Open Letters from a Rough Week

To my nutritionist:                                                                                                                   

I understand your concern that my weight is too low to get my period, but I am happy and healthy for the first time, and that is a cause for celebration. I don’t know what my weight is–and I never want to know again–but while you say it’s unlikely I’ll get my period here, I highly doubt it’s impossible. 

As you said, I look great: my skin is glowing, and based on my appearance you expected my weight to have held since last session, suggesting that this “significant drop” is merely a temporary dip from my increased activity in the past few weeks. 

I’ll admit that on the hunger/fullness scale I’ve been eating to a 7 when in order to maintain I should be eating to an 8, but it was in no way intentional. I have not been actively restricting or trying to lose weight. 

I can confidently say that I am not in my eating disorder anymore. I’ve simply increased my exercise and I guess I just didn’t realize that that means I have to eat more. I wish I didn’t have to think about this: weight, periods, numbers. 

Weight is just a number. It’s just a fucking number. 

For the first time in forever, I love my body. And I’m not talking about what it looks like: I’m talking about what it feels like, what it does, how it moves. I want to just trust and nourish my body as it is, without constantly worrying, “Hmmmm, did I eat enough?” or, “When the fuck am I gonna get my period back?” 

This is all riding on my fucking period, Jesus, and I DON’T CARE IF I GET MY PERIOD BACK! If getting my period is what it’ll take to get everybody off my back, to put an end to nutrition sessions and stepping on the scale, then sure I guess I want it back, but honestly? I don’t want to have my own kids and not having my period doesn’t affect me on a daily basis. And as for the osteoporosis, well, I’ve already made peace with that and accepted that it’s just something I’ll have to live with. Again, it doesn’t affect me day to day. I’m not in any pain.

To me, osteoporosis and amenorrhea are my battle scars, the remains of my anorexia, an illness which I have recovered from. The wound has healed and these are the scars. I put my body through hell for two years straight; it’d be naive to think I’d emerge from that unscathed. Look, in a way, it’s good there’s some permanent damage; it’ll teach me not to dance with the devil again. Plus, I’m proud of what I’ve been through–of what I’ve conquered–and I want something to show for it. I’d planned to get a tattoo of the recovery symbol inside my left wrist, but Dad mentioned it would hurt me in casting. This is my own personal tattoo! And hey, if and when my period does show up, I’ll welcome it with open arms. But it’s just a matter of waiting. 

All I’m going to do in the meantime is nourish my body appropriately, celebrate myself, and live my life. I’m not going to follow any “meal plan” or check the toilet for blood or have nightly “chats” with my uterus about how important it is that it function properly. I’m not going to think about weight gain or attempt to gain (or lose) weight in any way. I’m going to workout without fearing new muscle mass. If my body wants to bulk up, it’ll bulk up. I’m just going to do what I want to do and let my body do what it wants to do and relax and live my life and have fun. 

I agreed to one last weigh in to make sure I’m not on a “downward spiral” and I’ll stick to that. But after that I’m done. I want to be happy. I want to be free! Please let me be happy. Please let me just be.

Dear Body,                                                                                                                              

I love you. If I have neglected you lately in any way, I am truly sorry. Body, I’m in awe of you. Your strength, your stamina, your killer looks 😉 — you’ve really turned yourself around. 

Have you forgiven me, Body? Because if I didn’t know any better, I’d think we’d been best friends for life, based on the way you’ve been acting lately. You’ve transformed! You’re a transformer! And I promise I’ll do everything in my power to keep you in your newfound healthy state. The rigor of the past few weeks and the subsequent weight loss was an accident. I think so, anyway. Nevertheless, I vow to be more cognizant of nourishing you fully from here on out. 

You’re special, Body. You’re not a machine. You’re a living thing. I know that now. I’ll be honest, Body. Feeling full is hard for me. I like to operate on as little fuel as possible. I like to meet your needs at the bare minimum. But I see now that that’s injurious to you–that even when I’m not operating from a place of disordered, maniacal madness, skimping out on a few bites every single meal eventually catches up with you. It’s selfish of me to treat you that way. I’m going to work on tolerating fullness, on operating at an “8” instead of a “7.” And whatever you do with that extra fuel is perfectly alright. If that means a few extra pounds, so be it. You deserve to just be. No boundaries. No limits. 

I love you, Body. I jut wanted to tell you that. It’s important to me that we maintain close connection. And heads up, I ordered a deep tissue massager on Amazon Prime to soothe your sore quads, so someone’s in for a treat ;). 

Keep killing the game.
Talk soon,

Dear Period,                                                                                                                             

I want you back. I need you back. These past two years have been sterile and serene but in all seriousness, your absence freaks me out. 
I’m trying to trust my body–to listen to it, embrace it–but how can I trust it when, bottom line, it’s not working as it should?
I wished you away.
I did.
I wasn’t ready to be a woman. 
I stunted my maturity so I wouldn’t have to face certain parts of myself, like my feelings of inadequacy, low self-worth, and sexual confusion. Reverting to pre-pubescence put those problems at bay. 
But I’ve come a long way, and I’m ready to mature. I’m ready to live fully and love myself exactly as I am but I’m scared and distressed and unsettled because I don’t even know what that looks like because my body has not fully healed. 
I want to relax! I don’t want to have to think about this anymore, about whether or not I ate enough and did my weight go up or down and for God’s sake, am I healthy, I just want to know that I am healthy and that depends on you!! 
So please come back. My body needs you. My bones need you. I need you.
We’re awaiting you with open arms. And a full box of tampons.

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