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Turn right NOT left.

on August 24, 2012
The last few days have been the toughest so far, and I have thought about booking a plane ride home. One of the nurses is from Manchester and although she is from ’t’Up North’ (anywhere North of the Dartford Tunnel and I lost) it’s comforting to hear an English accent. She works alongside the amazing psychiatrist here – none of the staff are like anything I have experienced in the UK in regards to their approach and attitude. She took me aside for a chat, and initially I thought she was going to try and persuade me to take some medication for my low mood. Instead she spent over an hour with me, just talking. She’s concerned at the bare-knuckle ride I go through each time I sit at the table. I’ve always refused medication – I don’t want to numb the pain – my anorexia has already done an excellent job of that. I do not want to put a band-aid over my feelings, only to leave treatment with an unopened wound. I agreed to give it a few days and to think about it.  I have realised that my illness is far more complex than I ever imagined. I liken it to a weed in the garden… I could dig out the weed, but unless I dig up the roots too, then my illness will grow back, and that terrifies me.
The nurse told me that it’s early days and to break the day into 30 minute segments. When her husband was critically ill in intensive care, she got through it by be present half an hour at a time. I spend a lot of time with one foot in yesterday and another in tomorrow, totally oblivious to the gift of today. We talked about Michael and his death, and how I wish I could have just 5 minutes with him to tell him all that I never could. I remember all the times that we shared when I was younger and I have created numerous stories in my head that torture me. I can’t actually ask him for forgiveness so I have adapted. The terrorist takes me hostage, creates stories in my head to use as weapons – constantly attacking me. She told me that my head always turns right – listening to these untruths over and over. If I keep turning right I will always be going in the same direction – locked in my head. Instead I need to turn left – reprogram the SatNav and find an alternative record to play.
There are many other reasons why I developed my eating disorder – some I am aware of and others I’ve been oblivious to. It’s a bit like an onion, layers upon layers to un-peel. Feelings of inadequacy surrounding my dad and step-mum have played a large part. I have always wondered why she doesn’t want me in their life, believing there must be something wrong with me. I spent a period of time with her last year, pretending to be something I am not, in the hope that she would let me in, just a tiny bit. Most of the time though I felt like Cinderella – never sizing up, desperately trying to make the shoe fit – feelings I also experienced during my adolescent. What that time did give me though was a chance to cement a relationship with my dad, I have so desperately craved. This past year we have gotten to know each other on another level – genuine and honest. He has shown me that he does care and love me, and I believe him. What still puzzles me though, is how my step-mum manages to continue to hold so much power over him. I may never know the answer to this, but I hope I can learn to accept that I don’t need her approval to go to the ball.
Then there are the issues that are typically associated with an eating disorder. Fears of getting fat, not feeling comfortable in my own body, feeling out of control and being scared of food. The concept of actually being scared of food is quite ridiculous when I actually think about it. Food cannot be scary – it doesn’t have the power to hit me over the head!
The pain that I am feeling now is hard to describe – it is excruciating and more uncomfortable than any discomfort I have ever felt from actually eating. I feel as though I have done five rounds with Mike Tyson. The last few meals have beaten me and I have had to supplement them – the fight is using all my reserves. There is a line in the Robbie Williams track – ‘Feel’. “I don’t want to die, but I am not keen on living either”. That pretty much sums up how I feel right now. I don’t know if I can get through this, but at the same time I don’t think I can bare to go back to how it was before. Indulging in my eating disorder totally shielded me from feeling all this. It’s served a very useful purpose, yet at the same time, robbed me of so much. Do I go back to feeling numb, pain free but in isolation or to I keep trucking on and push through? To go back may mean protection from sadness, anger, frustration, but it also means a life without feeling joy or happiness. I guess I am going to come across a number of cross-roads – I pray I continue to turn right.
 
I am so grateful to each and everyone of you that has shown me such kindness – it is making all the difference to me. Thank you.
 
To end on a high… I asked if I could go and see the horses over the road again – my wish was granted. My therapist and I went yesterday, I was hoping Bodhi was going to be there, and he was.
The smell is intoxicating – some might say literally! The owner arrived, and explained the names of her horses. What she told me felt like another sign to tell me I am in the right place. 
 
She has two beautiful American Quarter Horse’s called Bodhi and Oriah. Bodhi is short for Bodhisattva. In Tibetan Buddhism, a Bodhisattva is anyone who is motivated by compassion and seeks enlightenment not only for him/herself but also for everyone. I thought this was beautiful, I have never heard of a Bodhisattva before. A Bodhisattva is motivated by pure compassion and love and is fearless. What a wonderful way to live.
 
Gill’s other horse is called Oriah – named after a story-teller from Northern Ontario in the US. Oriah wrote this poem which I wanted to share.
 
‘The Invitation’ by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.
 
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
be careful
be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.

If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after a night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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9 responses to “Turn right NOT left.

  1. Laura Taylor says:

    Laura, you are astounding me with your honesty about your feelings. You are brave & beautiful. Keep going with this journey, work through the pain, the emotions and the feelings that are holding you back from living your life to the fullest and being everything you can be. Be strong, be honest and, most of all, be true to yourself. Sending you lots of love, hugs & strength. xxxxx

  2. Muriel says:

    Laura my heart goes out to you. I would love to put my arms around you and tell you it is safe the other side of the fence. One step at a time I know you can do it. So much love is coming your way xx

  3. Amy says:

    The experiences u r having out there r a mixture of incredibly difficult moments and amazingly brilliant moments. Hold onto those amazing times and the messages that seem 2 b coming 2 u through various people and situations. U r being so brave! Continue with the struggle u deserve a full and happy life without the bully in ur head x x x

  4. Sandra White says:

    Dear Laura, like Muriel I too would love to put my arms around you and give you a huge hug. You are a brave and inspiring person who has so much to give to the world. I wouldn’t be surprised if those lovely horses are there to help you heal. Animals are wonderful healers; they give so much love to us and ask little in return. Keep on keeping on xxxx

  5. Jane T says:

    Keep trucking through and pushing on Laura. Sending you lots of love, hugs and positive thoughts through the air.
    And what a beautiful poem.xxxx

  6. ladyem83 says:

    You may not feel it but, to me, your courage is coming through & starting to question the terrorist & i admire your strength so very much.

    I’m facing the same crossroads. Do I continue to bury my head in the sand & live within this ‘comfort’ zone (ironic to use the word ‘comfort’ when anorexia doesn’t really afford me any), making peace with the compromises i have to make, or do I dare to challenge it & break through it so that i can enjoy the carefree freedom i once had? These decisions frighten me to my core, but reading your honesty makes me start to think i maybe can do it…and should do it.

    I’ll continue to follow your progress & wish you so much strength. You’re in the right place to allow yourself to submit to your true voice & those of the people around you & drown out that of the terrorist.

    My very best wishes to you.

  7. Lisa says:

    Thank you for sharing the poem, it’s lovely. I feel humbled by your bravery and your honesty. Remember every step is a step in the right direction to a happy and healthy you. Be kind to yourself.

  8. Demi says:

    Hi, what struck me most in your post is you constantly asking yourself “what’s wrong with me/ why doesn’t she like me” in regards to your step mum. I think you’re asking yourself the wrong question.. You should be asking “what’s wrong with her?”. You bare your soul in this blog and although I do not know you, we have an insight into the type of person you are..obviously you try your hardest to be all you can so why wouldn’t someone accept/like you? I don’t think you fall short or aren’t good enough. I think your stepmum should actually take a look at herself.. Her inability to accept you says alot more about the type of person she is than
    you.

    She has no logical reason not to like you therefore

  9. Demi says:

    Hi, what struck me most in your post is you constantly asking yourself “what’s wrong with me/ why doesn’t she like me?” in regards to your step mum. I think you’re asking yourself the wrong question.. You should be asking “what’s wrong with her?” You bare your soul in this blog and although I do not know you, we have an insight into the type of person you are..obviously you try your hardest to be all you can so why wouldn’t someone accept/like you? I don’t think you fall short or aren’t good enough. I think your stepmum should actually take a look at herself.. Her inability to accept you says alot more about the type of person she is than
    you.
    She has no logical reason not to like you nor any reason not to accept you. I hope you grow to see that perhaps there is no fault in you, perhaps the fault lies in others.
    You may have an illness but it doesn’t define you as a person.. You are offering love and kindness to someone who you don’t have to accept into your life therefore I don’t see anything wrong with you. Any ‘normal’ person would love to have the opportunity to have someone like you in their lives. “those that matter, don’t mind and those that mind, don’t matter”
    As a complete stranger I am proud of you! Keep fighting to win as you’re worth fighting for!

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