i grew up a very shy and sheltered child. i was put in religious schools and spent most of my time with my Mom in Christian church and groups or doing activities with her away from my Father or sister and brother. i never felt the kind of close blood bond with my Father, sister or brother that i desired. there was always a separation and my Mom seemed to be a wall keeping equal energy exchange for connections outside of her wing. she always referred to herself as the Mother Hen with me being the baby chick. Mother birds are protective, piss them off and they will peck your eyes out. let's just say my Mom has always been protective of me. i developed many fears growing up, especially in school where i didn't have Mom to protect me. i was afraid to go on field trips, afraid of other kids, afraid to speak in class, afraid of my own identity which i was confused and unclear about, afraid to eat in front of people and very much afraid to grow up. i still am, afraid to grow up that is and remaining ill in eating disorders is a way of avoiding growing up. attached to this thought are MANY fears. growing up does not just mean growing up, it means many things and with each of those things there is fear. i've got a full basket in that department. let's jump back though.
here i am, long skinny legs, nick named walking sticks, at lunch with a bag of food in front of me. how nice of Mom to brown paper bag me a sandwich, juice in the box, fruit and some cookies or crackers to munch on. most kids, or at least the ones around me, would be very happy to chow down. i, on the other hand, did not want to draw any attention to myself and felt eating would do this. i did not connect well with other kids probably because i was still so connected with my Mother that i was pretty much still in her womb. that's what it felt like. so i remained in this safe place, this little bubble, and isolated... the same ways i have in addiction. binging is a way of eating myself back into the safety and security, the warmth of the womb. purging is the violent release, the birth, the giving out of the womb. starving has been a way of not growing up, trying to stay young and prepubescent, bodiless. more on all that and my theories at a later date. all i know is that it all makes complete sense no matter how twisted it sounds, it's legitimate and a valuable tool to help me un-peel the layers that still keep me wrapped in addiction.
good old apple peels. after school we had a teacher who monitored us outside. she would bring a cart of treats with her that kids could buy. i remember the crap chemicals kids seem to love: frosted cupcakes, generally white cake mix with chocolate frosting and if you were lucky them some of those candied shaped sprinkles on top. let's call her Mrs. D... she made them herself. she also brought things like single serve packages of chips, crackers, etc. and a large plastic bulk bin of chewy candy. Mrs. D was fond of apples. she would sit in the sun with her cart and peel her apple on to a paper towel. she allowed kids who did not have money for her goody cart to work around the schoolyard for apple peels. i did this a lot. i was hungry after school considering i didn't eat but a few bites at lunch and then would either give my lunch away to other kids hoping they might like me or just throw it away in the garbage. i hated eating in the cafeteria more than anything as more kids were in there sitting to eat and that was major stress to me. my social anxiety was pretty bad but we didn't have a term for it back then. we didn't know. it was called being shy but was way more than that. the only steps i really ever took in the cafeteria were to grab a mustard pack or two. you know those little teaspoon serving mustard condiment packs? sometimes those were lunch.
come on now, i was hungry. who wouldn't be? i was hungry in more than one way though. i was starving. physically speaking though, i enjoyed working for my apple peels. i would basically have to bring Mrs. D a certain amount of trash that i hand-picked-up and in return, in reward, i was gifted her unwanted apple peels. we never got the apple, we only got the peels. they were small peels, not long ones. she could give out more this way. the yard could get cleaner this way. i was able to do my own thing by collecting trash. it killed time and anxiety while waiting for one of my parents to pick me up. i always looked forward to getting out of there and going home. i did have some friends, don't get me wrong, but i was not social and my Mom was my best friend. the umbilical cord had not yet been cut.
i love my Mom till no tomorrow. we are still very close and in a sense it feels like a crime of contradiction to admit that out loud when i know i am still attached at the hip in many ways and need to grow up. i can't deny our love though nor can i deny our close relationship. it is what it is.
yesterday i did some deep root work in therapy. i opened up after hearing the word "emotionally avoidant" on a Christian radio talk show. i brought my thoughts and fears into therapy and freely allowed God to let me open up to help disect things, to help un-peel things. if addictions were compared to apples: we must un-peel the layers, eat aka work through the flesh to get to the seeds inside that started the development aka growth of the addiction. God and therapy for me are my apple peelers. God allows me to process in therapy and therapy allows me to process that in which i am emotionally avoidant to process by staying engaged and enthralled in addictive coping mechanisms.
you can always peel an apple, no matter how rotten inside you feel it is. some apples you must be a little more careful with. some are deeply bruised and need mindful monitoring. others may be firm and crisp but that doesn't mean a little un-peeling would not hurt for we all have parts of life and self that need un-peeling, some acceptance and removal. the apple doesn't peel itself, the person must put in the work to peel the apple. if you have ever peeled an apple you will know that it takes time and patience. clever she was to make the children do her dirty work for her, to make us learn respect and responsibility, to make us see that the best rewards come from dedicated work and not just for free... so she peeled and i worked and i ended up with many peels, more than i could count.
and i am still left with peels, different kind of peels and many of them, more than i can count. peels that need to be un-peeled by me, peels protecting the thick meaty flesh protecting precious inner seeds, an accumulation of small seeds that often feel bigger than they seem. now after 14 years of treatment for eating disorders - and i am talking everything from here to the moon in attempt at recovering - i realize that the real deal, the real un-peel can only be done through and with God. i have been in recovery with the world for 14 years but have not been in recovery with God that entire time. now, i have been giving over to God and getting actual results of progress in return. the desire to fully recover is increasing while the desire to remain locked in fear and addiction is decreasing. God is showing me better ways and affirming a full recovery ahead. i can now un-peel, i can now truly heal.