Body: What do I need to function?
Body: What fuels me?
Body: What do you deny me the most?
Body: Feed me.
Food. Somehow, even the four letters making up this word engineer a strangeness in my gut. I can’t blame anyone else but my own ignorance. My blind denial of my eating patterns. It’s no secret that trauma survivors have a history of dysfunctional patterns. Disordered eating being one of them. I am a disordered eater. Sometimes, my ignorance baffles me. How did I think I could survive chronic starvation?
You would think others would notice and intercept, but not in my life. Come on, if I didn’t notice, then why would they? After all, I am the owner of this body. My soul uses it and if I don’t care, why would you? I guess starving myself into oblivion was the obvious answer. No longer would I be physically present, so finally there would be no more abuse. I take it, my emotions didn’t check in with logic. Before I became invisible, I would first have to get sick. Brownie points for me, whoop, whoop. I got sick. What? You doubted me? Stick that, food.
And this is where I woke up. I wasn’t happy when I was a starved, exercising, demonic maniac. To make it worse, I was utterly miserable with my newfound status of disability. I watched with horror as I gained weight due to my self abuse. Food was my newfound saviour, but I had no idea how to befriend her. I had always denied food because I felt unworthy; helplessly out of control. The reality was, I knew no other way. The lack of food had once saved my spiraling child self by allowing her to gain some self respect over her physical body. You can’t hurt me because I am already hurting myself. But I was no longer her. I didn’t want to hurt myself anymore. Some part of my existence knew this. So, why was I leeching on to this poisonous mentality? No one else was disrespecting me. All I had to do was one small thing. I had to eat in order for food to fulfill her promise. She couldn’t help in any other way.
My slight problem was that I couldn’t trust food. I didn’t know if she was my friend or an enemy wearing the face of a friend. It’s not as if I had many friends to begin with, but I hated this shell of human I had become. With that also came the awareness that food wasn’t the enemy. I was. You see, I knew the abuse had stopped. However, I hadn’t given myself the permission to stop punishing my own body for what perception told me was my own fault. I was the reason the abuse continued. Today, in my adult body, I am the perpetrator. I am not proud of it but I am also not ashamed to admit I did it. Denial helps no one really.
This is the hardest part. Recovery is by no means easy. However, it is a long standing commitment of love and honour with no one but myself. It is hard if I make it hard. The moment I start to believe I don’t deserve to be here. I don’t deserve respect. I have no value. I am not worthy. I do not belong with others. It is the old pattern hunting me down so it can live whilst I don’t. I once was abused, I am no longer abused. Repeat it with me: I am not defined by my past, I am my present. With this present, I may not fully comprehend the power of food, but I will not deny myself in the desperate hope to vanish.
Every day, food is on my mind. I refuse to give in to old ways. I slip a lot. Yet I remind myself that each day break is a new beginning so I can wipe the plate clean and start over again. My biggest ally, intention. It focuses my mind, centering on all the possibility, love, life, joy I have to experience. Food is my guest of honour on this mischief. I know, to a certain extent, our histories shape us, but please don’t let it fix your shape, especially not in a web of negativity. We are not prisoners of our old selves. At some point, we have to be accountable for how we live our lives. There’s no shame in making mistakes. The power is growing from them and making small changes along the way.
Heal. Nourish. Flourish. Always love yourself, love food, love life, and love possibility. Even when it feels hard, find something to love, like, care about. It will ground you in your moment. I will continue working on my friendship with food. Promise to join us? We can help each other embrace the pleasures that evaded us for so long.
Eat, my darlings, for our souls cannot live in empty homes.
Until the next meal.
Who's laughing now, starvation?