Anorexia is hidden, it’s a girl’s precious little secret. It was my precious little secret, something that made me giddy and euphoric. The world did not know but secretly, I was in control, I could turn away from the chocolate square before me or the plate of pasta. What fun! What joy! Even now, I reflect and think… I was a powerful force. One to be reckoned with.The human will is something that takes a certain level of ferocity to crush. It is the kind of thing the CIA specially trains operatives to engage in against the likes of the Taliban.Yet I, at the ages of 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 and then again at the ages of 19, 20 and 21 conquered my wills. Held strong in an iron casket were the hunger pangs. I was determined, I was focused and I achieved a lot. Two hospitalisations, wreaking havoc with my kidneys and leaving with a lifetime’s worth of an inability to digest certain food types.
Things changed though. I’m grateful they changed, I’m happy that in terms of personal development, there has been some evolution. The shift from ‘my precious little secret’ became ‘let me talk about this, let me no longer shut people out but let me tell them, let me bring my disease into the conscious awareness of those around me as I try to overcome it.’ However, I was not really trying to overcome it. I was still proud of it, still hoarding onto meager calories and almost boasting to those who knew me about my 500-a-day intake. I was viewed as intelligent, efficient and ambitious. Friends knew there had to be some chink in the armour so I told them my demon. Anorexia. I confessed but I persisted with the behaviour. Others cannot help you. Anyone who is not you is merely an observer of your life. So they observed my academic triumphs and my personal failings… my health failings… and eventually the two things colluded and it was all… a failing. Failing.
I knew I was not better. I knew that the evolution from my secret little point of pride to my public worn-as-a-badge acknowledgement did not signify being ‘cured.’ Time passes. Food and eating continues. Restriction continues. There will always be food. There will always be restriction. But, as I stated before, mercifully, we humans develop. I evolved yet again. Somehow something changed. I can’t pinpoint. It is an amalgamation of things. But now, chocolate, pizza, bread (sandwiches! GODDAMN SANDWICHES!), ice cream, pasta… things I cannot digest anymore… things I should NOT digest according to The Rules and Laws of My Life… they were being consumed, eaten and not a fuck was being given. Weight gained. Slowly, what I ate, what I carried in my stomach no longer haunted my mind at 1am. I no longer worried about why it did not haunt my mind. A process that took 18 months.
However… the real penny drop that there has been a significant shift and that I am healthier came when I read about 39 year old Valeria Levitin.
An article in a newspaper yesterday accompanied cruelly with pictures (irresponsible journalism). Once upon a time, I would have envied the sticks that were Valeria’s legs. Those hip bones. I would have felt horrid about myself. A restriction regime would have begun again. However… yesterday, I looked at her sunken in skin and a pained expression dawned across my face. She looks painful. That looks painful.
That’s progress for me.
A small sign. When thinspiration is no longer thinspiration, you realise you have some clarity, some perspective grounded in a reality far more objective then the haunting caves of your mind…. and you have to go ‘huh… well then’… and then you have to make a Tumblr blog about it. And then you have to hate yourself. Because you’re no longer that girl with that precious, empowering as hell secret. You’re a fatty.
And then… then you see a picture of Valeria, aged 19, curvaceous… a ‘big’ girl… and you have to smile. Smile because your first thought when you saw 19 year old Valeria? ‘She’s beautiful.’
Then you realise, you’re going to be OK. It’s going to be OK.
It’s going to be just fine.
You will evolve. You will develop. You will get better.