i went home in november for a week.

i needed to go home.

to swath myself in the comfort of the familiar, to surround myself with family.

i was feeling so low. so deep and blue and bruised.

so i gathered my things into a small suitcase and went in search of solace.

the eating disorder had slipped back in. slinked and seeped right through the fissures and fault lines that living a courageous and open life often invites. the thing is, to live courageously, to thrash about in the unknown, to stand on the brink, to look down and breathe deeply, these are the things that make one well. in the long run, these are the things that make one well, i know this.

but in the short term: it's frustrating. as hell. embarrassing, really. how am i back here again? how am i here struggling with this, this....this beast.

and long as i've lived with it, as often as i've found pockets of peace, i still don't really understand the thing.

the eating disorder.

nor do the people who most love me. god, help them, they don't get it. and i'm not so good at explaining. we've tried. surely we've tried.

part of the problem is there are parts of it that i will probably never share. dark moments that don't belong to me so much as some part of the past, rough and jagged, in which the smallest, saddest, girl once lived. in which she roamed the aisles of grocery stores engaged in a fight with what could not be seen: don't do it. just this once, don't do it. don't binge. if not for yourself, for your family--the family who loves you and can't bear to see what's happening. time and again the argument unfurled. time and again she stood there, before food that had no tie to nature or the earth or anything good, seared by the cold and clinical fluorescents of overhead lighting.

she never won those arguments. even that love of family, the knowledge of their desperate need for her to be well, it was not enough. my heart breaks for that girl, that once-me so hollowed out, so carved upon by things that had no worth. it was a realm in which love had no place. in which love was not enough. what a dark and terrible sphere.

i'm not there anymore. that girl no longer exists but for those rare moments when i move my head in such a way as to catch her shadow's flight. always and only from the corner of my eye, i see her recede. not often, though. not too much anymore, and for that alone i must get on my knees to give thanks.

so november. damn, i'm really not sure how to write about it. maybe i've let it go too long or maybe there's too much to say. let me try:

when things get tough, people always say, do what you know. do those things that you know pull you out of it. 

but here's the thing, what may have worked in the past, may not work today. i wake each day a new woman, for better or for worse i am newly born each morning. and so each day i have to learn how to orient myself in relation to the eating disorder. each day i must take stock of the relationship and go from there. find my feet, find my footing. most days it's easy. most days it happens without me ever consciously thinking of it. those are the good days.

i went home. had a few soul-wrenching talks with my mother--the kind that take place in the car (always in the car). i attempted to shed more light, to make it all a little better, in which we slowly allowed ourselves a little more honesty than ever before.

and it helped, much as it could it helped, but some things just take time.

and there's always more information. and i'm nothing if not a forager of information. i wanted to swim around in the confusion of this bout and come out wiser and better prepared for the next.

this is what i got. there was no easy rebound this time. it was slow and painstaking. no moment where i looked in the mirror and thought, oh, thank god, there i am again.  in fact, my relation to the mirror changed in that it didn't have so much worth. what stared back at me wasn't so important.