At 60, I have finished anorexia. Life had pushed me into a corner, no exit sign. I’d come a long way on my own but the roots of my ED remained alive within me. Inter-generational trauma proved to be the fertiliser for my ED. I was sub-clinical. The world saw me as normal, even enviable.
I lived a life that didn’t belong to me.
Winter brought illness. August brought respite, a trip to Africa. In Africa, I integrated seven months of therapy. Bouncing along the road, looking out the window; I gave myself time with me. In the process the shadow, my anorexic self slipped away. The revelation blew my mind. It would be rosy from here on, right? And that’s when I began living with a gap.
My therapist said, ‘Anorexia is a form of self flagellation.’ I knew what she meant. I didn’t want to own it then. I’d been working really hard peeling back the layers of inter-generational trauma. I understood why I befriended the shadow: anorexia. And I went to Africa. My brain was fried.
I’d physically recovered by 23 and didn’t give anorexia much thought. By 30, I was pregnant with my first child and by 35, a mother of three. I returned to work four years later, weekend ICU, an intense world which kept me enthralled for 18 years. I needed a break and moved into community health. Writing called. I answered.
It’s nearly a month since I finished writing and the critiques are coming in. It’s as I’d expected, my readers find things to love and things to loathe. Critique doesn’t equal criticism but my head still struggles with that concept.
I’m human. I’m not alone. I’m sick. Life has gone unexpectedly awry.
Good Friday morning, a quiet time… The shops are closed and the neighbours quiet. Time to reflect. Lately, I’m checking in with myself these days. Easter, the full moon and the past five months; a lot has changed…
Love spots? I do. I’m wading deep. Doves coo and immediately I’m back home, a child barefoot in the back yard among the fruit trees, Gardenia in the air. I’m unravelling. The past and present co-exist inside me.
I’m the girl with spots on my dress. And I’m not alone.
Food, arghhh! It’s complicated isn’t it? I love food, I really do. Even at my most vulnerable, as a restrictive anorexic, I loved food. I loved watching people enjoy food. ButI loved chips and chocolate. My mother’s ongoing sabotage of my love of greens, probably helped to keep me alive.
Mama always kept treats in our pantry. It smelled delicious, like a deli. And it was. Treats included chips and chocolate. I caved time and time again gorging and then self-flagellating. It gets better right?
Good friends keep us sane, especially the kind we plan to get old and weird with. A waft of cigarette smoke caught my attention. I craved a fag. Omg. Where did that impulse even come from? I mentioned it. She laughed: You’re self soothing.
The words struck me and stuck fast. Truth does that! I had to admit to myself, I’d been hurting despite the perfectionist persona.
Twice … I’ve read the same question. It held my attention, if only for a short time between this and that. Then I read it again. That made three times. “Why do you write?” The question sought me, so I thought I’d ponder it.
Why did I write and what place does writing serve in my life?
I believe that fight and flight also governs our response to strong emotions. Some people come back at the person/ situation enraged; words or fists flying. Others don’t.
Are you someone who simply runs away? For me it’s easier. Either physically creating distance, emotionally by shutting down or psychologically dulling reality. I’d like to share my discovery of running away.
This poem came to me after my morning walk. Having recently taken a leap of faith, I meet people daily undergoing the same metamorphosis. Change is the best tool to meet the hidden self. Endless, I don’t know how to do that, moments arise. Self-doubt comes tot the party uninvited. It wants the fairy bread! Self-doubt is no match for Google.