile. i think a lot of women can relate. and i'm not so sure that so many women at those parties are as comfortable as you think. i was bulimic for thirty years, and it's taken me a long time to be comfortable-esque around the buffet. sometimes, i decide in advance what i want. sometimes, i actually know how to eat until i'm satisfied, sometimes i eat til i'm really full. and then i move on and talk to friends. by the way, in addition to all that bulimia i also had a crack habit, so i spent more time with my dentist than his own family. i've sent his grandchildren to grad school i'm sure. BUT, it gets better. he fixed the problems, and i haven't had any since.

ramona dijo...

Thanks so much Melissa.
Even as I was typing that, I realized I know better than to say "these girls are always okay with themselves" or "we three are always uncomfortable". Of course they must have bad days, just like sometimes I'm really okay. Good to remember.