I stayed in recovery by maintaining a carefully constructed status quo. I followed all the rules: no food in the bedroom, no counting calories, weigh myself once per week or less, follow a regular meal and exercise schedule, and plan meals in advance. I thought I was doing better. But once I peeked outside my tent, the chaos that destroyed me in the first place started to take hold. Even as untended gardens of my life blossomed wildly, I began to feel afraid. I'm growing into a fully-formed person, but the unease inside me is growing, too. It turns out I was only better in a vacuum. And now the familiar patterns of thought that I tried so hard to repress are resurfacing. I've started to feel guilty when I eat. I'm afraid of eating alone. I buy food and then throw it away. Despite all this, I say I've recovered. Illness is a gradient, but I'm no longer focusing on which shade of gray surrounds me. I've been looking outside myself -- so I've only just noticed that things are darker than they used to be. Which will it be today: the toothbrush or the telephone?
It would be all too convenient to stop there, after a crafted bit of emotive fluff. It would be easy to resort to partial honesty and publish with self-satisfaction so smarmy it would surely be evident to my coworkers on the other side of the office as a vague feeling of disgust -- a Facebook status down the spine. But since yesterday I've been on a disclosure roll. I told my partners about my eating disorder, and in a relationship counseling session that evening I plumbed the depths of family history with a near-stranger. So I ought to be open with myself today, too. The stress storm of illness, a promotion, and simple everyday life in my first adult relationship has arrested my recovery. (What's that sound? Is it the waaaahmbulance?) All these difficulties are nothing compared to the entropy I grew up with. Clearly, I've never been strong. I only wish I could stop trying to be healthy, and just be healthy. Nobody wants to be shackled to an invalid.
There's a support group meeting next Wednesday. I think I'll go. Five-day resolution: quit being a goddamn freak and think about something besides food. Enjoy the shades of gray. TGIF.