Sunday, April 1, 2007

Hungry Like a Wolf

Countless times yesterday, I wanted to go up to one of my friends and say, "Help. I'm not eating. I've almost entered true starvation. Help me, please!"

But I didn't.

The scene played in my mind thusly.

Friend: Have this or that.
Jeanne: No, I'm not hungry.
Friend: You can't go by that.
Jeanne: But I'm supposed to trust my body.
Friend: But when you've restricted, your signals get screwed up. You need to eat regardless.
[Jeanne eats a tiny apple or picks apart a 100-calorie granola bar. Which she probably would have done herself anyway.]

Conclusion - it would be, as my husband likes to say, an exercise in masturbation. Nothing really gets accomplished, aside from satisfying Edie's pleasure.

This morning, I had the thought again. Again, the same scenario played in my head. Until the actress playing Jeanne improvised.

"I AM hungry, but I don't want to eat."


A true statement.

"I'm not hungry" isn't exactly correct. The truer phrase is "I don't want to feel hungry." Or more to the point, "I don't want to feel anything."

I was about to hunt down a friend, the first one I could find to say this Eureka statement to, but I came back to my computer instead. Old habits are hard to change. I have always lived in my head which means that I need to have an idea of how a scene will unfold. Everything must be calculated, all permutations laid bare before I allow myself to experience it. If I allow myself to experience it.

Jeanne: I am hungry, but I don't want to eat.
Friend: [puzzled] What?
Jeanne: I do feel hunger, but I don't want to eat.
Friend: Jeanne, that doesn't make any sense. What's going on?
Jeanne: I don't know.
Friend: Why won't you let yourself eat?
Jeanne: I don't want to feel - it's the only true reason that I have ever had to restrict.
Friend: What don't you want to feel?
Jeanne: Everything and anything. I don't want to feel, period.
Friend: [shakes head] You can't keep doing this to yourself.
Jeanne: [tired] I know that.
Friend: Why don't you talk about what's in your head right now?
[The scene fades as Jeanne begins to share the multitude of things that leave no room in her mind for anything else. But time runs out before a fraction is said. Ultimately, Jeanne is left alone with her thoughts again, no closer to wanting to eat than before.]

Another exercise.

Another expression of a depressed soul.

Another reason to pull away, retreat back into my safe world of mental solitude.

Except, my world has changed. I no longer find complete comfort there. A quiet, but insistent voice drones, “Reach out. Reach out. You will heal if you just reach out.”

The hammer of judgement descends. “Don’t waste others’ time. Don’t be a burden. Handle it yourself.”

“Reach out. Reach out. Reach out.”

Back and forth. On and on. Endlessly whirring in the background, so much so that my place of peace has become a hive of buzzing gnats.

So common sense tells me to pen an email to my core group of friends, inviting them to lunch, sharing this installment in the story of my life.

But I don’t.

I hesitate.

I judge.

I balk at becoming the center of attention. No. That’s not right.

I balk at forcing myself to the center of attention. I recoil from assaulting my friends with a barrage of inanitites while they suffer in their own way.

I struggle with time management - there aren’t enough seconds in the day for everything, somethings have to take priority. Something has to give. Usually, it’s me. There was a time, in elementary school, when this annoyed me. I questioned it (to myself of course,) “Why am I always the last one? Why am I always an afterthought?”

Eventually, I just accepted it. Jeanne comes last. No one ever listens to Jeanne.

In my life, I have rarely demanded anything of anyone, if I ever have, and I’m racking my brain to come up with even one time that I issued an edict of any magnitude. Hell, I don’t even think I’ve ever consciously commanded myself to do anything.

If I did it now, if I rallied the pro-recovery troops and scheduled a lunch where the topic was me, would I want to eat?

Answer: Of course not! The guilt for besieging my friends would fill the void of any emotions that I would release in the bitchfest. Add to that the guilt for disobeying the number one law in my world – Jeanne comes last.

So I sit back and watch the world around me as if from behind a one-way mirror. I wait for others to make their move.

And thus it has almost always been with me. Quickly taking my turn to allow my fellow players more time, even if it means that I don’t make the wisest choices. This is my way. I’m not the lead in a production, I’m the backstage manager who carefully supports the actors in the limelight and never takes a bow of her own.

I’m the wind beneath my loved ones wings.

Except that the wind recedes moments after it begins.

As much as I hate to admit it, this is just a fantasy. A cruel twist of fate has made me mortal. Like it or not, I’m corporeal, bound by the laws of nature.

Energy in must equal energy out.

Humans need to eat.[1]

[1] According to on October 12, 2005,:
“The first need for the body is to achieve homeostasis. This is obtained through the consumption of food, drink and air, achieving adequate sleep, a comfortable temperature, and so on. When some needs are unmet, a human's physiological needs take the highest priority. For instance, if one simultaneously experiences the desire for love and the hunger for food, a human is more likely to seek to satisfy the latter need first. As a result of the prepotency of physiological needs, an individual will deprioritize all other desires and capacities. Physiological needs can control thoughts and behaviors, and can cause people to feel sickness, pain, and discomfort.”
Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

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