I’m struggling to come up with something that hasn’t already been said. Something honorable. A personal story. One that is as moving as it is entertaining. There really aren’t any.
Thing is, I’m tired. And, entirely sure that we as a society were never supposed to have this much accessibility to everything. Global news that seems to get worse by the hour. National news that rattles you to your core, ‘cause you know the street names and corners of exactly where the latest mass shooting occurred. Reeling after learning that your government believes your bodily autonomy to be a joke.
Still grieving the loss of a loved one while struggling with the weight of financial stressors. Scheduling unavoidable and unaffordable medical visits. Staying away from hard liquor but indulging in the occasional cocktail because, let’s be honest, there’s no healthy way to truly cope with the shit show of the world (aside from screenwriting and notes app venting).
No amount of pilates or gut-healthy shots could fix the dissatisfaction I, and many others are feeling at the moment. Now, I could sit and hope for the best, but the past six-ish years have not been kind, and I don’t foresee it getting any easier. Those corny 2010s Facebook posts were right – life doesn’t get any easier, you just get stronger. More resilient. Or drunker.
The issue is – being drunk or high doesn’t fix the issue at hand. It’s less than a bandaid on a cut. At least a bandage prevents scum from entering the wound, but breaking sobriety is just a distraction that leaves you hanging over the toilet in the morning. Excuse the hopelessness and bitter tone, there’s really no other way to put it.
So what does feel good? What, personally, gives me a feeling of control? I’m so glad you asked. Let me introduce you to my newest favorite series, Physical, on Apple TV. The show follows Sheila Rubin in 1980s San Diego. Driven mad by her insensitive and out-of-touch husband, she struggles with wicked self-criticisms and an eating disorder that consistently sends her into a mental spiral. Sheila Rubin has bulimia. The series tackles a plethora of social and personal life issues, and does well to not glamorize the heartbreaking and devastating mental illness.
I’ve written countless entries about my own struggles with disordered eating in past blogs, and while I didn’t count on acknowledging it anymore, I feel it’s important and relevant to now. So: for around seven years, I struggled with anorexia and bulimia. Two years ago, I decided I had become such a shell of a person, I asked for help and joined an intensive outpatient program to kick-start my recovery.
Although I’ve healed to a point where I don’t partake in the damaging effects of disordered eating, I am not entirely immune to the instinctive thoughts. Much like Sheila’s tormenting inner-dialogue, sometimes the little voice in my head tells me I’m not hungry, or that I ate too much and need to workout to earn it. I was told in recovery that for the most part, the ‘ED voice’ fades away with time, but relapses are common and not every recovery case is the same. Why is this relevant?
Eating disorders are deeper than the fear of gaining weight. In many cases, they’re a result of sexual abuse, genetics, or a considered a co-morbid disorder. At the root of almost all EDs is the desire for control. If not the world around us, then our bodies. I can’t change the overturning of Roe v. Wade. I can’t change the crippling fear of the future. Not the recession, inflation, failed and failing relationships or anything of the sort. Nothing is as controllable than the portions on my plate and the amount of time in the day I spent jogging.
I never considered relapsing as an option, but with the amount of fear I have about the future and the world, it almost seems inevitable. The compulsory calorie-counting has already started again, along with caffeine for breakfast and lunch. Control. What I do when I eat. Control. What I do when I’m upset and told I’m being dramatic. Control. What I do when I get too ahead of myself in thinking everything is fine.
I do solemnly swear to have a tight grip on my physical and mental health. As much as I can, because i’d hate to have completed so much inner-work to have it ruined by my anxiety and uncertainty. Even though that anxiety feels like pot, slowly boiling over. We can only cope in the ways we know and try our best to create new ones. Generationally, this is also true. As much as I adore Gen Z, memes can only make you cheer up so much.
As a closing note: I think I’ve finally come to the bittersweet understanding that this is the way things are. This is what it is like to be a woman. A brown, questioning woman at that. It’s uncomfortable and beautiful, and with all the closed doors, I’ve learned to climb easily though windows of opportunity. I’ve learned, fuck it, nobody is ever qualified for anything. Might as well try. 
It’s gotten me further than I could’ve believed. In just two short years, so much has changed for the better, even if it’s becoming increasingly hard to savor it in the moment. I think, should I focus on the bigger picture instead of the sometimes awkward and not-so-alluring details, I could be happier. The route to peace is not one that I can easily follow. There isn’t a blueprint to my happiness, and coming to terms with that is actually a lot sweeter than I expected it to be.
Happiness is what you make of it. In the heat of a relapse, recession, or re-iteration of things that have been bothering me, there is happiness to be found. Or created. It might present itself as a fellowship for your dream company at 16, a free iced latte, or a well-needed vacation. Maybe it’s the ladybug on the collar of your shirt, or a relieving gust of breeze during what seems to be the hottest days in the Midwest.
All of the above are valid. Floaties are encouraged when it feels like you’re drowning.
Oh, and fuck SCOTUS.