Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm Not Anorexic Because I Really Am Fat

I've been going through another of my disordered eating (or starvation, rather) phases again lately.

Something triggered it.  I'm not sure what; maybe it's because I've been exposed to even more fat hatred lately than I usually am, or maybe the usual low-level-but-constant-and-painful awareness of the way that people who are shaped like me are seen and treated in a world where only thin people are regarded as truly human has just gotten to me again.  Maybe it's guilt about being my age and still not really earning money; I live with my mother and she's retired, and her income is now more limited than it was even a year ago, and she's helping my brother to pay off his OSAP debt, so the resources that we have to live on are a bit stretched at the moment.  Eating much of anything seems...well, once it's been consumed, it's gone, and I often feel that what goes into my mouth is a waste because I shouldn't even be here.  Whatever happened, it's got me again.  I ate a total of two small bowls of soup yesterday and felt ridiculously guilty even just for having the first one.  I have a headache, I feel nauseated and a little weak, and I didn't sleep well last night—but I still can't bring myself to eat.

It scares me sometimes how powerful the urge to starve myself is.  Though it's always there, much of the time I can ignore it, but there's always that little bit of guilt, that feeling that says, "Oh, come ON.  You don't need to eat THAT.  You're such a hideous pile of blubber.  Save the resources for someone who actually MATTERS, you lazy, stupid and greedy pig!"  And I know that the solution can seem as simple as just picking up the fork and putting food into my mouth, but it isn't that easy.  After all, I'm not a thin woman who has a flawed mental image of her body or who is so afraid of getting fat that she'll risk killing herself to stay thin.  I actually am fat.  My body already is the one that so many people are afraid of ending up with.  And practically nobody thinks it's such a bad thing when someone who can obviously stand to miss a meal actually does miss one.

And in the end, it's so much easier not to pick up the fork than it is to actually eat something.  Sure, it's uncomfortable, but on so many levels it's so much easier to ignore the hunger and let the day pass without eating more than a little bit—not enough to get rid of my hunger, but just enough to keep myself going.  It's more socially acceptable.  It means that I'm not as much of a drain on our resources.  In a way, it even helps with my feeling of self-worth; even if I'm not actually earning money at this time, at least I'm making some kind of sacrifice so that my mother doesn't have to.

I know what the risks and likely outcome of long-term starvation and malnutrition are.  I know that this is essentially a very slow and painful way of committing suicide.  But for now, my problem is stronger than I am, and even under all the guilt and feelings of unworthiness and reminders to myself that "I don't really need to eat this, so I won't," I am afraid of what I'm doing to myself and what it means for my future health.

Still, I do it anyway.

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