I clung to my Mum and cried desperately. My fingers dug hard into her shoulders. Don’t let me go, Mum. Pull me back. Ana’s pulling me hard. She’s twisting the knife hard into my stomach. She hates me. She’s making me suffer. With every last little drop of will I am trying to stand up to her. But it hurts.
I slept yesterday afternoon and on waking I just sat. I knew something was different. I was still not out of choice, but out of fear. If I moved, I feared waking the dragon. If I parted my lips I was afraid of what would go in. I knew I couldn’t eat dinner. I visualised the alternative meal options but I could not imagine any of them inside me. I could not imagine allowing food or liquid to penetrate my self.
So when Mum arrived home later than usual I lied and told her I’d had dinner.
Mum, please question me. Please doubt me. If you ask me I know I won’t be able to lie to you but I can’t defy Ana and offer you the truth. You have to ask me for it.
She didn’t question; not out loud anyway.
I willed her to ask if I was OK.
My mind was spinning on repeat: skipping dinner was wrong; it was a backward step. But you don’t need dinner. You’re stronger without it. Feel that hollowness in your tummy; that’s strength, that’s your power.
Mum finally asked and I told her: I can’t put anything inside me, Mum.
She suggested marmite on toast. I considered the strong, savoury, salty taste and felt disgust. No. I suggested a piece of plain toast.
Dry toast. …that’s not a real meal. That’s cheating.
Mum offered to share some of her dinner with me. I accepted, but I didn’t want anything to do with it. Could she prepare it and bring it to me? If I got involved with its preparation I was complicit in allowing this violation.
She brought the plate in and I ate four slices of courgette and a small fork full of meat. It felt thick, stodgy, dirty and toxic.
I kept going.
It’s just food. It’s fuel. It’s your body’s medicine.
I eventually finished.
I turned to Mum and held on to her tightly as I cried.
I was being attacked from the inside by this poison I’d just ingested. I physically felt it spreading its way throughout my body, infecting each inch of me with poisonous thick gloop. It was clinging to my body and I was growing fatter and dirtier by the second.
My body and mind had turned against me in a vicious attack. The ability of the mind to inflict so much distress and pain on itself is terrifying.
Mum wrapped me in her arms and stroked my hair as she told me I was safe. What I had done was good. It was the vicious disease making me feel like this. I’d been strong and showed the disease that I wasn’t going to give in to it. All I’d done was give my body what it needs to get a little stronger and healthier. She was proud of me for doing it. She loved me so much. She wouldn’t let me go back to Ana. We’ll do this together. I’m not alone.
I hung on to her every word. Healthy, safe, strong, good, love.
She held me, comforted me and repeated this over and over and over until the tears calmed and the pain lessened.
All I’m doing is trying to beat Ana and reclaim my voice. I could give in. God, there are days when I just want to go back to her control. I want to stop fighting it. I want to stop hurting. I want to stop the battle with myself. If I resign myself back into her clutches life will be simpler.
But…..Ana will kill me. I know she will.
I don’t want to die. I don’t even want to disappear anymore. I might not totally occupy my space in this world at the moment but I know I want to. I want to fill out every corner of my space, in fact I want to explode from the seams of my space. I want to shine. I want to be a complete person.
So, I’m picking up my emotionally limp, battered and bruised body and I’m getting back into the ring for the umpteenth round. With a heavy heart, sad eyes and only a flicker of strength inside me I say:
bring it on.