I don’t know how else to describe it at the moment. I can only look back on it now and see it in two different ways. One is that I was freeing myself unconsciously of the disease, eating because I was actually happy with the way my life was going. Two, is that I simply lost control.
Over the Christmas period up home I just ate and ate. A finger bun here or there didn’t seem to worry me because I had the thought in the back of my mind that once I go back to the mountains I could stop eating again. That was a safe thought for me, and a way to excuse myself for eating. I was enjoying eating!! And I was enjoying myself. Little Courtney and I had a few shopping trips by ourselves, and I felt so proud. I didn’t care how I looked because I knew she loved spending time with me any way. One day we went into town and as we walked along she sang out loud to herself. It’s funny how the innocence of children can just make you forget about the things you worry about sometimes.
Only a few weeks after getting back to the mountains, us three girls moved out. My plan of not eating had not started yet. I now used the excuse “I will stop eating next week, so it’s ok to eat that biscuit”, or something similar. I was losing it. Food was surrounding me, in a house that was my own. I had control over the fridge, and what was in it was everyone’s to share. The girls didn’t know about the eating disorder, so I didn’t have an expectation of not eating to live up to. Also, no one was forcing me to eat, so then I actually wanted to eat. And I did.
Moving into a new house, it was natural to have people over for dinner parties, which of course involved food. I still felt scared when confronted with a meal, and didn’t eat much of it, but it was more than what I’d ever done before. Grocery shopping even became a normal part of life for me, where I actually chose foods that I wanted to have.
Everything was just picture perfect in my life at this time. I had developed new friendships, independence, started going to a new church, work was great, and I had a car. It was mum’s little orange car, Hugo. I was too scared to drive on my own so I had lots of different people helping me out. It was such a strange feeling having control of this metal thing. I was so paranoid that other traffic couldn’t see me though, and they would just ignore me and smash into me. Eventually I gathered more and more confidence and was soon driving on my own. It was a whole new concept not having to rely on other people, but instead being so independent and going out on my own. I loved it.
With driving I became much lazier, then gradually I realised how much extra I was eating and decided to start exercising again. Walking was my first option, so nearly every morning I walked for almost 1 hour to catch the train for work. Sometimes I would get energetic and do the exercise shows in the morning on television, but I felt quite stupid actually, copying some person on the television. I never felt quite “worked-out” and like it did anything for me, so I gave that up pretty much as soon as I started it.
I had no scales, but I knew I was putting on weight. Sometimes it bothered me, and other times I just thought “oh well, I guess it’s time to move on”. Nobody commented either way about how I looked, until it was Mim and James’s wedding. One of mum’s old friends came to give Mim a gift at the house. The one comment that really struck me was “gee, you’re looking good, you’ve put on quite a bit of weight”. I could’ve slapped her, and Mim would have helped. All I wanted to do was cry and cry, and cut every bit of fat from my body. It was the most humiliating comment anyone could tell someone, especially someone you don’t even like. If I intentionally put the weight on I could have felt comfortable with her comment, but instead I was at a loss of words. My first reaction was to not even eat dinner, how could I let that person see me eat, knowing that each mouthful I swallowed would be yet more weight gain. Mim didn’t understand, and became upset with me, thinking I should just forget about it. I pretended I would be alright, but I knew that I had to lose it all.
Mim’s wedding was beautiful. After the comment I had though it was hard not to feel paranoid and fat in my dress. The one consolation I had though was that my boobs were still not big enough, and I needed to wear shoulder pads to make them appear bigger. That ended up quite funny, as I lost one under the table at the wedding reception. I knew that day too the focus was not on me, and often I had to remind myself of that.
The week I left home again was the week I reduced eating. I arrived back home to meet Melinda’s mum and step dad. We all went out together, and they shouted lunch for us. It was then or never, so I said no. All I wanted was the cup of tea I ordered. I stared at the food they all ordered and reminded myself how fat I was. I was about 50kgs I think, so not really fat at all. They kept trying to convince me to eat, becoming quite concerned, but I stuck to my goal. We went home, and her mum cooked dinner. I said no again. It was working, I was gaining control and slowly losing weight.