Sometimes it’ s too hard to describe a hurtOne Monday night I was supposed to be at rehearsals for the Salon orchestra, but for some reason it had been called off. I saw this as a nice opportunity to visit James but was sadly mistaken. I walked in his back door as normal, but only to discover Mim and him cuddling on his lounge. The looks on their faces was only guilt, and I ran right out of there. I felt sick in the stomach with hurt and shame. Mum tried her best to comfort me and I really appreciated that.
The story I was told from them was that Mim was extremely upset about Steve and some of the things he had said. She claimed that James was the only person she felt comfortable talking to about it and at the time I walked in on them he was only hugging her to comfort her. There was obvious doubt in my head regarding this story and James and I ended up breaking up. He could not understand why I perceived this the way I did, and why it hurt. To begin with I did not even realize Mim and James were such good friends. I wondered how they could develop such a close friendship if they never previously spent time alone together.
After this the next few days were rather uncomfortable. Initially I didn’t want to talk with Mim. I felt literally sick and had also lost my appetite. Great opportunity to lose weight! It was tempting to stop eating all together to see how much the really cared and to make them feel responsible. I couldn’t do it though, mainly because I didn’t want to become weak in a situation like this, surprisingly I had more belief in myself. However, eating did become more of an effort, and so did actually keeping the food down.
I became anxious when it came to eating meals. To eat when I wanted was fine but to eat when others wanted was not. One night mum cooked dinner for us all and invited Mim and James over as well. As the time got closer to eating this meal I felt more nervous and afraid. I visualised the food on the plate and knew that it would end up inside me and I hated this thought. I told Mim about how I felt and she said she’d understand if I didn’t eat it all, but told me I was being stupid.
I felt as though I was stuck in a rut. All things were happening at once. I wasn’t dealing with eating, I just broke up with my boyfriend, then at my horror James was going to move in with Mim. He was being evicted from his flat, and Mim needed a new house mate, so how convenient was this situation. Had I even had protested it would not have made a difference. They did their best to convince me it was a good idea and went on to say it had nothing to do with what happened the week before. The way they both went on about it and denied everything continuously only reinforced my suspicions. It wasn’t that I was being selfish and tried stopping their feelings for each other it was more the factor of timing and betrayal.
I was at a loss for what to believe, and at a loss as to where I fitted in. At home I was restless, frustrated and bored. I felt less than comfortable going to Mim’s because she either appeared annoyed at me or Jason had some reason to be mad at me and really let me know it.
I went through what I called a “wobbly patch” for a few days. It became more of a duty than a want to eat. To eat one toast in the morning was a struggle. Anything that passed my lips was a constant contention. I felt fat thinking about food and wanted to throw it all in the bin. I ate for appearance sake and to please the others. I couldn’t let anyone know I was slipping back, although Mim liked to have a go at me. After a meal one night she made the comment “this is good food, I don’t want to see it down the toilet”. The only way I could describe the way I felt was a fool. It was like when I was younger and people thought they could make funny comments to me because they assumed I would laugh them off. James seemed take pleasure in making a fool out of me. Once he Mim and I were walking home from the markets and he thought it may be fun to pick me up by surprise then throw me on the ground and drag me by my feet. There was no way to resist his strength so I just had to put up with it. He and Mim laughed about it but by no means did I think it was funny.
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In November I had lined up to complete one week of work experience at Featherdale Wildlife Park near Sydney. I stayed with Charles and Lana for this time and had the most relaxing time since a long time. Eating wasn’t even really an issue for the time I was there. A lot of it had to do with the fact I was performing a lot of physical work through out the whole day and I was actually very hungry by the time I got home in the afternoons. It was also because I was distant from the pressures at home. It wasn’t a duty to eat and have eyes watching me. I actually wanted to eat and looked forwards to it. A few times I had to stop myself from over eating (eating dessert), but I felt so free in a different environment. The work experience itself was fun and valuable. There was a lot of hands on experience when it came to feeding the animals or doing the rounds of the park which made the time there so worthwhile.
Being at Charles and Lana’s was also so much fun. I sensed freedom and welcomed it. To join in with the family was inviting. They had four children now, Todd 7, Mike 5, Paul 3, Michelle 1. The kids enjoyed spending time with me and I did my best to make the time enjoyable. We played cricket and handball, sega games and watched videos. Lana and I spent a couple of nights watching “girlie” videos. To leave there was a disappointment because I didn’t want to return to what I had left. I was actually happy and felt okay about eating. Lana actually commented before I left that she would miss me heaps because I really livened up the place.
Sadly I entered my fears when I returned. Mim and James became an official couple during my week away. Some others told me though that they were only using my absence as an opportunity to say they got together then, but had actually been together for quite some time. Admittedly it hurt but it was by no means a shock. I got on with things and pushed this issue aside. I spent a lot of time at jess’s to talk about how I felt about it and it was good to get those feelings out.
I also kept busy at the preschool at this time especially as it was coming to close to the end of the year and they were preparing for their end of year concert. The children were becoming quite attached to me now and it felt special. I received quite a few presents from the children and also a present from the staff to thank me for all the help I had contributed over the last half of the year. I knew I would miss the preschool over the holidays because it taught me many things and helped me to remain focussed on other matters.
At this time mum had to go into hospital for a serious illness she had. She had a lot of fluid in her stomach, which needed to be drained out. It was causing her not to eat,
and she was just not healthy. I was staying on my own at home while mum was in hospital and it got extremely lonely. I didn’t like going to bed early because I think I was afraid of being alone so I did all sorts of weird stuff including vacuuming the carpets at 1am in the morning. Mim tried looking after me inviting me over for dinner or coming over to the house to have dinner but I wasn’t bothered to eat. I had an extremely minimal diet and it was a relief. Sometimes I rubbed it in telling Mim how little I was eating to see what response I would get.
How do you ever know if the choice you made is the right one. Where will it lead you?Only two days before mum went into hospital Lana rang with an extremely thoughtful question for me. She asked me to consider moving to the mountains to live with them. What she had intended to do was study part time the following year and she contemplated having me as like a live in nanny. The possibility was very appealing. I had nothing much to keep me at home and the fact was that I was comfortable being there just previously. It was not like when we lived there before where they were like our parents. No, this time I was an adult and respected and treated more like one. Also, they knew about the disorder so that is also probably why the food issue was not pushed. Mim was less than happy about the idea and that did sadden me. Mum and I hardly had any opportunity to discuss it before she went into hospital so it was like a hush hush topic until she came out.