“You look horrifying, like a skeleton.” – this from the boy I had once adored, until I lost the need to feel anything.
“You don’t need him, you don’t deserve him. You have me. Push harder. Come on, earn my respect, prove how strong you are.”
Anonymous and I had a long, sweet honeymoon period together – it was magical: almost too good to be true. We were the perfect couple: we never fought; we were made for each other. She wore the pants in the relationship of course: it seemed only natural.
She made me stronger; fitter; thinner.
Less lazy; less greedy.
I threw her a thank-you party for getting me through the last long miserable weeks of the semester: I stopped eating. I launched an exercise assault on my body. What a party.
My skeleton became a shell. Less.
There is power in lacking.
Anonymous was pleased with my progress. I was blinded by it, and savoured the sweet safety of hunger.
Ellie was present in two conversations during the first visit to the doctor and dietician, but heard only one voice.
“Don’t listen to them, they are trying to ruin what we have. They are jealous. We are stronger together. Without me, you are greedy, lazy.”
Ironically, it is dangerous to actually feed a starving person at first. Putting a soul back into a skeleton is much more complex than you would expect. You have to be careful: hazard checks have to be run, or the whole thing may give out. Avoiding the “refeeding syndrome”, so to speak.
Starvation conditions the body over time, it eats it. Putting anything back into it needs to start by laying foundations for it to cope with it in the first place. There is science in starvation.
“Hydrate cells for metabolism restoration and water retention; calcium for the fibres (not to mention your osteoporosis) phosphorus to stir excitable enzymes and ATPs and chemical reactions and blood levels and heart support …”
“… words words words words words. Don’t let them fool you: they are trying to make you fat. They want you to eat. Don’t trust them. It’s us Ellie, us against the world.”
Ellie was starved senseless.
I was asked to drink 200ml of coconut water.
“… you don’t need it.”
I was asked to drink 200ml of almond milk.
“… you will balloon.”
I was asked to drink 50ml of milk.
“ … a dairy product?! Hell no.”
I was asked to eat 10 grapes. “ … you don’t deserve food.” It was war.
Ellie was starved senseless, and she knew it. She started a war between the perfect couple, and her body was a casualty.
Recovering from starvation is painful. As the cells rehydrate, the body starts to respond. Mine moaned in protest.
My joints swelled; I became constipated; and my tummy bloated in shock of actually having to do something. It really hurt.
My head hurt too: Anonymous wouldn’t stop screaming. It was the soundtrack of starvation: screaming.
I just hadn’t heard Ellie scream before. I was brave, and drank that 50ml of cows milk.
I have forgotten what it feels like not to be starving. Ellie thinks that today, it feels good.
Anonymous is screaming. She must be starting to go hungry.
Me? I’m bloated and I’m constipated. And it really hurts. I feel disgusting; greedy and lazy. I question the point of it all.
But Anonymous said it herself: pain is beauty.