#3: The closer I get to Monday, the more anxious and agitated I feel.

The closer I get to Monday, the more anxious and agitated I feel.

I must brainstorm multiple treatment options, take the first available, pack up my apartment and also care for myself in the process. Luckily, my lease finishes soon.

Today, I'm seeing my myofascial doctors, yesterday I got a manicure and pedicure and now I'm determining what in my space to keep or detach from.

As I sort, I am guilt-ridden from "indulging" in multiple doctors' care, coping or otherwise stewarding my body in a way that is sensible yet, to her, terribly illogical. It only occurs to me today that I have forgotten I deserve good things, health is among those good things, and no one better knows what serves good health except for my own body. I explain to no one else why basic manicures and pedicures provide my body more than basic protection against sickness. No one knowledgeable of my medical history judges my bones' poor density and vitamin deficiency.  Those who wonder will ask; those determined to instruct, tell.

Despite our mandated separation, she called yesterday and texted three times today.

This communication peak is an unknown outlier. She and dad are fine, because I've talked to dad this whole time. He knows I am not in the hospital any longer, focused on getting better, and working out a plan with my team. He is concerned I'm not working, but only checks in about it once a week or so. When he does, he asks one question, I answer, and that's it. She said, in our last conversation, that the sickness is getting ridiculous. Yes: "ridiculous."

I no longer keep secrets to protect her as a way of protecting myself.

That is very critical to increased awareness of what is happening. As I continue to say, we have thoroughly discussed this, and she expects my speaking. I agree to disagree that the further into adulthood I grow, I learn more and more fair parent-child relationship patterns, and I try hard to practice them.

This time is different because I had virtually little insight last October, but I have so much insight now.

Though, until now, I believed I was strong enough to both engage with the tom foolery and grow from its disturbances. 

Even still, I do not blame myself for "falling for it." That is the very inherent nature of abusive relationships. Narcissists are so far beyond skilled at their manipulation games, and those games are only played in a few hands.

It takes years to pull an abused person from her dependency, and while every case is unique to each victim, it could be true we are so busy trying to determine whether the abuser is brilliant or we are brilliant, if we should be hurt or the abuser has overstepped our bounds, or if we are even strong.

The truth is, it is not one but all of those.

We are both brilliant and hurting, hurting not because we are wrong but were wronged.

Strength was never the question at all.

Nothing was about us. Everything was focused on us.

Both our abusers' and our own brilliance coexist, but their contradictory values, purposes and characters clash. The abuser's circuit was so well wired, so tightly, so systematically, intricately wired, that it produced a bellowing light used for darkness.

I am so far beyond the point of disappointed, but no longer in myself. I grieve my story because I needed and still need motherhood and self-parent. Every day is a reengaging with what's past. I deconstruct lies to reconstruct truth, and I know it will take a lifetime, yet I do not with for myself a lifetime of struggle because I cannot wait to live freely only after perfecting what's present. It is all valid, it is all valid, it is all valid, it is all working. That is the brilliance of well-built or too bruised boundaries.

When we were graciously gifted a $1,000 monthly living stipend in graduate school, we hustled, we hustled hard, and we made it work. All of us. I still finished with a savings account in tact - the girl with too many thousands worth of medical bills. I cannot describe to you how it happened otherwise to say that I am unstoppable when planted in my values. I lack nothing. I must fix nothing. I have no needs. They are entirely met. There is no depletion, no deprivation.

So deprivation slowly worked its way back into a mindset, but the mindset rose up again to say, "NO." And then that opportunity came: financial need for financial starvation covered by financial irregularities. Why? Because a rich mindset is threatening to a rich young ruler. The ruler has no more leverage with which to tie up its servants. And I don't care how strong in soul, spirit, heart or mind you are: starvation will kill you 100% of the time.

The "sudden change" seems "sudden" because, despite the rapidly increasing severity of starvation, which is physical abuse, I remain strong in spirit, or at least I am tenacious.

That tenacity is the emotional transformation of what it means to be strong and that my strength is not being tested. That tenacity only exists because no time was wasted. I was always strong. My mommas and foster sister always knew I could do it. They raised me in truth. They called out the strength inside of me until our arms flipped the batteries. Then "The Walking DSM Model" became, to its origins, life threatening.

So here I am again: Reteaching my body to eat.

I find an odd connection in my receiving the IRS' tax refund on Valentine's Day, but I've spoken in enough circles with plentiful metaphors, and really the point is I am reconnecting to Power again. 

But this time is the last time, because this time I am speaking. I am speaking respectfully, with dignity, in apologies and encouragements, making no excuses, use no self-ingratiating phrases, and only take ownership for the things I possess sole property. The ReignDear games are over.

All I have for sure is my story and my integrity.

Often, even choices can be manipulated, and nothing tangible is outside hardship's reach. So, because choices are complex, this is exactly why eating disorders are not choices. I do not know any disease that is a choice.

Once upon a time, I said to myself:
"Little Bird,
your gift to this world
is you."

I live for me
because it means
loving what is
Loving what is hurting
loves those whom
hurting hurts.
Those who hurt
desire to know
life, and life
was Gifted to me.


Photography © natalie rose eddings