My resolution of my ED has been a lifelong journey, I’m nearly 60. The decision to write about it was driven by an incessant internal nagging. I resisted it for a long time, knowing that behind the recovered physical body of the anorexic, lay unresolved emotional misconceptions.
Then I began.
I smashed the experience out quite quickly 45,000 words of undecipherable me. My best friend gave me valuable critique. ‘It’s too confusing,’ she said. At this point, flashing neon doubts arose. I wondered what people would think. Where is the line between wellness and ongoing mental health issues?
Retail therapy? I like shopping. Sometimes, I indulge my unhappiness with a new pair of shoes. Sometimes window shopping isn’t enough. Wandering around, checking things out, watching people and walking away with a brown paper shopping bag can be very therapeutic. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it’s not.
I hope you enjoy my prose poem.
Anorexia, the disorder of the 70’s and 80’s lived on well past its use by date. Adolescence became a time of shrinking rather than a time of growth. I’ve spent decades progressively unravelling the, ‘Whys.’ Why is like an expensive fragrance, revealing itself slowly, bewitching you and enticing you to want more.
‘Why,’ is more layered and complex than I’d ever imagined.
It didn’t feel good then. But as I began to write, there’s been an unravelling of me. My story came out haltingly. To my surprise, I had to prise it from my memory. Once again, I touched the darkness within.
and I went to write
dark emotions threatened the page
so virginal and pure
empty space stared back at me
dare I disclose my struggle?
My road of self discovery has been jagged, strewn with attempts at change. Mastery remains a lofty goal. I once asked one of my spiritual teachers, ‘It gets easier ,right?’ She smiled wryly. I didn’t want to receive that answer.
At the moment, I’m working out how to deal with people who trigger me. I’m sure you also have people and circumstances that trigger you. Mine involves:
- overstepping boundaries
- breaches of trust
Anorexia divides you but its subtle. The anorexic voice in my new novel even has a name, Saima. It took me a while to work out that my inner voice had gone awry. Let’s face it how often do we share the machinations of our inner worlds? Not often. Why? Probably because we are ashamed of some of the thoughts and embarrassed by others.
The question is ‘her’ or ‘me’? And more importantly how do I recognise who is speaking?
Image source: http://thebluediamondgallery.com/a/anorexia-nervosa.html
Have you ever felt your back up against the wall, repetitive and intolerable situations pressing you tighter into the corner? My life has been a series of micro-deaths, traditions, observances and people. But I keep trying to fix whatever is broken. I’m looking at the finger not what it’s pointing at.
Allowing has been a challenge but I’m doing it. I’m moving to the heart. Maybe you can relate to being trapped in the head with all those chaotic thoughts. Maybe you feel deeply and intensely, so deeply that it scares you. Maybe you want peace and emotional resolution.
Here’s a poem about my experience.
Are you a firecracker or a pickle jar? Life is a continuum and you may lie somewhere in between. Firecrackers explode. It can be an unregulated emotional experience. Pickle jars bottle things up, quietly contorting their inner space; wondering if the lid will still fit on.
I’m a societal success but the confusion between the voice of anorexia with the voice of self-love shadowed much of my adult life. On the external stakes, I tick most boxes. I’m:
- attractive (for my age)
- socially connected
- on my first marriage
- and contributing in a professional capacity
But ego, the master of deception keeps coming in through the side door trying to convince me otherwise.