Many obese people spend a significant amount of their energy on suppressing the urge to tell some of the people who are staring at them that they do not eat as much and as frequently as they seem to.
More often than not, expecting to lose weight without first losing the diet that made the weight loss necessary is like expecting a pig to be spotless after hosing it down while it was still rolling in mud.
I think maybe they come out into the grounds in nightwear. But no, in typical anorexic stype they have read the fashion magazines literally. This is their version of thin girls in strappy clothes.The girl in the petticoat talks to me, as Emma has done on occsasion, in a rather grand style, as if she is a 'lady' of some substance and I a visiting guest.Do they chat much about clothes? I ask Emma in the car.She shakes her head.So, does she, Emma, see the difference between underwear or nightwear and 'going out' clothes?'Yes,' she says, her voices strained again. 'But it's one of the things you don't know properly when you're ill and confused. You see these pictures and the people in the magazines are real for you.
I remember, when I was about ten years old, working out that I would be thirty-six in the year 2000. It seemed so far away, so old, so unreal. And here I am, a fucked, crazy, anorexic-alcoholic-childless beautiful woman. I never dreamed it would be like this.
The return of the voices would end in a migraine that made my whole body throb. I could do nothing except lie in a blacked-out room waiting for the voices to get infected by the pains in my head and clear off. Knowing I was different with my OCD, anorexia and the voices that no one else seemed to hear made me feel isolated, disconnected. I took everything too seriously. I analysed things to death. I turned every word, and the intonation of every word over in my mind trying to decide exactly what it meant, whether there was a subtext or an implied criticism. I tried to recall the expressions on people’s faces, how those expressions changed, what they meant, whether what they said and the look on their faces matched and were therefore genuine or whether it was a sham, the kind word touched by irony or sarcasm, the smile that means pity. When people looked at me closely could they see the little girl in my head, being abused in those pornographic clips projected behind my eyes? That is what I would often be thinking and such thoughts ate away at the façade of self-confidence I was constantly raising and repairing. (describing dissociative identity disorder/mpd symptoms)
One weekend it rained for 48 hours without stopping. The rain beat like bony fingers against the window panes. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Fungus was growing on the walls. I polished off a bottle of gin sitting huddled over the two-bar electric fire and wrote a poem, one of the few that has lasted through the moves and the years. It is called 'Where Can I Go?'If this is not the place where tears are understood where do I go to cry? If this is not the place where my spirits can take wing where do I go to fly?If this is not the place where my feelings can be heard where do I go to speak? If this is not the place where you’ll accept me as I am where can I go to be me? If this is not the place where I can try and learn and grow where can I go to laugh and cry?
If you put the wrong foods in your body, you are contaminated and dirty and your stomach swells. Then the voice says, Why did you do that? Don't you know better? Ugly and wicked, you are disgusting to me.
Why?’ She nods. ‘She had everything: a family who loved her, friends, activities. Her mother wants to know why she threw it all away?’ Why you want to know why? Step into a tanning booth and fry yourself for two or three days. After your skin bubbles and falls off, roll in coarse salt, then put on long underwear woven from spun glass and razor wire. Over that goes your regular clothes, as long as they are tight. Smoke gunpowder and go to school to jump through hoops, sit up and beg, and roll over on command. Listen to the whispers that curl into your head at night, calling you ugly and fat and stupid and bitch and whore and worst of all ‘A disappointment.’ Puke and starve and cut and drink because you need an anesthetic and it works. For a while. But then the anesthetic turns into poison and by then it’s too late because you are mainlining it now, straight into your soul. It is rotting you and you can’t stop. Look in a mirror and find a ghost. Hear every heartbeat scream that everythingsinglething is wrong with you. ‘Why?’ is the wrong question. Ask ‘Why not?
Culture alone cannot explain the phenomena of such high rates of eating disorders. Eating disorders are complex, but what they all seem to have in common is the ability to distract women from the memories, sensations, and experience of the sexual abuse through starving, bingeing, purging, or exercising. They keep the focus on food, body image, weight, fat, calories, diets, miles, and other factors that women focus on during the course of an eating disorder. These disorders also have the ability to numb a woman from the overwhelming emotions resulting from the sexual abuse — especially loss of control, terror, and shame about her body. Women often have a combination of eating disorders in in their history. Some women are anorexic during one period of their life, bulimic during another, and compulsive eaters at yet another stage.
Why did I allow the abuse to continue? Even as a teenager?I didn’t. Something that had been plaguing me for years now made sense. It was like the answer to a terrible secret. The thing is, it wasn’t me in my bed, it was Shirley who lay the wondering if that man was going to come to her room, pull back the cover and push his penis into her waiting mouth it was Shirley. I remembered watching her, a skinny little thing with no breasts and a dark resentful expression. She was angry. She didn’t want this man in her room doing the things he did, but she didn’t know how to stop it. He didn’t beat her, he didn’t threaten her. He just looked at her with black hypnotic eyes and she lay back with her legs apart thinking about nothing at all. And where was I? I stood to one side, or hovered overhead just below the ceiling, or rode on a magic carpet. I held my breath and watched my father pushing up and down inside Shirley’s skinny body.
Doesn' t she care what she does to her family? ' people will ask. ' How can she starve herself like that? 'She has fallen into bad company, been influenced from within by something she thought she could control, but which has ended up controlling
While she is still hospitalised, I take Emma out for strengthening walks, for her muscles and been under-used for a long time. She is sometimes breathless, I notice with concern, and there are other changes in her, either through a nerve her therapy touches, or through her illness, or both, which make her, quite often, disagreeable to be with.
My reflection followed me mercilessly in mirrors, car doors, shop windows. I lived in a world of circus mirrors, the grotesque distortion of my body looking back at me everywhere.