Tuesday, December 30, 2008

a girl definitely wrote this post

back when i was really skinny, back in the high school and college years, contrary to popular public opinion, there wasn't an eating disorder involved. just an overall lack of appetite, an overall lack of food interest. it's hard to explain/remember because i certainly don't have this issue now, but lots of times i just didn't get hungry. and when i did, a few bites of whatever i could find would fill me up.

the thing is, i wasn't really happy with how i operated. i knew i was too thin - i was cold all the time, sick all the time - and going out to dinner with friends or dates was embarrassing. i wanted to eat like a real person - cram a few pieces of pizza down my face then beg for an ice cream cone. but most of the time i felt too nauseated to even pretend. of course people assumed i was hungry but denying myself - which really helped female friendship relations. i'm not entirely sure what the deal was, but i know it had something to do with my underlying anxiety issues. because while some people shove packs of twizzlers down their throat when they worry, i had the opposite reaction.

back in those days, i lived in a mild state of panic - butterflies in my stomach, dizzy spells on the subway - and it constantly undermined my appetite. when something bigger happened - a breakup, a move, whatever - instead of just the annoying minutia of everyday life, i would completely lose the ability to eat for days on end. and it scared the shit out of me. this wasn't a "i need control over this largely uncontrollable situation so i'm controlling my calories by not eating but i'm really starving" thing. i had no hunger rumbles in my stomach and couldn't swallow food without gagging.

the end of my freshman year of college i created some intense drama for myself, a dawson's creek scene involving breaking up a four-year-long senior couple and cheating on my clueless macrobiotic boyfriend away in connecticut. it was thrilling and sexy and nuts, but the whole thing also filled me with guilt and terror. i barely ate for eleven days and was convinced i would die. (i didn't.)

after many more scenes like this, where i subsisted exclusively on boullion cubes and tea, i slowly pulled my act together - through therapy and thinking and yoga and walking - and got down to eating. i don't suffer from the panic anymore, (obsessive worrying? yes. thundercloud depression at times? yes. panic? not really.) which means i don't suffer from the appetite suckage.

it also means i go home for christmas now and step on the scale and faint because i weigh a full twenty more pounds than i did back then. i left the bathroom and immediately put away the mashed potatoes i'd heated in the microwave and pouted on the couch.

because while i'm happier now, the weight gain is still complicated.

i wasn't healthy then and i wasn't loving food then and i was that girl people resented then because i was skinny. because people are crazy and think that skinny = ecstasy. (wrong, wrong, wrongness.) and it was just such a thing, such a defining feature of who i was. which is creepy. i love (love) to eat now, i love that i can eat a huge, fatty meal and still want dessert, i love that the first thing people say when they see me isn't "you're wasting away!"

so for the most part, for the stuff that matters, i'm sticking with what i've got going on. i'm a fox and i work it.

but i know i could/should exercise more, and i don't need to eat quite so many grilled cheese sandwiches or drink quite so many glasses of grape juice. (and that's not "grape juice" meaning wine, that's grape juice as in the official drink of kindergarten.) and the sad truth is, i know i'd feel a little better if i were a little thinner. but i hate even typing that, hate that i even care, hate that i have to give up some of that food bliss that was so hard won.

as my mom and i like to say: poor humans.

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