Friday, 9:37PM

My thoughts run together, too fast to articulate in exact form. When I try to pluck at one specific strand, the others clamor for attention and I lose my grip. My mother told me today about the time I accidentally let go of a helium-filled balloon at a birthday party. Even though I had no memory of the incident, I could picture it clearly: myself, platinum blonde hair cut in a sort of shoulder-length bob, long bangs hitting my eyebrows, howling my little lungs out as I stared up into the blue sky into which my balloon was disappearing. My parents offered to bring me another, but I didn’t want it. I wanted my balloon back. Even at a tender age, I was already aware of the difference between something that I claimed and bonded with and something that just looked similar.

It made me think of the way we put our own signature on our things, and the way those items gain a personality and significance to us. The best example, I think, is probably our beds. I know that even though I love hotel-room beds, I never sleep as well in them, even though they’re often way more comfortable than the narrow, childhood bed that I still sleep in every night when I’m at home. I managed to claim my bed at school as my own by putting sheets I chose on it and leaving my books littered in it, but even that was a temporary measure, and I sleep better now that I’m back in my old bed than I slept anytime during the past months.

This morning was one of the hardest I’ve experienced in a while. My eating-disorder loopiness reared its ugly head and I spent a half-hour sobbing because of a stupid number that means absolutely nothing. Even with the sobriety of hindsight, however, I don’t know if I’ll react any differently next week if that number won’t have changed. It’s frustrating, and I don’t know what to do about it. I’m doing everything right, and yet some things are taking so long to change.

Sometimes I want to lose all restraint, to allow myself the perfect freedom to be who I am, as silly or dumb as that may be. But the only way I know how to do that is by getting drunk, something which I don’t enjoy as much as I used to, since it now comes coupled with the awful thoughts and anxieties about caloric intake. I’ve tried getting high a couple of times, and haven’t enjoyed that in the least, either. There is one person with whom I used to be able to be entirely at ease, but things have changed and now there is no one like that, even though there is something close enough to it to be valuable and dear to me.

Maybe restraint is alright, though. Maybe there is a balance to be struck within myself, without the need for outside influence. I just don’t know. My thoughts are all jumbled tonight, and I wish I were like a girl in a young adult novel, struggling beautifully towards something fantastic in the near future.

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7 thoughts on “Friday, 9:37PM

  1. Erin M says:

    Oh, Ilana. First of all, sending plenty of hugs your way.

    I also have trouble sleeping in beds that aren’t my own.

    I wish I could say something to help you with your body image problems, but I have the same issue myself, and I would sound kind of hypocritical trying to offer advice.

    Please know that I love you . . . and incidentally, you’re really pretty, so please don’t feel bad about yourself.

    xoxoxo

  2. *hugs*

    I totally understand how you feel. Even though I don’t have an eating disorder, I really don’t have good self-esteem relating to how I look, and scales have sent me into tears more than once.

    But you’re absolutely right — those stupid numbers mean nothing. You’re an amazing individual. Hold your head high, girl. I know you can. 🙂

    • Thank you, Heather! I think that self-esteem issues are something that very few people are free of, and no matter the reason, we all struggle with it. While I wish I was self-sustaining, it does feel good to have encouragement from the outside.

  3. I know what you mean about thoughts. Sometimes I think my brain is on the verge of some great understanding, but I never quite seem to get there.

    Helium balloons can be very efficient at communicating the concept of loss. 🙂

    The stupid number only has power if you let it. There will be times when we choose wisely. Celebrate that success! But, since we’re all human, there will be times when we choose poorly. During those times, try to learn from the experience, but above all else, shrug and try to move on. If you make a mistake it only means you are abundantly human.

    For me, I try to make a game out of it. I get off on depriving myself. I’ve done it with meat, alcohol, coffee and, most recently, sugar. When I feel the pangs of craving and I resist, those are moments to be proud of. But I’ve also learned how to gracefully give in. Get past those moments then move on to the next successful deprivation. 🙂

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