i binged on fun at remuda ranch, part 3;

{valti and i, renfrew. 2005. }

for a long time after i left remuda, i never wanted to be tied back to my stay there. i had my t-shirt, my internal battle scars, and that’s all i wanted. i didn’t want to be “that girl with an eating disorder”, because i knew how they had been misperceived as “vain”, immature, or attention-seeking. once i finally gave myself permission as a human being to eat what i wanted, a long and arduous battle of the wits, i tried as hard as i could to distance myself further from that persona that i knew the people from my past distantly remembered.

i threw out my long-standing vegetarianism in high school and went to haiti with my church youth group to haiti, ate goat and fresh caught lobster with gusto, and prided myself on my “insatiable” appetite. i wore clothes that made me feel comfortable, not cute, or attention-seeking. baggy button downs and stretchy jeans became my mainstays and they helped me feign comfort with myself. i forced myself to eat a lot on first dates with guys because i never wanted them to think i was insecure about how i looked.  i slowly but surely became comfortable with myself, but not after feigning it for a year or two. i made bad jokes often. i forced myself to dance around campus and blow bubbles during lunch time (true story. i was so “manic pixie dream girl” that it was kind of disgusting). i was trying to throw everybody off the scent that i might have spent my entire freshman year of high school devising ways to hide food with a feeding tube shoved down my nose.

until now. because i realize more than even that now, as a recovered anorexic, to turn my back on those who aren’t recovered. to withhold my story of how i eventually got better was intensely selfish. when i was in treatment, it was so predominant how little you heard of recovered girls and boys who had passed through the doors of the treatment center. you might hear one or two success stories, but they always had a tinge of a “eh, it’s only a matter of time before they relapse” at the end of them. no happily ever afters involving being able to go to buffets and not have a panic attack. no images of eating cake without sobbing an hour later. when those things are totally possible. i realized that if i could confidently eat a plate of fried goat in the house of a haitian pastor, and risotto with a smile on my face and a question of what was for dessert, that others could too. as the girl who found herself hiding her head in couch cushions rather than interacting with others for fun, i knew that yelling my story from the mountain tops was not only needed, but essential.

i can now say with confidence that i am not afraid of being associated with my eating disorder now, five years after my last relapse. it’s a part of my life that is great in the past tense, as it should be. but i’m not afraid of telling my story in the present tense. because it’s true. and because it will always be there, but that doesn’t mean it should be swept underneath a rug. that’s an insult to all the girls who haven’t heard enough success stories. when people find out that i suffered from anorexia, they always seem shocked. “wow, you just seem so confident and comfortable,” they’d say. and that is true to an extent. i am confident, because i don’t think there is any other way to think of yourself other than the number one advocate of yourself. and i’m comfortable because i surround myself with comfortable people, and we cheer each other on. and in a way, i sort of find myself wanting for people to remember that i went through that part of my life. i want them to see that yes, i did pride myself over how little i could eat. and yes, i couldn’t stand for more than five minutes sometimes without fainting.

i want something entirely different to be what they deduce from meeting me. not that i am the furthest point away from a girl with an eating disorder, but that i am someone who grew off of that eating disorder. to look at me now, look at what a scared, little anorexic girl can be.


9 thoughts on “i binged on fun at remuda ranch, part 3;

  1. Your story is amazing. I have held on to every single word and I am so glad you shared it. I am in fact, right now, sitting on a stool at Trident, because I saw your tweet about it and could not wait to read how the story ends, although to some extent, I knew how it would end. Your story is what’s made you, YOU. It’s not all of you by any means, but it’s a part of you and it’s important and I’m glad you’ve told it.

    I hope other people read this. I hope it reaches someone who needs it. I hope for all those out there that are struggling. I hope.

    You rock, girl.


    • Just so you know, I am a girl who needed ths story, and I just finished reading it. You’re hopes came true. (:


      • oh kate, you just made my whole day! i’m so glad that the magic of the internet could allow you this to reach you 🙂 sending you lots of love.

  2. Your story was one of the most realistic and empowering stories about eating disorders that I’ve ever heard. I think it’s so wonderful that you’re able to share this with people. Your outlook on your life and your eating disorder is so healthy, and I’m glad other people will be able to gain inspiration from you.

  3. Mackenzie thank you so much for sharing your story. I really wish I would have still been at Remuda when you finally came out of your shell. I think I was only there for another 2 weeks when you arrived. You were still in your“shoving my face into the closest collection of cushions and feigning sleep“ stage haha. This was not only insightful but also humorous and you brought back so many memories for me so thank you so much for that. I know I can speak for all of us Sagebrush girls in saying I am so proud of you for doing this. xo

  4. Pingback: anorexia at a distance; | whatever, gatsby

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