I went grocery shopping today, mainly to get cheese to go on the pizza Frank and I will be sharing tonight. Actually, we’ll be skyping pizza, but I’d like to think that we’re eating in the same room, across from each other, even though we’ll be miles and miles apart. And on the way to the grocery store, I thought: what now? What is it that I should do? What do I want from life?
I have not “wanted something” from life in so long. Why should I have? I wanted nothing but for it to end. Now, things have changed. I have time on my hands, future time, time spent not wanting to die, time spent not assuming my life will end. I can now believe that there will be a tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, and I can actually make plans.
One obsession I hadn’t let go of, though, was National Novel Writing Month. I was determined that I would do it even if I was “at death’s door.” Now, I can do National Novel Writing Month alive and whole. And I will have enough nourishment to be able to concentrate, write, and see the project to completion.
When I made a sudden recovery at age 40, and the Evil Being that haunted me for so long suddenly disappeared, I almost immediately decided to take an adult ed writing class. Soon after, I went back to college. This was a radical shift from the old Julie, who could barely care for herself, could barely shower or brush her teeth, and rarely left the house.
So now, I have time. Time to explore and experiment. Time to live and enjoy. Time to want to explore, experiment, live, and enjoy. What do I want? I hardly know.
I hardly know what I like or who I am. All this has been hidden from me under the layers of my eating disorder. I was told by so many people that I am so much more than my ED, but I did not see this.
Who was I? I do not know the answer to this. I felt as though I was my eating disorder and nothing else. Now, I feel as though I am a blank slate ready to be written upon. And I am the writer, the creator.
I don’t mean to imply that my anorexia has flown out the window. Hardly. I am still anorexic and I am still just as sick–mentally, physically, and spiritually–as I was before. I am still obsessed about calories. I still want to lose weight–deep down inside. I still crave that starved feeling. I still worry that everything I put in my mouth will make me fat. I still want to eat as little as I possibly can. It is just that there has been this tiny, tiny shift that has made all the difference.
My wonderful new book, This Hunger Is Secret: My Journeys Through Mental Illness and Wellness is now available from Chipmunkapublishing–click here to access. To read more about it at my home site, click here.