Sitting in the car, country drive, Spotify time capsule, John Denver’s ‘Sunshine,’ plays. Music does that rockets you back to the past and I’m 15 sitting in my parent’s unit. It wasn’t just the music, I’d been doing some serious edits.
Edits can’t help but take me back to the cesspool of my adolescent ED (eating disorder). I guess my mind traversed two realities already, the unknown ready to sprout. A new thought had formed since my return from overseas, nagging, bugging and buzzing around my head like an elusive mosquito.
What else is there to do on a cool, May day but attend a poetry reading?
What else is there to do on a fine Saturday afternoon but recite poetry in the company of accomplished local poets and Cate Kennedy. Don’t know her? Here’s a starting point.
Cate Kennedy poems
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’m home but my words float along behind me. The break from the rigour of my manuscript has done its job. I hope my words catch up to me soon. So here is a prose poetry account of writing, travelling and most importantly changing.
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