Recently I saw a Dutch article pop up in my timeline, titled “Managic Anorexic: On the Border of Having and Not Having an Eating Disorder.” Being an anorexic myself, I felt compelled to read it as I was unable to believe that there could be “managing anorexics.”
Whenever people told me I looked good once I started recovering (read: gaining weight), I felt awful. While they genuinely meant to express what they said — after all, I didn’t look like a walking skeleton any more — I translated “you look good” as “you clearly gained weight” and on bad days as “you look fat.” Yet when someone told me I was too thin, I beamed. That was the biggest compliment they could give me, and the fact that so many women interpret these three devilish words similarly is, I think, rather worrisome.
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.
Everyone at the table was staring at me as if I had just been assigned as the new Pope, while I popped another green bean in my mouth. I was just chewing on it like every other person would do, but they acted as if a miracle had just happened. Maybe four years ago, it would have been a miracle. But these days, eating is as much part of my everyday routine as any other woman’s make-up ritual.