Friday, August 08, 2008

Went to see Mamma Mia! tonight with my mother as a short break from the tedious-yet-so-important work of packing. Could've done with a little more air time for Meryl "An actress beyond compare, with a face to make lesbians weep" Streep, a little less of Amanda "I was the Slutty one in Mean Girls" Seyfried. But hey. I'm really proud of my new pop culture knowledge. Despite watching maybe three hours of TV a week, being out of school for this year has allowed me to get into, you know, normal-people stuff. Like knowing who the cast of Weeds is. Just thought I'd point that out. But in a few days it's back to a home without a TV (unless the as-yet unmet roomie has one), and with my nose in a copy of Moore's anatomy 24/7 I'm chagrined to say what little "with-it"ness I've managed to cultivate in the TV/movie/sports arena is probably going to be defunct shortly. Just thought I'd flaunt it while I've got it.

And I know this is weird, but as the cast was dancing and singing to the title song, it struck me (as it never has before) just how much a relapse to ED (that's an Eating Disorder, for those not in the know) can feel, perversely, like a return to a lover...seriously, try these lyrics on for size.

I've been cheated by you since I don't know when
So I made up my mind, it must come to an end.
Look at me now,
will I ever learn,
I don't know how,
There's a fire within my soul--
I suddenly lose control
Just one look and I can hear a bell ring
One more look and I forget everything

Mamma mia, here I go again
My, my, how could I resist you
Mamma mia, does it show again
Just how much I missed you.
Yes I've been brokenhearted,
blue since the day we parted
Why, why, did I ever let you go?
Mamma mia, now I really know
my, my, I could never let you go.

I've been angry and sad about the things that you do
I can't count all the times that I've told you we're through
And when you go, when you slam the door
I think you know that you won't be away too long
You know that I'm not that strong

Mamma mia, even if I say
Bye bye, leave me now or never
Mamma mia, it's a game we play
Bye bye doesn't mean forever...

Man, what a person with a background in close reading and exegesis could tweeze out of that. Oh, wait. You say I'm just such a person? Well yes indeed.
An ED screws you around (v. 1). It messes with your perceptions, your bodily functions, your ability to function normally in daily life. So you decide to kick it to the curb, get into treatment, stop running ten miles a day, eat more than an apple for dinner...whatever. And things do get better, but in a sense you still miss your ED. And then there's the "Just one look"--the sight of a really thin model in a magazine (or a lissome 13-year old at the next check-out counter at the grocery store), or seeing a certain number on a scale, or--in the relapse of one of my friends--holding back a roommate's hair while she wharfed in the toilet (she was really drunk and had no idea that A was a recovering anorexabulimic; she was a really nice girl who would've been mortified to know she was being triggering). Then there's the one more look and you forget everything...
You forget the previous hospitalizations, the Ensure, the bedrest, the vomiting blood, the stress fractures, the two-pneumonias-in-one-winter, the osteopenia, the cardiac arrhythmias, the godawful impaction (and nearly as godawful process of getting de-impacted...you, your favorite nurse on the EDU, and a friendly enema...or, Goddess forbid, GoLytely). Because if you can Look Like That (like the model, the 13 year old, yourself in a picture from high school) and Feel That Way (in control, slim, invisible, perfected, purified), it will be worth it. And relapse happens, and you feel like you can't let go...
Even when there are the internal struggles, and recognition of what a horrific thing ED can be ("I've been angry and sad about the things that you do; I can't count all the times that I've told you we're through") but still it's almost irresistible--"How could I resist ya?" And it can feel like an awful, perverse, but engrossing game...it's just that with games like chess and darts and, hell, even rugby...you're a lot less likely to keel over. I recognize this. It's something I need to hash out a little with myself, frankly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You mentioned that you'd been having some trouble with food lately. Do you think it'll get better or worse when classes start up?