The last thing I expected from my anorexia was that it would bring me something good. After all, it had ruined my health and who I was, and the worst of all was the impact it had had on other people — people I love. I was right not to expect anything from my anorexia, but I was wrong to underestimate myself, my ambitions, and my desire to help other people, incited precisely by the thing I despised most.
She had a suitcase with her and put it in the luggage rack above my head, then sat down next to me. She looked normal: she had sleek hair, wore a winter coat, checked out her iPod Touch like any other human being would. She was a bit pale, but hey, I look like a ghost myself during the winter, so who am I to judge her for that? But the thing I couldn’t ignore, was the feeding tube in her nose. It was an earmark of the disease we cannot see.
Everyone needs a safe haven. A house that is a home, someone close to you that you can always rely on, or some hobby or activity that makes you forget all your worries for a moment. It makes you feel comfortable and, of course, safe. Then there is the mental safe haven, where you just feel comfortable with everything in your life. But this is actually the most dangerous place for me to be.
I entered the gym and, everywhere I went, not only did I feel the stares of people burning in my back; I actually saw them scrutinising me. Immediately I wondered: “Do I look weird? Are my legs chubby?” But with my hair in a bushy ponytail and brand new Nikes in my bag, I looked normal – like a human being. Since I already was recovering, I was beyond my I-want-to-feel-the-clothes-hanging-loosely-around-my-body phase. I wore a t-shirt that fitted my upper body perfectly and some shorts exposing my legs, which is not out of the ordinary when it’s so hot you don’t have to work out to get those beads of sweat on your forehead. Then it hit me, and that was when I discovered an Unwritten Rule at the gym. I mean, what did I — a thin twig — have to do there?
Oh, how I always wanted to look just like the Victoria’s Secret Angels, created out of clay (and personal trainers and dieticians). How I indeed tried to adhere to a ridiculous lifestyle of not eating and an absurd exercising schedule. How I, an anorexic, was built of guilt (and how I’m now built of openness).