It’s hard to know where to be
gin because I cant remember where or when the beginning was. What I DO know is that you’ve no idea how hard I’ve had to work just to keep things balanced.
I want you to stop and shut up and LISTEN. I’m going to try to tell you about what you’ve done and what you’re STILL doing. It’s a hard thing. Bear with me.
Despite your attempts to poison me and to harm me, I fought to stay healthy. I cleaned your blood, carried it round, battled illnesses, healed up your wounds.
You crossed what had become a very blurry line around ten years ago. Then the real brutality began. You fought me with systematic, dogged determination; tried to change me, control me, reshape me with the tools of death you fast learned to use.
The irony of the fact it began with a health kick hasn’t escaped me. When you cut out the cigarettes, I was overjoyed! Clean breathing at long last. I’d been clogging up with thick tar, and in some ways, I think I’d resigned myself to the blackness, and to the knowledge that it would continue to seep and creep, until it covered all my tender healthiness.
But you cracked it! And I began to work at cleaning it up, helped greatly by your exercise and your healthier lifestyle. It was so good for a while.
Up until you stopped feeding me.
At first I wasn’t worried. I don’t even know when I first noticed. Those workouts of yours grew progressively harder to sustain. When I began to flag, instead of the little rest I was used to, you pushed me all the harder. After sprinting half a mile, you’d ramp up the speed. For a while, I thought it was normal; y’know, a good technique for burning my fat and making muscle. I trusted that you knew your stuff. I figured you’d stop when I reached my optimum, and I worked so hard for you, did what YOU wanted. Stretched to the limit, I kept going, convinced you’d be satisfied with my performance. It’s hard to acknowledge just how far you fell from my expectations and it’s quite impossible for me to understand.
Over time, you and I underwent a transformation that nobody, NOBODY could believe. I think it’s fair to say that it simply wasn’t a you that I recognised.
You were brutal.
Whispers of encouragement became barked orders as coach turned to tyrant. I began to dread you.
Your lack of mercy started to take its toll as I struggled to balance your system.
I tried to tell you. I couldn’t help but let you feel the impact of your cruelty. You can’t flog someone half to death and expect the scars not to show. I stopped biting my lip and started to shout, but you lashed me harder, your determination a steel whip, your mission a desperate urge to keep control.
And all this talk of exercise is perhaps an avoidance of the most painful point: that of starvation.
I struggle here.
The louder I cry, the harder you starve. The more I plead, the more you withhold. If I let myself think of food, you give me less, and yet, I’m so hungry, I can’t think of anything BUT.
You’re killing me.
It’s not rocket science. If you don’t take care of something, it’s going to fall apart. I’m SO tired of having to hold you up. You demand so much of me but give so little; a cruel rider lashing at his horse, numb to the pain of its seared flank; numb to the deep ache streaming down it’s legs, for all that matters is the win and the blinkers of victory blot out the damage.
If I was a separate being, you’d be done for abuse. The cruelty is almost intolerable. You tease me with the broken edges of foods that I crave. You tell me I can have it, then, just as fast, tell me I can’t. I’m starving and you lead me to the fridge full of food that I’m not allowed to eat. Like an object of worship, you kneel in front of the full shelves, and as I cry that it’s nourishment you only see numbers. For food has become a mass of calculations that stream through this brain, tangled wit
h the inevitable bargaining script of ifs and buts and onlys… And all the while, my mouth drools.
You’re breaking me. My bones are dry and brittle. Osteoporosis casts shadows on my hips and my spine is wearing thin. I can’t remember how many years since I bore the ache of fertility. This womb dry and cold, no longer fit to feel the moisture of tiny breath.
Every step is painful as bone grinds on stone. Every step is my protest. And yet, you carry on, rising above the screaming soles, too frightened to stop. You run away from me, barely look at me, only glancing to check that your clothes cover your skin.
I am weary, made tired by your disdain. I am weary of being underfed, ignored, tempted, denied.
I am weary of being brought to the brink of health, and then being starved to the brink of death.
I am weary of daring to trust that I no longer have to hunt to survive, then being shot at when I rest.
I am weary of empty promises, of bearing the weight of your illness.
If you continue, we will both die in this civil war and nobody will ever know who won or who lost.
All of me will rot; but, you if you remain, will rise above the webs of half rotted reasons, above the dry dust of me
And it will all
I didn’t want to seem rude when my very lovely clinician suggested writing a letter to myself. I almost squinted with the effort of holding back on the eye roll, resisted the sideways pull of my lips.
Been there. Done that. Got T-shirts to clothe an army.
But. This was a bit different. Not a ‘ years from now thing. Not a letter to myself, but a letter FROM myself. More specifically, from my body.
I put it here to remind myself why I need to keep eating. I also put it here hoping that it might be helpful in some way, to someone else.