Every time I look at myself in the mirror I think to myself that this must be it. Those eyes must be the only color they ever will be, and that nose, well that nose is an unfortunate and unescapable thing that I am too scared to get scalped. The body goes up and down, the arms and legs work like the doctors believe they should, and yes, my bones are all there.
But if we are truthful, and in this blog I think we must be, we know that the outside is not who we are. The outside does not show the confusion, the weakness, the hurt, the disappointment, the truth. The outside is but that shell that everyone talks about, and our insides is where the person who truly reigns within us lives.
The person inside may be dark, lonely, scared, frustrated, so completely lost as to be off any map in existence. If we are truthful, and again I think we have to be, then we know that the person we are inside isn’t a beautiful and great human that can and should be in charge of changing the world. Even those we revere for being great, truly aren’t. Ask Coretta King if you don’t believe me.
But some where along the way I realized that I had to accept not only my outside but my inside as well. This does not mean that I have actually done so. This does not mean that I will ever accept the person that I am. Maybe it is because I believe with my whole soul that there is something greater within me. Maybe it is because I know that I have the power to if not change tweak enough that no one notices. Maybe it is because I believe, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that there is a place for me. There is a place for my love, my passion; a place for the true me. A place that is safe.
And that place exists despite the fact that neither my insides or my outsides are all that pretty. And that place exists because I have to believe it exists. I have to believe that there is somewhere out there that will accept all that I am, and love me for it.
I write these words not out of any sort of reminder to myself but because once again in my life I have been diagnosed with a disorder because I follow some crazy guidelines. Once again I have to add to the long list of symptoms that I have that add up only to ugliness. I once again have to figure out how the truth the doctors are seeing fits into my world; the world I live in my head, in my heart, and deep in my dreams.
This week one of my doctors – and I have a few – diagnosed me with an eating disorder. It is possible that I have this disorder, but what is remarkable to me is that I simply can’t find myself to care. Another day, another disorder. Another symptom to add to the growing list of tallies that means I am just a little sicker. Because what each disorder really means is that today I am a little sicker.
I don’t eat. I don’t like food. I don’t like the taste, feel, texture, smell or even the sight of food. In order to eat I not only have to remember to do so, but I have to choke down whatever I decide I can handle. And while I do choke it down, it comes with the guilt driven by my husband when he is around, and my mother when she is.
Do I know that not eating is very unhealthy? Of course I do; I am actually quite smart. Do I recognize that food is a great weakness for me, not because I eat too much of it because I don’t eat enough? Duh. Do I hide and pretend to eat, lie when asked, pretty much do anything I can to avoid the looks in the eyes of those that I love that leave me feeling guilty? Yep.
But I don’t eat to make a statement. I don’t eat because I feel fat or in any way unhealthy. I don’t believe that food that tastes like trash and has the same smell is required medicine for my daily caloric intake. Do I know I have a problem with food; yes. But why do I have to eat your food to end the guilt? Why is it that a doctor, a nutritionist, a friend knows better than myself about literally myself? Why is it that who and what I do physically has to impact those around me? Whether I eat or not is no ones business but mine. And all the guilt in the world will simply make me go to greater links to hide it. It grows worse each and every time I have to explain myself.
Most days I feel small; almost as if there isn’t enough of me to hold onto these incredible dreams that I have. Most days I wonder if the bones that I have, the blood that runs through my veins, can ever compete with the thoughts that fly so easily threw me. Most days I wonder if anyone is concerned that the food issue isn’t an issue; the loss of my illusions is. The not eating can not compare to the realization that I will never be able to do any more than break over and over. I wonder if people know the problem isn’t the food but the very sore truth that must be faced daily.
I have an eating disorder. I have a mental illness with symptoms of two other diseases. My resting temperature and heart rate is that of a healthy person. My reflexes are called Superman reflexes because of their ability to react so quickly. I have acne like a child and I have an addiction to sweet tea. I have uncontrollable tremors in my hands that can be seen and in my hips that can’t be.
And threw it all I know that despite the truths about me, those listed and those that are my private hells, I am exactly who I am supposed to be. I struggle, I have demons that ride my soul with greater intention than my mother’s worry, and the darkness inside of me will one day cause me to lay down and give up forever. The mental disorders don’t compete with the physical disorders because they are all a part of me. And whether I eat what is in front of me, or I throw it in the trash, I can’t escape the demons or darkness.
I will never sit down to a meal and eat it like a starving victim. I will never not have days when the ability to get out of bed is equivalent to trying to fly without a parachute. I will always have this darkness inside of me that gives me comfort, even knowing that it will one day destroy me. It is who I am, and eating or not will never change that. You see, eating disorder or not, the darkness will always be stronger than the need to survive.
Stop feeding me, it isn’t necessary; I have bigger battles.