Masquerade

it was always an ideal to me
mental illness was a theory, a concept of something tragic
that could never touch someone like me
because girls with dimpled smiles and happy families
do not push food around on their plates
to distract from emotional pain
or lie awake at night, unable to sleep
as they try to decide which is worse–
the unexplainable heartache, or the hunger in their stomachs
so when the disorder took over my mind
my head was filled with wild notions
of the tortured soul i desired to be
thin, pale, and comforted by my wan frame
i wrote on my wrists
remained a wisp of a creature
and told myself it was beautiful to be broken
burying myself in sad music and therapy sessions
i pretended i was trying
because everyone wanted so desperately
for the skinny girl to just eat something
but it wasn’t long before
my porcelain face began to crack
as with it came the walls
i had so carefully built for dramatic effect
and instead of theatrical heroism
i simply saw dark circles and ugly ribs
and a confused little girl who needed to confront her demons
before they destroyed her soul
the same way they had killed her body
so instead of fighting for frailness
and holding on to the illness
that had for so long pretended to be my friend
i finally began exposing the voices that haunted me
i allowed the light
to seep in through the fragments that were left of me
i welcomed the help
i had previously feigned to accept
and i let it all transform me
into someone real, and healthy, and so very alive
who is beginning to come to the understanding
that it’s okay to be damaged
and to embrace your vulnerability
but it’s even more okay to try to put yourself back together
learning to accept and heal
and eventually leaving the past behind
as you allow yourself to finally become the person
you were meant to exist as all along.

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoTimothy Paul Smith

Enough

the biggest lie

your eating disorder will ever tell you

is that you’re

almost there

that there is a set point for your happiness,

which you will reach once you just

lose that three pounds

or 

drop another two sizes

or

run an extra mile

and it distorts the truth so seductively,

so believably,

that you listen

and push your beautiful body

to limits it should never be forced to face

for the sake of obedience

and the hope of being 

enough

as every day you lose more and more

not only of your skin

but of yourself

in a neverending search for satisfaction

that the voices will mask as

achievable

and 

obtainable

and

the answer to all your problems

yet when you look in the mirror

you see only inadequacy

for no reason except that

you are lost in a struggle

to be better and better

until you are

the best

and anything below that is 

weakness

and ultimately

failure

even though

you are straining toward an unattainable goal

and the

reality

is that

you are never more powerful

than when you choose to argue back

and simply say 

no–

that you will not give in,

and that the mirror’s image shows

someone flawed,

but 

real

who is

strong

and

whole

and a

fighter,

and the hardest part

ultimately becomes the easiest

when you simply

stop listening

to all the lies you have been fed

in place of the sustenance your flesh has longed for

and whisper to your beaten down reflection

the revelation you have been rejecting all along–

that you have always

been

enough.

Restoration

i would be lying
if i said recovery was easy–
if i pretended it didn’t bother me
that my tiny waist has expanded;
that my clothes still fit, but fit “differently;”
or that i am no longer “the skinny girl”
with the pale skin and perfectly flat stomach.
between obsessive calorie counting
and the regained curvature of my legs
i am falling apart
trying desperately to remember
the lightness of my emaciated frame
and the feeling of my ribcage on my fingertips.
every day holds a temptation
to simply give in and avoid the kitchen
and i long so strongly
to shut my lips against anything
besides water and herbal tea.
it is a seemingly unending battle
and the only thought sustaining me
is that i cannot afford another relapse
or a desire to live this way forever–
in constant fear of something
that is necessary to survival.
truthfully, I was so worn of being
unable to hold up my head when i woke
and tired when i climbed the stairs to my bedroom.
though mentally weak,
i cannot deny that my body is healthier than it has been
for a long, long time
and deep down, i know that it will become a great deal easier
to accept the healing i avoided for so many months
the more i take care of
my precious, malnourished being
in spite of myself.
with this reflection, i continue fighting
and looking forward to restoration–
not necessarily of my figure,
but of the depths of my mind
with the knowledge that i am living
exactly as i am supposed to.
so through all of the tears,
the empty wishes,
and the anxiety i face daily,
i will continue smiling at the strength,
capability,
and power of this exquisite body
that i have dragged through hell and back
with the understanding that, because of this struggle,
i am becoming a better version of myself
than i could have possibly imagined.

Lemons and Lemonade

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On a nice, warm, spring day, what is better than enjoying a sweet glass of lemonade?  The only thing that could make that better could be adding a little bit of vodka into it, if you are into that sort of a drink.

Lemonade is known to be a sweet beverage.  It has a certain nostalgia that also goes along with it.  A warm spring day, sweet, soft breeze passing you by as you sit on a red checkered blanket watching the grass sway in the wind, while you sit and bask in the warmth that is being provided by the beaming, happy sun.

Lemons are known to be bitter and sour.  A car that is a lemon is a car that has hidden damages or problems.  You get “suckered” and make that twisted face, in much the same way as if you were to suck on a lemon (unless you are my daughter who loves lemons and limes) when you get stuck with something that is not what you expected to receive.

There has been a saying, “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade!”  Of course, it is not saying to make a glass of lemonade when something bad happens (unless that helps you deal with the situation).  It is metaphorical in that it suggests that when we are given something that is sour, damaged, misleading or not what we expected, to turn it into something that is sweet, enjoyable and that has more of a positive connotation to it, like lemonade.  More or less, add sugar to a sour situation and make the best of it.

Within my life, I have managed to grow an entire Lemon Orchard.  I swear there are days that it seems like if it is not one thing it is another.  One lemon after another.  I’ve tried to just deal with all the lemons, be grateful for the shade that the orchard provides, learn how to make all sorts of recipes that include lemons, like lemon chicken, lemon pepper salmon, lemon cake, lemon poppy seed muffins, and yes, lemonade.

I’ll admit that there are days when lemonade just won’t cut it for me.  I need something stronger, so I add a shot of vodka, sit on my patio and stare at my orchard.  Within the orchard, there’s the Bipolar Tree, the anxiety one, depression is in there, fibromyalgia, PTSD, anorexia, endometriosis, and chronic pain.  I may be missing a few, but that gives a pretty good idea of what I am working with.  It seems like once I get one issue taken care of, another one pops up.  The Bipolar was under control and then the anxiety popped up.  We squash the anxiety and the depression creeps in.  Banish the depression and the mania shows up ready for a party.  Subdue the mania, and bam, the endometriosis is back.  So, what’s a girl to do?

Lemonade, people, lemonade!  I am blessed to have a life where I can handle what I am given, and for the most part, I am dealing with one issue or ailment at a time.  That I, outside of my mental illness, and chronic conditions, have a pretty healthy immune system.  I have learned how to work with the hand that I was dealt and play the cards to win some hands.  I don’t win every hand, but I always end up winning enough to come out slightly above where I started.

I think that some of my drives comes from the way that I was raised.  My mother has lived much of her life dealing with severe chronic pain.  Yet, she forever, has joy and peace in her heart, not just trudging through the discomfort, but gleefully prancing as she’s grateful to still be able to walk after being told that by age 40 she would be wheelchair bound.  I was raised that you take what God gave you and you make the best of it while embracing your life with grace and love.

This weekend I will use my lemons to make some lemonade, lemon pepper salmon and a lemon cake with vanilla glaze.  I will take the sour events that happened this week and embrace them, but not allow them to control my thoughts or feelings.  My mind will stay focused on all the positive things that I have in my life and how incredibly blessed I am, despite my lemon orchard.

 

Sprinkled Cupcakes and Fairy Dust,

~Michelle

www.bellasbabbles.com

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoJ. Kelly Brito