Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hosting a parasite

I just finished reading The Host by Stephanie Meyer and I couldn't help but see the connection with my eating disorder. 

******Spoiler Alert*******

******Spoiler Alert*******

For those who haven't partook, The Host is set on Earth after an alien parasitic race has settled here. There are renegade humans left who have refused to be taken. One parasite (Wanderer) is implanted in one of the renegades (Melanie) in the hope that she would lead the aliens to the rest. Melanie is strong though and doesn't allow Wanderer to take over completely. Throughout the book, these two entities share one body and their thoughts and feelings often become intertwined. 

In the end of the book, Wanderer willingly sacrifices herself so that Melanie can have her body back. Against her wishes  but with her hopes, Wanderer is implanted into another human - one who had been taken over by the aliens for so long that the human inside her body was completely gone. 

The similarities with eating disorders are striking. The longer one struggles with an eating disorder, the harder it is to fight. Eventually, the human gets lost and is unable to function without the parasite - like the human into whom Wanderer is implanted. She had been controlled by a parasite for so long, the human was completely gone. 

Like the characters in the book, I feel like there are two entities inside me - Jeanne and Ed. I like to hope that Ed is the parasitic alien. 

Unfortunately, real life isn't like the world in the book.  There is no operation to remove Ed from my body. There are no medicines I can take. 

I can keep fighting to keep myself alive with the hope that someday there will be a way to remove Ed completely. Like Melanie in the book, I can keep trying to stay in control of my body, biding my time until I can have my body and life back. Hope is a powerful thing. 

Melanie was lucky - Wanderer didn't want to be a parasite. She willingly gave up her life to give Melanie her body, her life back. Ed isn't altruistic. He'll remain inside me until forcibly removed. But like Melanie, I won't willingly give up my body. I won't stop fighting. I'll keep trying to be me despite him. I will argue and yell at his voice and when I feel weak, I will ask for any help available to me. 

And perhaps, someday, there will be a way to remove Ed from me completely.