The Scale: A Tale of My Kryptonite

I wish I did not have to write this. I wish this did not have to be a blog. I wish these words did not have to leave my mind and fall on this paper. But this is life and this is recovery. It is messy, unpredictable, and challenging. It is imperfect and painful. It is real.

Yesterday I had a doctor’s appointment. All I wanted was to get bloodwork done to make sure all was well and my body is back in healing mode. It turned into me needing to see the doctor first.

I was dreading it. That word seems so futile to what I was actually feeling towards it. The idea of having to go made sitting in a snake pit seem desirable.

Yes, it is that bad to me.

I contemplated cancelling it one hundred times. I try to avoid the doctor at all costs. Too many memories attached to make it even the least bit tolerable. The smell, the cold, the waiting, the paperwork, the scale.

The scale.

There is a reason I banished the scale from ever again residing under my bathroom sink back in 2014. It is one of the most convenient weapons of the disorder able to inflict the deepest wounds. The scale for me did not just become an obsession. It became a dictator. It became a lifestyle. It became a god. All that I did, all that I was, all that I felt rested in that 12” x 12” piece of plastic and metal. I put my worth in an inanimate object. I prayed to it. I worshiped it. I honored it. I trusted it with my life.

I had to make a spur of the moment decision to rid my life of this bane of my existence. I could never find peace, contentment, and life relying on a scale to define me. I could never discover my freest self attached to a number I would claim as my name every day.

667 days I had gone without knowing my weight. 667 days without attaching a figure to my identity. 667 days without planning my life around the numerical reflection of my relationship with gravity.

That was a record for me and one I had every intention of watching grow. I had no desire to ever again know my weight. I was finding peace in the unknown, in redirecting my thoughts to being healthy based off of how I felt and not how I looked, in the blind faith God was moving me forward into how He created me to be. Anger is welling up inside me as I write this knowing I had to reset my count.

Actually anger is putting it lightly.  

I am enraged. I am livid. I am hurting.

I told the nurse before getting on the scale to please not tell me my weight. Her response; a laugh and said, “Oh you have nothing to worry about.” (So many things wrong with that statement but I will save those thoughts for another time.) I told her I had a long history with an eating disorder and it would be most beneficial for me not to know the number. She said okay.

I thought all was well.  I thought she heard me. I thought she would remember. I thought wrong.

Two seconds later as I am standing on the scale she tells me my weight as if the conversation never happened. As if I had said nothing. As if all that I spoke fell on deaf ears. “Oh you did not want to hear that,” she said.

No, I did not.

I did not want to be exposed to the wrath of the disorder. I did not want to face the wars I was going to have to fight already in a deficit of strength and energy from my last one. I did not want to have a number take the place of the name I have been working so hard to own. I did not want every bite of food I have to take today and the many days beyond to be a battle, to have to be a conscious effort, to have to be forced again. I did not want to have to contemplate if I truly need everything that is going in my body, if I truly need to keep walking this path, if I truly am deserving to live this life. I did not want to spend my day in tears suddenly feeling all too aware of the space I am taking up and how seen I am becoming.

What it took her one second to say and a minute to forget will take me months to work through. That is what brings the most tears; knowing what is now before me that never had to be. The path that was leveling out to occasional hills is now covered in a mountain range.

The fear, the defeat, the pain I felt as I watched right in front of me, felt deep within me every opponent rising up as that number was said. It took all but a second for them to take their place. The Competitor, the Failure, the Once Was, the Obsession, the Fullness, the Relapse all showed up equipped to fight, preparing for this day in the months I have ignored them.

It would be so easy to surrender to them all. Being completely honest, the past day and a half I have not been fighting them with both hands. That number has become my new name. It has been my kryptonite. One day it will mean nothing but for today it is in everything. Thoughts have been in this mind that have not seen light in a couple years. Memories have resurfaced that have not been replayed in some time. Behaviors have been acted upon that were being successfully denied lately. Urges have been intensifying and temptations are rapidly escalating. Like a game of whack-a-mole, I cannot keep up with them all. Some have slipped through and are trying to find a place in this redesigned mind where they will fit to reclaim their territory.

They want their home back. They want to live unhindered. They want their victory.

But so do I.

The ground I am on may be experiencing a magnitude 8 earthquake right now, but I promised God before my appointment that no matter what happened, what was said, or what I saw I would not retreat back to my safer land. What it looks like to move forward on unstable ground, I am not sure. I have never made it this far before. There are no footprints on this path. I have never been in this body before to know how to live in it. I have never walked this road before to know where to go. I have never not run before from shaking ground. But I would rather work to undo the damage that number caused than work to undo the progress I have made so far. They both require the same energy but one holds the promise of a life where this pain has purpose.

So I stand here unsure, broken, hurting, lost. I stand here yearning for the body that once was while living in a body I never said I would let myself become. I stand here for the first time a bit angry that this has to be my journey right now. I stand here tired and worn down wishing to see some stable, flat land before me. But the key word is stand. Despite it all, I am still standing, still keeping my eyes before me, still letting my heart dream. My mind says no but my soul says yes. and this time I must listen to the latter.

There is too much color to see to return to a black and white world. There is too much life to taste to deprive myself of its pleasure. There is more to me than this shell that covers my soul.

I will keep telling myself that until it is my truth.

I will keep choosing to say yes to life until no feels like speaking a foreign language.

I will keep fighting for the wings that will allow me to fly.

I will keep living for the day when this story changes a life.

J.L.