Prequel: What happened in February?
My body and my brain are very, very good to me.
I ask my body why it is not healing and why we are so tired all the time.
In response, my body asks what it can accomplish without food.
I ask my body to forgive me because I see us losing the fat we’ve worked so hard to regain to reline our warm organs, to keep hair on our head, to cease our gurgling stomach.
In response, my body says it knows none of this is our fault, and it promises to fight for us until death.
And then, before as my body wades to far into the emotional flooding, my brain begins rewriting our memories.
My body and my brain are very, very good to me.
It is very, very exhausting to be hungry. I never want to be this hungry again.
Not eating was not always an intentional choice, and by intentional, I mean that starvation was a quiet punishment that accompanied her rage.
I did not starve because I rejected food. I starved when I was guilty.
It is the same today. I do not want to starve. I starve because I am guilty.
I do not want to starve. I do not reject food. I have not stopped noticing hunger, though I have stopped feeling its pain. I starve, for the first time, because I know I am beautiful. I starve because I had stopped starving myself.
And when I had stopped starving myself, I was no longer controlled. When I no longer surrendered control, she began to starve me.
So, I starve. I starve because she took away my ability to choose food.
I do not want to starve. I had stopped starving myself. I had started making choices. So, she starved me. The longer I starve, the fewer choices exist outside of choosing her to nurse me back to good health.
She needs me to need her. She wants me to want her. It is an obsession.
It is very, very exhausting to be hungry. I never want to be hungry again.
It is very embarrassing to constantly be short change at the grocery store.
This is part of the shame my former master created in determination to drive me home. Still, I am thankful and I fight through the lightheadedness.
And that is the part of my rebellion my former master presently seeks to punish.
Embarrassment shortens my independence.
Embarrassment is to my independence what isolation is to motherhood. But I must keep refusing to go home. That is why I choose thanksgiving.
The “FREE take one” Kroger fruit stand.
The cashier who found my .16 short in her pocket.
The Perkins team member who gave me a free muffin.
A mysterious $50 on Monday.
When I feel the hunger pangs, I latch onto these moments.
LATCHING is critical to nursing oneself to good health. No latch, no nutrition.
When the shame comes, I do not latch to the shame. Shame is not my parent.
I identify what dependence that shame seeks to create, and I watch it pass like a traveler watches a leaf travel down a river.
This is because dependence is not freedom. Dependence is bondage. Independence fosters love.
When the shame comes, I might feel the shame because confusion manipulates me. To think that dependence fosters love and independence fosters fear is the result of confusion, and confusion alone.
Only when you have made a mistake and the mistake has bred consequences do you adeptly recognize confusion.
In that moment, you will free yourself if you can latch onto the truth that you are not mistaken; you were mistaken.
I too many of our instances, I am not mistaken. This time there is a plot twist: I am not willing to own what was taken anymore.
It is the same shameful game, new only to its own evolution.
She will only talk to me if we do not talk with my primary therapist.She will pay my $71 LifeTime Fitness membership if I will regularly exercise at the gym with an eating disorder but cannot afford my $85 monthly nutrition appointment. She is dissatisfied with my attendance of a Black church.
I may cry with her, not a therapist,
if I promise not to tell the police about child abuse,
if I do not eat supper with the sister-in-law she does not like,
if I go on dates while focusing on my career,
if I keep a six months’ salary in savings, in case I lose my job,
and if I will finally go back to school and get my PhD.
She will help when I do not go to the doctor because I have found free, healing remedies in alternative to a $20 copay.
I need a “basic” retail job so I can afford what physical therapy costs will heal the detached tendon in each ankle preventing me from walking without wheels.
I may earn clothing shopping sprees when I stop purchasing larger size clothing for an adult-appropriate body weight.
I receive no grocery money because I occasionally eat ice cream with rainbow sprinkles, cherry pie or double-stuffed vanilla Oreos for dessert, blueberry pancakes with syrup, fried chicken or baked chicken still in its skin, cheese and macaroni, ketchup on french fries, red meat, pasta, frozen food, snack food, sugary food, strange-looking food, and name brand food or food otherwise not on sale.
I am not sick because I did not choose health. I have sickness as a result of choosing health.