Everything That Rises Must Converge:

 

My extended family is converging on Southern California
for my grandfather’s memorial.

Among the ridiculous things I have done to prepare for this onslaught:

1) Situps and pushups every night because my family is a family of skinny asses, except for me and my mom (thanks for the thighs, MOM)
2) Squats in the shower (see above)
3) White strips for my genetically murky teeth (DAD)
4) Frenetic face washing in the hopes that those pores will shrink (MOM!)
5) Spanx dance
6) Trying on every. single. piece. of. clothing. in my closet because showing your collarbones in my family is immodest
7) Realizing that I own ONE boat-neck blouse, and it is probably “informal”, according to the Boyo
8) Panicking about the correct date to get a manicure, since I will be making floral arrangements for the services
9) Putting a tablespoon of coconut oil on my morning toast, because
Someone Said it will make my skin prettier
10) Dropped almost $300 on a haircut and color so at least
my head looks presentable
11) Started counting calories again

12) Cried.

13) A lot.

 

And if all of this sounds like just so much sturm und drang
You haven’t interacted with my family.

Because what I should be thinking about are the
memories I have of my grandfather.
What I should be thinking about is how much I’m looking forward
to seeing my cousins again.
What I should be thinking about is how to help my grandmother.

 

I am not.

Because I am not good enough for my parents.
Never have been.
Never will be.
Nor am I good enough for my grandmother.
I was never defended from her acerbic tongue by either of my parents,
not as a child,
certainly not as an adult.

I could show up at the memorial,
dressed to the homeschooled nines
(because we’re not legalists like those Mennonites!)
in an ankle-length jumper,
crewneck blouse,
tights,
and flats,
with my hair hidden under a long-ass wig,
and my family would still find something to criticize.

Your ELBOWS are showing! HUSSY.

 

That’s just what they do.

Thirty years of this,
and I am still voiceless.

 

So I will do what I have always done:

Go.
Wear something reasonable.
Smile.
Say very little.
Find a corner to hole away into every couple of hours.

 

I wish my sister was coming.

 

Update: Sister was able to get a ticket after all!
I am so, so grateful that she will be there.

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Yes:

 

“Maybe we visited a place so dark that we couldn’t see anything but the trauma or our loved one’s absence and maybe when we came back, part of that place stuck to us like a layer of soot across our eyes. Or an iron weight in our throat. A shadow that filters how we feel and think about the world, tinging everything with shades of gray.”

On the Difficulties of Restriction:

 

Which sounds way more hoity-toity than it actually is.

I went to a follow up appointment with my doctor,
and found out that nothing is Actually Wrong with Me.

My body is just being a dick.

All of my blood tests came back completely normal,
with a little bit of, “oh, you need more vitamin D,
and should probably take fish oil”.

So the being sick after eating at any restaurant,
the violent reaction to soy,
the struggling to keep salad down?

Ain’t no thing.

SO.
ANNOYING.

Consequently,
my doctor recommended that I go gluten-free for six months.

I’m currently trying it out for two weeks.

 

‘Coz here’s the bitch about eliminating an entire (and large!)
food group from my diet:

I’m recovering from a ten year eating disorder.
Restricting is a really bad plan.

And because,
hello,
my brain is broken when it comes to food,
my first reaction upon being told to go gluten-free
was to feel guilty about the food that I’ve been eating.

If I had been good,
I wouldn’t be sick.

If I had been eating less,
I wouldn’t be sick.

If I had stuck to a handful of almonds and a piece of fruit in the morning,
I wouldn’t be sick.

If I weren’t eating things like whole-grain english muffins,
I would be skinny.

In my brain,
she was telling me this because
I am a bad person.

(Welcome to the eating disordered mind, people.)

All of which makes just trying out gluten-free
a daunting task.

It’s not really because I think gluten-free bread tastes like a moldy paper cup.

It’s because I feel like I’ve been bad,
and if I hadn’t been,
I wouldn’t be dealing with this.

It sucks.

 

ps (And? No more saltines when I’m sick? *tears*)