Most people find proofreading a tedious task. Right now, though, I’m enjoying it. My friend Teri is also going through the manuscript and finding various types of errors that I hadn’t picked up on: missing punctuation, repeated words, misspellings, and the like, but not too many of these. This Hunger Is Secret was originally my master’s thesis, after all, and I made a point of keeping errors at a minimum when I handed in my thesis to begin with. It has gone through a couple of revisions since my graduation. (Hey, it’s been almost exactly a year since I graduated!)
Meanwhile, I am going over the manuscript yet another time. I am still finding little inconsistencies. For instance, in my chapter, “At the Crossroads,” I stated that the program went on field trips that lasted all day Wednesdays. Then I stated that the doctor came on Wednesdays to see patients. Wait a minute. This couldn’t be right. How could the doctor see patients if everyone was out on a field trip? No, actually, when I searched my memory, I realized that the doctor came on Thursdays. Did it matter? Not really, but a careful reader might notice this inconsistency.
I did a couple of other things. Since submitting my manuscript to Chipmunka, I had revised my chapter, “Breakfast,” and had come up with two different versions, to use as possible stand-alone pieces. One of these I had designed for a reading I gave. I decided to substitute one of the new versions–with minor adjustments–for the original version in THIS. The differences are subtle, but Teri confirms that the new version is tighter, and an improvement over the original. And yes, she caught a spelling error in it. Thank you, Teri.
Another thing I did was to reverse the order of two of my very short chapters. In one chapter, “Kohlrabi,” I mentioned the character. In the second chapter, “A conversation from the past,” I introduced him. Doesn’t it make sense to introduce him first? Not necessarily, but in this case, it was a no-brainer. When I revised my short chapter, “Kohlrabi,” it was no longer a stand-alone, for many reasons, not just because of my reference to this character.
These were the only real structural changes, if you could call them that, that I made to the manuscript during this proofread. I couldn’t resist. You would never know that I did these at the last minute.
This brings back memories of late April and May, 2009, when I made last-minute additions to THIS and even changed the title right before the deadline, before mailing it in to my advisor, Darrah Cloud, and my second reader, Beatrix Gates.
I am reminded of my starvation days back then, of my intense fear that my therapist would hospitalize me right around the time that I was completing my thesis. After a particularly harrowing therapy session, I called Darrah in a panic, and told her what my therapist said, that she might hospitalize me, and that I should probably do something about getting the current version of my thesis in, though there was still a bit of time before the deadline.
I ended up sending Darrah my .doc files, and the converted .pdf files. It seemed to be an impossible task. I was so, so hungry, so starved, that I couldn’t concentrate on what I was doing. Everything was a fuzz. And the added threat of hospitalization made the mental confusion all the worse.
I did come up with a newer version of my thesis after that, and did safely turn it in, early in fact. I graduated. I made it, ED and all. It was a joyous time. Not a cloud in the sky. But I was so cold, so very, very cold that summer.
I still get cold easily. And some people think that now that I am eating, I am “over” my ED. Huh? I am ruled by this stupid ED. Now just as much as ever, maybe more. I just eat. Go through the motions. Maybe that’s all I can expect of myself right now, just eating for Puzzle, for my friends, for my treatment team. Eating because I cannot go back.
But wow, do I ever miss starvation. You’d think that I would be happy to see it gone. I am not. I miss the feeling of a totally empty stomach. I miss hunger pangs. I miss feeling weak and starved. I miss putting off eating until I can’t stand it anymore. I miss eating as little as I possibly can. I miss the suffering, and the belief that I could suffer better than anyone else.
Some days, I feel ravenous. I feel hungry all day long. I feel like I could eat continuously. This is my body needing to repair itself from all the deprivation.
Other days, I feel no hunger. I have to force myself to eat. Or I forget to eat. These are the days when it gets tricky. It is getting like this more and more.
I am not saying that I am going downhill with my progress. I seem to be gaining weight right on schedule. My hair is even growing back. It is very, very noticeable. You can see the extra hair growing in all the way across a room. The new hair is very soft and healthy, as far as I can tell. There are many other changes that I am noticing, all proof that I am eating well and taking better care of myself. I wouldn’t be growing hair back if there wasn’t a truly dramatic change in my lifestyle, would I?
It is very strange that the threat of death did not scare me into eating. Why is this? I kept on doing what I was doing until they threatened to put me back in the ED hospital. Did I see this as being even worse than death? In my sick mind, yes.
Summer moves on. It is very hot here in Massachusetts, USA. Better that than cold. Maybe, by the time winter hits, I will have enough body fat to keep me a little warmer than I was last winter, whether I like it or not.