Wednesday, October 31, 2012

On Overcoming Halloween & An Eating Disorder

The years start off innocent with princesses and homemade bliss. Then adolescence hits and the material shrinks away as gobs of makeup are an undeniable must. We start to cover up the imperfections and flaunt the rest because we want to be loved, especially on this dark day.

I remember trick or treating in my youth—I remember being dorothy in fifth grade and I remember  dumping it all out and just looking at it for hours. We would gather tight in a circle and trade. I was (and still am) a chocolate kinda girl. Reeses are certainly the way to my heart. I don't quite recall the year but I was young. I remember it because I lost one of my red slippers in my mad dash for candy.

 I remember hiding some of my candy in the basement after the fall festival at school so my mom wouldn't be able to take it all away from me after my night of sugar bliss. She was strict about food—especially candy. After my allotted 3 pieces a night, I would sneak down there to eat it some nights, when I had a bad day. You won't tell me what I can and can't eat. I remember thinking, before I gorged myself to the point of sickness on that chocolate candy I stashed.

Long after I was {supposed to be} in bed she tip-toed over to my bag and pulled out her favorites. Lots of them. One time I caught her. She got so mad. This is one of those vivid times when I recognize her food issues unconfessed that probably fed into mine.

I remember adolcence and the way it became less about the jokes and more a perfect excuse to stay out late with freinds. I didn't really party nor did I bear more skin then the average person, not even on this day. I remember covering up my body actually. I hit puberty and the pounds seemed to mount themselves to my hips and thighs with each bit I took back then. I don't even remember what I was wearing that year but I probably didn't need a costume since I wondered through the neighborhood with my friends clothed in a mask of shame daily. I had daddy issues and he disappeared.

My costumes never had blood or gore or a scary mask. I always wanted to clothe myself in beauty and just pretend for one night that I really was.

By high school, mom was alone and she always turned off the lights and hid in the basement because she didn't want to spend money on candy—or eat it. That first year as the dreaded freshies we disguised our age and ran from door to door. Free candy, yes please. No one questioned us either. By this point I was throwing up a lot and Halloween was free fuel to my fire.

By the next year I was all lost and consumed in my own darkness that the pursuit of free fuel was far too much work. I locked myself in my room and watched my friends pass by down below, laughing and free. I didn't understand how they could laugh in the dark—how they could eat candy and be free. I grew jealous and bitter and lonely. I told them I was sick. I was—though I wasn't going to admit it just yet. I remember the hoards of candy and orange treats I bought on clearance in the days to follow. Stocked them up in my closet and slid deeper into my dark world of bulimia.

The years to follow I remember Halloween in a treatment program for girls like me where we sat for hours staring darkness in the face before any of us dared to even smell that piece of chocolate out of fear our hips might grow at the scent.

What happened to me, I remember thinking?

I wish I could go back to Dorothy just for an hour and tell her the stash in the basement isn't worth the instant gratification because no matter how much you eat or how skinny you get, it's never going to fill that hole. Food is never going to satisfy. And if you continue on, in just a few years you will be here, staring death in the face and really believing this piece of chocolate is deadly.

I wish I could tell her to just eat those three pieces and go be a kid because innocence is a gift and a little chocolate isn't a death sentence. 

By next year, Dorothy, you won't care about your red slippers or little dog because you will be in the hospital and you will be reaching for death because the scale controls you now and you are tired.

Dorothy, you're never going to be pretty (or skinny) enough for your dad to come back because he is a drunk and someday that might change but you have a purpose and it is bigger then the size of your butt, so stop counting. Your mom might always be a slave of these things, but you are not her.

You sure have a had a messed up start to life little girl, and more bad things might happen to you like the tornado and the witch but just follow the yellow brick road because narrow is the road to life and the Emerald city is closer then you think. It won't always be this hard, I promise.

It hasn't been easy and most days I still battle with food, but I am no longer a slave to it, by God's grace alone. I was bought with a price and Jesus' death on the cross ransomed all my sin and now there is nothing I can do to escape His love. In fact, His love has conquered the hole deep down, the one that food and daddy issues and beauty never did quite satisfy. Daily I must choose life or death and today I choose to walk in the light that I may live.

One day your butt will be bigger and you won't wear a mask and you will spend Halloween eating a few Reeses because you love them and you will wear your red slippers and oh yes—you will be free. 

...for Christ sets captives free. -Isa.61:1-2

1 comment:

  1. O Courtney!!!! You are so precious and the Lord so good! You make that so evident & really in your complete honesty show that in our weakness He is strong!! I love how you write & so beautifully portray Gods love for us!!!! I am so sorry for the hard road you have had in your life but love how you know He can bring beauty from ashes & this world isnt all that there is!!! Love u!!!