It has been a while since I have written on this platform - or anywhere for that matter. My words affect those who read them, but eyes don’t fall on them - they’re in the periphery or just a mirage among human resources and editors. Do I pitch to deaf ears some more? Do I force-feed my work via Amazon self-publishing? Do I continue to apply for unpaid internships in hopes that a window and a chance may clear the path to a full-fledged career? I have not had the strength to sacrifice my wordsmithery on a public domain blog read by acquaintances, any longer.
I no longer care for the praise when it is the equivalent to those blue ribbons every participant in the grade school science fair receives. So maybe it is true, in this vein, what Kathie Lee Gifford always says: not everyone can win. Not everyone can be the best. Understanding this is what forms character and resilience. This Darwinist concept, however, is slightly contradictory and so I never paid heed to Kathie Lee’s Debbie Downer persona.
Long time, no see: It has been a long time now that I have had anorexia nervosa - compulsive thoughts to restrict food intake, compare with how others are eating and burning it off, and to exercise and work off energy consumed. I am still severely underweight, still without my period for over 3 years, still unable to pedal my bicycle once, and developing a fear of different foods everyday: bananas, protein bars, vegetables sauteed in oil, flatbread, closed-face sandwiches, rice, starchy plantains, and mangoes. It has been so long that I have met a slew of new people- friends, acquaintances, online classmates, and even family members - none of who knew me prior to my anniversary cum birthday. They don’t see me. It’s been a long time - and I’m beginning to not see myself either.
“You’re so skinny. I wish I was that thin.”
“You’re so cute! I was that small when I was your age.” (She was still small - even at her age.)
“You’re tiny! I’m not like you.”
“You look great. Look at that figure.”
I wish more people would be like the woman who I met yesterday. She told me, “you need some meat on your bones,” after I confessed to being excessively cold despite the warm temperature. I wish I could tell these people how my skin turns a tinge of yellow and the skin under my eyes and around my lips are blackened in a sickly manner. I want to tell them that time my parents barbecued last year when my brother came to visit and I hated every second of my life as I adamantly spooned 2 tablespoons’ worth of pumpkin seed butter into my mouth, my brother looking on in silent disgust. I wish they knew how sleep deprived I was - emptying my bowels of 9 pounds of watermelon until 2 am and then waking up before 6, making sure to wake up early so that I can sneak in a 15-minute body weight workout before my parents stirred from their good night’s sleep. I wish they knew of my knobby legs that feel strained and ready to give out from beneath me. And I wish I could alter my brain chemistry to recognize these symptoms, to regard them with contempt so that I can make a substantial change to actively gain much-needed weight.
My mind is in a constant flux. I long to be a mother, completely unrelated to yesterday’s Mother’s Day celebrations. I long to have a significant other who I’ll have my back after my parents proclaim their near passing unto the ages. My brother, always independent and not tethered to anyone or anything, won’t take me in. I am not his responsibility and I won’t be his burden. Who do I have? I have friends from years’ past who I hardly keep in touch with. It’s as if anorexia is contagious. They fear my story, hearing it out, perhaps out of feelings of pity, or perhaps out of obligation.
My mind is in a flux. I long to eat cruciferous vegetables, but what is enough and what isn’t? I cooked eggplant, cauliflower steak sandwiches for my parents’ dinner- leisurely pouring in olive oil with a liberal wrist flip. I basted mushrooms in about a stick of butter to spoon on top of the vegetables ladled onto a toasted brioche roll, decorated with a smear of buttermilk ranch. I created a crisp basil, tomato, mozarella caprese salad with a squeeze of lemon juice mingling among a guarded amount of oilve oil. Why I couldn’t enjoy a vegetable panini, or just roasted vegetables, still boggles my mind. I planned on cooking cauliflower for myself today, but I am stressed by the task. Will a teaspoon of olive oil (45 calories) be enough to coat 1-cup of florets? Will spending more on organic produce have a real impact on my weight? Should I opt for lactose-free ghee instead of oil? Should I use a spray or will that equate to calorically more than a spoon of cooking fat?
I’ll just have something else instead, I reason. And just like that, another day passes.
Long time, no seeing the future.