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Why I ‘Choose to Eat’ as a Person Recovering From an Eating Disorder


Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

I can intellectualize my body’s need for food — its inability to go on without nourishment — but I don’t like to admit it.

I didn’t want to be reminded of my humanness — my “weakness” and fragility. So, I manipulated it. I used food to prove that my life was in my hands. I could choose to sustain it or to starve it away. And so, I chose to waste. Waste my resources, my body, my relationships. Deprived them all and watched them dwindle. I learned that starvation takes away all ability — steals my capacity to move, think, sleep, love. And I can’t starve my body without starving my soul. I starve and I quickly whittle away my logic, my passion, my desire.

I believe I am mighty — that I don’t need the things all others need. I am the exception in a scenario of no exceptions. I believe I am not an eater, a feeler, a bearer of life until I don’t want to be the exception anymore. I want to need food to live, but I don’t want to live. And then, I am reintroduced to life, and curiosity and pain. To humanity, to weakness and to strength. To the overwhelming world of eaters.

My brain still battles my body. Occasionally, I am reminded I somehow came to sustain my life again, and I feel simultaneous joy and suffering. Relief and fear. My heart heals, my hair grows, my body offers to house another. I am alive because I am an eater — or I am an eater because I am alive. Perhaps the choice is not about eating or not eating, but about living or not living. Embracing life or rejecting it. Hiding in a basement, all sources of light blocked out by opaque bags installed, but failing to keep the bugs off of my skin, or stepping out onto a lawn of weeds and blooms to feel the sun warm my face. I eat for that warmth. I eat to experience the sunrise reflected on the mountains outside my window. I eat to stand at the tops of those mountains and rest peacefully in my bed afterward.

I eat to embrace my mother and connect with my father. I eat to laugh with my brother. I eat to accept that I am imperfect and to acknowledge the beauty of that. I eat to enjoy a moment. I eat to solve a puzzle, read a book, write a poem. I eat to be curious, eat to learn, eat to inquire and eat to desire. I eat to believe, I eat to breathe, I eat to live.

I eat because I am an eater. I eat because I am a soul, and I have come to learn I cannot be a soul without a body. I eat because I want to learn to celebrate my existence. I eat because it doesn’t matter who I was yesterday, and I want to discover who I will be tomorrow. I eat because sometimes, some days, some moments, I hunger for life. I eat to give that hunger space to grow until it is satisfied. Space to reappear and be satisfied once again. And again. And again. I eat to say I am OK with this hunger. I eat to say I am OK.

Photo by Luis Reynoso on Unsplash