Friday, 1 March 2013
The most important thing is not to think very much about oneself. To investigate candidly the charge; but not fussily, not very anxiously. On no account to retaliate by going to the other extreme -- thinking too much. Virginia Woolf.
It's been nearly two months since I returned from travelling. I am still unemployed - 35 job applications down, three interviews and a polite phone call.
"It was between you and the other candidate. You have a lovely manner, something very special, you will be snapped up very quickly."
But I haven't yet, have I?
"Thank you for this feedback. I really enjoyed the interview. Good bye."
The boy I lost my virginity to called me to ask what I was doing with my life. "Oh not much, just looking for a job. Yes, as a personal assistant. Oh no - it does actually have good prospects - I could even be an executive assistant in a couple of years time."
The boy who exploited me when I was depressed, bulimic, anorexic and borderline psychotic saw more potential in me then than I do now. So I sat on the bus and cried. I've always set myself the highest academic standards, won scholarships, seen anything less than an A* as a failure, attended the best university in the country, graduated with my head held high and filled with images of me striding somewhere. I've had an extended trial at a company and spent the last few days wrapping the boss's son's birthday presents, picked up face serums worth more than entire overdraft and made endless reservations in my beautifully modulated, well spoken voice ruthlessly pruned of any vestiges of my accent. Part of me loves this role - all I do is act - I don't have to think or engage I just smile and be charming and fulfil the accusation that gets thrown at me time after time. I am nothing but veneer and I don't have to pretend there's anything more but gloss.
I miss being anorexic - it's national eating disorders week or it was recently and on post secret I saw this - in the year I achieved my lowest weight I achieved more than in my consequent three years at university. In that year, my body was everything. Control was everything, my only thoughts were about the next meal and how to preserve the veneer.
This is my giving up on recovery. I have given up everything else - I will not give up this fundamental control. I have no idea whether I will have run out of my overdraft by next month or whether I will have finally found a job but I do know this and I promise myself this - I will weigh less, and I will have control over the veneer. The inside doesn't weigh anything, anyway.
Thursday, 17 January 2013
Live fast, die young, be wild and have fun. Who are you? Are you in touch with all of your darkest fantasies? Have you created a life for yourself where you can experience them? I have. I am fucking crazy. But I am free. (Lana del Rey).
Perhaps this picture is cruel. I baked, ate and digested those cupcakes without guilt. Later that day, I sat in a cupboard and cried because that night I had told my boyfriend I was in love with him. Nothing and everything has changed. As I lay awake my tears running over his arms listening to his gentle snoring I remembered this blog and all the pain and the hunger and the sadness which fuelled everything I've written here.
I don't starve anymore - I've forgotten what intentional hunger is, what guilt feels like, what it is to be obsessed with food, utterly, totally absorbed into my experience of that hunger. Ironically, my life is a lot more empty. There is nothing as all consuming as self-loathing. Stability is oddly, pleasingly hollow.
I went travelling again - I watched countless sunrises above exotic rooftops all the while clinging to the idea of the boy at home who loved me and waited for my return.
"What should I have said before I left and you told me you were falling in love with me was that I wasn't just falling in love with you, I am in love with you."
"I felt that way before you left. I don't feel that way anymore."
Said so kindly.
So that love I chase with such desperation and longing isn't here either. How do you ask someone for a predicted time frame in which they expect to fall in love with you? And how long do you wait? Or does one just disintegrate with the knowledge that you were once loved but that too just faded?
Disintegration, fading, dissolving, disappearing. My old words. Comfortable in their sense of self-annihilation. One thing I learned from reading these blogs is that every anorexic has to grow up or they die from malnutrition, osteoporosis, organ failure or any number of other self-imposed death sentences slowly and without dignity. My mum told me about a family friend who now weighs 29kg. Even in the old days that number would have been shocking. And still part of me is envious that she got so thin - her family was shocked when she told them how the other girls in her hospital ward (when she came off life support) interrogated her for tips. The doctor told her mum she would probably die. Maybe she'll recover and give inspirational talks at schools about she was cured and returned to sanity. Or maybe she'll linger in a sort of no-man's-land suspended somewhere between starvation and bingeing, obsessed but unable to disappear and that will be her life.
I'd take normality, sanity, peace any day. I was looking for a metaphor for anorexia the other day and finally settled on poison. The slow, lingering, incurable poison that won't kill but refuses to let you die, that you can't treat, you can't beat but you just steadily refuse to acknowledge, you suppress, you reject, you ignore and yet are unable to fix, to cure or to purge. This is how I describe my recovery, my recovery of sorts.