That was me last February for Geek Girl Boston presents: Space Case burlesque. I was practicing several days a week, and running everyday. Looking at some of these older pictures, I am genuinely surprised that I managed that much activity. This was my second relapse into an eating disorder. Restriction and compulsive over exercising was starting to destroy my body at this point.
In these pictures I still weighed a solid 20 pounds more than I did at my sickest.
This is the only picture from that period. I weighed around 100 pounds. I was wearing several shirts in this picture, but my measurements were around 34-24-34, and for someone who was originally a swimmer that is no fucking bueno.
So I sat in my room, crying for a little while about the number I saw on the scale. 156 pounds, the most I have weighed in my entire life. More than my pubescent “fat” phase, even. Today, though, something finally hit me: I need this weight.
Don’t get me wrong, I need to whittle an inch or two off of my waist, but no matter how thing I got my waistline has always been the one place that refused to lose anything. Ever.
This past year, I have practiced anywhere from 10-30 hours a week, and over the past six months I have added in a LOT of hand balance to my routine. My measurements are fairly similar now to what they were over the summer, 38-29-38. I’ve even managed to build some muscle and start to get a butt. A BUTT. I have never in my life had a butt!
Today, a friend I hadn’t seen for months walked into the studio as I was finishing up practice. She asked what I had been up to, so I said “Still doing aerial, but a ton of hand balance now.”
She said, “I could tell! Look at your arms!”
It was then that I realized that all of this weight (well, most of it) has come from building sheer muscle in my arms, back and shoulders. My biceps are a solid 13 inches around, which is kind of insane. My diet is no longer restricted to veggies, chicken and brown rice. I’ve been legitimately enjoying my food for the first time in years. I manage not to count calories, and once in a while when I do fall back into “behaviors” I recover easily and keep on moving.
So this is what recovery feels like.
Honestly, I look at those pictures and I want to look like that again. I want to be thin, I want to be small and graceful and beautiful. Then I remember that I was always tired, that I couldn’t work myself as hard as I needed to in order to improve. I was miserable all the time and I wound up relapsing into every possible symptom I had beaten in the past. I have more energy and stamina than I’ve ever had in my adult life now. Realizing that feels incredible.
I’m going to add some cardio in to help out with my waistline… but my body is a functioning, strong, machine. More circus. Forever.
It’s funny how things change so suddenly that it hits you in the face one day.
For three years, I loved aerial to the point of exploding. All I wanted to do was aerial all the time. Every day. Lyra, silks, then flying trapeze came along; I was addicted to flying.
Then I started hand balance and it all changed. I took a workshop with some of the acro yogis in the community, not expecting to be a huge fan of handstands, I just wanted to add some diversity to my skills.
I fucking loved it.
Fast forward a month or two, and I took a contortion workshop. I’ve never been flexible in my entire life. I was a swimmer and we’re MEANT to be straight lines made of power. As I was working on hand balance, my back was suddenly becoming incredibly flexible, which is (as far as I know) the opposite of what normally happens.
I fucking loved that too.
So here I am in 2013: working ground skills more than I ever expected to be possible for me. I’ve been on an aerial apparatus this year, but I have spent the majority of my practice time bending and pressing. I never would have predicted this in a million years. I’m working towards contortiony hand balance, which to me is the complete opposite of what I was working for exactly a year ago.
It just struck me earlier today how crazy this change is. I have friends who are SO passionate about what circus skills they specialize in and always have been. Many of them have tried new disciplines but rarely like them more than the one they started on. I haven’t lost my passion for aerial, of course, I just have found something that is so challenging, gratifying, and different from everything I’ve done in three years that I am EXCITED beyond belief about it.
It brings me right back to when I started circus. It ached how much I wanted to do it before I was capable of even touching a set of silks. Now, I get impatient and practically itch to work on contortion tricks, hand stands, crocodiles, getting my splits back (again), all of it. It’s refreshing, and such an amazing feeling to work myself up to something again.
I guess I’ve surprised myself again. Altogether a great thing.
Hey, internet. It’s been a while. My life hasn’t been the same since the fire, and I haven’t had the time to write. If I have, I’ve been too worn out to do so. Things keeps getting worse.
I find myself relapsing hardcore. I analyze everything I do in ways all too familiar; examining my skin a bit too closely, watching my steps too diligently, keeping track of what I eat more strictly… I know where this is all leading and I just don’t know if I can stop it.
Tonight, my friend’s car was broken into. Two purses were stolen (mine and a friend’s) along with some bike equipment. I want to blame myself, even if it’s not possible. I feel like there was SOME way I could have stopped it from happening, even if I couldn’t. Part of me knows this is the OCD talking… but I hate myself for “letting” it happen, still.
I need to find a way to replace and pay for my meds. Maybe I’ll be able to sort everything out with another visit with my psychiatrist. Maybe we can help my moods and the terrible new intrusive thoughts. Maybe.