I’m sheltering inside a hollow tree stump, a huge fallen tree has split my clearing in two and I don’t yet have the energy to do anything about it. My pixie hood is drawn up over my head and my knees are hugged close to my chest. On the ground beside me I have a red and green apple.
The apple you see is part of my confession. Though you may not have realised it, given all the topics I have nimbly scrambled over, wallowed in and waded through over this past year, food has been conspicuous by its absence. I am not, have never been one of those girls. Or so I have been told. Those girls referring of course to girls who obsess over weight and appearance, over calories and carbs. Girls who fall into the trap of eating disorders. It matters not if I simply forget to eat at times. That’s a side effect of hyper focus and nothing more surely? The people who said that to me were half right. I am not a girl. I am a pixie child and that is part of it all.
I’m twisting the stalk of the apple now, it’s uncomfortable to be opening up about this, more so that many of the things I’ve so far written about. Why? Because it’s something people don’t apply to me. I am not one of those girls. Perhaps because I’m afraid of being so mainstream. Perhaps because it’s something I still deny to myself. Whatever the reason, I want to open up, because there have been so many times when people have praised me for being so open on this blog, for being so brave and yet I’m constantly concealing something so huge. There were two very brave people who have inspired me in this by the things they have shared with me. Their stories are their own, but I hope they know who they are. They struggle but they are not shallow. They proved to me that saying ‘those girls’ is an utterly unfair generalisation that barely skims the surface.
I was still quite small when the seed of the desire to be tiny implanted itself in my brain. In my mind’s eye I was small, not weak, but tiny and delicate. For years there would be periods of time where I would use food or lack thereof to deal with anxiety. The periods were never extended far enough or to enough of an extreme to be a problem throughout most of my childhood. It wasn’t until I was 18, in my First Year of university that restricting became a conscious decision. People who knew me then know how thin and washed out I got then, not quite enough to worry but close. The years between then and now have been a cycle of binging and restricting, more or less maintaining a healthy weight in an unhealthy way and hating myself for it. Hating myself because underneath it all I am that tiny, genderless pixie child. Hating myself for not having control or focus or discipline or any of the ‘enoughs’ I’ve talked about before.
Right now I’m thinner than I was at 18, despite being half an inch taller. For most of the week it’s difficult to eat for fear that it’ll turn into another binging spiral of depression. It’s hard to eat because maybe if I just lose more I’ll become the pixie I am on the inside and escape the snow globe. The sheer lack of logic is not lost on me. It isn’t helping my focus, my concentration, my happiness, my energy levels. All of this I know. Yet still I starve. I eat more over the weekends; I can’t help myself. I mentally justify that I need it and sometimes that is enough to keep the guilt at bay. There is no simple solution. That, as the stem of my apple finally snaps in my hand, brings me to my final point. I have been honest with you. I have opened up. I have filled in one more piece of my puzzle. Please don’t use that against me. Please don’t nag me, push food at me or try to make me eat more. It will add to my stress levels and ultimately won’t improve anything. If I choose to eat with you, let me do so without comment. Bear in mind that something is better than nothing. Know that despite this, I do very much want to be alive.