This evening I got all hunkered down at my neighborhood Starbucks, coffee beside me, writing playlist blasting in my ears, with every intention to knock out about two chapters of the novel I'm working on for NaNoWriMo. BUT ALAS, sometimes it's hard for me to write fiction when there is stuff happening in my actual life that I need to bleed out onto paper (or computer screen, I suppose). These past few days I can't even tell you how many times I have been told, both in person and on the internet, both individually and collectively, that I (or we) need to calm down, shut up, and stop being afraid. These statements grate on the very core of my being, and I'll tell you why.
A few years ago, when I was first starting treatment, my therapist paused our conversation to gently direct my attention to the fact that after every painful thing I told her, I would laugh. Even if tears were streaming down my face, I would chuckle. I would talk about truly traumatizing things -- mainly losing my father, grandfather, and other grandfather in the span of a month, and how that undoubtedly led to my desperate need for control -- and for whatever reason I would just laugh. She looked me straight in the eye and told me that this was a safe room, and a place that I didn't need to mask my emotions in order to prove to the world that I was okay. It took me months to unlearn this behavior. Mainly because, when you're deeply entrenched in anorexia, you lose the ability to feel almost anything. Sure, I wasn't truly happy, but I also wasn't ever truly sad. Or angry, or disappointed, or hopeful, or agitated. I just simply was. It was during that time that I learned how to feel all of those things again, and let me tell you, it was overwhelming. Imagine nearly five years of backed up emotions rushing towards the forefront of your being all at once. It was a LOT to deal with. I remember one day during this period of time a college friend I wasn't even particularly close with showed up at my work and I literally sobbed my eyes out in the bathroom.
Since then, my emotions have mellowed out. I still feel things pretty deeply, but it's nothing compared to those first few months that I finally allowed them into my life again. It was hard work letting myself be angry, letting myself be sad, letting myself be scared. I am the first to say that I am truly grateful for my time in recovery, and I wouldn't go back and live a life in which I never got sick. It made me who I am and definitely made me a better person today. It allowed me to see the importance of allowing yourself to feel every emotion you experience, sit with it, and use it. Something productive can come from every. single. feeling. Don't you dare tell another human being how to feel, or to just stop feeling a certain way. Don't you dare tell me to calm down, or to not be angry because of what is happening in the world. And if someone has been directing this kind of sentiment towards you, I will fight for you. I will defend you. I will fight until I have no more breath in my body. I am with you every step of the way.
Peace, Love, and Nasty Women,