Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The slow death of an eating disorder (and the brimming life of much more)

I don't want to be the skinniest girl in the room anymore. 

Is that true? Maybe not 100%. But I can claim that I don't want to want to be the skinniest girl in the room anymore. I also, and this is important for me to admit, am not the skinniest girl in most rooms anymore. And one more thing, maybe the most important;

I'm not a girl. I'm a woman.

A few weeks ago I looked over at my night stand and was struck by the titles of the two books I was reading.
 "Appetites" by Caroline Knapp, and "Thirst" by Mary Oliver.  (incredible books)


Side by side, announcing a new era budding in my inner life. A declaration; "I am hungry! I am thirsty! I want more!" 

And I am, and I do! I could sing in unison with that snotty little girl in Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory "I want the world, I want the whole world!" 

What I won't do is continue with the rest of the song, and say "give it to me NOW". That is what being the skinniest girl in the room meant. "I don't care if what you see is a hollowed out shell, SEE ME NOW."

The world, the whole world, wouldn't be enough. Starving myself has kept me from grieving that. If I deny my need is great, it doesn't magically diminish. If I deny I need at all, it doesn't change the fact that I do. I need, I want, and the more I deny the hungrier I get, and the more willing I am to do ANYTHING in a moment of desperation to be filled. I will replace loving a person with shameless attention seeking. I will stand in someone else's way, I will take what isn't mine, I will beg for what is freely given, I will hoard what will rot, I will covet, and I will want you to covet me.

These days, I would rather say up front, I want all you will offer, and will do my best to let what you choose to give be enough. I will give you what I have free of charge. If I can, when I can, this is what I shoot for. I don't do it perfectly. Sometimes I miss it completely. I'm working on that. 

My appetite and thirst are great. All consuming, like fire really. And I want to burn in such a way that the heat and light bring warmth and life. I could burn very differently. I could burn it all down. Either way I burn. 

I don't quite have this all figured out. I know that demanding my needs get met, and asking for what I need are two very different things. I don't have all the nuances of my own ways of manipulating others into seeing me sorted out yet. A layer at a time gets peeled back. That's all I can take. It's painful. It's humbling. 

And I don't know about you but saying "It's not enough", while some days is freeing, other days just makes me angry. Why not?! Why can't it be enough, why can't I be filled? Why is THIS the plan? I think these questions matter, I think God cares deeply about them. But I'm not going to muddy the waters here, by trying to answer them. 

I do know, and have been comforted by these words, I have heard the heart of God whisper it to my heart, a promise, a call to lay down my anger and let my desire turn into hope. 

"I will be with the one I love
With unveiled face I'll see Him
There my soul will be satisfied
Soon, and very soon"