I’m still grieving over saying goodbye to my clothes that have been old and trusted friends for many years.
I’ve folded up and stroked the garments I’m too afraid will be tight, or worse, impossible to get in to. I’ve buried my face in their familiar smell and cradled them close like you would a much loved child. And then I’ve sent them away, like evacuees, to sit in a dark corner of my wardrobe at home until they can return or settle in new surroundings.
But you’ve heard all this before. And, although it’s a conversation I have in my head on a permanent loop, I won’t inflict a recap on you.
I’ve moved on, I think. A little, anyway. I’m feeling for a fresh form of disguise that can contain all the shame at allowing the body to grow larger – to take up more space in the world.
It’s only a medium-term solution, because I have no concept of a long-term future. In fact, claiming it’s a medium-term solution may be an overreach. But it’s more than just wearing the largest jumper I can find. And I’ll take that for now.
Item eleventy billion on the list of reasons why anorexia is a bitch is that weight goes back on unevenly so, right now, I look like I’m five months pregnant.
I know there’s some sciencey bit about protecting the vital organs, the core of the body. But, frankly, I’m not interested in understanding: experiencing is more than enough to cope with.
I feel conspicuous. I feel everyone’s eyes are drawn to my bloated stomach. I feel alien. I feel out of place in this palace of more visible bones and suffering.
And then there’s the water retention. No one talks about that; how your confused body doesn’t know what the hell is going on, and you end up with legs the size of tree trunks and slippers as your only choice of footwear.
How do you dress a misshapen blob, a caricature of a person? How do you pass for normal when you’re not?
My answer comes in experimentation. In piles of parcels containing different styles of clothing in a range of sizes. My answer relies on dredging up the courage to try on clothes without looking at the labels, and trying not to cry as a stranger looks back at me from the mirror. My answer is to clutch at the last little sparks of strength to start to create a new persona.
The hospice charity shop will do well out of my pain. And, right now, I’m not running from the emotions, which has to be a start.