I feel like I just had a major breakthrough while indulging in one of my favorite guilty pleasures, really bad reality television. The culprit: Marriage Bootcamp: Bridezillas. W.E. TV had/has a show where the couples who were previously on Bridezillas, but now struggling in their marriage go to this two week bootcamp where they do intensive couples and group therapy plus other activities while being recorded the entire time for our viewing pleasure. Some examples were being shot at with paintball guns, seeing their spouse in a coffin, watching their confession/casting tapes for the show and the one that got me: role playing.
I try not to live in the past and try to convince myself that the past isn’t what created me or is something I can blame for anything. Remember, I said ‘try to convince…’ I do believe a lot of my past is why I have struggled with food and body issues. A woman on the show was holding hands with her therapist who was role playing her alcoholic/abusive father and their conversation made my mind throw up a red flag. I feel as though I now know where my strive for perfectionism comes from. As a nine year old girl I was in the kitchen eating leftover lasagna from a tin foil container and everything surrounding me was amazing. I loved our house on the corner and the balcony coming out of my parents closet window (which made no sense). I loved my neighbor and babysitters house because it had a pool, TLC albums, Sega, Super Nintendo and we could watch Are You Afraid of the Dark in the basement with the lights out. I loved walking just a few steps away to the park and watch the crayfish swim in the stream. I loved collecting the tadpoles from our schools nature preserve and feed and watch them grow up in our old popcorn tins. I loved our purple carpet in the basement that when we first moved into the house my baby sister fell down the stairs but when she saw the purple she forgot about the pain and trauma but instead patted the carpet as though it was magic and was suddenly ecstatic. I loved my school, and the space shuttle that was in the library where we could cozy up inside and read. I loved my best friend and her family and that they had a room with no TV and just a space to play games and talk. I still miss her everyday. I also miss the fact that as a young person I felt that perfectionism did exist in this bubble because it was all I knew, and all that I knew was wonderful.
So as I dug into that lasagna from Texas in the kitchen I could feel my heart drop when my dad and moms tone suddenly got serious and I was called into the living room. They admitted my dad had been traveling so much because he was looking for work. Work he found but it lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and that’s where we would be moving. I didn’t know what Milwaukee was but I knew that moving meant leaving all that I loved behind. I wanted so desperately to hold onto everything that was perfect and I would make damn sure that I would be perfect myself.
Of course now I know that’s all a delusion. Searching for something perfect is beyond our means. I hear a lot of people saying we already are perfect, our flaws are what make us this way, yaddayaddayadda. I believe perfection is like infinity. It’s a word and a concept that I don’t care to wrap my brain around anymore.
I don’t blame my father or my mother for my strive for perfection even though it may stem from that one last pleasurable eating experience in Kentwood, Michigan. But I would like to apologize to them if they ever thought it was their fault. So Mom, (who I know is reading this because I got an email saying you subscribe) I’m sorry I’ve spent so much time missing Michigan and causing you pain and worry while you saw me unhappy in my new room without kitten wallpaper, at my new school that had hooks instead of lockers, with my new friends who wore WWE t-shirts instead of smiley faced tees from Limited Too. I’m sorry if I pushed you away in order to isolate myself and further my depression and disordered eating, I didn’t know how to ask for help. Maybe I still don’t. Dad, you have been my biggest inspiration and the reason I love music, art and film. Being exposed to so many different songs and live music and being able to meet those artists and have them sign my records means more to me than you’ll ever know. Probably because I’ve never told you until now. I’m also sorry for that. I know leaving Michigan was something we had to do, not something you wanted to do. I hope you know I just want you to be happy and healthy so you can be the best dad for me, T, N and for Mom. I love you all.