Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Weddings and Memories

Meg, myself, and Steve after the reception.
I went to a beautiful wedding on Sunday.  My cousin, Meg, married the love of her life in New York. She made the most stunning bride.

I adore Meg.  She has helped me so much just by being a voice of reason and understanding while I've been struggling... mainly because she had been there herself.  And although neither of us are the most vocal people when in person and we don't talk all that much when we're together, she has been a great support from afar.

I cried my eyes out at her wedding when her sister gave the Maid of Honor toast.  Kate spoke about how after she left for college, Meg went through a hard time in her life.  I know, by talking with Meg, that this was when she developed anorexia.

And really this wedding was wonderful and I loved being able to attend and celebrate these two wonderful young adults.  However, it was a rough night for me.

Even if I had not been struggling with my anorexia for the past few weeks, I would have felt entirely way too insecure at that wedding.  I'm a young, single woman.  I go to see family and I get asked if I've met any boys at college.  I go to weddings and am the person who has to awkwardly wait for her dad to ask her to dance or for her brother to leave his girlfriend and dance with her.  I'm the third wheel all the time.

My fear is that I am never going to get married or even have a boyfriend, for that matter.  That I'll never find someone who will love me despite all of my insecurities and imperfections.  That no one will find me beautiful.

I guess that brings me to one of my most insecure points about that wedding.  I felt so self-conscious and judged and like everyone was judging me.  Cocktail hour was awful for the fact that it only revolves around food.  Dinner was hard.  Dessert was hardest.

It was so hard to enjoy that beautiful and amazing day when I was completely consumed with how I looked and what I was eating and how many calories were in every bite that I took.  I didn't enjoy the wedding because I was too busy feeling uncomfortable because I had food in my stomach, because I couldn't get rid of the food, and because I felt like the most hideous person there.

What I did to calm all of these feelings shocked even me.  I decided to drink.  Champagne, gin and tonic, wine, spiked cider--any of it that was available to me and that my brother would give me.  The alcohol definitely had depressant effects on my nervous system, as well as my emotions.

It was a bad night.  A bad night that should have been great.  A bad night that could have easily been avoided.

Eating disorders ruin nights.  They ruin moments.  They ruin memories.

I don't remember most of my high school years because of my eating disorder.
I don't remember that trip to Disney World with the band or the time we went to the OSU Skull Session or any of the vacations to the beach.
I don't remember laughing and having fun with my friends.

All I remember is trying to avoid the food.

I remember how one year, I wouldn't let anyone else make lunch when we were at the beach so that I could make my own food in the least caloric way possible.  I remember only eating sandwiches of lettuce and mustard.  Which are disgusting, by the way.
I remember getting into literal fights with my band directors and friends because I refused to eat lunch and they wanted to make me.
I remember one person opening a Snickers bar and handing it to me, saying "There.  I opened it for you.  Now you have to eat it."
I remember sitting on the floor on the band room after a late night football game and China hand-feeding me Cheese-Its, one-by-one.
I remember the taste of Wendy's chili the second time around.
I remember going to the park and throwing up in a soft drink cup because I didn't want anyone to know that I wasn't getting better.
I remember crying and not wanting to get out of my bed.

I remember so much more... but only about my eating disorder.

And what about memories from this wedding?  I'm only going to remember the bad.  I'll only remember how I was miserable because there was so much food.  Or how I couldn't smile and be happy because I was so depressed.  How I wouldn't go out and dance because I felt so self-conscious.  How triggered I was by the simple fact that my dress was too big.

The wedding only confirmed the idea that I'm not okay.  That I need help.  And thanks to my wonderful, gorgeous cousin, that healing and recovery are very real things.   

I wish that I could go back six years and make it all better.  That I could stop myself before any of this even started and say, "Sarah, you want to remember your band bonfires and your trips and lunch time with friends at school.  You want to remember weddings and conferences and movie nights.  You want to remember how Maddy's brownies taste or how it feels to drink hot chocolate after a long Friday night game.  Don't go down this path."

Why recovery is necessary: So that I can remember all of the good times and not just my eating disorder.