"But you want things," she said. "Once someone has a full blown eating disorder--anorexia, at least--they stop wanting things. It's all self-loathing."
It's true. Thinking back to the months when I had most trouble eating, I don't remember wanting anything except perhaps to die. I went through the motions--but I was even skipping dance classes. Then, someone came along who violently insisted I had the right to want things, at least the basic things, at least to stay alive and safe, and that was enough. It helped me un-stick myself, however painfully.
I remember the first ballet class, first day. It was horrific, hyper-extending knees, twisting ankles out of shape, trying to correct the curve of my lower spine without the muscles for it, the habitual tight warping of my shoulders gone sharp and searing. But also: a tiny teenage professor who didn't understand the limitations of my body, the dress code of (pink tights not manufactured in my size, black leotard, no warm ups) designed to rat out all rebellion from strict conformity. Also huge windows where non-dance students would pass by or stop and stare at us at will. It is difficult to express how much I hated my body in that hour. I resolved three or four times to quit in the duration of that class, but. I wanted to learn how to dance.