Yesterday was a long and challenging day for me for several reasons. Firstly my mum had to go have a minor operation on her back, and although it was not something to worry about, you worry anyway. Then there was the realisation that I would have to stay at her house in order to look after my little brother and all those hours I’d spent planning the days menu was a waste of time. Anxiety was chasing my heals constantly throughout the day. “Have I eaten too much? or not enough?” “Should I compensate for the sandwich that I had to buy out?”. In those moments I was furious that this was happening, that my plans had been ruined. Then I hated myself for being so self-involved that I was even thinking like that. What does it matter if it was too much, I am trying to gain weight aren’t it? Aren’t I? These are the words that are coming out my mouth, these are the words that I am telling everyone, so why the freak out? Why was I having to hold back tears over the fact that there was margarine on the bread, or that there was too much milk in my coffee? Un-understandable to my mind.
Whilst my mother was high, she spoke some words that normally she would not bring up with me. It’s hard not to get caught off guard when my family talk about my eating disorder, it has infected itself into a normal part of our lives now that it is hardly questioned. They expect me to refuse food, they expect me to only eat certain things, they expect me not to want to go to the neighbours barbecue because I wouldn’t want to eat. My mother asked me to have a biscuit yesterday, to show her that I could, to do it for her, please? How am I supposed to say no at that point?
I’m thinking all this whilst my mother is fixated on how many calories are in the sandwich that I have brought her in to eat. She had been fasting, she needed to eat, but her diet (slimming world) was still there even through the haze of drugs. I wanted to shake her and tell her it didn’t bloody matter. Then I began to wonder: Is being thin and losing weight held in a higher place than anything else that we do as human beings? Honestly…I don’t know if I have an answer to that. I used to believe that my entire world was dependant on the number that I weighed, that it would be the thing to cure a sadness so deep inside of me that it was devouring me alive. I’m trying to re-wire my brain to not think like that anymore, and yet it is so hard in this culture. When we praise and admire women for the lack of food that they eat and how they can lessen themselves to fit a shape that they hope will tell them that they’re ok. It’s not just that instance with my mum’s sandwich, it’s the fat jokes that my family are prone to make, it’s the pulling and pushing of flesh as they complain about their weight, or their shape. It’s the deprivation, the glory from successfully not eating “bad” foods. It’s in the media, breathing down our necks, telling us that thin is the beginning of everything. Thin is based on success and failure, and likeability, vulnerability. Society is causing this madness to continue to rise, to spit off flames that will reach far and wide, leaving it’s burn on anyone that comes in to contact with it.
I am trying to ignore, to listen to some words that fuel my fight to beat this disorder whilst shutting out the others. I am trying to distinguish that I have to listen to half of what my family says whilst pushing the part away. In what they talk about, I somehow have to understand that there are rules for them and then there are rules for me. This is not easy.