Deprivation. Depravity. Some days I cannot tell the difference.
I am in a constant state of denial. Denying ED. Denying reality. Denying myself.
Denial is now a way of life. In the anorexic mindset, it governs all thinking. Today I cannot nap because I must work out. I will cut short time with friends to go to the gym. Gym, my new church where I can worship at the alter of thin. I am there on the treadmill with stress fractures or migraines. Whatever the physical limitations or agonies, they must be denied. I cannot talk on the phone because I need to purge instead. I cannot go out for drinks because I ate a box of laxatives.
Daily life is just deprivation and denial rolled into a calorie-free, fat-free, fun-free existence. Every morsel has been pre-planned, pre-approved. Celery is a staple because carrots had too many carbs. Bananas have been replaced by apples have been replaced by clementines. Rice cakes and non-fat cottage cheese are the baguette and brie that I dream of wolfing down with the glass of wine I cannot let myself have. I wake up salivating for vegan protein powder to quell the hunger pangs. Every stat is punched into a calorie/fitness tracker. Numbers that determine my worth. I am 467 calories under my allowance for the day. I go to bed hungry. Dinner has been denied. Again. I promise myself that tomorrow I can eat whatever I like as a reward. Tomorrow never comes.
When I am “enjoying” myself on a “day off”, the denial is so ingrained that I don’t even flinch. The waiter takes my order at lunch, “no mayo, substitute the fries for salad with the dressing on the side and no dried fruit or candied pecans, please. Oh and no bacon either. I’m a vegetarian”
My friends are so used to it that they don’t flinch either. “Sorry to be difficult,” I apologize for the freak that I am. “Candied pecans are just fat bombs,” I explain. They don’t care anymore.
I am amazed when people butter their toast, or put sugar in their full-fat latte. Any excess that can be trimmed has long since gone from my diet. Eggs are eaten as egg whites only, if required. Cookies in the staff room are passed over without an acknowledgement. Mayonnaise is devil food. Soda is a river of fat I will not wade in. Candy is from the childhood that I lost to anorexia.
After lunch comes Starbucks where I am the pro at denial. I could get a gold medal if removing the fun from a treat was an Olympic sport. When I am not drinking black coffee which I don’t even like, I crave a warm, milky, sweet drink.
I have created a calorie deficit on purpose so I could splurge if I allowed myself. The reaction is automatic.
“Can I take your order?” the cute, chirpy girl behind the counter smiles at me.
“A non-fat, unsweetened, green tea latte.”
I want a Venti. A Grande would be a compromise. “I’ll have a tall, please.”
“Would you like whip on that?” I must have grimaced uncontrollably at her.
“My bad, no whip on this drink! Would you like something to eat?”
Chirpy behind the counter has turned into one of the demons that haunts my dreams. “No thanks,” I snap and go browse something that won’t attach itself to my ass. I am mean when I am hungry.
“Have a chocolate,” my co-worker offers. I mentally punch him in the face. I didn’t squat and lunge my self-loathing away today just to ingest it in the form of an act of kindness.
“Let’s go for cake,” a girlfriend suggests. I mentally query if she is my friend or satan sitting on my shoulder.
I drink my green tea and exhale.
Deprivation. Some days I mistake it for control. Or perfection. Some days it gets lost in the depravity of bulimia instead. Today might just be that day.