A difficult decision had come to fruition, I’d sold a dream I’d created, the family had grown up. Stress, anxiety, overwhelm… Life gave me lemons but I struggled with the recipe for lemonade. Change still tasted a tad sour.
My feelings took me back to when I was fourteen.
Sometimes the words pour out of me, sometimes they don’t. There’s a lot more to the craft of writing than I had ever expected. Everyday I learn something new. As I find my way, I realise I’m reaching into the realm of the infinite.
Writing is like golf, deceptively easy on the surface.
One hundred pounds, my goal weight paled. A menopausal woman, a mother of three and a grandmother my relationship with my body had travelled a crooked path. It began eighteen months ago, the compulsion to re-immerse myself in the adolescent years reviewing my association with my inner voice.
‘Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who in this land is the fairest of all?’
Undoubtedly, the mirror is essential for grooming. But how do we feel about it? More accurately, how do we feel about what the mirror shows us about ourselves?
‘I’m not really sure what’s going on with me and food.’
There are so many misconceptions around anorexia. Most people living with it are misunderstood, brandished as:
- Attention seekers
- Control freaks just to mention a few.
But it is much more complicated than that. Life becomes unbearable during the anorexic experience. Pressure builds up slowly but surely. Many women subject themselves to this choice, life in the pressure cooker.
Crunch time, that overwhelming moment when I could say, ‘I’m lost.’
It dawned on me that I was out of control, rocketing down the slippery slope without realising I’d even sat at the top of the slide. How did the anorexic descent begin? Innocently enough, either externally cued by thoughtless words or internally generated by critical thoughts.
Anorexia and storytelling? Anorexia and metaphors? Anorexia and darkness?
Whilst writing about my experience with anorexia, I came across an article titled, ‘Listening in the dark: why we need stories of people living with severe and enduring anorexia nervosa’. It immediately grabbed my attention . Conti et al explored metaphors and recovery in an article published on 15/12/2016 in the Journal of Eating Disorders.
That mind bending question: how? The antagonist in my current manuscript is the inner critic. In order to give this ethereal character depth, I delved into its origin. A hungry beast it needed food, so I decided to feed it well on:
- acceptance and recognition. A gourmet delight!
Making sense of the struggle has unearthed many questions. The cycle of body image, perfection, calorie counting… had to lead some where. Beauty. The well-worn path meandered, looping carelessly back to the past and stretching outdated values into the future.
Beauty, what is it? What happens in the mind of a person with anorexia? Is their perception of beauty different? Can the insidious web of the disease keep the sufferer trapped, centred on a fixed idea? How did the idea of beauty arise? What did that mean to me?