CLXXXV. Mama mia, Here [We] Go Again- my, my, how can I resist you?
My mother is my worst enemy- let it be known.
Let it be known that I love the outdoors. I love being outdoors. There is nothing worse than rain and snow to impede my mission of spending time outside. I have always loved cardio, exercises to make me warm up because I never did sweat. I loved the high of a quickened heart beat and rosy cheeks, no pore-clogging blush necessary. Still, limiting myself to a treadmill was something I never subjected myself to by choice.
Since my anorexia diagnosis, and energy expending movement prohibited, my mother has decidedly become disordered herself. Sure, she is not underweight, but she no longer eats any aromatic food, any fast food, or ethnic foods that even she grew up with. She guards her portions and looks at calories and serving sizes before ingredients.
She purchased a treadmill and despite an unfinished basement, had an electrical outlet installed to hook up the machine. She cannot go a day without exercising and blames me for preventing her from working out. She takes off on days when everyone is at work so she can go downstairs in the basement, without the arguments that inevitably occur if I’m at home.
This week I am at home, and while I think it is the perfect time to accomplish tasks for my career goals or to rest up for recovery, it is also raining. I am tempted to go on the treadmill, but don’t want to sabotage myself. So I asked her to take off one rainy day when I am at home instead of her designated days when I am at work. She reluctantly agreed.
Yesterday, after running my errands we got home late and she didn’t have a chance to do her yoga. With malcontent, she told me that she would not only do her yoga but also go on the treadmill tomorrow, while I’m at home.
Little did she know that just a few hours prior I had confessed proudly to my father that I asked her to stay at home so I wouldn’t go on the treadmill - I was moving forward with my recovery. And here she was, sticking it to me.
Every time I take steps forward, she brings me backwards.
She attended the National Eating Disorder Association Walk with me a couple of weeks ago. The head specialist in Long Island, and one of the best in the world, described exactly what I was experiencing and said that the condition was undoubtedly genetic. I cried and she cradled me in her arms in an attempt to meet onlookers’ expectations, looking around with concern that others would see my contorted face and tears streaming down. I thought she understood what I was going through but instead, she and my father banter back and forth over which genetic pool was to blame before the blame inevitably falls on me.
We argued yesterday over her exercise pursuits after she consumed two “extra thin” slices of cheese between two slices of bread and some shrouds of basil, sipping on a Coke Zero. She said she would go in to work and take off Friday - that was her intention all along.
I woke up this morning, after she had gone into work. I walked to Starbucks, stomach uncomfortably full from the night before, with rain boots on, my knobby knees knocking each other as I had difficulty walking with my backpack- breakfast packed- and laptop weighing down my shoulder. After sitting for about 2 hours, I thought I could perhaps beat the rainfall, and decided to walk with all of my belongings for as long as I could before going home. The treadmill would always be there.
It was already drizzling and the winds had already picked up, but I continued on. In pain and distress, two hours later, I returned home. But before then I had called my mother- trying to decipher how the day would pan out, and if she still held a grudge. Let it be known that I purposely ventured out early today because I had a feeling she would take off early from work to exercise, dipping into my time alone.
She came off cold, but that wasn’t at all out of normalcy. I came home, my hair destroyed because of the rain. So I washed it - which I never do on Wednesday - she does. As soon as I came out of the shower, the phone rang and her cell number popped up. I knew it then, she had left her workplace earlier and sure enough, she was on the platform and would arrive by 2 pm. I had not eaten yet- a big lunch I planned, regret setting in.
She asked if my appointment I had scheduled for 3:15 but was planning on canceling, was canceled yet. I responded that it wasn’t, and since she was coming early would keep it.
She came home without so much as eye contact, changed into pajamas and when I said the appointment was soon, a smirk appeared on her face with pleasure. “So- you can go yourself. I’m not going out. You made me go into work so you wouldn’t have to see me work out. Well now you’re going to see me work out- or you can go out yourself.” I am pretty sure my mouth hung open in sheer shock. She smiled. All that is evil had to have been consecrated in her one being.
I had bent over backwards the weeks between her birthday and Mother’s Day- mani/pedis, a limited edition cookbook she would never open, earrings she already hated, pastries, a day out at a fancy lunch which she refused to eat because of comparison to my salad. She ordered a strawberry mascarpone pancake, threw out the mascarpone and maple syrup that she usually orders two of. “I would have ordered a salad too,” she said, and left her food untouched, egging me to eat my own. The anxiety leading up to that lunch with just the two of us was a longtime coming - so much so that my bowels were completely blocked and doctor-diagnosed anxiety-induced diarrhea occurred.
Do I hate my mother? No. Do I love her? On some level, yes, I love her immensely. I love her more than I do myself. I love her supple skin, her always refreshing scent, her robust and toned body, her mama bear stretch marks so perfectly imperfect, her ability to straighten her naturally curly hair- unbeknownst to most- the old-fashioned way resulting in the silkiest of locks, her ability to pull together a look worth the most basic of clothing items: a solid t-shirt, jeans, and a puffer vest. I love how photogenic she is. I love her sheer femininity defined: her natural lack of body hair. I love her ability to wake up without hesitation no matter the time, her willingness to do the laundry, wash the dishes, and sweep all at once. I love and hate all of this.
I hate her personality. I hate her lack of sentimentality. I hate her insistent need to blame others’ preference for their mother tongue as a personal attack against her. I hate her ignorance. I hate her unwillingness to pronounce eastern names and words the way they should be.
Love her or hate her, my father is correct in the text message he sent me yesterday. It read, “Keep your cool with your mom. She is your best friend. Everyone has different personalities, but they can still be your best friend. We are not clones of each other.”
I wish he had not sent me that text, softening me when I was high on a mad tirade. But today, with my washed hair and the fact that it is rainy outside, I thought of her exercising and ended up on the treadmill, hating my life all the while. I hated the fact that I had to urinate, but did not want to get off. I hated the fact that I had to defalcate as well. I hated the fact that I grew anxious after the fact and having not eaten enough, successfully scared myself into eating more, but was and still am, hours later, uncomfortably full and abdomen distended, bowels not yet emptied.
Tomorrow I have to work early and she has the day off. I have to make sure to sneak my body weight exercises that make me feel better about her working out later in the day, in the wee hours of the morning before anyone is awake. I have to cope with the fact that she will restrict her eating and go on the treadmill tomorrow as well as perform yoga, while I’m still at work. I hate her for this, I truly do. I try to devise a way to stay out after my job so as to walk, but I know I will be tired, if she comes to pick me up, she may catch me walking because she leaves over an hour earlier to places 20 minutes away. I hate that habit of hers. I hate that she won’t eat lunch before picking me up but I will have already eaten.
What do I do? My mind is running a thousand miles a minute. I have to empty my bowels before eating my weight in evening snacks. I have to go to bed early to force myself to do some body weight moves at 3 am, sneaking downstairs onto the rug that will deafen any floor creaks.