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.
I’ve put the manuscript out there. Two of my readers have come back to me. I’m grateful for their honesty and time commitment. I asked for feedback and I got it. It got to me, too! I have changes to make, quite a few.
Honing a manuscript takes time.
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.
I’ve been writing a lot lately driven by an undeniable urge to finish my second manuscript. Writing a memoir is personal, mental health one even more so. A choice exists what to divulge and what to withhold. It’s weird, say too much and be vulnerable, say too little and appear bland.
For me it was anorexia.
We form attachments to our writing projects. Born through us, the umbilical cord twangs. But we have to let them go. We have to trust and accept help. Last time, I didn’t ask for help: a big mistake. So I’m sharing some simple lessons learned with anyone who is finishing a manuscript.
Last Monday came and with it an irresistible urge to complete this manuscript.
But fear is near
Emptiness shadows joy
Sunday: A turbulent night over and light peeks through the sheer curtains. I prefer it to the darkness but am peeved to have missed the dawn. It’s been an intense year so far and the hype up to Christmas makes me want to step back.
In sight of the finish line, I’m flat today.
I’m watching the blossom fiercely wrenched from the trees by spring winds. A metaphor? I too, am suspended in the whim of the universe, a dance so random that I can’t always keep up. I’m still writing. I’m trying to encapsulate the process of self-empowerment, an adolescent anorexic turning the tide. It ebbs and flows a staccato experience.
Writing has given me the courage to shine light into my deepest recesses. Words fail. How do I convey my truth and share something that drove me to deny myself over and over? Like the blossom, I’m stripped bare by spring winds of my pen.
Conflict? Is it beneficial? Soul-destroying? Or an opportunity to learn? Can we become addicted to conflict? Writing my story, I’m in year eleven of my high school experience battling anorexia and I’m forced to address conflict. I was at breaking point. Something had to give and it couldn’t be me, good girls don’t make waves.
I’d made a huge discovery, I didn’t like the life I was living anymore. I’d had enough. Would this ensure recovery? Would it be enough?
Last week was like standing by the Southern Ocean in a gale. I ran into the wind, trying to keep up with the ‘should’s’ in my life. Monday morphed into Friday and then the weekend came. I’d tried to write but the kept deleting the fragments on the page. Poetic words floated past evading my intentions to capture them.
Stress does that, a cement beanie on the soaring mind.
But I had something to look forward to the first Sunbury Literary Festival and my closest friend had bought tickets. We went.
Rupertswood Mansion: photo Lindy Schneider