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  • Jason Wood

The Conductor

Seeing it go up was a bit scary. It’s always been something I controlled. Don’t get me wrong, I know it ebbed and flowed, but I generally called the shots, at least in my mind. It was at the command of my baton; I manipulated it. Even when I sought to gain, even if that was others initially seeking it for me, I pulled the lever, I steered the ship. But what I saw now was not something I actively sought out or even something that had been sought out for me. Maybe that’s even better?

You would think gaining a relatively minuscule amount of weight after putting on a larger amount would mean nothing to me; immaterial, a fluke. It very well could be. I’ve been building muscle; nothing remains in a stable state indefinitely. In all honesty, I don’t feel different from where I was two weeks ago; even a month ago. Anything new that I do feel is positive. I’m still Matt, maybe even Matt 2.0. So why the confusion; why the fear or anxiety? Why does it seem like the voice of the disorder is at a crescendo, the call of more (exercise) and less (food)?

But, you hear the call.

You recognize it for what it is.

And you know its voice is not your own.

Recovery is not a game, ending with a dice roll or spin. There is no “The End” or a roll of credits. You can look for the conductor to make one final flourish to cut off the orchestra, but you won’t find it. Part of me has been under the false impression that success meant eliminating all feelings of negativity, be it body image, insufficiency, or self-doubt. But that’s a pipe dream, and even if it were possible, it sounds exhausting. Here’s a better suggestion I have developed for myself: don’t fear a thought or feeling. They come and pass like tides. You own how you respond to them. You choose how to answer the call, even if that means letting the phone ring. Here’s the baton maestro, do with it what you will, for the orchestra of life is accountable to you alone. They may veer off course at times, whether off key or off tempo, but you know how to steer them back. They will listen if you lead.


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