I'm not well. Really? Tell me something I don't know. Seriously, I'm in one of those moods... Capital C-O-N-T-R-O-L.
It spells trouble.
Revisiting old territory is so tedious, don't you think? Like finding yourself back in some town you'd promised yourself you would never set foot in again. But I was born this way Baby... anorexic episodes and all and despite several years of strong recovery under my belt, that demon can still rear its ugly head. (Ironically, I'm also a recovering compulsive over eater... the two extremes used to keep me in the most unhealthy but life saving balance.)
Now, before we go any further. Please promise me you won't feel bad, and you won't worry about me. There's no need. The thing is I don't mind having this - this kink - in my DNA. God makes no mistakes. Afterall it's been fertile creative ground ever since my first one woman show "There's Something in the Fridge that Wants to Kill Me!"
Do we have a deal? Then read on.
I know what's caused Control to take over: it was failing that exam. It ambushed be on Thursday afternoon. I was too full of anger, self-pity and frustration to notice it creeping up on me. What happened exactly? Chronologically: I failed the exam, ran some errands, didn't have lunch till 3 o'clock, over compensated with a HUGE bowl of pasta (more like two huge bowls of pasta actually), felt a bit stuffed afterwards, checked in the mirror that my stomach wasn't protruding too much to go to Zumba (it wasn't, well not if I sucked it in), went to Zumba, felt really unwell during Zumba like I was gestating a baby giraffe, skipped dinner, skipped breakfast the next day, went to another Zumba class, rushed around, had a smallish lunch... et Voila! before I knew it I was in the clutches of Control.
You have to understand, this is so unlike me: I like to eat! The more I eat, the more I want to eat. I can out-eat most people I know, and probably most people I don't know. I can carry on eating even on those rare occasions were I feel full. I find it incredibly hard to go without food. I don't understand people who claim they can forget to eat ... Normally, if it's past my mealtime, my entire being goes into spasms of panic and desperately tries to communicate in the most convincing and innovative ways that I am about to pass out, go into a coma and die of inanition. It will allow nothing or no-one to stand between me and my food. Beware small babies in prams and trespassers! I will show no mercy...
No amount of reasoning - or therapy will convince me otherwise. When-in-doubt-eat is my defacto mode, although, these days I can recognise the signs and activate my support system. Occasionally though, something unexpected (it can good or bad - I'm not picky) will occur to distract me long enough from my eating schedule. Once my being goes into fasting mode, something else takes over. Another version of me: tough, strong, indestructible. She feels no pain. She never fails. She excels. She used to be my best friend before I knew better. Under her influence, food becomes a bad thing. Food becomes the enemy.
But the craziness around the food is just a footnote, a symptom of the seismic shift that takes place in my head. In recovery, I can spot the change from miles away, even if it doesn't make it easier to reverse or avoid. But hey, at least I know what's going on. I watch it, powerless, like a movie audience watching the psycho killer creeping up on his victim: He's right behind you!
Under her influence, I become incredibly controlling of my environment, and everything has to be N-E-A-T. Because, as everybody knows, Neat is the next best thing after Skinny.
Let's talk about Skinny. Shall we? I've regressed to finding skinny alluring all over again. I find myself lusting after the skinny thighs of strangers on the street, the models at Paris Fashion Week and Lady Gaga's perfect behind in her latest video for Born This Way .
This is a slippery slope and I'd better watch out... But there is one saving grace. Let me tell you a secret: when Control takes over, my creativity suffers. And no matter how loud the call of the Skinny, the call of Creativity is always louder. Thank goodness Control makes me stiff when I dance and turns me into a terrible actor. I am so grateful for this emergency exit, this panic button, the very existence of this path back to normalcy, to the celebration of Life in all its glory including both the glamourous and the scuzzy bits!
I always know where to find that magic door, it's up and to the right, next to the golden laughing Buddha with his huge belly. All I have to do is push the door open, hum a bit of Lady Gaga for courage and inspiration, and step on through.
Just love yourself and you're set...
I'm on the right track Baby, I was born to be brave...