by Tracy Michele Bullock
(May be triggering.)
I am not what you see before you.
This is not my body. I am so small deep down within this form. There is a cave. There are drawings on the walls. There is a fire, and hearth. I am naked. I am unshaven. My hair is less than tidy. I am at my best. I am terrible. I am so thin.
You, you see me on a scale. You see a rubber band holding together my jeans. You see my breast. You see sweat. You see bald spots. You are empathetic to my stretch marks. You may be looking back three years on my Instagram feed. You may be remembering a New Year’s Party from the late ‘00s. You loved how I looked. I felt so fat that night.
(Did you know that dark red wine has just a few less calories than white? It also has a slightly disruptive effect on the digestive system causing possible diarrhea — especially when paired with a Colon Cleansing capsule taken in the morning? Thus, one can maintain intoxication from alcohol and fluid loss from too frequently, masterfully cleansing bathroom trips without the messiness for purging. Just stay away from the corn chips and your ass is good to go. Party on, Garth . . .)
Now it is time to grow up. I am screaming. What is it about mortality, the reminder of life most carnal, a dream realized that offers not clarity, but crisis? Am I running from the miracle of womanhood? Fire-starving my fertility? Terrorist. Trader. Winner. Honing an appreciation of pain to argue the inevitable tearing. I hunger for the savagery of need to unite me and some formidable fetal stranger. Whisper of a visitor. An It, a Me, someone else entirely. A fucking joke. A most ugly alternative. A world where Little Pulsing Person so aggressive, secretive, beautiful in ways they will never remember to forget, nuzzles like a Hoover to the most despicable parts of my once wild wetness. Straightforward savage. A question comes inspired: When was it that I forgot to ask so ardently?
“Don’t you dare call me healthy. “
Does the bulb reflect upon itself? The pupa thinking on its lack of distinction? What do babies see? Me? Oh please: me. Will it tell me what I am? God, I am so gone.
I am so massive and messy. I am broken. I hold nothing. I am devoured. I am faking. I AM SO HAPPY.
Love has always escaped my appreciation. (What is happening exactly?) The arch and buck is too short lived. I am complimented. I am deaf. With all the punishing sincerity comes banality. Curious to hold within my hands something not phallic, but pure. New. Damp. A crown of blood and shit and mucus known and alien to me. General and inane and predictable to you. I will call her Laura. Fuck you.
Don’t be so impressed. Transparency is overrated. I am an expert sharer. I have been listened to by the best. I have made improvements. I am in recovery. I am recovered. Don’t you dare call me healthy. Do not tell me I look well. I look like fuck.
The biggest loss of giving up on my anorexia as the prevailing focus of my life – Know I say this in contrary obstinance to my graduation from addict to recovered. A truly laughable diagnosis almost as ill-placed as that of “sufferer” or “victim”. My eating disorder is an advocacy. It is the voice and shape of the only reality worth fighting for. I did my best to kill for it. I lost. A life’s work spoilt. I was a champion. I was the best at something so important, so very very important. I was a contender. I was lovely. Health wouldn’t dare hold me.
In the height of my addiction — I stood proud at the check-out line of life, in the elevator, on the subway platform and at the bar like a Venus of fantastical thinness. I was who the world feared. I was the living dead. I had won the game. I was better than you ever could be. I was pain actualized, unabashed ego, unignorable, invisible. You: green. Me: golden.
Now the marginalization of normality is thick and hot. I am average. I am reading websites about nappies and swaddles, punchy colored crotch fastened unitards. The contents, the lay out colors so soothing, even I am soothed. (It is not music, my love. No, the soma of ethereal retail is all this junkie needs.) I have the new experience of lower back pain and what it is to have one’s thighs touch. Bike shorts — I own child and adult diapers and bike shorts. These are and were pragmatic wardrobe additions. Fashion is segregated to the same internet that teaches me to manage my hemorrhoids and use a ring sling. Amongst my post-recovery skill set is an expertise in wearing tunics that cover my ass. (Something that too is new and quizzical: an ass. People have many opinions about asses. Mine is novelty. I am told about it occasionally. I try not to think on it, unless it hurts. It does this often.) I wear a bra. I feel hungry.
It is terminal I am sure, but I do so hate the hunger. I hate it because it is not mine and cannot be repressed nor overridden. It is the hunger of the Gods. Eating aides the inevitable — what if I menstruate? What if someone’s name I do not know who into’s bowels I escape offers me a burden and BAM — here comes Madame Pedestrians Speciality? A fall, a ticket. A family. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE offer me a future. Better yet: call me Baby.
As a compassionate partner you like to “relate” to my feelings. I don’t know why. Just like every friend, lover, either parent, therapist — it tickles you, the support you have the pleasure to offer. A generosity indeed. Sometimes I fancy you relate. What is more terrible? The support or the understanding? I want no one to ever like the music I like (sorry Yeezy) and I wish I was the only woman in history to have an eating disorder. I want an identity that is mine alone.
Wife. Daughter. Boss. Friend. Writer. Author. Pet owner. Fuck that. I prefer: Viper. Monster. Bitch. Discomfort. Sad girl. Anger. Nightmare. Model.
Again, my me-ness is a meanness – here she comes a thing, a person most magnetic then I have ever been, eating and sullying all over my canvas. I can’t put her down. I can’t move on. I cannot recover or shrink or drop her. I want to. I never would. I am in love. I am repulsed.
Today is not the first day. I am sticking with this. I am a bit absentee. I continue to show up. I am a failure. Invisible Mother. I am only getting over. I am swimming.
Call me a liar. Call me human. Call me survivor. Use words like trauma and phrases like beyond hope. Instead I say: It is Saturday. My name is Tracy. I am an anorexic. I am in recovery. I am a witness. I am not dead.
Tracy Michele Bullock is a Business Consultant and Coach – her company Simplicity do your dream services and supports Female Entrepreneurs and Professionals. Tracy is a lot of fun. She likes yoga, cats, crafts, horror movies, taxidermy, and hip hop. She thanks your reading and invites you to contact her with personal and professional inquiries – she promises to brush off the personal ones and respond ASAP to anything sparking of professional interest. Tracy Michele is nothing if not transparent. That is a thing you learn from living.
Photography: Self-portrait by Philomena Famulok via Avante.Arte.