Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday (and tattoos)

I don't even know where to begin on the thank-yous. The comments I got on my last post brought tears to my eyes, literally. I cannot tell you guys enough how much your words lifted my spirits today. I've been really struggling with being sick - I have no appetite at all so I've been forcing myself to get the calories in. But reading through the things you guys had to say really helped me a lot and it kept me motivated not to let this eensy weensy cold get the better of me and be a way for anorexia to take hold of me again.
Also, someone posted anonymously (Sami) - I really wanted to say thank you for how heartfelt your words were. I am more than flattered to know that I have in some way given you hope for yourself and the possibility of recovery. My email is in my profile page, and if you ever need anything, feel free to email me. Truly, that goes for anyone.

Despite being sick, I managed to enjoy my breakfast.

I found full-sized (5oz!) Blueberry Bran Vitamuffins at my grocery store <3 Had to try em, you know. And yes, I am weird and I cut my muffins in half by top and bottom, not side and side. Anyways, spread each side with a tablespoon of peanut butter after nuking it in the microwave. On the side there is some cottage cheese with almonds, banana, and blueberry preserves. I was really excited because I could actually TASTE this morning! It took some good doses of Affrin, Advil Cold & Sinus and Cloraseptic spray, but I got to enjoy my muffiny-goodness in peace.

Today's been kind of a mixed bag for me. Did therapy over the phone because I didn't want to get the poor guy sick too. I've had to turn down a lot of my friends on going out in the past day or two, and I feel really badly about it. I always hate feeling like I am disappointing someone. But I do need to take care of me first, and while it has taken some time for me to learn that, I am coming around. I'm actually really proud of myself because I say two of my guy friends down and explained to them I really only wanted to be friends right now and wasn't interested in a relationship with them. That has always been hard for me to do - to know I am hurting someone's feelings. But I really couldn't take the pressure those two were putting on me, throwing around the girlfriend word a lot and I really didn't like that. Its funny you know, how many things anorexia takes away. Like your ability to feel like its okay to assert yourself and think about your own needs. I haven't felt like it was OK for me to do that in years. Its a strange sensation to be honest, but I know its good and that its a step in the right direction.
So. I know I mentioned a while back about doing a "tattoo post". I decided that since my two biggest ones have rather long stories, I would just do one at a time. So, here is my first tattoo, done at age 18 in 2006.

I actually designed this at age 16, when I was in my second (third?) IP stay. Originally, the words I had scripted above it were "Mi amore et mi inedia" - Italian for "my love is my starvation". Can tell how I sick I was then right? At the time, I felt those words totally melded with my relationships with everyone I knew, including myself. I let people suck the life out me, without ever getting anything in return, because I felt like I could give and give, and consequently I stretched myself far too thin.
Fast forward a bit. I am eighteen. I have relapsed into anorexia twice now. I am home from college after 3 weeks on campus because of how quickly and severely I relapsed. My birthday has passed, and its already Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving day,November 28th 2006, I tried to kill myself. I do not even remember exactly what transpired. I know it must have had something to do with my mom wanting me to eat something I didn't feel comfortable with. But I utterly refused. She lashed out at me. I remember her and my father, screaming at me, saying how I'd never get better, that I was worthless because of AN and that they didn't care about me anymore that I might as well just go lay in bed and wait to die. I burst into tears. I ran into my room. I scrambled through my art supplies and found my heavy-duty Exacto. I hadn't intended on slitting my wrist. At first I was just cutting (I have visible scars that line the opposing side of my rib cage and both thighs, even now years later since I stopped) And then I figured I'm already bleeding, why the hell not? Call it what you will, but at that precise moment my older brother decided to come in and check on me. He freaked, obviously. He sat with me on the floor of my room and held me in his arms as I cried and told him about how I guilty and miserable I felt after what our parents said. He talked with me, mostly listening. I don't know how or why, or where the motivation came from, but that night I went back into the kitchen, and pulled an Ensure Plus out of the fridge and drank it down. That night, I thought for sure I was never going to let anorexia steal another day of life from me.
The following day, I confided in my then-best friend S about what had happened. I asked her if she would come with me to Physical Graffiti to get my ink done, and she gladly obliged. By this point, I had taken my old design and revamped the wording to something far more appropriate for recovery.
"Vivero E Prevarro" I will live and overcome.
Getting that tattoo done, I never felt more in tune with myself or my body, and I never felt more happy or proud of what I was doing for myself. Whenever I am feeling down, I try to remember its there, and what those words mean, and the spirit they were born from. Sometimes, I do forget. But lately I have been finding myself thinking those words more and more.


  1. I love your tattoo. I cant wait to get my first one next fall with my first roommate and best friend from residential treatment. We planned on getting them in March but she is pregnant with twins so we have to wait.

    I love the story behind it too. I can relate to a lot of what you wrote about. I have attempted suicide before and after living through it, the experience really affirmed my desire to recover.

    I hope you feel better. Being sick is no fun. Keep up all your great work darling.


  2. I'm so sorry to hear that you've been sicky. :( No fun whatsoever! I hope you get some good rest, drink lots of helpful fluids, and get better soon!

    Thank you again for sharing such an incredible story. You've been through A LOT, to say the least, but you manage to conquer each battle and jump over each hurdle with grace. I think the words of your tatoo are simple but powerful and constitute a positive way of life.

  3. awww...your story moved me. COngrats with the tattoo! I hope that would really remind you of what you are healing from.

  4. Wow, your story just made such an impact. It puts everything into perspective. You are so strong and brave, you have no idea how much I admire you for it! Managing to get over all that, despite all the shit you were given...being told you should just wait to die...You're so strong to overcome that! A proper inspiration. Your tattoo is so appropriate, and really lovely tbh. Such a good idea.
    Oh and your breakfast looks gorgeous!
    Keep fighting!
    xoxoxo Maria

  5. That story is amazing, I have so much respect for you. The tattoo is so perfect - you really WILL overcome this illness, you're so strong its breath-taking.

  6. Your tattoo story almost brought tears to my eyes, really. I love the tattoo and it has such a meaningful story behind it. I repect you so much because of your strength and determination, and jsut because you seem like you are overall an amazing person. You are going to recover, Tori. I have faith in you.
    I hope you feel better, love.

  7. You continue to amaze me more and more with your incredible perseverance. You handle your stories so gracefully. I am so proud that you didn't brand your eating disorder on your body. Instead you, used your tattoo to inspire well-being and strength to get better. And what a beautiful and powerful phrase you chose! And the image is really pretty too. :]

    I'm so glad you're feeling better! Forcing your mind to eat is one thing, but having to force your body on top of that, makes it all the more difficult. I am so glad that you didn't allow your negative thoughts to take advantage of your lack of appetite. It's the worst, worst thing to feel so eewy physically and still have to deal with disordered thoughts. But you did it! And that is so, so commendable!

    Being assertive is something I have also struggled with. It's my biggest fear to hurt someone else's feelings. But sometimes, it just has to be done. You are more important to your life than anyone. So you have to do whatever will make you feel better in the long run. Standing up for yourself and telling people things they may not want to hear, are very difficult to do. But, really, it was better that you explained to those boys how you really felt now, instead of letting them believe what they wanted, and eventually hurting them anyway.

    It's obvious that God has something more planned for you, Tori. Your brother coming in at the perfect moment, is sign enough that there is a better life out there. I know what it feels like to be so helpless and overwhelmed... it's so frightening to think back on our darkest moments. But I feel like, by being able to write about that experience, is a step to moving on from it. I am thanking God that you were able to make it through that night and be here now, so much stronger.

    There will always be new obstacles to face and struggles to overcome, but I know that you can continue to persevere from anything that comes your way! As your tattoo reminds you, you will live and you will overcome. :)

  8. Oh my God. You have been through so freaking much. Through your writing, I can tell how intelligent you are, how much potential you have in you. no wonder ED clung on to you, refusing to let you go. There was so many times when you could have just died...but you survived. And I firmly believe there is a reason why you're still alive. I know this is cliche, but what doesn't kill you will only make you stronger. And you have grown so much. Become so much stronger. And I admire your will and determination to continue to fight.
    Being sick sucks ass. I hope you feel better soon, but more important than your physical well-being, I wish you all the sweet peace inside your spirit and mind!

  9. Your tattoo is everything a tatt should be; beautiful, meaningful and hauntingly evocative of exactly WHY you are doing the right thing. So proud of you for everything, beautiful. I hope you start to feel better soon - is it just me or does weight gain lead to more coughs-and-sneezes than being at a low weight? I never ever got ill when I was at a low, but now it's like my immune system is having a rest or something?! Same with spots, my skin is b-r-e-a-k-i-n-g out and I NEVER get spots normally.. Aishky!

  10. I'm finally going to delurk...
    I am also in recovery from anorexia, and I find all your posts to be inspiring. You have been through so much but you manage to find the strength to carry on. It's truly amazing.

    But, the real reason I wanted to comment is because I got my tattoo done at Physical Graffitti too!! Did you go to the one in Bridgeport? I think I've read that you live in CT (as do I).

    Your tattoo is beautiful and the story behind it is so moving. I can't wait to see the others...