Monthly Archives: January 2014

Mac and Cheese and Remorse

Mac and Cheese and Remorse

My emptiness is unending.

Cravings curl around me like ribbons, tendrils of temptation that offer a numbness this winter’s day cannot rival.
I am suffocating in the corner of a cafe. It doesn’t matter which cafe. They are all the same after a while. Nameless shacks of debauchery and gluttonous, wanton acts. Houses of so-help-me-God-I-will-eat-that-muffin-or-die. I choke down a grilled cheese and guilt. At the bottom of my leek and potato soup I find my sorrow, not my family. The pattern swirled on my mocha will swish through my ex-laxed insides mocking me. The sweetness it lends to my bitter desperation will not last past the first sip. I will drink it anyway

The hustle-bustle-here-is-your-carrot-cake-nonsense from the waitress is lost in my deafening isolation. The carrot cake and I stare back at each other begrudgingly. I already know how it will feel as it comes back up. The curdling, cream cheese icing will catch at the back of my throat and destroy my resolve. I am so low, even God will not talk to me.

Oh Lord, I beg. Save me from myself. Have mercy on me.

The mac and cheese answers me instead. It smothers my homesickness for a second but it is fleeting. So fleeting, it is as though I imagined it. I try again. Another mouthful of disappointment to cling to the ribs I can no longer count. It will coat the thick thighs that cannot be loved with a layer of fat and warmth and betrayal. They are unlovable, these thighs of mine. They have betrayed me. Or did I betray them with bread and longing and too much comfort-my-hopeless-heart wine? Steam rises off the mac and cheese, evaporating clouds of remorse. That is all that is left. Jammed into the corner of this kill-me-now-my-life-is-a-joke cafe, I watch it waft out the window. I wish I could follow it into that snowy January sludge like I used to follow my dreams when I thought they were worth a damn.

Free me, dear Jesus, from the despair that eats my soul but does not burn calories, I cry.

I am full of this emptiness. I am overflowing with it. It never ends.

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I have decided to quit my twelve step program. I joined Freedom Sessions (a Christian based 12 step program), in September 2013. At first I had a lot of (misplaced) hope. Like any other time I have tried to “recover”, I was full of enthusiasm and faith. Four months later, I have had no break throughs, miracles or epiphanies. My faith has worn thin and is fading fast unlike my lard arse which has continued to grow immeasurably as I have (somewhat) tried to give up ED.

The idea behind Freedom Sessions is not just recovery, but healing from the pain that causes you to use your drug of choice. Apparently Step 4 (the inventories) is the worst time to quit. We are supposed to get sponsors now and should be seeing results but, I have seen nothing except the inside of a toilet bowl as I heave up yet another meal.

I feel bad for making this decision but I have come to realize that God does not owe me anything. He certainly doesn’t owe me healing or the strength to keep going when I am at my lowest. He doesn’t owe me freedom from ED or the miracle of recovery that I have begged for. He doesn’t owe me thinness or sanity or both. And because I do not like being insane, I will stop repeating the same behaviour (going to Freedom Sessions) and expecting a different result (freedom). On the other hand, starving and purging will give me a result (of a kind), and for now, that is better than nothing.

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In Transit

In Transit

Three plates of spaghetti. The last supper.

I am eating my homesickness before I have even left yet. After five weeks, I am not ready to leave this place, to return to my self-imposed exile in the great-white-north. I am bound to this place, to my homeland, to Africa.

“You’re a pig,” my brother tells me. I snort my agreement because I am too busy shoveling food down the hatch to stop and talk. We smack-talk each other as a sign of affection. If I try now, my voice will shake, then crack so I keep eating so that he will not hear the sound of my heart breaking. Garlic bread is good for broken hearts. It drowns out the awful noise they make.
“I will miss you when you go back to Canada,” my niece tells me. I wash that precious moment down with chocolate cake. If I don’t, it will eat me from the inside out. I will dissolve into nothing but a puddle of remorse for leaving this child behind.

It takes 2.5 days to get to Canada. Instead of crying or acknowledging the dread of it, I eat. I eat cheese and tomato sandwiches (four in 24 hours). The carbohydrate of reality and the fat of denial. Denial is always fat. It slithers down my throat and coats my stomach, begging to be retched back up. I order chips too. I have to order them in Kenya, because no where in the world makes chips like they do in Africa. I hate French Fries. They are not the same thing. Down they go, slip sliding my heartache to the back of beyond. Two whole plates worth.

Next a latte. A bit later, another latte and on the plane I eat everything they put in front of me even though it is as appealing as dog food. White bread and butter. Since when do I eat butter? Never in my life. Now I smother my sadness with it as I smooth it over the pillowy white bread. I ask the flight attendant for more cheese and he obliges without comment at the tears streaming down my bloated face.

I will have to eat forever to blot out this pain. I rove around the airport looking for something else to eclipse my suffering. At long last I go and lie down, curl up like a tank, bursting, my stomach distended as though I am pregnant. Maybe that is why everyone is kind to me: they think the pregnant lady is crying. In Amsterdam airport I sit in the food court. Two pizzas, extra large fries, a caramel milkshake, waffles…..but I am still alone when the food is gone. At the end of eating, it will still be here, sitting like lead in my stomach this weight of homesickness, this loss, this emptiness that fills me up,up,up.

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