On the Sucking of Life

Life’s a quick teacher in the lessons of “unfair,” and when my middle child whines were consistently met by my father’s regular retort of, “Life’s not fair,” it significantly expedited the learning process for me. Unfortunately, I happened to draw a more unique conclusion than most youngsters based on what I had gathered about the hard facts of life: Then, it’s not exactly worth living, is it?

It wasn’t as dramatic or as marked of a conclusion as one might imagine (for which I frequently find myself grateful). I haven’t been scarred by the full mind-body experience of a suicide attempt. My conclusion was more subtle, but it was also fiercely determined for a terrifyingly long time. If I continued to lose weight, I not only experienced the “benefits” of being completely absent from the emotional ups and downs of life, I also avoided authentic human connection; not to mention that each day I was one step closer to disappearing once and for all.

I’ve met many who struggle with various types, symptoms, and underlying causes of eating disorders. Honestly, some of them have fantastic reasons for their agonizing attempts to escape the pain and unfairness in this world and their lives. I never really fell into that category; for a long time, I hated myself even more for that transgression.

For about a week after our wedding, we engaged in what I now refer to as our “quiet-moon” (as two introverts playing the game of life together, we needed serious quiet time after thoroughly enjoying all of the amazing people who gathered to celebrate us). One night, we went to the single-theater cinema in town and realized that they were playing War of the Planet of the Apes. I’m sure it seemed harmless enough to most, but it somehow left me crying myself to sleep in the arms of my new husband, who was fumbling for the words to tell me that (spoiler alert:) the monkeys technically won, I wasn’t alone(?), and life was still worth living. That escalated quickly.

Yin and yang fall under the umbrella of concepts that I never believed in. I also wasn’t willing to learn about it, but some might surmise that this was in part a result of my overarching disdain for the art of embracing life.

In my new(er) take on life in recovery, I tend to consider myself slightly more open minded (but don’t hold your breath because I’m also undeniably fickle). However, sniffling through my passive suicidal ideation which carried my mind into darker and more existential thoughts, I considered this concept of yin and yang for arguably the first time. There was so much joy and beauty, togetherness and hope at our wedding and the marking of our new life together, how could I expect anything less than a bit of hopelessness and utter loneliness to follow?

Photo credit: http://emilyblakephoto.com/

Some call experiences like this the “Sunday Scaries,” or even the “Post-Vacation Blues.” And while they aren’t wrong, I prefer to go a little deeper. One of the first things I realized about life was that it was unfair. What my childhood self really meant, was that life wasn’t always fun. I didn’t always get what I wanted, and sometimes I didn’t even get what I was absolutely certain I needed. I didn’t have the vocabulary then, but, sometimes life sucks.

There was one thing that I chose to ignore at that time, though. I continued to ignore it even more as I made the 10+ year decision to bow out of the human experience through self-inflicted starvation. It is only through the sucking of life that we have the opportunity to truly experience its joy, love, power, and beauty. Life does suck sometimes. I promise that I top the list of complainers to whatever spiritual life force may or may not exist; don’t get me wrong. Perhaps, it is what we do with the AND that follows.

Life sucks, AND it’s not worth living.

Life sucks, AND it can also be very beautiful.

I vacillate countless times each day between the two. As I somewhat reluctantly prepare dinner for myself tonight, I choose the beauty.

Full disclosure: my dinner tonight will be far more frozen or of the take-out variety