“What kind of crazy are you?” he asks only half-jokingly as we sit around a fire under a late, summer moon.
“The regular kind of crazy,” I say without looking at him. “I’m just really weird about food.”
It isn’t the whole truth; it isn’t an outright lie.
My girlfriend asks me why I don’t just come out and tell him about my eating disorder. I guess that moment would have been my chance. We have been dating for 2 weeks and it is getting serious really fast, almost too fast. I am triggered by the overwhelming emotions that I cannot comprehend to keep starving. It gives me an illusion of control as I struggle not to fall head over heels for him.
I have told him about my eating disordered past without flinching and I have demonstrated that it is still alive and well. We spent the whole weekend together and he saw me eat twice in 48 hours. Both times I ate celery and hummus. At one point I asked him to drive me to the store so that I could buy celery. He didn’t say anything and I didn’t want him too. In fact, when he asked me if he could lecture me about eating, I told him that it was off limits. He asked me if he could make me dinner and I said that I was full. He asked if I was really full or if I was just saying it. I know he sees it – I wonder when it will start to bother him. Last night we were talking about women’s bodies and I said that I wanted to lose more weight. He asked if I would tell him what I weighed and I said I couldn’t because it would make me cry.
I am alarmed when he tells me I am sexy and beautiful. I feel disgusted by myself. I don’t understand how he can like me.
I don’t want to tell him the whole truth because I want to continue to be disordered. I don’t want to be fixed. I don’t want to be questioned once he knows the whole truth. In time he will figure it out. I am just waiting for the day he does. When he walks away, I will not blame him. I would too.
…all other ground is sinking sand
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny
My 24 hours of madness spiraled into ten days instead. Who could have seen that coming?
For ten days I didn’t go to the gym, binged endlessly, purged unceasingly and drank too much. Why? There are many reasons: stress, anxiety, a third-life crisis, ballet, relationships, weight gain, pain… At the end of the day it doesn’t matter. I did it because it is what I do. I tell myself I am ‘in a funk’, ‘depressed’ or my favourite, ‘relapsing’ because it covers all manner of sins. My existence has become a joke.
“I want to know how you eat six plates of pasta and stay so thin,” my roommate says half jokingly, half seriously. She is a nurse. She knows my ‘history’ of ED. I have been wondering how long it will take her to figure out that my ‘bubble baths’ are a euphemism for puking sessions.
“I am not sharing my dirty secrets with you,” I laugh and hope she gets the hint.
Later that night we share a bottle of wine while a bad Jennifer Aniston movie plays on Netflix in the background. She brings up eating disorders again and now she is referencing herself.
“You need to admit to the eating disorder you have, but don’t acknowledge,” I insist.
She has talked about how she doesn’t starve or purge but how she does restrict on purpose or binge from time to time, eats in secret and over-exercises. I educate her on Orthorexia, EDNOS, Binge Eating Disorder, Night Eating Syndrome and Compulsive Exercise. Her eyes get wider.
“I don’t think you can ever really recover from an eating disorder,” she muses. “What do you think?”
“I think God can heal you, but that doesn’t mean he will. How many people do you know who have prayed for healing from cancer and never got it? Some people just get sicker and sicker and die no matter what they do.” I respond. “But I do believe you can be totally free even though I never used to believe it. I just don’t know that it will be me.”
This week she is on the cabbage-soup-and-run-excessively diet. I am on the eat-everything-I-can-see-and-barf diet.
“We should be studied,” I declare as we eat our Dairy Queen Blizzards and sip wine together.
She laughs. I laugh. Tomorrow is another day.
1 O LORD, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you. 2 May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry. 3 For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave. 4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like a man without strength. 5 I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care. 6 You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths. 7 Your wrath lies heavily upon me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves. “Selah” 8 You have taken from me my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them. I am confined and cannot escape; 9 my eyes are dim with grief. I call to you, O LORD, every day; I spread out my hands to you. 10 Do you show your wonders to the dead? Do those who are dead rise up and praise you? “Selah” 11 Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Destruction ? 12 Are your wonders known in the place of darkness, or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion? 13 But I cry to you for help, O LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you. 14 Why, O LORD, do you reject me and hide your face from me? 15 From my youth I have been afflicted and close to death; I have suffered your terrors and am in despair. 16 Your wrath has swept over me; your terrors have destroyed me. 17 All day long they surround me like a flood; they have completely engulfed me. 18 You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend.
A wise friend told me today that changing direction in life is like a ship changing its course. It turns by degrees and although that turn is wide and slow, it is moving in a new direction.
I have set my course for home.