Not a Singular Sensation


It is a sensation and feeling I know all too well.

When I was a kid, and it was time for dinner, I would run in from the outside, wash my hands, and eagerly wait for my mother to serve me. We couldn’t eat until she was in her seat, and my father gave the okay to literally dig in. I was so hungry from playing outside, and this was after multiple snacks after school.

My parents did not control our portions as there was never a weight issue in my house. My mother insisted we drink three glasses of milk a day, one with each meal. Seconds were allowed, and by two hours later, I was hungry for a snack or a bowl of ice cream. My parents were slight French people and they never thought twice about size, portions, or frequency.

My mother made a proper meal each night, which including some sort of meat, a starch, a couple fresh vegetables. My father was not into casseroles, or anything much more than meat and potatoes, so that was the standard fare. My mom didn’t have a formal dessert,  but there was always something delicious for after dinner.

I might even make an English muffin with peanut butter before going to bed. That is when being hungry was fun, and food was my friend.

When I had my own daughter, I was very conscientious about our family’s eating, and what we put into our bodies. Organics were the latest and greatest so of course we only ate organic produce, and free-range organic meats. Dinner time was joyous, as we all sat down, for the first time of the day as a family. My ex-wife was busy climbing the corporate ladder and some nights we ate without her. My daughter, Bella, was a “foodie” and loved to eat. It brought me so much joy watching her eat and always wanting more. Having my genes food was not an issue except for my ex-wife. Unfortunately. she didn’t have our genes and it was the first time I witnessed any sort of restriction placed upon eating. We never spoke about it, but I don’t glean meal time was a fun and easy-going time for her.

From preparing my family’s dinner, and readying Bella’s breakfast, lunch and snacks, food remained my friend and I had no problem with any restriction of my own.

Then I got divorced, or I should say divorce happened to me. I was in a situation I couldn’t not control, and once I was through it I made the decision to come out of retirement and go back to school for my Ph.D.

It was an incredible time of rapture, exhilaration, and my abilty to control everything in my life. I was rigid about everything to do with my coursework. I set my goals high: a solid 4.0 GPA in all my courses, and induction into the most prestigious honor society in the country when I had enough credits. I was a perfectionist’s perfectionist.  I slowly and without any recall as to why, I began to cut back on my food, because I could. I also began excessively exercising. I have deconstructed my brain a million times, and I still have no idea why I began the urge to restrict food.

I restricted without pain, and honestly I had a high and euphoria like I never experienced before in my life. The high was so great, any pangs of starvation were erased.

Eating was now something I wasn’t interested in, and I loved watching the scale go down. I didn’t have a pound to lose so this weight loss was noticeable from the start. I lost the desire to eat, as I perfected school and my insidious anorexia. Gone were the times when food made me happy, and long gone was my appetite I had carried with me for my entire life.

The perfection with my coursework continued, but I was starting to feel the affects of the starvation. I lost 20 pounds really easily and quickly, and the scale continued to plummet. I began to feel hungry, no starved, even ravenous. I fought with my sick and twisted mind not to concede. I was a perfect anorexia, and nothing was going to get in my way. I began to hate food, and eating, and meal times. Somethings that had brought me such joy in my childhood, and as a stay at home mother. I detested the thought of an impending meal, and now food was not my friend and didn’t make me happy.

I learned quickly what it felt like to be hungry by my own self-induced starvation. I was disappearing right before my eyes, and it never occurred to me to stop this sick and twisted game. I got myself into a life-threatening situation, bottomed out from 130 pounds to 69 pounds. Not very smart for a smart person.

Today, after an arduous climb back to 100 pounds, I remain mixed about food. I miss the carefree abandon I once had, and I long for the day where I just dive into a plate of food.

Food. Hungry. Happiness. It is so twisted for me now I don’t really know where I will end up. But I will never forget all the years that food brought me joy, and happiness with family and friends..