I no longer can pretend that I am recovered from my eating disorder, if I ever was. The thoughts, the actions, the pattern of behaviors - all point to the fact that I am still struggling with anorexia.
People look at me and think, "She's at a healthy weight, so she must be better." Scratch that. People probably look at me and think, "She's fat, poor thing; she really has let herself go."
I asked Dr. S the other day if he thought I needed to lose weight. I waited to hear the hesitation in his voice, the pity that I was now at the other end of the spectrum. He answered with an emphatic, "No."
Who am I to believe? What he says or what I see with my own two eyes? The thing is, I don't know if I can trust my own eyes; they have lied to me so much during the past six years.
And what about the number on the scale? The scale does not lie, it is an impersonal machine that really doesn't care what I or anyone else weighs. The bar slides forward and back, speaking to the fears of hundreds of women who watch, silently, praying that it would stop on an acceptable number.
What is an acceptable number? During the past six years, I've hit a low of 91 and a high of 168. My body has gained and lost the equivalent of a toddler, except the only life that was lost was mine.
I remember sitting in McDonald's a few weeks ago. It was hot, so very hot. A couple in their 60s or early 70s stopped in, ordering cold drinks. He order a chocolate shake, topped with whipped cream and a cherry. She ordered an iced coffee, and I'm sure it was either unflavored or flavored with sugar-free syrup.
The message was this: men can order whatever they like, the world of food and its flavors are completely open to them, they don't have to restrict their lives.
Women, on the other hand, must rein in their appetites, and instead delicately sip on low-caloried beverages and pretend that they really don't want the milkshakes and other treats that are out there.
Of course, this is changing with a new generation, and men are also increasingly taught that they must deny themselves.
This is just a little vignette, something to highlight the increasing rage I feel toward the eating disorder voice that taunts me.
I also thought this: will I be her when I'm in my 70s, still restricting myself from all that the world offers? That is, of course, if I am still here.