Sometimes I forget about the life I once lived. The life I was trapped in eight years ago when I was in the depths of anorexia.
But even though I write about my recovery and the freedom I’ve been given and found in my new life, I don’t really confront or think about that dark period of my life. I focus on the good.
And being in Manhattan is really a big contributing factor of that. It’s been a fresh start for me. A clean slate. A place where there are no shadows from the past following me around. It’s been instrumental to my recovery in a lot of ways.
So, really, my past and my present have never really collided. At least not in this new place I’m in. Not in New York.
Until this weekend.
When I think back to high school, which was when my anorexia developed, if I could personify my experience into a person, it would be one of the captains of our football team. We’ll call him…Frank. So anyway, Frank and I grew up together…neighbors…had been friends since elementary school. And in high school, his house was the party house.
And the perfectionism I developed as a result of my anorexia made it so I wouldn’t drink alcohol. I was dating the other captain of the football team, so I’d go to the parties, but there was no way in hell I’d drink.
Anyways…that was Frank.
And this weekend, I learned that he’s in the city.
And wants to get drinks.
Guys. The last time I saw this guy was when I was 78 pounds and getting shipped off to inpatient. Like, to say I was feeling some anxiety about seeing him again is probably the understatement of the century.
I spent the two days leading up to the get-together completely inside my own head. My past darkness and my current freedom were now colliding — BAM – on my new turf. Those 48 hours sent me back, remembering, all the pain and suffering and enslavement I had during high school to a disease that nearly took my life.
Long story the short, we had a great time. He was genuinely happy to see me and happy to see that I’m living life to the full again. I had nothing to worry about.
That’s not the point of this post.
I want to share what happened the following day.
I woke up the next morning, and I’m not going to lie, I had quite the hangover. Tequila does that. And here’s my remedy that I always do: I take a nice, brisk walk, usually somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour. The fresh air, a green juice, and the endorphin kick usually do the trick to combat the fogginess.
So I was out on my walk, it was a beautiful, blue-sky day, and right when I’m at my turnaround point –30 minutes out– a storm kicks up. And all of a sudden I’m caught in a torrential downpour. I kid you not, this thing came out of nowhere and it was like the rain was coming down sideways it was raining so hard.
So here I am, without an umbrella, without a metro card or wallet, 30 minutes away from my apartment, in the driving rain.
Oh yeah, and I’m on the river, so there was not a building to duck into, either.
So I just conceded to the fact that, welp…I was going to get wet.
And as I was walking home – I don’t know if it was the rain, or the fact that I was afraid of getting electrocuted so I wasn’t listening to any music in my headphones – but my mind found its way back to high school, thinking about all the experiences and joys and relationships I missed out on. I mean, I didn’t walk with my class at graduation because I was at inpatient, I had to drop out of all my extra curriculars, I threw away most of my friendships because I isolated myself with ED. I didn’t even respond to phone calls or call people back. I didn’t partake in any of the parties or tailgates or fun “senior year” traditions because I was so wrapped up in my eating disorder. I went from being a homecoming court, very involved, student athlete with a lot of friends, to a shell of my former existence, wasting away physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially — and to top it all off, I had lost 90% of my hair. And I’m telling you these things, not because I’m fishing for pity or anything like that. I’m just painting a picture for you of what my final two years of high school were like.
But as I was walking home in that head space, getting angrier and more verklempt, I looked up, and there was this gorgeous double rainbow in front of me. I mean, it was vibrant and clear as day. It was the strangest thing, it was pouring cats and dogs, and yet the sun was brilliantly shining and there were the two brightest rainbows I’ve ever seen.
I know. Let’s just get the collective eye rolls out of the way right now. I am aware of how cheesy that sounds. Let’s just accept it and move forward.
Well, I saw that rainbow, and I just knew that God was showing me a sign of that promise: that I will never be in that dark place again. That I am in His arms — safe — and He’s never going to let that be a part of my story ever again. Not if I stay in His embrace.
And I think that rainbow was also communicating something else too.
I think when we’re “caught in the rain” during difficult periods of life, we tend to focus on the rain. Focus on – Crap, I don’t have an umbrella. I’m getting drenched. This sucks. Royally.
All I had to do was look up. Stop focusing on my wet shoes and soaking wet puffy coat and the cold, and look up. Because there, right in the middle of the darkness, was this brilliant demonstration of His love. A reminder that I’m not alone.
That rainbow was a reminder that, “Hey, BBB. Look where you are. You survived. I never abandoned you, but saw you through. And hey, look how far you’ve come. You’re not in that dark place anymore. Focus on Me. Not on the storm.”
So maybe it was just a rainbow. A coincidence. A beautiful display of nature at its finest.
But I don’t know. It’s too coincidental that I had just come off of a weekend where I spent the majority of time thinking about that dark, stormy time in my life, and then seeing Frank, who is the personification of that time — and then the next day to have to walk home in a torrential downpour for 30 minutes, only to experience the brightest double rainbow I’ve ever seen.
It’s just a little too scripted — too providential — to not give it a second thought.
Anywho. That’s all for today. If you’re in the storm, take a breath and look up, because there may just be a double rainbow.