For two reasons, I’m combining Ana’s Reasons 9-11:
- They feel super intertwined to the point that I’m not sure how to write separate posts about them, yet they feel distinct enough to warrant each being a reason.
- I’m getting tired of this series and ready to move on. I’m not sure anymore that ruminating on all the whys of Ana is helpful, and in fact, may be starting to become detrimental to my recovery.
A series of posts uncovering what is really beneath my anorexia and depression.
Reason 9. Stuck in Seattle.
Reason 10. Friendless.
Reason 11. 2600 miles from family and framily.
I know I complain a lot about Seattle, particularly the weather. So why did I still live there? In Autumn 2007, I moved to Seattle for graduate school. Had I not met JJ, I honestly think I would have moved back to Texas in May 2008 (which I did) and stayed (which I did not).
The draw of love (as we’ve seen is extraordinarily rare in my case) brought me back and had me stay. I was okay with it at first; after all, Seattle is a beautiful city with a lot of fun to offer, my doctoral program, a good advising gig in town, and of course JJ.
Then, the years wore on. Each Garbage Season (October – June, cold, wet, gray) took more and more of a toll on my mental health. I was so cold all the time. I felt trapped inside my house, under my blanket, by my space heater. And no one noticed.
For whatever reason, I couldn’t make real, close friendships in Seattle. I’m not the only one, apparently, because there’s a phenomenon known as the Seattle Freeze, which is about much more than just the weather.
People think Seattle is all..
But the snow literally lasted for a day, if we were lucky. Mostly, here’s the reality (at least for me):
I had friends in Seattle.
- An awesome kickball team…that even after 6 years of playing together, I rarely saw outside kickball season and almost never felt comfortable enough going to the bar before or after games
- Co-workers…I’ve had the best co-workers around, and I know I’ve been lucky. I’ve counted them as friends…while I’ve worked with them. But then, people move to other jobs (including me), and it fades.
That was pretty much it. I was stuck in Seattle and really couldn’t figure out how to make close friends.
The friends I have back home in Texas are ones where I can just go to their house and lay on the couch, doing nothing. Or, I show up to do one thing, all hell has broken loose, so the new plan is that I cook dinner for her kids. Or, where you can be silent and it’s totally (REALLY) okay. Oh, and we NEVER go to coffee shops for an hour to catch up.
These friends are framily. That’s what we call each other. We are family who chose each other. And they were all so far away, along with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. This was hard enough, but when LK was born, I knew I needed her to grow up with her cousins and framily. These were the kids she would live life with, and we needed them.
Ana latched on to all the loneliness of Seattle and sunk her teeth in. She had no mercy while I got colder and colder, lonelier and lonelier, and more and more depressed. In fact, she reveled in it. She told me nothing mattered. I could waste away while no one noticed. I could hide away with Ana, since everyone was far away. Nothing mattered. I’m ashamed to admit it. JJ didn’t matter. LK didn’t matter. I just needed to be thinner. I needed the scale to tell me how to feel. Each dizzy spell or fall proved to me that it was working. I was disappearing, like one of the people in that photo of Michael J. Fox’s family in Back to the Future.
I know I took LK from her grandparents when I left Seattle, and I’m sorry for that. I really am. But I just couldn’t live in Seattle anymore. Now, I feel like I’m starting to reappear in the picture. I kind of fade in and out but am hoping eventually to be back in full color.