So this has been on my mind lately. Probably because of Timehop, this funky app that lets you see what you posted a year, two, three ago, on this very date. Every morning, a teasing little bubble emerges over the app’s icon, reminding me that I need a quick refresher of how screwed up my life used to be.
Or how good.
I’m not going to be all melodramatic and say that it was bad; because I’m privileged and I love being privileged. I have my privilege as an educated, paper-white polyglot from a country which everyone who knows politics feels sorry for. I have a mother who loves me and a dog who wants to hump my leg (well, not anymore, since last week mom had his masculinity snipped off). I have good experiences, years filled with traveling and people who were actually good for my heart.
But sometimes, I am forced to return to memories that are not so good. Not just because they make me feel bad, or trigger me, nudge me towards a relapse. But because I feel guilty.
Allow me to elaborate.
More often than not, at this stage in my life, when I see a picture of myself during those ‘dark’ days (hell, let’s make this even more dramatic, shall we? Bring out the sloths in tutus!), I just feel guilty for doing this to other people in my life.
I feel guilty for making my mother feel like a failed parent. I feel guilty for confusing the hell out of people back home (not their fault that they don’t know what an eating disorder entails), as it scared them. It scared people. I was the murderous clown you see on TV these days. I was terrifying because people felt scared by the way I looked, the way I tore myself apart, the way I reacted to any attempt at someone trying to talk me down. I was scary because I was out of control but so in control at the same time. I was distorted and skeletal and delusional. I was that girl from the Ring.
I also feel guilty because I kind of like myself now. And Mariya today doesn’t deserve what Mariya from three years ago did to her. She literally starved her, and if that’s not a fucked up way to treat a person you’re sharing a living space with, then I don’t know. She told her she was ugly and that nobody would love her if she didn’t control every single calorie that dropped into her stomach. She made her cry. She made her refuse so many things she could have enjoyed back then. She made her lose two years of her life. And she made her spend an insane amount of money on new clothes.
She was a bitch.
Besides that, there’s the guilt that I feel when I think about what could/should never happen again. Because this disease, it’s ingrained in my synapses. It’s not just something that can be forgotten (although if there is a volunteer who is educated enough in localization theory who would like to conk me over the head, please sign up below). So what if I do it again? What if I start being a bitch to Mariya again? What if I decide that stomach juices are enough to keep me alive? This anxious guilt over an unforeseen future is the worst because I’ve been there before. Sure, I’m coping. Sure, I’m eating. Sure, I’m learning that some belly fat may actually be good (especially in freezing Holland). But what if?
Sometimes I wish I could erase those memories.
But then their value would be lost as well. I would be left without the things I learned. I would be bare and prepared to make the same mistakes again.
So I keep them. And I look at them every day. I remind myself of how bad it used to be and how good it’s going to get.
Because it will.