so many sizes


Reading the memoir of a woman and her eating disorder, her first realization of body (4) and purge (8) and I, with a resigned sort of horror, discover jealousy brewing.  I ask what may be the most ludicrous of my many questions yet:  why couldn’t I have begun my eating disorder as a child – think of how thin and accomplished I would be now?  It’s harder as a rational adult not to talk yourself out of the really huge mistakes.  Especially when you’ve given up your magic formula.

The power of a spoken word lingers long after he that spoke them is gone.  In fact, you begin to look for unspoken messages to affirm the things you already know.  Everyone becomes a messenger of the same lie except it’s suddenly absolute truth.

It went something like this.

Want to be able to drink a little more?
Are you tired?
Hungry?

Do a line.

Want to dance?
Are you hungover?
Hungry?

Do a line.

Scared?
Hungry?
Do a line.

Alone?
Hungry?
Do a line.

Hungry?
Do a line.

Hungry?
Do a line.

Hungry?
Of course not.
Do a line.
Do a line.
Do a line.

Somewhere in the pattern his voice was replaced by my own.  This, I think, is when hunger began to single-handedly determine my mood and my value.  Of all the things that have been said to me, of all the things suggested as a measuring stick of who I am versus who I could be, this one I chose to accept as my own.  If I am hungry than I am unbearable, repugnant.  If I give in, eat, I am undisciplined, without control.  Every pound I weigh determines my worth – the lower the scale, the higher my value.  These are my lies, the ones I now tell myself.  No one fills me with them anymore.  I’ve collected them over the years and now sit and play in them – building houses of cards devoid of mirrors.  Hungry?  Do a line.

I’ve reclaimed sobriety now.  I no longer need a pillow propped between my knees at night to ward off the bruises caused when knee rests against knee.  I can’t wrap my arms around my waist and grasp my own back.  No matter how hard I look, or how often, I can no longer see the jut of bone pressing out against skin.  And this…overabundance…is where my esteem now lives.  Counting calories, pounds, steps, hours – certain I’ll never know enough, work enough, balance enough – certain I’ll never manage it on my own even if I had a thousand hours in every day to count and sweat and count some more.

It’s nice to hear when you think I’m pretty.  It makes the bright lights of inspection soften just a moment.  But trust me when I tell you that I don’t believe you.  I enjoy the words, of course, but you’re just being nice, polite, after something perhaps.  A double-edged sword because I’ll tell you who I do believe – I believe the one who says nothing.  Who tells me with a word or without that I’m not (thin, tall, toned, strong) enough.  Every nothing that someone says, real or imagined, drives my truth a little deeper.  Everything I knew to be true about myself once is different now.  I hate myself for hating myself.  It’s just another sign of weakness, a loss of control.  Cyclical thinking at it’s proudest.  Wounding at it’s most vulnerable.

How did I get here?

Easy.
I was hungry.
I did a line.

 

 

 
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