I am afraid of food.
I am inside a dark hole, the rope of recovery hanging just out of reach. My fingers stretch to grab hold, but cold winds swirl around and twisting, turning, it moves out of reach.
Once I could almost see the top.
I see myself hazily, a small figure desperately reaching out to grab hold. Everything else fades, the world is filled with ghosts moving around me, not touching me. I long to disappear altogether, to a place where nothing can touch me.
I look at food and I don't care. I look at graduate school and I see it as a dying dream. I look at my marriage, my love, and I see it dying.
Food seems so alien now. I was at my most pure two years ago. Light, airy, almost not of this world. At least I had Ana. Or she had me.
It started New Year's Day and meeting three young girls, interviewing them about their futures, filled with hope and without fear and anxiety. My optimism of the night before faded, as I thought about all my failures.
Like being drunk for two years at Michigan State University.
Like sleeping with every guy who came along.
Like throwing away a full scholarship to Stanford University.
Like being the campus slut.
Like having an affair with a married man.
Like . . .
But hope still held the first of January. Then Haiti was struck with an earthquake and I realized how very useless I am. I could do nothing.
Cut here. Cut there. It is so easy to eliminate food when you still eat so little of it. Guilt has become my food and I'm choking on it.
Then the triggers came. This person was thinner than I. That person was purging more then me. Everyone was suffering and I couldn't do anything about it.
Guilt became three meals a day.
I don't deserve to eat. Food is for those who matter. And everybody matters but me.
I have became afraid of food. The mere thought of it touching my lips terrifies me. I look at my yogurt in the morning, and I want to throw it across the room. I cut my sandwich in half at lunch and toss part of it in the trash. The dead chicken breast on my plate at dinner mocks me.
I waste food in a world that is starving.
Then I thought — I could fast for the Haitian people. I could offer up myself and my heart as a sacrifice.
But I am unworthy.
And I'm still afraid of food.
Now I wonder how I can grasp the elusive rope of recovery. I have been climbing for years, my arms are tired and my hands are bruised. I was almost to the top when it slid out of my grasp.
I realized this morning, I can't grab that rope by myself. I need someone to hold it steady for me. Then, maybe then, I can slowly climb my way back.
I haven't given up. (Or this wouldn't have been written.) But I'm asking anyone out there — will you grab that rope for me? Just hold it, friend, hold it steady. Then I can start climbing again.