I have now written out the basic plot to I am so Cold, and Hungry in My Soul. The main character’s name is Megan. She has anorexia. I haven’t given her an age yet. The evil male character is named Calhoun. He lives not too far away from Megan. They live in a town not too different from my own, with streets like the ones in my town. She keeps going back to him, sadly. Her three sisters leave her early on, saying they cannot deal with her eating disorder anymore. Her best friend, Nina, is on her way to recovery from anorexia, and they can no longer be friends. Megan chooses to end her relationships with her therapist and nutritionist after a brief hospitalization. Her mother was never there for her and never will be. Even Megan’s pet rat dies. Megan resolves to starve herself to death, and in the end, only the abusive Calhoun remains.
That is basically it in a nutshell. I have it in more detail written out–events, etc. As I flip through the scenes, I weep. I get teary-eyed reading about how the sisters leave Megan. I cry because I hate Calhoun and the person I’m modeling him after. I cry about the breakup between Nina and Megan, and I cry thinking about how “Rain,” believe it or not, is going to be a character in my book, because the imagery is going to be so strong (hopefully). I am devoting an entire chapter to a description of the rain.
It did not rain today. We have had enough rain. Last night, it was raining so hard that the water soaked through my rain jacket and onto my shirt. Puzzle soaked up two hand-knit sweaters. I wore my boots and my feet didn’t get wet, but the rest of me did.
I bought that rain jacket in 2005. It didn’t fit. I couldn’t zip it up. It was an XL, or maybe XXL, the largest size I could order from the online store I got it from (don’t recall which one). Now, it looks silly on me, but I wear it because I have nothing else. You could fit two of me in it. (Maybe my double vision is useful after all.)
How do I feel about this? Changing sizes…like trading one body for another…shrinking…like going through some sort of Grand Transformation. It is a bigger change than dyeing your hair or cutting it. It is a bigger change than gaining or losing 15 pounds–I lost 110. It is not as big a change as being transgendered. Given what I’ve been through, I am in awe of anyone who has the courage to go through a sex change.
So when I put on my rain jacket yesterday, and every time I put on my rain jacket, I think of this, how I used to be so large that I could not zip it up, and how much I’ve changed. I don’t know if I should be sad or happy about this.
Yesterday, I showed my therapist two photos. One was of me at my lowest weight. The other photo was of me ten pounds heavier, right after my hair was cut in April. The difference is astounding. Now, how is it that they didn’t notice? Incidentally, the day before the April photo was taken, I got weighed at the nutritionist’s with my pockets loaded, wearing two jackets that she never asked me to remove, and never mind what other tricks I pulled, and the scale read ten pounds more than I actually weighed. Imagine that. They believed her scale over my face.
So I looked at my face in the mirror today, just to see what it looked like. I don’t look too good. I look ugly. I don’t know how to describe it. Maybe it’s just low self-esteem that’s saying I’m ugly. More likely, I wasn’t smiling when I looked at myself. I don’t look at myself often.
But what shocked me, yet another time, was that my lips were blue. Again, the thermometer at my desk read 79 degrees. I knew I was cold, but blue? I felt my hands and they felt icy, same with my nose. I turned and sat on the toilet and it was like sitting on ice. My body is in revolt.
I am so Cold, and Hungry in My Soul is a tragic book. I can feel it already. There is going to be so much loss in the book, so much sadness, so much heaviness. I feel like Brahms’ First Symphony, First Movement should be the background music throughout, with the ever-present bass drum, and strings pulling torturously apart from each other.
But the sound of rain is music enough. Rain does so much more than “pitter-patter.” It does so much more than “come down in sheets.” It plays. It wanders. It screams. And it doesn’t let up.
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.