I was watching the people on the platform from my seat in the train. I watched their every movement, and especially whether they were watching me, too. I almost ducked if they were. During that split second when they weren’t looking, I dug up the cheesy bread stick that was hidden in my bag, tore off a piece, and ate it as fast and secretly as I could. This almost sounds as if I’m a celebrity avoiding paparazzi. The truth, however, is not nearly as glamorous. It’s even a tad ridiculous. I realised that when I was looking around suspiciously, nibbling at my cheese stick. Add massive sunglasses covering almost my entire face and the image would’ve been complete.
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).
‘Numbers’ and ‘counting’ are key words in my life as an anorexic. The numbers were something I could count on, and I counted a lot of things in order to make decisions on what (not) to eat. These words became even more crucial during my recovery, especially when I got myself admitted to a clinic. I counted on their help. Suddenly, ‘numbers’ and ‘counting’ gained an entirely different meaning.