One of the most prominent reasons I had for wanting to start to come to terms with my need to completely control my food and exercise was that it affected my relationships. The depths of my eating disorder were pretty dark and it ended up being sort of like panning for gold when it came to friendships. Many, many people (quality people that I love, even) slipped through the cracks because it became too deeply depressing or frustrating to see me prioritize trying to control my body again and again and again. People sloughed away as I grew thinner and more unable to interact in normal social function, especially around food.
It was sad to see these people go certainly, but what hits really strongly is the people who managed to stay. Although I would never ever re-live the experience of the emotional and physical bullshit that having an eating disorder gave me, I am totally amazed to see the resulting strength of my love for the people that stuck with me through that experience. Not everyone gives second (and third and fourth) chances and the fact that many people in my life have is amazing.
When I very first stopped eating and sleeping as a result of some intense life-stuff my friend Galina showed up on my doorstep with the intention of tucking my ass into bed. Disaster compelled me to ignore my very base level needs and that was exactly the point when I needed someone to step forward and assist me because I had stopped being willing to try to put one foot in front of the other. Galina was not a person who was without her own struggle by any means but she showed up with Tylenol PM to knock me out and she made me laugh and that shit is deep and real when you feel like you have nothing.
It has been almost five years since then and I have lived in other cities and other time zones since. I am not exactly the type that is great at long distance keeping in touch but Galina was a friend that you don’t necessarily have to speak to to know that she’s there and you’re still close and that when you do hang it will be awesome. She was a role model for me in terms of what type of friend to be because she listened and was reflective and that was it. You didn’t need to make the right decisions for her to think you were excellent.
Galina thought I was awesome when I was definitely my least awesome.
My friend Galina died yesterday and I don’t know how or why or anything really except that I am very sad. I am often weary of writing memorial-type posts because they come off as cliche or insincere to those who do not know the person and I find them often unrelatable. Plus, what does losing my friend have to do with fitness anyway?
I guess what I have to say is this: I am really lucky to have a community of people that prioritize strength in a multitude of ways. I am really lucky that my body is not the first and foremost thing on my mind anymore, even when I am struggling with how I feel about it. I am lucky to have had the help of my virtual bootcamp team to turn exercise into a positive and quick part of my day that doesn’t control every single other faction of my life. I am lucky to know that I wont abandon people to be a slave to food intake/output anymore and that I wont have to let my friends take leaps of faith that I will someday be better to them again. I am lucky that I get to be a good friend to those around me right fucking now and that people like Galina helped show me how to do that.
I wish I could have lived in the same town as her during a time when I was experiencing all this luck. I don’t have any illusions that I could have fixed anything necessarily but I could have shown up to be a friend, which would have been good enough for me.
I’m gonna miss her.