The idea of my future simultaneously thrilled and terrified me, like standing at the lip of a very sheer cliff- I could fly, or fall. I didn't know how to fly, and I didn't want to fall. So I backed away from the cliff and went in search of something that had a clear, solid trajectory for me to follow, like hopscotch.
The leap of faith is this: You have to believe, or at least pretend you believe until you really believe it, that you are strong enough to take life face on. Eating disorders, on any level, are a crutch. They are also an addiction and illness, but there is no question at all that they are quite simply a way of avoiding the banal, daily, itchy pain of life. Eating disorders provide a little drama, they feed into the desire for constant excitement, everything becomes life-or-death, everything is terribly grand and crashing, very Sturm and Drang. And they are distracting. You don't have to think about any of the nasty minutiae of the real world, you don't get caught up in that awful boring thing called regular life, with its bills and its breakups and its dishes and laundry and groceries and arguments over whose turn it is to change the litter box and bedtimes and bad sex and all that, because you are having a real drama, not a sitcom but a GRAND EPIC, all by yourself, and why would you bother with those foolish mortals when you could spend hours and hours with the mirror, when you are having the most interesting sado-machistic affair with your own image?
In her presence, I was reminded again of why I was an anoretic: fear. Of my needs, for food, for sleep, for touch, for simple conversation, for human contact, for love. I was an anoretic because I was afraid of being human. Implicit in human contact is the exposure of the self, the interaction of the selves. The self I'd had, once upon a time, was too much. Now there was no self at all. I was a blank.
In that six months, so much happened that death seemed, primarily, inconvenient. The trial period was extended. I seem to keep extending it. There are many things to do. There are books to write and naps to take. There are movies to see and scrambled eggs to eat. Life is essentially trivial. You either decide you will take the trite business of life and give yourself the option of doing something really cool, or you decide you will opt for the Grand Epic of eating disorders and dedicate your life to being seriously trivial.
The idea began to sink in, more than it ever had, that I might be crazy, in the traditional sense of the word. That I might be, forever and ever amen, a Crazy Person. That's what we'd suspected all along, what I'd been working so hard to disprove, what might be true. I preferred, by far, being dead.
Nothing in the world scares me as much as bulimia. It was true then and it is true now. But at some point, the body will essentially eat of its own accord in order to save itself. Mine began to do that. The passivity with which I speak here is intentional. It feels very much as if you are possessed, as if you have no will of your own but are in constant battle with your body, and you are losing. It wants to live. You want to die. You cannot both have your way. And so bulimia creeps into the rift between you and your body and you go out of your mind with fear. Starvation is incredibly frightening when it finally sets in with a vengeance. And when it does,you are surprised. You hadn't meant this. You say: Wait, not this. And then it sucks you under and you drown.