Goodbye, Ana…

Dear Ana,

Hello, old friend. I realize it’s been awhile since we were last on friendly terms, if you could even call it that back then. You may not even remember who I am, what with the ever-growing number of “followers” you seem to have. You always were a very compelling sort. I admit that, even now, there are days when I have to battle with myself; remind myself who and what you truly are. Days when I have to keep myself guarded so that I don’t go back to you like I have so many times in the past.

Do you remember my last letter to you? How empty and helpless it was? I’m sure you didn’t care then, just as you don’t care now. You’re self-serving and heartless, but I’ll refresh your memory on it regardless. It was roughly four and a half years ago:

You made me weak, all the while filling my head with the sense that I was somehow stronger because this.. this I could control. You made me distant and self-loathing, a stranger to myself, my family… my children. I can’t forgive that.

For years, because of you, I forced myself to consume as little as possible, filling the internal complaints with water when that wasn’t enough. Water became my life. Close to 3L per day.. sometimes more if I was having a particularly rough day controlling the pangs of hunger.

I can now see the irony: the one absolute essential for survival was the very thing helping me to slowly kill myself.

So, old “friend,” it has finally come to this: No More. You no longer get to decide what’s important. This is me stripping you of your power over me. Yes, there may be times when I slip and, even now, I still have to keep meticulous track of what I eat so that I am sure to eat enough, but I know now that I never want to give someone or something else the power over me that you have always ended up taking.

You see, there are people that need me and they don’t care if I look like Kate Moss or Gisele Bündchen. All they care about is that I’m here to cuddle them, kiss them and love them. With you in my life, in any form, they are potentially being denied that one little, yet so incredibly huge, right of their childhood. They deserve to have those things.

And I need to set an example for them.

A good one.

You are not a part of that.

Sorry, but you don’t win this time..

Sincerely,


____________________

The image above was made with an actual excerpt from my personal journal in October 2006. I had possibly one of my worst battles with anorexia in the year that followed.. until I found myself pregnant with my now 2 year old son in the winter of ’07 and dragged myself out of it. It’s a rough road sometimes, and, yes, I slip.. but it’s worth the fight.
____________________

This post was written in response to a prompt by The Red Dress Club.

Water gives life. It also takes it away.

Write a short piece – fiction or non-fiction – inspired by one or both of these statements.

Word maximum is 600.

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About Caitlin's Concepts

Mom to 4 boys and drowning in a sea of testosterone!
This entry was posted in General, The Red Dress Club and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Goodbye, Ana…

  1. MamaRobinJ says:

    So powerful. What an amazing response to that prompt.

  2. very powerful. LOVE. IT. Great job!

  3. Brooke says:

    Such a personal post, and really powerful. Thanks for sharing. I love the end and the reasons you have to let go of this past.

  4. Andrea says:

    I knew where you were headed and i wanted to scream and shout good for you before i even got through it. Good for you,mama. Amazing way to express what you went through, and utilize the prompt. Beautfiul writing. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Amazing. Thank you for sharing such a personal piece of yourself. I think you did a fabulous job with the prompt. Very empowering – I have shivers.

  6. Was Ana a real “friend” of yours? Or am I missing something…

    This was very powerful. I loved how you took the prompt and used it to apply to this deeply personal experience. The strength of your resolve shone through in your writing while carrying an important message.

    Beautiful work, Denelle.

  7. Adrienzgirl says:

    I liked your take on this prompt. It’s definitely interesting to see where this prompt has led everyone. This was personal and powerful at the same time.

    • It’s amazing how we all take it in so many different directions. It’s part of what makes it so much fun to read everything – you never know what you’re going to be opening next! Thank you for the comment!

  8. Random Girl says:

    Wow, this is beautiful and powerful and speaks so much of self-awareness and struggle to maintain the control you so desperately need to hold on to. Great post!

    • It’s such a sad thing that it really is only about control… of something.. anything. And yet, when you’re in the middle of it, you don’t ever see it that way. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  9. Leighann says:

    I admire you so much for sharing that piece of you. So well done.

  10. tsonoda148 says:

    This read was so unexpected and yet, it was so perfect for this prompt. Thank you for sharing. Very moving and so nicely written!

  11. Frelle says:

    amazing. well done on so many levels. It shows a lot of self awareness, it speaks clearly about recovery and looking back through different eyes. What a wonderful peace to advocate on behalf of recovery, too. Thank you for posting this. I will promote the heck out of it!

    • Thank you so much!! And, yes, the eyes looking back are very far from the ones that are trapped within the cycle. It’s so strange to look back and see things in such a different light.

  12. I am just finding your blog and I LOVE LOVE THIS!!!!! Thank you so much for being a voice and sharing such honesty! I commend you for saying NO MORE and fighting this! You are never alone, there is hope in the journey. Thank you for being an inspiration.

  13. Shell says:

    I love your unique take on this.

    And I’m so glad that you won the battle. You’re a strong lady.

  14. angela says:

    This is so honest and raw and something that many people wouldn’t have the courage to share. I knew there would be pieces with this prompt that dealt with pain and/or death, but this was a surprising direction, and I enjoyed reading it. (Especially since you are recovering and doing well!)

  15. Good for you! When that Ana shows up for a visit you just keep giving her quick kicks to the shins. I love the truth that you touch on here about how water, so essential for our lives, becomes a weapon of self-destruction for those fighting the battle with eating disorders.

    • Hooray! I’m so glad you got that.. I mean, especially since that was the basis of the entire prompt. *whew* I was afraid that it would be too briefly or vaguely touched upon for it to fit with the assignment.

      Thank you so much for reading and for your comment! I appreciate it!

  16. Yuliya says:

    I knew where you were going with this right away, what a powerful letter to write! And I am so glad Ana didn’t win either.

  17. amazing strength. beautiful.

  18. This is so well written. Glad you are winning!

  19. Jessica Anne says:

    What a powerful piece! I was cheering for you. Good for you and good for your children. I loved the water in this too and the dichotomy of it being both life giving and life taking. Thanks for sharing such a personal story.

  20. Carrie says:

    This was extremely powerful. Congratulations on beating Ana 🙂 I’m sure those other reasons for keeping strong will help you even more as time goes by. And eventually, she will be gone, a distant memory

    Visiting from RDC

  21. Jackie says:

    Thank you for sharing such a private and powerful part of you with the rest of us. I think that you did a great job with the prompt and the way you wrote it.

  22. Veronica says:

    I think you nailed this prompt.
    Such an awful disease and you took your life back.
    I’m hoping someone else in the same shoes reads it and is able to take theirs back to.
    It was raw and beautifully written.
    Thank you for sharing it with the world.

  23. This is wonderful.
    The post and your recovery.
    I’m so happy you have been able to work through this. And I understand, it’s a long job.

    I’ve seen “Ana” in others, she’s a hard one.

  24. Tracie says:

    This is so powerful.

    and it is worth the fight.

  25. Very powerful post. This is what makes writing online so freeing. Nobody can see you so you can’t use your outer self to hide. I too struggled for years depriving myself of things. I wasn’t anorexic but I was obsessive. Getting pregnant and having a baby changed everything for me.

    • There’s been studies done that show the levels of seratonin in the brain actually get higher during pregnancy, which is what makes me think is part of the reason why it was so easy for me to forget about it during pregnancy. Breastfeeding I’m not entirely sure, but I would imagine there’s a link since some of the same hormones are present. It’s probably also why so many women with even mild cases of depression otherwise end up having horrible cases of PPD once all those hormones and chemicals come crashing back in. Crazy…

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!! =D

  26. CDG says:

    Such a struggle… so glad for you that you found the strength to win the battle. I’m constantly amazed by how different writers approach the prompt… this is very unique and brave.

    • I was worried it would be pushing the boundaries of the prompt.. but then I figured I’m the only one trying to make rules and boundaries, so I went with it.

      Thank you for stopping by and for the comment!

      • The only boundaries are the ones we set upon ourselves.

        I’ve had to read this a few times to get my head around what I want to say to you….and all I have is “how brave, how admirable and how strong you are.” And thank you for baring your soul to us. I for one am honored to know you.

      • Awww, thank you! That is definitely very humbling and I’m pretty sure I’m blushing right now. =) What an amazing, amazing comment! I’m so glad that you liked it!

  27. tracy says:

    So worth the fight and the win. I love you for this.

  28. Mandyland says:

    What a powerful, brave post. My sister struggled with an eating disorder. I know – a tiny bit – how hard that must have been for you. Bravo!

  29. Wow. I’m amazed at your strength and courage. So many girls fight this battle. I am happy for you that you are ultimately winning the war.

  30. Amazing. Truly amazing. Motherhood is hard enough and you had so much to overcome.

    I’m not even sure what to say except to keep being brave to battle this thing head on and thank you so much for sharing!

    Maija

  31. Sonora says:

    Wow! What a powerful and touching post. You are a strong woman and I am so glad you shared this. Congratulations on saying goodbye to Ana.

  32. Kelly says:

    It is a scary thing to share something so personal and I am so proud of you for doing so in such a powerful way.

    Thank you for such a heartfelt story of taking back your POWER! 🙂

  33. varunner says:

    Amazing job on this one! May you continue to fight the good fight, and I hope it gets easier every day. Yes, so worth it.

  34. Caitlin, thanks for sharing this powerful story of healing. I came here from Twitter. So glad that I did. This is a story of struggle and eventually healing that anyone with a food addiction can read and relate to. Your children are a blessing to you and you to them. You use whatever tools that you can for recovery. Some work. Some don’t. I am glad that you got the awareness of your struggle and the love for your children that gave you the strength to overcome. Yes, one day at a time is the way that we heal. Without awareness, nothing changes.

    • Thank you so much for coming by and for such an amazing response! I sometimes worry because awareness can be triggering depending on the way information is presented.. but ignoring it completely is never a good answer to anything.

  35. Ashley says:

    Amazing that this is what came out of the prompt. I commend you for sharing this story and for fighting the battle. Stay strong. 🙂

    • I deliberated for days on what I would use for this prompt.. the obvious responses seemed not to fit me, though if my eye hadn’t been all messed up (thus keeping me from the comp – ACK!), I probably would have gone with that. I’m glad I had time to think..

      Thank you for the comment!

  36. Jessica says:

    Wow, what an amazing, brave piece. You shared a very personal piece of your life in such an eloquent way. Beautiful and I’m glad you have gotten to the point where you are now.

  37. Such an awful, insidious disease. I am so, so sorry for your battle with it.

  38. Galit Breen says:

    So powerful. So painful. So important. I’m so glad that you shared this!

  39. Ash says:

    Oh, wow. Look at you strong woman! How far you have come, though I’m sure it doesn’t feel far enough. Thank you for this post – such inspiration for some of us dealing with issues on all levels.

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