No time for introductions, scenes, characters. No time for taking it slow. No time for being kind or gentle with words; there is only time to be rash and brisk.
I am a girl who got tired of the world.
I am a girl who got scared of the people.
I am a girl who, like many others, went looking for answers.
I am a girl who, like many others, found none and became desperate.
I am a girl who became half - or, more accurately, two thirds - of the person I used to be.
I am a girl who started smoking, then starving, then cutting, then drinking to -
I still don’t know.
All along, it made perfect sense in my head. You feel bad? You drink. You feel anxious? You smoke. You feel hated by others? You cut. You hate yourself, as well? You starve. It helps.
I feel anxious, using the word ‘starve’. I never starved, at least not in the way people think anorexics do. I didn’t live on a diet of lettuce and Diet Coke and ‘an apple a day’, and I never weighed less than six stone, I never dreamed of being a model, I never looked at ‘thinspo’ on the internet, I never planned ‘ultimate goal weights’ for myself.
I got sad. That’s all.
I truly believed the lies, like many others before me -
Be thin, and be loved. Be thin, and be in control. Be thin, and be happy.
To this day, it’s impossible for me to explain that particular jump from ‘life not going well’ to ‘lose weight to no end, that’ll fix it’, though. There are theories, sure – I’m insecure, my life is unstable – but people are still left standing and asking ‘why?’
It’s a fair question. Why? Why would a well-off, passably pretty, passably talented girl dream and dream of destroying herself in the way that I do? After all, I don’t have ‘problems’. I am not disabled, or terminally ill, or physically bullied, or sexually abused, or starving to death in Africa. I am starving to death in Europe, where I have plenty of food available.
This is the point where most people make an inexplicable jump of their own. On hearing the words ‘anorexia nervosa’, they go to ‘self-induced starvation’, which is reasonable, but then they veer off into a ridiculous direction. Anorexics are vain. Anorexics are shallow. Anorexics want to be bony and skinny and they just want attention. Anorexics want to show off their skinny bodies on beaches in France, Miami, Ibiza and sit smugly in size 0 dresses. Anorexics want to be models and socialites and, hell, they just want to be skinny. They want all this. They want glamour and skinniness. They want the holy grail, the prize. They want their ‘illness’, or is it really an illness? ‘I could use some anorexia,’ people sigh whilst they eat skinny muffins and drink Diet Coke. ‘Oh, they’re so thin. They’re so lucky, I wish I could control myself around food like that.’
Wrong, on all counts.
Anorexics are miserable, insecure and weak. Anorexics are tired and lost and fed up and angry, desperate. Anorexics are all looking for something, for happiness, for acceptance, for love, and somewhere, somewhere in their mind all of that can be found in weight loss. In controlling food, in restricting food, in purging food by vomiting, exercising, compensating - in food, food, food. Anorexics are hungry. I hope I’m speaking for all of us when I say that we hate the way we are.
We wish we could stop, and we wish we could wake up happy, or normal, we can’t. We just can’t. This is no matter of choice.
We are not doing this ‘to be skinny’, to ‘look good’. We know we don’t look good, and we certainly aren’t doing this ‘to be skinny’. We’re doing this to be happy. Somewhere, ‘skinny’ equals ‘happy’. Maybe ‘skinny’ means ‘happy’ in your mind, too. Be careful with that. It’s wrong, and it has the power to drive you insane.
Here is the story of how it drove me insane.