Tuesday, 28 January 2014
When you live for decades with an eating disorder you have a lot of time to think about the topic of hunger. There is the physical sensation, of course, which can feel like a constant presence in your head and in your body - but then there is the question - hungry for what? Having had a lot of time to think about it - I can say I was hungry for experience - for love - for connection - to scream and cry and run without self-consciousness - to walk down the street without feeling one thousand eyes sizing me up and finding me lacking. Hungry to tear out of, in the words of the now late, great Pete Seeger 'little boxes made out of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same...' - forge some alternate life without conforming - shutting up - being a girl. I hungered to be different, to stand out, to be heard - oh Lord, to be heard. I felt like there was so much I wanted to say - needed to say and no way to express it - never able to get it all out - to be honest and say no, no,no and yes, yes, yes. I hungered to be challenged - to be bowed down by those tasks - to have adventures and be a risk-taker - go places - get out. At the same I hungered to just stay home - keep my thoughts to myself - be like everyone else - have the life I was supposed to want - thought I wanted - for marriage - leading to children - leading to...where would it lead? I hungered to be faithful and devout and believe what I was taught and not question - not question everything and everyone and wonder what they were thinking all of the time to a point of madness - obsession. I hungered to be healthy, slay the beast that was slowly replacing my life - not face a constant dilemma of how I could do anything - go to school - go to work - go on a trip - without taking it with me every single day - one hour of not thinking about it - two days to be free of the numbers and the magnetic pull of the scale to decide what I really thought about myself in any given moment. Hungry to be thin - rail-thin - skeletally-so - bones clicking on bones - sinew on sinew - to be beautiful - devastatingly and heart-stoppingly so. Hungry for power - talent - to be clever - for submission - hungry for meaning - a reason to be here - to know why it was this way - why it couldn't be different - why I couldn't have just been born somebody else. Hungry to be myself - to be satisfied - to feel sated and content and not full of the bad - radiating peace - radiating light. Hungry for all those impossible, contradictory things all at once - all at the same time - all day - every day - every hour - hunger.