I was recently loaned a copy of Portia de Rossi's memoir, Unbearable Lightness, by a friend at work. I'd wanted to read the book since it had come out and I had seen Portia's heartbreaking interview on Ellen months and months ago. Needless to say, after awaiting it all this time I had it completed in 2 days. (It would have been one, but life got in the way).
These words made me literally stop in my tracks, and my heart skipped a beat. I have always had a strong inner battle with food and weight, maybe not to the extremes of Portia and the like but enough that I rarely ingest anything without a voice taunting me as to whether I've earned it, or deserved it."I cried at night because I couldn't feel my hip bones and not having them to physically hold onto was like losing a dear friend."
I have been up and down the scale since adolescence; asking my mother if it was "normal" to weigh 120 pounds in grade 8, wearing oversized sweaters and baggy pants to battle the influx of puberty and association of beauty with size. It wasn't until I shot up to my 5'10" state that I thinned out a touch, enough to confidently wear a shirt without a sweater over top, but that quickly changed upon finishing highschool and embarking to University: ultimate freedom, especially in terms of food. I cannot remember a time after the age of 10 that I did not consciously consider what was going into my body in one way or another. The constant guilt, the bargaining, the justification not only to myself but to others that 'this is ok, because I'll work out later.' Or, 'this is ok, because I just got an 80 on an exam.' Now, I have lost 23 (yes, exactly 23) pounds between my second year of University (a very very stressful year in which food became my safe haven between stress, drama, and life) and today. But the constant battle between weight, appearance, dressing, and simple life tasks is neverending. This is why this book spoke to me so closely and precicely; in my own way, I have been battling a type of eating disorder that is so mild, it really can't be cured or fixed. It is my way of life, and the darkness is always waiting around the corner. It may not be severe (to be honest, I've tried the purging route and simply do not have the fight or stamina to fully commit) but it truly does exist, and I haven't realized it in full until now."He doesn't wait until I'm awake. He comes into my unconscious to find me, to pull me out. He seizes my logical mind and disables it with fear. I awake already panic-stricken, afraid I won't answer the voice correctly, the loud, clear voice that reverberates in my head like an alarm that can't be turned off.
What did you eat last night?"
I wake up every single morning and feel my hip bones. Until recently, they've been hiding below a layer of fat, still able to be felt yet still covered, by fat that I measure based on my ability to wear just a t-shirt without a backup tank underneath, or a sweater over top. And every single morning they are there to greet me, like a dear friend.