Submitted by megan on Mon, 05/08/2006 - 22:50
And then library school. I was living by myself, in a stable environment, and working hard. At school, at a whack of part time jobs. But my time was my own, my apartment my exoskeleton. I was hungry, after years of not having much to do with food. Even when I was full, stomach painfully distended, my brain still told me to eat just a little more. I was certainly getting more pleasure out of everything, and out of food too, but it was hard to get through a meal with it being just food, just a good taste or feel in my mouth. Not with my lizard brain stocking up for the next famine.
By the end of library school I weighed 138 pounds. A 20 lb gain in less than 2 years. Still, a normal weight. Took a while to shut the depressive neurons down and see it as a good thing, but I managed. The positive comments from strangers had all but disappeared. Surprisingly, I didn’t die from being ignored for something I never wanted anyway. I moved to Ottawa, got girly, wore swingy dresses and platform sandals and started to feel solid, present and connected to the earth. The last dregs of anxiety were slowly dripping off. I was losing my freaked out tics and feeling full of light.
And ready for a relationship. I started dating and started losing weight. A couple stomach flus helped that project along. This time there was no depression, no sudden drop, just a slow fade for a little while. I get a nervous energy from being with someone new that makes me move around a lot. My job was stressful and that didn’t help.
A boy or two later, the Beard and I moved in together. Winter 2003. The weight just kept dropping. He was freaked out, knowing the Bob history. He was right to be. Living with him and our various roommates, I could never just settle in to myself. It wasn’t even the daily grind of crazy-making things – the small irritations – that was whittling me away. It was that I could never just hang out: I was always waiting. For someone else to be there, to take up space inside I didn’t want to fill myself. For the Beard to come home. That made me cranky and irritable. Couple that with some disrespect on his side and a too small apartment and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a move, with a near-break-up as the appetizer and a huge heaping side of lost fat.
I started getting concerned looks from my family and acquaintances would ask my friends if I was okay. But the compliments started again. And more than that, I noticed this time, the approval went beyond words. I saw my body reflected everywhere I went. "Jesus," a coworker would say, "that picture’s soobviously touched up. Every woman has fat rolls when she leans to the side like that." And I would simultaneously worry that I was too skinny to have rolls and gloat that I fit the ideal. An ideal that I consciously want not one fucking thing to do with. But my formerly 116 lb underweight body is the body on the cover of a lot of magazines. That's some powerful reinforcement for the thought that you look the way people are supposed to look.