*** I wrote this post a while ago and shared it with only a few close friends, they encouraged me to post it, and now I feel ready ***
I’ve had this disease for ten years now, only it went undiagnosed for nine. All these years I’ve been the skinny one, I’ve been slender, toned. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t put on weight, mainly I was thankful. If I wanted unhealthy food I could have it; if I felt like having a snack, I didn’t think twice; if I couldn’t be bothered to exercise, I’d sit and relax on the sofa. It was hard too, always having to eat, forcing food in my mouth when I wasn’t hungry, just to maintain my weight. “It’s just as hard being underweight as overweight” I used to say. It was a struggle to take in the amount I needed for my body not to slim even more.
I thought it was my metabolism. I thought it was the way I was created. No-one suggested otherwise.
Skinny was me. Skinny fit.
Then I became ill, more ill than ever before. The weight dropped off, slowly at first, then more rapidly. I was diagnosed. They traced my medical history, they talked to me about my life, they looked at the extent of the damage internally. “9 years” they said, “9 years you’ve had this disease.”
They started intense treatment, pumped me full of drugs, forced supplements down my throat, doubled my calorie intake, gave me calorie intense milkshakes, made me pop pill after pill.
It took some time. I got worse at first, and the weight kept falling off. I thought I might die. Then one day it stopped. I weighed myself and the scales flashed the same numbers as three days earlier. Slowly it began to reverse, the grams turned into kilograms, my body began to function at a livable level again. Doctors, nurses, dieticians, parents, friends, they all smiled as they read the digits on the scales. I smiled too.
I was better. No need for all these drugs now they said. As they withdrew them, so my body protested, and in it’s protest it shed the kilos I had so lovingly layered on it. So we began the road of compromise, how few drugs could we give my body till it would be pacified and keep the kilos. It was a game of yo-yo, and it seemed to go on forever.
Finally my body was appeased. It had what it needed and no longer was it trying to rip off what I put on it, no longer was it trying to flush out whatever I put in it. It had been silenced, it had given up the fight, and whatever went in, stayed in. Kilos were layered on, and they stayed on.
Only it wasn’t a real solution. The drugs may have subdued my body, but they were greedy, they grabbed every calorie they could, they won as many kilos as they were able. They even stole water to give the illusion of big. And whilst they did this they offended my sleep, they ate my bones, they rejected my hair. My body may have been subdued, but it was also being robbed of any control. And so these drugs, these life-saving drugs, they’ll have to be waved goodbye to before too long.
Now, the story’s changed. The smile has faded, and it’s been replaced by tears. I step on the scales and the digits that flash offend. Doctors make encouraging noises, but tears stream down my face, always a bigger number than the time before. Always a number never experienced before in my life. I wince as I walk, naked, past the mirror. I am oddly intrigued as I catch a glimpse of my face in the window, when did this happen? When will it stop? I curl up and wrap clothes and blankets around me, ashamed, hoping to hide my body, as I sit with friends. Then one day, I go to get dressed, clothes laid out ready to wear. I pull on my tights, put on the strappy top, careful not to stumble in front of the mirror. Then I pick up my shorts and go to pull them on. I stop and I break down into tears and sobs, and I crumple onto my bed as I realize they won’t go on. Skinny doesn’t fit.
Skinny doesn’t fit.
Skinny doesn’t fit, and I don’t know how to live that. I don’t know how to be that person. Skinny doesn’t fit and it scares me. Skinny doesn’t fit and I feel like another layer of my identity has been ripped apart from me. Skinny doesn’t fit and I don’t know when or if it ever will.
Skinny doesn’t fit, and the words sting deep, it’s a bitter pill to swallow.
Skinny doesn’t fit and I don’t know what to do.
We’re Back! Merry Mondays.
Boy do I need to do this. It’s an exercise for myself to get my eyes focused on the right things, and I have missed doing this with you all. It’s going to be hard this week, but lets start.
1) My CrossPoint community who I get to do church with online each week. They build. challenge, encourage, and love me so well.
2) My new flat. It’s a lovely place, and it’s nice living with somebody, and it’s a great location.
3) Living near the sea. The sea is so healing and therapeutic don’t you think?
4) My sister being back from a placement abroad… I’ve missed her and it was so good to just sit and chat again today :)
5) Being able to go away on a conference next week.
Looking forward to:
1) Having my flat-mate around as shes off work on “study leave”.
2) Getting back into writing.
3) Re-connecting with some people I’ve not seen in a while.
4) Being creative.
Hope you all can find things to be thankful for and things to look forward to this week. I’d love to know what they are :)
I read the words across my screen, the post by Preston titled “my book and i and the silence of God”. My soul is calmed and my mind slows down, it’s okay, someone else has been here, and journeyed through. I scroll through the comments and what Wendi wrote strikes me, I read it a second time. I love her words, and I love her imagery, it touches me deep.
“I realize that when Jesus comes to me and tells me that for the next however long I’m just going to have to rely on faith I try to fill that silence with chatter. It’s an awkward silence that I must fill. Like small talk on a bad first date. Or dinner with your in-laws. Or the last year and a half in my former job.
I can’t stand to think that God would let me just stew in His grace, simmer in it like a crock pot meal. I have to think that God is always right there ready and willing to drop everything and take me up like a mother to her new born.
So I buy books and watch webinars and read websites instead of sitting quietly and letting the silence wrap me up.”
I know that’s me, scrambling for something, anything, to end this silence, to close this distance, to rekindle the intimacy. I know that awkwardness she speaks of, and so I respond. I type the words, the first I have written, really written in at least a month.
“I love that imagery “like small talk on a bad first date.” I feel like I’m on a bad first date with God… or maybe I feel like I’m in the awkward family court room with the divorce papers on the table, hoping, beyond reason, that the papers won’t be signed, that it’ll all be saved just in time.”
And then it hits me, maybe that’s why it’s so hard, this awkwardness, this silence. It’s harsh because we’re not strangers, it’s not a first date, I’m not new to this, to Him. If it were silent because we didn’t know each other, because I didn’t have the right words to say; if it were awkward because we were new to each other, unused to the other presence, if that were the case it would be bearable. If that were the case it would be part of the process, an expected hurdle to overcome.
But that’s not the case.
We’ve had years together, I knew Him, and I let Him know me. We’ve overcome the clumsy “first-date” stage, we’ve learnt to speak freely with one another. I’ve shed tears in front of Him, I’ve shared secrets with Him no-one else would ever be privy to. He’s seen tears of grief and hears peals of joy that none other has shared. Yet now, now there is nothing. Now I feel like I’m left with divorce papers laying on the table in front of me. Now I feel like I’m being given my decision.
Sign my separation, walk away. Or wait, hope, trust.
So I wait, unable to walk away just now. Hoping that at the last moment this will be saved, unsure what my hope is in, but knowing there is still a flicker there. The papers remain unsigned, and I look around and see my One Word “Trust” standing on the bookcase.
I choose to trust, trust there will be an end to this silence; trust that this desert won’t last forever.