I get my feeding tube today and I have to admit I am very scared. I'm scared it will hurt. I'm scared of the loss of control. And yes, I'm scared of gaining weight.
This relapse wasn't about weight loss. The drop in pounds was incidental. But any anorexic would be lying if they said they didn't care about weight gain. Because the weight lost is an outward symbol of the inner pain I feel, and part of the stripping of skin and reappearance of protruding hip bones and prominent collarbones shows that to the world.
And then of course there is this world's current obsession with being thin. When I was trolling the pro-ana sites (not allowed here, and that's part of the safety of the hospital), I saw pictures of thin, tanned women who were so beautiful it ached to look at them and think I could never, ever look like them. I know that many of the photos are lies - Photoshopped to show a flawlessness that doesn't exist in nature; I bet many of them get pimples and under-eye circles and have a little flab here and there.
But it is hard not to buy into the lie, and if you are already suffering and your mind tells you not to eat, why not try to be like one of them?
But I want to like being me - dark, wild curly hair, a smile that many say is beautiful, a slender (not skeletal) body, and a few little lines near what my husband calls my "cornflower blue eyes."
And I want to eat normally - sometimes too much, sometimes too little, sometimes a bit of junk food, most of the time just boringly healthy. I'll never be a big eater - that's not been my nature for most of my life, and I am a bit of picky eater even in the best of times. But I could, in the past, scarf down some popcorn at the movies and slurp it down with a regular icy Coke,
I don't want to sit at my plate and eat one grain of rice at a time, one pea at a time; slicing a banana into miniscule pieces so small that I can't even taste it. I don't want to shred my allowed half piece of bread into tiny pieces, balling it up until I can't taste the yeasty taste of whole grain bread with the little piece of nuts because I have crushed the life out of it.
And I don't want to mark my body with red ink, the color of Ana, writing across my hip "Ana Wins." She is not going to win, not if my doctor and others have any say about it. (It's too bad, because I actually like the color red. Maybe someday it will again just be a pretty color for me.)
Just like anorexia has been crushing the life out of me.
So today is tube day. I am scared it will hurt. I'm afraid maybe it won't help. I feel like it marks me as someone who could not get past the demon of Ana without medical help, without tube feeding.
But the choices are either reclaim my life or die Ana. And she doesn't deserve that honor.
When I do die, I hope people will remember me as someone who fought and won, someone who was kind and funny and full of life, a good writer and someone with an insatiable drive to learn new things. Not someone who cowered under Ana. Not someone who sat at her computer and counted every single calorie, and couldn't even take a sip without fear.
And I want to be remember as someone who liked a good hamburger with Swiss cheese, mayo, ketchup, Vidalia onions and a cold beer once in a while. (That's in the future, ha ha.)