Saturday, November 20, 2010

Food II

Sometimes therapy is vindication.

I get exhausted of eating. I get exhausted of choosing. There are breaks sometimes, but over time it's still destroying my health. I am loosing my arches. I spend time resting to relieve back pain most days, more than once a day the past few weeks. You know when you wear a big t-shirt swimming? That is how my fatness feels to me, as thought it's billowing up around me, enormous and uncontained. On bad days I wonder if I will simply eat until I die.

There are alternatives: drugs, alcohol, cutting, my old habit of constantly putting myself in dangerous situations. I've tried them all a few times, and they're all more effective than binge eating, a cleaner escape for those moments when you're afraid you can't bear another moment in your own skin. Choosing to overeat instead is about the least of evils. This is me digging my heels in, refusing to be taken all at once.

And though sometimes I've hated myself for it, I've chosen to eat too much instead of not enough very intentionally. It is easier to control. Not eating requires a certain commitment over time; it feels better, the longer you stick with it, and it's harder to break out of. That hollow feeling inside, once you've got the hang of it, is unbearably comforting. It is satisfying; it feels clean. And as much as this culture laughs at the fat girl who chooses to become more fat so that she will not be addicted to her own emptiness, I've been there enough to know. This risk is real.

None of it is sustainable, of course. I think maybe loosing the crutch of binge exercise is what's done me in, but I don't want to keep going like this. I'm tired of eating. I'm tired of being fat. I'm afraid that as time passes, this will become more of a compulsion, less of a choice.

So I asked my therapist--one of her specialties is eating disorders. And she told me I was right, right to worry about my hunger for emptiness spiraling completely out of control. She said she was worried about that too. I asked her what I should do, and she told me it won't go away until I figure out why I'm trying to kill myself, and deal with it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

food I

I am in love and hate with food.

The love is deep and satisfying. Books about gourmet cooking hold my attention as well as the most escapist fantasy novels. Feeding people I care about really well, striking that perfect comforting or enlivening chord to make their day suddenly better, is intensely pleasing. I remember great meals, the interplay of flavors and textures and aromas, in vivid detail. I believe in food as art.

Cooking for myself is a gesture of respect. It serves my long-term welfare by saving money, and by developing a skill that will make it easier and easier to feed myself inexpensively and well as time goes on. Insisting on learning to cook brilliantly for myself is also a tool for battling disordered eating.

The hate, as hatred usually is, is complicated, destructive. Sadness can take me two ways. In one direction, I start by eliminating animal foods and sticking to whole grains. Deeper in, nothing but fresh fruit and undressed salad will do. Eventually the solid fruit seems like too much trouble; eventually nothing is good enough, anything would be a defilement. This has happened to me once. It is a path I try to avoid.

The other direction starts with baked goods, muffins, cookies, pastries. As things get emotionally darker I crave meat, ground pork, sausage, cheese. I crave things I find disgusting, things I find morally wrong. For awhile, I was sick and at the same time hungry for meat in this way. Every time I closed my eyes I would see feverish images, tearing off chunks of flesh from my own arm with my teeth, feel my body moving to cannibalize itself. In the worst of this place, I will eat until I take absolutely no pleasure, continue until it causes me pain.