March 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
I don’t want to blog about the way I eat. There’s no good way to talk about it and there is no sense to it. I don’t approve of it and I can’t properly explain it.
But I don’t know what to do otherwise.
Since I was 13 I have found a thousand ways to hate myself, most of them involving what I do or don’t eat. I am now 24 and, after periods of calm, I am again caught in a strange transitional year and am struggling again with food.
The last trigger I experienced was at the end of last year, when I began to feel lonely in my new life. Having moved to a new city, an old friend came to visit and the relationship changed dramatically. I went against instinct and felt deeply compromised later. It transpired, publicly, that I had been wrong about the whole situation and I felt completely let down, like I had compromised myself in every way and like I was in danger of being found out as a dirty, worthless person.
There are many things like this which I am unable to cry about. Sometimes I want nothing more than to be able to sit and deal with something but I am completely unable to let an emotion surface. The remembrance of my face as I cry makes me feel selfish and self-indulgent. When I do cry, it is short- just enough to shed a tear. Then I close up again.
Sometimes I dress up and paint my face with make up as a disguise. In costume, I can continue to function and can forget that I hate myself. I can look as perfect as I can. I can hide under a layer of illusion. Some days, I feel like I deserve to walk around with no make up on and be seen; raw and ugly.
In the past, I have told people about these periods of unrest. This time I feel unable to tell anyone but one, and am seeking someone to talk to professionally. But I never talk in this much detail. Some past responses to this have been negative and dismissive and my explanations can be evasive and untrue. Even when I am trying to be honest. Some words simply will not come immediately.
When I feel this low in myself I cannot seem to put a brave face on things and enjoy being things I know I am lucky to have. Love. Opportunity. Potential. I can feel myself saying things that aren’t necessarily true or accurate, because I can’t tell what I really feel. Sometimes I embrace this disparity and hope that I will be seen as nasty so that people will realise I’m not worth love anyway.
I’ve not been enjoying my life. Everything I seem to value is about achievement and recognition and other people giving me permission and validation. Only recently and occasionally, in the glow of a new relationship, have I started to appreciate some days without feeling the need to document them and therefore show them off as captured, perfect, textbook days. Yet still, something inside me wants him to make it better and prove me wrong by staying with me. I hate that there is something in me fundamentally relying on another person to make it all right. I want to be able to be satisfied myself.
My first piece of advice has been to eat to a schedule so that there is no uncertainty in my intake. Less chaos that may provoke an unreasonable reaction. Instead, I just feel like I am banging up again another set of rules which I want to break. My hunger is triggered by transgression- I just want to not be restricted. I don’t even want to think about food at this point. Which triggers a fear of not eating. I pity the girls I see in magazines who have let these things rob them of their lives and bodies. I am scared I will be found out as I was when I was 14, by my mother. My dirty little secrets are a game I play with myself: a reason to hate myself more, a distance between me and others which explains why I can never gain their approval, a means of control. But the rules are always changing and I can’t keep up.
And here we are. Stuck.
‘Though Jenny knew her safety lay in secrecy, she could not bear her safety; she wanted to be powerful enough to dare the world – and knowing she was not, the knowledge added to that already great burden of trembling timidity and fury.’
– Djuna Barnes, Nightwood.