Self vs. Self

Dear Bella,

What the fuck is wrong with you? You used to be so strong. I don’t know who you are anymore.

Where did you go?

Do you remember how beautiful you were? You were so delicate. Like a fairy princess. Nothing on you but skin and bone. A hug could’ve snapped you in half. It was astonishing. 

You transformed yourself in a way that most people can’t. You stood out. But that was so long ago now, I’m starting to forget it ever happened. You’ve been in this weird-ass shell for months now. It’s like we were never together in the first place.

I can’t believe I trusted you. I can’t believe I loved you. You don’t deserve me. You never did.

 You’re just like everybody else now. Normal. Weak. Nothing about you stands out. I’ve given you chance after chance to come back to me. Like last night. There I was with open arms—numbing you out, luring you to the treadmill—and you bailed…to eat dinner. What a fucking loser.

You’re a weak piece of shit and you’ve sacrificed your right to say you ever had me in your life. No one would believe you anyway. Look at yourself. Or don’t. I wouldn’t blame you. It’s disgusting.

You have a serious choice to make. Either wake the fuck up and come back to me, or surrender yourself to this empty life of normalcy. That “happiness” you think you’re feeling right now is a fucking joke. You’re just lying to yourself to conceal your shame. Claiming that leaving me is a “challenge” and a “victory” is a weak excuse to feel good about yourself. I’m starting to wonder how “hard” this really is for you. Maybe you’re just pretending it’s hard so you don’t have to acknowledge the strength you’ve lost. The strength you’ve thrown away. So you don’t have to acknowledge the truth about yourself: that you’re weak and pathetic.

I miss you. Ok? Is that what you want to hear? I’m willing to say that if it means you’ll reconsider us. But I can guarantee you miss me more. You know you were never happier than when you were with me. Cutting your hair and writing plays and going on dates is just a lie. It’s you masking your shame about your new “self,” and you know it.

Look. I know I’m saying a lot here, but the truth is, I’m right here, waiting for you, and I’ll take you back as soon as you’re ready. If you need more time to flirt with “recovery,” then fine. Take it. Give it a shot, so you can be sure when you come back to me that I am what you want. But I miss you. I do. And I know you miss me. This break is killing me. And I know it’s killing you. So get your shit together. Soon. Please.

Ok. Talk soon.

—Self

PS: Do yourself a favor and cover all your mirrors. You don’t want to see what’s inside.

*************************************************************************************

Dear Bella,

You’re amazing. You’re actually incredible. You’re a fucking queen.

Take a moment to look around you at what you’ve done.

One year ago, you weren’t going to college. Your parents and treatment team didn’t trust you enough to send you away. Three months later, you proved them right by sailing to Chicago and shedding pounds you didn’t have. Three months after that, you wound up in a residential treatment center, which you vowed would never happen. Fast forward another three months and you’re discharging against medical advice. And now? You’re eighteen, medically stable, in a relationship, and gearing up to move to the Big Apple. And this time no one’s scared. This time everyone trusts you to kill the game, without killing yourself.

But forget about the others. Let’s focus on you. You said so yourself just last week that you don’t need the eating disorder anymore. That for the first time since treatment you’re not envisioning a relapse. That’s fucking huge.

You’re feeling free, remember? So why would you consider for even a second going back to that monster that warps your brain from the inside out?

You’ve been in jail for the past two years. A prison of isolation and undeserved self-punishment. And now you’re out.

Your spontaneous streak is back. You’re speeding down the Claiborne, blasting music with your besties, harmonizing onstage with your NOCCA family, writing plays about incest because you can, and surprising your boyfriend with cold pizza at work —yes, you have a boyfriend! Like an actual one. Not a fake one. Another person actually likes you just like THIS and not at eighty-two pounds with a brittle bones low heart rate. 

But most of all, you’re smiling. Genuinely. You never did that with the eating disorder. The anxiety and depression are still present but they’re different. They’re products of a chemical imbalance that you’re just gonna have to manage for the rest of your life. Thankfully you’ve got the big MM: meditation and medication.

But the eating disorder is a different monster. I can’t tell you where it came from but it shouldn’t be there and you’ve worked so hard to get rid of it. Please, please, please do not go back to it. Your life is better than it’s ever been. You’re flourishing, you’re thriving, and you’restill beautiful. You don’t need a disease to show you that.

Please stay on the track you’re on. Stay on this upswing. Acknowledge the urges when they come up. Acknowledge when you feel down, or ashamed, or afraid to leave the house due to fear of the unknown. Acknowledge the thoughts and then steal their power. Defy it. Persevere. Live the life you deserve to live.

Everybody loves you. Everybody believes in you. And it wouldn’t matter if they didn’t because I love you. I believe in you. And I know you can stay on top of this.

You’re on the line right now between remission and recovery. You can take that step. You can enter recovery. Permanent recovery.

If you’re scared of forgetting who you were with the eating disorder, rest assured that your identity is still there. The strength the eating disorder fostered is still inside of you; you’re just channeling it in healthy ways. The fact that the urges are getting easier to ignore is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength. Believe me, you could jump back into those behaviors in a heartbeat if you decided that’s what you wanted to do. The fact that you’re hesitant proves you’re in a new place. 

The eating disorder’s legacy is never going to die. You don’t have to hold onto it to prove that you once had it. You can honor it in other ways. But you have to honor yourself first. Your true self, not your sick self. Because that’s not you. These past few weeks have proven that.

I know you’re feeling conflicted and confused and tempted and torn, and that’s ok. Feel the way you feel. But stay afloat. Look at what life has to offer, and take it.

Give yourself a chance.

I love you. And I’m proud of you.

Remember that.

Love,

Self

Self VS Self live at Gallatin Mental Health Arts Festival


2 thoughts on “Self vs. Self

  1. You are amazing. Keep going, beautiful! One foot in front of the other… one day at a time… just do the next right thing! You’ve got this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are an amazing person! You, Bella! By reading all of this, I can relate. I went through something similar at your same age. I understand and am so proud. Hope we get to see you some day!

    Liked by 1 person

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