The last few hours before bed are the most difficult.  Waiting waiting waiting.  A test of endurance.  It is a one-player game, like solitaire.  My opponent is myself.  

     I made a lot of money yesterday. Today was not as lucrative, but I did have a booking at the Studio and a tutoring appointment immediately afterward.  I stopped by the pet store to get food for the birds (I splurged and bought Parrot a new toy) and then came home, exhausted.  I missed my Friday night meeting and I feel badly about that–can’t afford to do that too often–missing meetings is one of the things that contributed to my pre-Christmas relapse.  

     I am very hungry right now.  But I know that if I can wait it out till bed, I’ll wake up thinner.  I know that this thinking is dysfunctional, but I want to be honest here, to tell you how it is.  

     When you are very hungry, you will find that you do crazy things.  You start to obsess.  I have had the opportunity to speak at length with other girls who endeavor not to eat, and they all relate similar behaviors.  You start to spend a lot of time thinking about food.  Fantasizing about it.  Tonight, for example, I have perused four restaurant takeout menus.  I ask myself: if I were to order something, what would it be?  Which sounds best?  I weighed the merits of each.  A distraction, a flirtation with danger, as I watch Charlie Rose interview Bernie Sanders on the television (actually, the program is mostly in the background; I am primarily focused on the idea of a chicken avocado sandwich).  Then, in a burst of determination, I put the menus away, only to end up reading the restaurant reviews on the New York Times website.  

    When the disorder was at its worst, I would read cookbooks and Gourmet magazine recreationally.  I would pour over them, devour them with my eyes, collect recipes that I had no intention of ever cooking, squirreling them away.  This behavior is not uncommon.  

     Six years ago, I cooked all the time.  I loved to make dinner for my boyfriend.  I loved to work with food.  No longer.  I am nowhere near as bad as I was–nowhere near–but even now, the idea of cooking beyond a subsistence level is incomprehensible to me. 

     And tonight, this.  This back-and-forth with myself, this struggle. It is all internal to me.  I have created it.  It is mine, my pure gold baby.  

     Another hour, and I can go to sleep and wake up hollow, leaner, smug.  I’m never hungry in the morning.  It’s smooth sailing till mid-afternoon, at least.  

     You see, gentle reader, what an evening I’ve had.  One day, when I have the courage, I’ll write about what it’s like to be insane with an eating disorder.  The really scary stuff.  At the party I went to on Wednesday, an English Lit professor I am quite partial to told me that I ought to stop drinking 2-liter bottles of diet Coke every day.  “It’s awful for you,” he said.  “You’ll ruin your beauty.”  

     I let out a short, barking laugh.  I didn’t mean to be rude; I couldn’t help it.  “My beauty,” I snarled.  “I could tell you stories about what I’ve done to myself.  They’d make your hair turn white.”

    In the course of my studies and therapy with a psychoanalyst, I have been told that every masochist is also a sadist, consciously or not.  We possess the opposites within us.  I’ve blogged about this before; I won’t go into detail now.  

    In this case, this dynamic, I am both.  I am a disobedient and disappointing child, and I send myself to bed without any supper.   

One thought on “Ravenous”

  1. “Every masochist is a sadist.” So true. I call it my inner fascist. I think my actual masochism is a purge of these feelings, a catharsis that lessens that inner slave-driver for a while.


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