Eating Disorders/Healing, Guest Posts, healing, The Body

Dancing With The Darkness.

February 25, 2015

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By Sian Ewers.

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” – Carl Jung

And everything hurts.

It aches. All of it.

Every cell, fiber and atom that makes up my being.

Mind, body and soul thrown into a bowl, mixed, stirred, and formed with hands and words.

I want it all.

I want the bones, the protruding sharp edges, want to feel them beneath my skin, no meat or flesh to cover.

I want the blur, the navy blur of a fuzzy mind that is starving, buzzing with success.

I want the sunken cheekbones; the ones that make my lips look bigger. The ones that make people tell me my eyes look googly.

I want googly eyes.

I want the falling of hair, the outcome, the prize – the proof that I’m winning.

I want my calves to shrink, the muscle to melt and my thighs to never for any reason touch.

I want the pride. The knowing. The pit of my stomach tightness from no food and triumph.

But everything hurts and the control, the power, is the only thing melting now.

 

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being. Yoga + Writing + Connection. We go deep. Bring an open heart and a sense of humor- that's it! Summer or Fall 2015.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being. Yoga + Writing + Connection. We go deep. Bring an open heart and a sense of humor- that’s it! Summer or Fall 2015.

 

Because when the darkness comes I go in search of the past.

I look for photos I know I will find.

Feeling emotions I know I will feel.

And I beg the heavens to strip the excess flesh from my bones, to cover me in fabric too big for my tiny frame.

I have an incredible knack at forgetting how awful, how truly all consuming those years were.

Those ‘blur years’, where everyone appeared as navy blobs and the air was thick with guilt. Where my inner voice beat me with words so harsh I couldn’t focus on anything but the chanting. How my self-hatred spread from my wrists to my waist. And when I was 12 and I delicately penned ‘I hate myself’ onto my ankle, during a school assembly. Surrounding it with swirls and doodles, covering it with my sock and ending it with silent sobbing in the girl’s bathrooms.

My silent truth.

My deep guttural hate for my mind, body and soul.

And then before I knew it I was raging war on it all.

Counting calories.

Hiding food.

Dodging meals.

Running laps.

Creating lies.

Drawing blood.

Searching websites.

Writing journal entries filled with venom and sadness, desperation and fear.

I had no way forward and this self-mutilating control over food and life made it all okay.

It made the overwhelm of planning for the future bearable.

Because in my mind ‘sick’ people didn’t really plan for the future. They only wished away the excess hate in the now, with how many calories an apple had and how many sit-ups worked off a pasta bake.

And as the darkness closes in and my chest feels heavy with dread, I feel like every corner has my name written in it. My throat feels tight with every word I cannot say and every scream that won’t come out.

Because although recovery has come and gone and even though I can eat a meal with guiltless pride, when the darkness comes around I can feel the pull, the need for my days and nights to be blurry again.

Because within the blur I hold no promise, no need to be anything more than what I’m already accomplishing:

Bones.

Dissolving muscle.

Loose clothing.

Sunken cheekbones.

Control.

But what my darkness forgets to remind me is the countless calculating of calories.

The period-less months.

The decaying breath.

The nights spent jogging on the spot in my bedroom as the world slept on.

Layering on clothing and slinking into the night air like a ninja, so frail, so lost, so silent, so alone.

The falling of hair, the daily bathroom clean up of forgotten DNA…dustbin bound.

The showering in clothes, too sad to see my body and too tired to cry more tears, making the weight somewhat bearable.

Witnessing the fear in the eyes of the people I loved and their daily struggle to keep me alive.

 

For so long I searched for my identity.

When I was 14 and Becky King* told me my feet had shrunk because, “That’s what happens when someone is anorexic,” And my confusion wasn’t ironic. At that time I hadn’t considered what I was, who I was or why I was truly doing what I was doing. But it became so clear, so quickly.

I was no longer the plain, medium height, baby fat, average looking, kind-of-smart when-she-wants-to-be, sort-of-talented girl.

I was anorexic.

I had an identity.

To myself I was a success; I was sweat, tears and dedication.

But to the world I was anorexic.

My one budding success. I had put my mind to something and I was succeeding.

I was in fact also dying, but I was succeeding.

And that trumped everything else.

 

The darkness doesn’t remind me of all of this because the darkness doesn’t care.

It envelops like a fog and before you know it your heart is heavy and waking up aches. Your chest feels weighed down by bricks and cement, boulders and heavy bones from forgotten lives. You’re fighting for air and begging for clarity, because this fog isn’t like the blur. This fog leaves you frozen. And your future is right there – bright and full of ribbons and bows, but your feet won’t move…can’t move and your arms are numb. Your mouth is dry and people are begging you to speak. They want you to explain, they need you to move. Get going. Get busy. Hurry. Get up. Get ready. Don’t fall behind. You have no excuse anymore. Your body is strong. You have no excuse anymore.

And before I know it I wake to find myself lying in the middle of my bed: curtains drawn, middle of the day, people are at work, a baby is crying, a dog is barking, and I’m in a ball, tears flowing, throat stinging from the screams to just make it all STOP.

No I will not speak if I do not want to.

And I will not get up and get going.

I won’t hurry because I won’t get ready and if I fall behind then so-fucking-be-it.

My only excuse being that despite my body being strong, my mind is overwhelmed and my heart aches.

And I need to feel it right now.

I need to be with it.

Let it completely and utterly consume me. Until I have entered the darkness so thoroughly that there is no other way but out, through the light, through the sutures from the scars that wreak havoc beneath my skin.

Because otherwise you die.

And believe it or not. Today. I do not want to die. Not now.

I want it to end. This darkness, this sadness.

But I do not want to die.

 

I want so many things.

I want a truthful smile again.

I want to bring my mirrors back from hiding, peel open the blinds and not fall to pieces.

To bask in the glow of the sun with no shame, no fear of the imperfections it shines down upon.

To connect with people once more, allow my mind to fill with more than just the awareness of aching.

I want to experience the taste of food again. The real, honest, raw taste.

The overwhelming sense of cosmic oneness.

For too long I have felt like a colossal fuck up of the cosmos.

For too long I have begged the stars to realign me.

But maybe I don’t need fixing. Maybe I need peace.

Peace with the darkness.

Peace with the fact that there may always be a part of me that aches for the groaning of bones and an empty stomach.

Peace with my cosmic fucked-up sense of perfection.

But maybe I don’t need fixing. Maybe I need peace.

Peace with the darkness.

Peace with the fact that there may always be a part of me that aches for the groaning of bones and an empty stomach.

Peace with my cosmic fucked-up sense of perfection.

So next time the darkness reaches out. Maybe, instead of fighting it, maybe, I will dance with the all-consuming vastness.

Let my feet pitter-patter to the sounds of my breath; my now sweet, patent breath.

You cannot harm me if I do not allow you to.

And if we dance, then we become one, and from that you are my friend. And I will hold your hand and let you hold mine.

And we will live out this experience like a tango.

Because I have been fighting this darkness, this sadness, for far too long. Holding guilt and relentless shame.

 

And maybe at the end of it all…

I am not my anorexia, I am not my binging and purging, my sadness, my depression, my colossal fucked up cosmos.

Those may make up parts of my past, which have lead me to who I have become, but they do not define me.

They are not my identity.

Today. Right now. In this moment.

I am Sian.

And I am every possibility imaginable, spread over a canvas of love & light.

And to be just that right now and to need nothing more is perfectly okay.

 

Sian Ewers is an actor living in Sydney, Australia. Life right now for Sian consists of making films, dabbling in writing, doing her best for the environment, loving animals and working odd jobs to pay the rent.

Do you want the space and joy to get back into your body? To get into your words and stories?  Join Jen Pastiloff and best-selling author Lidia Yuknavitch over Labor Day weekend 2015 for their 2nd Writing & The Body Retreat in Ojai, California following their last one, which sold out in 48 hours. You do NOT have to be a writer or a yogi.  "So I’ve finally figured out how to describe Jen Pastiloff's Writing and the Body yoga retreat with Lidia Yuknavitch. It’s story-letting, like blood-letting but more medically accurate: Bleed out the stories that hold you down, get held in the telling by a roomful of amazing women whose stories gut you, guide you. Move them through your body with poses, music, Jen’s booming voice, Lidia’s literary I’m-not-sorry. Write renewed, truthful. Float-stumble home. Keep writing." ~ Pema Rocker, attendee of Writing & The Body Feb 2015

Do you want the space and joy to get back into your body?
To get into your words and stories? Join Jen Pastiloff and best-selling author Lidia Yuknavitch over Labor Day weekend 2015 for their 2nd Writing & The Body Retreat in Ojai, California following their last one, which sold out in 48 hours. You do NOT have to be a writer or a yogi.
“So I’ve finally figured out how to describe Jen Pastiloff’s Writing and the Body yoga retreat with Lidia Yuknavitch. It’s story-letting, like blood-letting but more medically accurate: Bleed out the stories that hold you down, get held in the telling by a roomful of amazing women whose stories gut you, guide you. Move them through your body with poses, music, Jen’s booming voice, Lidia’s literary I’m-not-sorry. Write renewed, truthful. Float-stumble home. Keep writing.” ~ Pema Rocker, attendee of Writing & The Body Feb 2015

Featured image: Ryan McGuire.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Barbara Potter February 25, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    You have come a long way. Thank you for sharing your story.

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