It’s Not About the Food. Really.
I realized the other day that the times in my life when Frank was the most quiet were times when I had other things I could control. For example: School. I loved being able to look at a syllabus and see, “Ok, if I do this, this, and this I will get an A.” It’s so simple to get good grades: it’s all laid out for you. Same with the beginning of my marriage. I was meticulous about managing our bills and bank accounts, cleaning the house, dressing my husband, and trying to control him (P.S. that doesn’t work).
Suddenly I found myself divorced and graduated in the same month. I went into the “real” world and didn’t have a person or a household or school work I could “control.” I wasn’t given a stringent set of guidelines telling me how to Ace my life. Everything was objective.
What could I control?
Not my job. Not what my coworkers and bosses thought of me. What is a “perfect” employee? Ask three people and you’ll probably get three different answers. I had no concrete scale by which to measure my success.
I couldn’t control if my roommates liked my personality. Or if they washed their dishes or vacuumed. I couldn’t control the guys they dated or whether I wanted them around the house.
I couldn’t control if men liked me, or if I was loved. And when I dated I couldn’t control my boyfriends.
No one was grading my life. I needed a checklist: “If you do this, this, and this, you will get an A in life and be successful.” Nope. Not happening.
Enter Frank. . .
Yes, I could control my body.
Yes, I could beat and starve myself into whatever shape I wanted to be.
Yes, I could measure my success by a number on the scale.
Yes, I could measure my “specialness” with a BMI chart telling me if I was “normal” or “underweight.”
Those things were like huge red A+’s marking up my life. I was winning at controlling my body, and being able to focus on that made the rest of my life seem more manageable
The ironic thing is the smaller and more malnourished I became, the dumber I sounded and the slower my thought processes. If I’d actually been in school I would’ve failed miserably. I lost friends. I lost jobs. I lost myself. Winning at my eating disorder meant losing at the rest of my life.