12 December 2008

A question of identity

Where does anorexia end and I began?

I've started reading "Regaining Yourself: Breaking Free from the Eating Disorder Identity." I'm very afraid of becoming only "anorexic." Only someone with an eating disorder. Only someone who is continuously in recovery. Only .......

Who I was: a writer, a journalist, an avid reader of everything from history to literature to fiction. I was a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter and someone with a strong curiosity about everything in the world. I cared about the children in Haitian, the mentally ill here in Michigan ... and I tried, in my own way, to do something about the problems of the world. I wrote poetry; I sang Christmas songs in July. I drove North on a sunny day just because, and called up a friend at the spur of the moment to go out to lunch. I was unafraid when I ate, and I didn't care about the calorie count of one teaspoon of cream for my coffee or the fact that honey I so loved for my hot tea had more calories than sugar.

I was free and I was Angela.

Anorexia - any eating disorder - diminishes you, even if it doesn't literally shrink you. My world has become much smaller, because counting calories and worry about food and trying to figure out either how to avoid it or get rid of it takes so much energy. Sometimes I don't even want to get out of the bed, because I have to start the whole damn routine again.

Sacker's point (at least so far as I've read) is people with eating disorders often haven't fully developed their own identities. Then they are labeled anorexic or bulimic or whatever, and the eating disorder become their - my - identity.

It's a seductive world of pro-ana and pro-mia, complete with its own language and routines. It has become easy to stay with anorexia; it's been my world for quite sometime.

But now I'm tired of being anorexic. It's much harder to crawl out of the eating disorder hole than it was to fall into it, because it feels like my future is either a. black space and/or b. a watery, murky question mark that I can't answer right now.

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