I’m living a luminous life. Time has passed since my return from Africa and my words have dried up. It’s insane. The chatter, jottings and poems have evaporated. When I think about the time that I spent, honestly recalling my anorexic years and I feel the same way.
The story will remain unpublished. It’s not escapism. It is resolution.
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.
I’ve been home two weeks exploring the new me. The changes astound me. An avid talker, I’ve descended into an eerie silence. The need to express an opinion on everything has vanished. My poetry, a way to explore the hard stuff, is silent too.
Where have my words gone?
On the last day of my 59th year, I attended a Body Esteem Educator Training Course run by the Butterfly Foundation. The irony of the situation wasn’t wasted on me, a recovered anorexic learning about body esteem.
What was I doing? What was I looking for? Food for thought here.
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.
Last Monday came and with it an irresistible urge to complete this manuscript.
But fear is near
Emptiness shadows joy
What do the words, ‘good girl,’ unleash in you?
I’ve been a good girl for most of my life. Has it made me happy? Sometimes. Like most self discovery; it’s a mire in there. ‘Good girl,’ is in the hard basket with other taboos: periods, mothers who drink or do drugs, women who choose not to have kids…
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.
Body image. Being female. Life’s challenges: wedding dress or bikini? Both bring us face to face with our bodies. They are emotionally charged experiences, all mirrors and expectations. Bikini shopping lays us bare, as close to naked as it gets. But the wedding dress final fitting puts our flaws under the microscope on a grand scale.
Can you relate to the image of the girl on that special day, hand on tummy, breathing in, eyes avoiding while desperately seeking the mirror? She’s present but has checked out. Self-acceptance is out of her comfort zone.
I grew up nose in a fairy tales book, a little girl who wanted to be a princess. I disliked the scary stories like Little red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel. The dark woods frightened me. As I grew up, I found myself there, an anorexic perfectionist deep in the forest.
It took me a long time to understand the role of the darkness in my life. This a series of questions are me unpacking the darkness.
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