Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

I never expected anyone besides myself to read JN when I started it. Slowly, though, I began to make friends, lasting, enduring friendships that would end up helping me through many times of need. For various reasons I have tried to stop writing – I’ve created other blogs to win back some anonymity, I’ve just flat out taken a break with no intention of writing again. I have come back to JN too many times because not only is it an emotional outlet for me, it helps me work through issues by writing about them, as when I’m writing about something that is bothering me I usually end up with at least a path that I should take. I may not have the answer or solution, but there’s something about free-associative writing that makes me feel better, stronger, smarter about my own life. Shortly after I started writing I developed my own “code,” as so many of us do. If writing is truly a catharsis, which it is for me, I cannot let myself back away from writing about things that scare me. If I have even a fleeting doubt in my mind of whether I should write through something, the door slams shut and locks me inside. If there’s a sense of doubt, my resolve – my “code” – kicks in and tells me that I can’t avoid it. I have to write about it. I write JN because I want to look back after I’m older and know who I was, good and bad, and the paths I’ve taken that have been setbacks or have allowed me to grow. Nobody cares what I had for lunch, least of all me when I’m old and grey. But the issues that plagued me or struck a nerve? That’s why I write. I want to know myself, who I was, how I became the me that reads this later.

I’ve been putting this day off, like some other days of truth, because I am loathe to bring forward the tidal wave of emotions over this subject. It has made my life a living hell, and while sometimes there’s a retreat and a period of blissful unconcern, it always seems to surface again. And again. And again. No matter how cautiously and gently I treat the issue, it always comes back. And the sad thing is that I don’t know if this person will ever not haunt me. I fear it’s for life. It’s a stalker of the worst kind – it allows you to feel peace when it’s gone, but I’m always watching, feeling watched, like two holes burning into my brain from its evil stare.

Few people know Karah. She doesn’t like attention, she’s steel, she doesn’t need anyone. In fact, she doesn’t want anyone. She can go it alone, thankyouverymuch. She prides herself on being all she needs; she loves the control, expertise and total domination of the world. She watches and observes everything through narrowed eyes, her jaw set and body ready to strike. Karah is not a nice person. If there’s one thing about Karah, though, she gets shit done like no one else can.

The problem with Karah, though, is that she technically doesn’t exist. She lives in my mind, my subconscious. She lurks in the corners of my life, of my brain, of my heart. She is my default mode, the “safe” mode on one’s computer after the Blue Screen of Death. When she feels I need her, she’s the first one to come running. She takes over.

Karah is not a multiple personality. Karah is me. Karah is my eating disorder, my anorexia. I’m told those who suffer eating disorders commonly give that part of themselves a name. My name is Karah. I am a statistic.

I haven’t had an eating disorder my whole life. Nay, I was a chunky teenager, with folds of fat and chubby cheeks that, when I smiled, made my eyes into little parenthesis, little crescent moons. I’d like to say I started losing weight as a conscious decision, that I was sick of how it made me feel, that I was sick of not being attractive to boys. I didn’t, though. I just started losing a few pounds. The summer after graduating high school I ran into a friend at one of the fairs in our area and, whether she was just being nice I’ll never know, she said I looked like I lost some weight and that I looked great. I wore this proudly. I lost more. By the time I said my goodbyes that summer and left for college I had lost 20 lbs.; I was down to 180. And during that first year of college, I lost 30 more.

150.

I lost more over the summer, “healthily,” and returned to university 20 lbs. lighter.

130.

And then Karah came along over that Christmas holiday and burrowed her into my brain like something you’d see in a science fiction movie. After my summer abroad in London and Scotland after sophomore year, I was more than actively restricting. I was shutting down. When my then-boyfriend tried to bring it up, I lost my shit and, I think, hung up on him. I may have been in the throes of anorexia, but I was goddamned if anyone – especially someone I loved – broke through my wall of denial.

107.

It was during junior year of college that I lost him for the first time, that I started avoiding friends, consuming myself in extracurricular activities and started losing friends. Nobody around me could avoid the topic anymore; everyone knew and also knew that I would angrily cut myself off if they were to bring it up. And the way eating disorders work, there’s absolutely nothing anyone could say that will penetrate the walls. Once they’re up, they’re next to impossible to break down. And so I lost friends, lost the boyfriend with whom I got back together and who proposed to me.

97.

I eventually recovered, though I don’t know how. I was never in treatment, I blew off the therapy in which my mom forced me, I kept not eating. Carrots and mustard? Only if I’m super hungry. Cauliflower and mustard? A suitable alternative. Alcohol and Skittles? A perfect 7-course meal. I learned tricks to keep me from eating. I developed my own. I trolled sites that are now called “pro-ana” but weren’t back then. I learned how to pretend to eat but not take anything in. I learned how to lie. I learned to hate Stacy; I learned to believe that Stacy was a failure unless Karah was in charge. Karah, who could ward off people, food, disappointment. Karah, who earned me 4.0s. Stacy was, in the end, just a shell, a vehicle in which she wasn’t a passenger but a hostage tied up and thrown in the trunk to die.

And then I just started eating again. Gradually, to be sure, but I allowed myself to take in food. I started to feel hunger pains again, and where they once gave me pride, now they just made me feel sick unless I ate something. I was becoming “normal.” I went through about 6 months of bloat while my body tried to regain control, to figure out whether this was going to be sustained, this new way of living, or if it should hold onto fat and calories in the event of a drought. I was 22 years old when I started to eat normally again.

I would relapse many times over the course of the next several years. I may or may not be in the middle of a relapse as I write this. It’s impossible to know, to trust your own mind when it has been taken over so completely so many times. I’m always on the lookout. But, sometimes, I need to admit that I rather like Karah. I idolize that part of me and think of it fondly. Even though I lost my life and so many people I cared about. It’s dangerous, this fascination, this default part of who I am, what I will allow to consume me completely. It’s the Karah part of me that is the over-achiever, that does not accept anything less than the best, who does not allow failure or half-assed attempts at anything.

And she’s always, always calling my name. She’s always there when I’m sad or weak, always tugging at me to let her take control. Always trying to convince me that she will help me, she’s there, she’s the only one who has always been there for me. Not true. But sometimes I forget the hell anorexia put me through, I forget those I lost, the ease with which I allowed myself to lose them. I forget; nay, I sometimes don’t allow myself to remember. It’s then that she grabs for me. It’s then when she takes over. Hunger, emptiness masked as satiety. Hunger pains become a source of pride, that I need so little from anyone – even myself – I am above all of the body’s natural instinct. It’s when Karah takes over that my carriage changes. I stand defiant, tall. I get things done.

Karah gets things done. Stacy doesn’t. Karah has disguised herself as a friend, a good part of my being, someone positive. And, if she strikes at the right time, she is all that and more. And so, while a part of me knows her destruction, the other part relaxes, comfortable just taking a nap inside of myself. Karah has made my life hell, treated me like shit, bringing me to the brink of death or organ failure with a giggle and sly smile that that won’t happen on her watch.

But that’s exactly when it will happen. Karah, though, thinks she’s invincible, that nothing can touch her. And nothing can, frankly. It will touch me, smother me, strangle me. Not her. Karah is perfection. Karah is blissfully empty. Void of feeling, pain, doubt. Karah is the me I wish I could be.

Sometimes.

———-

Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

{ 11 comments }

1 NathanPralle
Twitter:
11.16.10 at 4:43 pm

My heart and arms are not big enough for all the hugs and comfort I wish I could give every single person who feels uncomfortable in their own skin. I wish I could do more to fix it all.

2 palinode 11.16.10 at 4:56 pm

I have a friend who purges. She always describes the urge, the compulsion to throw it all back up, as a handsome stranger in a cowboy who sort of ambles up and talks soothingly to her when she’s stressed or lost or in despair.

3 TJ 11.16.10 at 5:18 pm

Damn, Stacy. So excellent, so powerful. Wow.

4 Sir 11.16.10 at 5:27 pm

I’m finding some of these writing prompts are a little tougher than I’d anticipated, as well.

I think knowing your demons takes away a lot of their power, but you also realize that there’s no getting rid of them. Finding a way to live with ourselves is certainly a full-time job with incredibly crappy pay.

5 Meangirlgarage 11.16.10 at 8:59 pm

Thank you for your honesty and for giving such a voice to this. You are so beautiful.

6 Chanel 11.17.10 at 12:46 am

I’m really throwing hugs and kisses at you right now. Your voice is definitely powerful and you tell a story that touches home to so many people reading this. …..you are strong.

7 byflutter 11.17.10 at 2:29 am

I’ve got news for you. Stacy kicks Karah’s fucking ass.

8 Meena 11.18.10 at 3:53 am

I hear you; I had a “pal” like Karah in my life for a time. What ultimately – I mean, really, ultimately got rid of her (him? It?) for me was that I got so incredibly sick of the manipulation. This buddy had a set routine in which she would use it on everyone else around first (a la, “Oh yeah? Think you can pull that? Well watch THIS!!!!) and then would have the nerve to turn it on me – every time. Every single time. Lots of mustard under the bridge – no kidding (Grey Poupon, BTW; it shocks me that I still actually enjoy it!)

I’ve been reading your blog for several years now. Your honesty blows me away.

9 baltimoregal 11.18.10 at 5:19 pm

This is a disease I don’t understand, never understood- but I think I might be much closer to getting it now.

10 Tiffany 11.18.10 at 10:36 pm

Wow. Thank you for this. I’ve been reading your blog for several years but I don’t think I’ve ever commented. But now I can’t stop reading and re-reading. Thank you.

11 Tracey GaughranPerez 11.19.10 at 6:28 pm

Woah. Love you, lady. xo

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