remembering pieces of identity (long, personal)
Something my therapist has been working on me with — or really something we did once and I have been trying to remember to do more often — is remembering parts of my identity from before my eating disorder and assault(s)*, or from outside that. Because I often feel that My Identity Is Survivor and My Identity Is EDNOS, and she wants me to remember that I am much more than that and I was someone before that and I can again be someone after it.
So, today is Easter. I am Enthusiastic about this. I came up with my little possibly-dorky ideas, and planned a menu, and found decorations, and right now I’m sitting in my mostly-ready kitchen while biscuits are in the oven and eggs are soaking up natural dyes, wearing my little Easter outfit, etc. I get embarrassed about this — how much more enthusiastic I get about these things than my peers do. But then I was remembering that I’ve always been this way.
When I was little, my dad called me the Family Cheerleader because I have ALWAYS been like this at holidays and birthdays and special occasions. I think they’re very important for families, both families of origin/blood families and found families, like my roommates and I are. So even as a kid I would get dressed up even when we didn’t have to, and I’d make decorations or parts of the meal, and I’d make little banners to hang around the apartment, and choose CDs that felt right for the holiday. And you know what? My dad loved it. He thought it was endearing and sweet and smart of me.
And when my dad got sick and my parents were depressed and my brother was away, I was the one who made sure we didn’t miss special days. I brought my dad his camera so he could take photos of us like he always had. I did most of the Christmas shopping. I bugged my mom to make gingerbread houses with me. I dyed the eggs, I reminded her to invite guests, I put on the Christmas CDs, I made the banners. I got the decorations down from the attic.
And it was really important to my family that I did that. This is a part of my identity that is unconnected to my eating disorder or my survivorship, and it’s good and kind and sweet.
So I’m not going to be embarrassed by it, and I’m going to eat the whole meal and then go take photos of flowers. And Ana and Mia can suck it. They are not invited to my Easter lunch.
* ok this is complicated but before the assaults OR the memory of the childhood one was brought up