Ellie loves Food.
But I won’t eat it. It’s too risky, far too adulterous.
“Greedy. Eating is greedy, Ellie.”
Anorexia isn’t a Fear of Food. Anorexia is Fearing yourself. Hating yourself, just as Anonymous hates Food. And Anorexia uses Food to Fuel your Fear, to punish Ellie because she is Ellie, and she will never be good enough, never resilient enough.
Anonymous Feasts on Fear: she doesn’t know what it Feels like to be Famished. Fear is a Fascination, an obsession.
Food is everywhere, so Anonymous Feasts, and Feasts, and Feasts.
To give in to Food it to give into temptation, to be adulterous. Eating is cheating on Anonymous. Why would I sacrifice my happy relationship with Anonymous to have one with Food? To have one with Ellie? I would never cheat on Anonymous: she makes me stronger. Better.
Fear is a powerful tool: Anonymous’ propaganda and weapon. Her campaign against Food has been long and draining.
“You will get Fat.”
“Repeat after me: I won’t eat.”
“No salad leaf must touch a dressing.”
“No frying or use of oil.”
“No cooking for that matter: with the exception of boiled greens.”
“Only green food allowed.”
“No beige food. Especially bread, bread makes you Fat”
“Nothing touched, prepared or tampered with by other people: they want to make you Fat.”
“Nothing that has been touched by any utensil that has been used on unsafe food.”
“Eating is greedy Ellie. Gluttonous. Greasy. Disgusting. Stomach churning.”
“There is a way Ellie. You can be better, stronger, cleaner …”
“Don’t trust that Food. Food makes you Fat.”
My brother once put his empty sandwich box next to my chopping board. The sandwich had had mayonnaise in it: so Anonymous threw me into a tearful, screaming tantrum. (Ellie dropped by later and apologised.)
I made my parents reorganise a farewell meal I wasn’t even expected to be at, because Anonymous told me to. The thought of being in the same building as an Indian takeaway had filled me with fear, and filled Anonymous with ammunition.
“You’ll breath the grease in the air, through it’s smell. Fat will enter you through it’s colour if you so much as look at it.”
Ellie really liked Indian takeaways. I don’t think she remembers what they taste like anymore.
“Don’t trust Food. Food is Fat”
Food is Fuel.
I’ve cheated on Anonymous. There are two sides to every drama, and here is my confession.
This week, I had an affair with Food.
It wasn’t so good for me, if I’m honest. Painful in fact.
The first time was uncomfortable: we still haven’t got used to each other, and each other’s wants. I guess nobody can prepare you for your first time, and no relationship is perfect. Two sleepless summer nights burping, farting and retching as my body adjusted to the shock and sheer size of Food. I hadn’t realised how “vanilla” Anonymous’ routine of spinach and apples had been.
Eating really, really hurts. Before, during and after, I am sore. All I can taste is shame and guilt. I look in the mirror and I see it all: the nuts, the milk, the greed. The Fat.
I look in the mirror and I see Anonymous baring her teeth in anger and humiliation. In hurt. Jealousy, in cunning. I see her plotting her revenge: the insults and torments and curses she later pours into my ears.
Yet still I force fed myself.
Anorexics have remarkable willpower.
I looked in the mirror and saw Ellie once. It was a brief encounter, but she spoke to me. She told me she was really excited about lunch, that she was hungry. That she was particularly excited about the avocado bit: and I remembered Ellie likes avocado.
Anonymous was disgusted.
Last week, I was on the brink of hospitalisation.
Fear is a powerful tool.
A week of Food: of swallowing shame and guilt and Fear, and I’m still sitting right here at home, writing this blog post at home. Out of hospital.
An outpatient who just won her first battle.
Now I Fear for the war.