August 7, 2012 In life

the girl i once was: part 6


[The Girl I Once Was is a series of blog posts compiled from real-life journal entries from my teenage years. If you’d like to read the story from the beginning, you can find the introduction here.]

part one | part two | part three | part four | part five

 

October 25, 2006: I’m feeling good lately. Not physically — I’m still sick and tired — but emotionally, I feel healthier. We had coffee with one of my cousins this past week. It was encouraging to share the hormonal/emotional sickness I’ve experienced because she’s been through it too. It’s a day to day battle. One day, I’m up, one day, I’m down. I have to get this in my brain: healthy eating is for ME, not for my doctor or my naturopath or anyone else. ME. Each day I hope to gain more control over eating and stress. There is nothing better to me right now than photography. I want to learn everything about it that I can. I was looking at our East Coast photos again. How great was Montreal? I was so happy and content on that trip. To travel and capture images I’ll have forever is incredible. I need to do this for a living. Silly thing is I probably won’t end up taking pictures as a career… but that’s life.

October 30, 2006: I feel pretty good today. I feel pretty. Pretty without trying. The kind of pretty I want to feel all the time. I’m trying to be more social at school. Staying at school for study blocks instead of leaving. I really wish I knew more people at church. Life is a lot better than it was six weeks ago. I feel more normal. Days go by quicker. I don’t dread school.

 

Oh Jamie,

yes, yes, yes. It’s happening! You’re healing and it’s encouraging. You’re seeking balance in eating. You’re approaching a new diet plan [with your naturopath] armed with a better attitude: avoiding certain foods doesn’t mean life stops. You’re paying attention to what stirs your heart: travel. I love how you fell in love with Montreal on your first visit. It was an amazing experience to spend 10 days there this past November, reading and writing. Your declaration of “I need to do photography for a living!” followed by “Probably won’t happen” makes me laugh. Well, Jamie, it happened.

The Lord is so good!

 

[I found the following in my journal. I had “blogged” this on MySpace in November 27, 2006 and printed it off for safe keeping.] November 27, 2006: “This may be the most personal blog I’ve ever written. Last night I was looking for something to read and my first journal caught my eye… in grade 8 I hated my body. Everything about it, me in my perfectionism and ridiculous self-discipline said, “We can fix this.” The working out began, the health books, the health forums, the calorie counting. I was a wealth of knowledge when it came to health/fitness/nutrition — I studied it by the hour. As I read the pages of my journal, my heart broke again and again on every page. You see my progress from X* pounds to X* pounds… when things miraculously took an upturn, it was only by God’s grace. I could not have emotionally handled more. Each page was filled with negative comments, thoughts about things I needed to improve, the hours I worked out, the calories counted. The goals, dreams, hopes, everything pertaining to my 5″2 body. Tallies, inches, pounds, determination, tears. I was unhappy. I didn’t see God whispering as I wrote, “You don’t need to be like this. You don’t need to try so hard. Trust me, talk to me, work through this WITH me, not by yourself. You aren’t strong enough” I reached a point where I found 14 hours of exercise a week normal. Normal was staying on a “dieting” caloric level even though I was under X* pounds. I couldn’t imagine life any different. Now I can’t imagine being “her” again. I asked God to help me stop counting calories, to break the addiction. It was months of figures swirling around my head. I want to go back to the old Jamie and wrap my arms around her frail body. I want to hold her while she cries about her body, turn the treadmill off as she ran another hour and rip away all the Shape, Self, Fitness and Oxygen magazines. But I can’t. The Jamie I am now would be a different woman without ‘that’ girl. May I never lose those journals.”

November 28, 2006: Honestly, being a teenager is not a great stage of life. It’s boring and frustrating. I’m trying so hard to “live in the Moment” and enjoy these years. It’s hard. School is school. It’s boring and something I need to finish. I am not excited to start my days. I need to enjoy what I’m doing in order to like waking up. In high school, everyone is so blinkin’ insecure and ridiculous. People compromise who they are everywhere I turn. I’m doubting running for student council again next year because I want to have as little to do with school as possible. I’m ready to move on. Grade 11 is a killer year. Things are worse when you see the finish line. It’s like looking up a big hill and GRADUATION is at the top, but I’m at the bottom. I don’t want to keep going, I want to be there now. I never want to revisit these years. Ever. I want to go to university, study what I want, go to young adults group, meet friends and start my career. I’m not happy waking up everyday to learn chemistry, math and english. Drives me up the wall.

 

Recovering from an addiction isn’t as simple as 1, 2, 3. When I said goodbye to calorie counting and exercising two hours a day, I really said goodbye. Six months of rest was a healing time for me. I didn’t worry about squeezing in a workout before youth group or Bible study. I didn’t come home after a movie and kick-box for 45 minutes to burn off the movie popcorn. My time after school looked “like a normal teen.” I watched TV. I explored other hobbies. I scrapbooked. I started taking pictures. I did errands with my Mom. If the family had dessert after dinner, I had some too. Unfortunately I don’t have the genes for effortless weight maintenance. I gained a lot of weight that year [at least half of it were needed] but soon felt out of control. I needed balance.

 

December 18, 2006: I’m sitting here in a sports bra and shorts crying so much my eyes are blurry. I can only workout for 10 minutes without being out of breath. I feel so sick lately. I feel fat and out of shape and it pisses me off that I felt like this and wrote about all this same stuff when I was X* POUNDS. Whenever I try to workout all I think is negative thoughts. “Look at yourself, you are way fatter and uglier than you’ve ever been.” I hate fat and body issues and food.

December 19, 2006: Oh me oh my, a part of me wants to destroy that last entry. But no, I’m allowed to breakdown, I’m allowed to struggle. I’m allowed to be real. I would usually reread yesterday’s entry but I don’t want to today. Guess what, Jamie? I don’t hate you. Sometimes you beat yourself up. But you’re gonna be okay. It’s really difficult on Mom when I have anxiety attacks but sometimes in those extreme Moments, I find a bit of truth. I need to workout a few times a week and watch my diet. It’s a struggle. All I’ve known is extremes. I can’t find a middle ground. Any restrictions at all reminds me of my X*-pound self and I don’t want to experience that again. I am lost in my body image issues. When I try to exercise, an overwhelming says, “I can’t be who I was, I’ll never be thin. Look at all the muscle you’ve lost and how out of shape you are now.” Through yesterday’s drama, I’ve come to some conclusions. Working out is for my physical, mental and emotional health. I need to remember that these issues don’t have to be overwhelming.

  • Jamie, you are so very brave!

  • You are incredible to have come so far after hitting rock bottom. God is amazing.

  • This was a great post. Encouraging. Raw. You’re open and I appreciate that. I’m liking these posts :).

  • You are such an inspiration, Jamie! I admire your strength, bravery, and transparency. Praise God for all He’s done and still is doing in your life!!

  • whoa. I just read through all six parts of this series and I related to almost every word you wrote…thanks for making yourself vulnerable!

  • P.S. I have so many food allergies. Gluten, soy, dairy, yeast, etc. It was so – I don’t know – good, maybe? To know that other people struggle with the same issues!

  • Jamie, you’ve endeared me to you. Your photographs and drive already had me thinking you were talented, but your transparency has connected me to you. Thank you for this! :)