I’m not any different than a bunch of girls on this campus. I live in a world of comparisons. Contrasts. I can’t look at someone else without feeling like I can’t do what they do, and that I should. I look at their bodies and either try to use them to make me feel, just for a minute, please God just for a minute, good about my own, or I am abused by them and knocked down a peg further into the hole of self-doubt.
We all have demons, I realize.
I am messed up and perfect in a strange way.
I am recovering.
Food isn’t dangerous anymore.
Most of the time.
There are times when I look at what I’m eating and I can’t breathe for a moment and if it’s not what I planned or what I expected if it’s more than others are eatingifitsascaryfoodifitsabadfoodifiitistoomuchfoodisitnotenoughamihungryimnothungryitdoesn’tmatteryoushouldeatbutdon’tstartanewbadhabitbutfoodshouldn’tbescarysoishouldusteat
Day by day, meal by meal, minute by minute my answers change. Sometimes the anxiety builds to a point but now I’m on meds and they’re helping. And my friends. They help a lot. And sometimes not. Sometimes I’m still alone. I feel guilty crying a lot, but my emotions can’t be dealt with by starving myself, by running obsessively anymore, so I deal with them by crying. And sometimes still by eating too much. Or not eating enough. Or drowning myself in aspartame. Or chewing gum. Or doing more homework.
The people you see working. Constantly, diligently. Maybe they’re not working to get it done, maybe they don’t have it under control and are so ahead of the game, maybe homework is a distraction, a way to finish something, or start something, maybe their work is their vice. A dangerous one that feeds the voice in their heads saying you’re not doing enough.
Everyone else is doing enough. And look, you wreck of determination to your detriment, look at them. They can handle it without breakdowns, they can handle it all without clutching at his fleece, barely able to stand, without shaking, without holding theirheadbetweentheirhandsandhearingITcomedownfeelingITsweightandITSclench
They can get through it.
And their gut doesn’t betray them in all of the ways like it does you.
It doesn’t lie to them.
Tell them they’re hungry when they’re full, tell them they’re full when they’re starving, tell them they should listen to IT and do more, always more.
They can listen to themselves and I not only cannot do that, but have lost my voice.
It comes back.
A little bit.
I remember memories
Varied little vignettes from before here.
I make up preemptive memories in my mind for after here.
Or for after right now.
I look again at the girl who passes by my table.
I check again the food I lift to my mouth.
I glance at my to-do list.
To the murmur of the people around me and hear, suddenly, hints of what I am feeling. And I want to yell.
Or maybe to whisper, because that is less threatening and anxiety producing.
We are all of us struggling somewhere. This image of perfection, never dereliction. This projection of calm in the middle of the storm.
It is a lie.
We are all of us struggling somewhere but here that’s not okay.
Oh sure, sometimes it’s ok.
When you have a lot of work. A hard review, a long practice, the list of minor complaints goes on. But it’s a fake list for a facsimile of a conversation. For who wants to share their problems, divulge their demons to someone who seems to be free?
Because none of us are free.
I’ll talk about it.
Deep seeded fears that have rooted themselves in my very being of inadequacy, of not doing enough for doing’s sake.
How food scares and pulls me.
I will talk about it.
I am not an other here.
You aren’t either.
It’s my time now, it might have already been your time, or maybe your time will be tomorrow, or maybe it’s today, with me.
We are all of us struggling.
So we, none of us, should have any qualms about showing this.
Perfection is unattainable.
Let the depiction, the veneer down, to see truth.
The truth of an experience is far better, so much more approachable, and so much more livable.
And I want to sustain.