I woke up feeling rested, refreshed and ready to embrace the day.
I cannot put into words how sensational it was to gently arise from a ten hour slumber, cocooned in fresh linen sheets, surrounded by gold guilt leaf embossed wallpaper and to know a blissful shower was on tap (see how that pun flowed?).
I completed a half hour or so of peaceful poses (yoga is just such a pleasure now) before heading down to take advantage of the complimentary breakfast on offer. I was visualing lots of fruit and vegetables amongst the standard morning snacks, so I was rather dismayed to find only a single bowl of sort-of soggy papaya.
Rather, dish after dish of Indian delicacies were on display. Khakra, roti, rice, thick creamy curries… I almost spun on my heel to take off to the fruit stall down the street for a mango. Then I stopped myself.
Yesterday all I ate upon reaching Delhi was mangoes. Three of them. One at 3pm, one at 5pm and one at 7pm. It was time to step out of the regimented, restricted palette. It was time to be in India.
The hotel was also the first opportunity to see myself in a full length mirror since home. Last night on getting out of the shower, I was shocked to see my shirtless self. I seriously looked like a little prisoner of war in my décolletage area. The hole between the juncture of my ribs under my (flat) boobs was a deep crevice. My chest looked like a rippling waterway. And my hips jutted out, sharp and angular. (Not anorexically so I’ll have you know, just heavily – ironic use of the word or what? – lean).
While my first feeling was sick satisfaction, I made myself detach and look through non-ED eyes. I was covered in bruises (bailing from advanced asanas took their toll). I had no shape, no femininity. I truly resembled a 6-year-old schoolboy (minus the penis; never fear, I haven’t sprouted one of those). I took a mental screenshot and banked the emotions swelling up; sadness, sorrow, determination to alter my thinking. I told myself to see the truth. I looked gross. I needed to put on a bit – just a bit – of weight to cushion the blades and bolster up the cavities.
So back to the breakfast banquet. I took a deep, deep breathe – inhale positivity, exhale negativity – and picked up a plate. I dithered at each dish, mentally working out ingredients and calorie calculations instinctively, until one piled plate caught my eye. It was idly, the steamed rice cakes Anil had convinced me to try last week. I timidly took a few, along with a serve of the sad papaya, and went and sat down.
It took awhile, a good twenty minutes. I distracted myself with aid of my diary. A few times I almost deserted. But I thought of my mum. I thought of my dad. I thought of my reflection. I thought of Anil.
I ate six.
Here I’d love to say I demolished with relish, developed a newfound love for carbohydrates and luxuriated in them again for lunch. Alas; not the case.
There was the panic, regret and urge to purge once I returned to my room. I stood in the bathroom and analysed my reflection.
You know that description “wild eyes”? Well mine were a visual definition of the term. My pupils were dilated, darting round, and my eyebrows were creased in tension. I stared and stared at myself and started laughing.
Probably a bit manically; I hope the couple next door couldn’t hear my crazed chortles. Here I was, on verge of a big breakdown, because of some food?
It was ridicuolous. I was ridicuolous. It was a few fucking steamed rice cakes, not a pepperoni pizza or eons of ice-cream. I flicked myself and inner ED the fingers, grabbed my backpack and went down to to wait for my tour guide.
I’m not going to suddenly be “cured”. I’m not going to come home and tuck into a sandwhich or chomp back some chicken. But maybe, just maybe, I could go for dinner at the local Indian restaurant with Deb and Hank, and indulge in some idly?
In the ladder of Eradicating Ed, I’m nowhere near the top. But these small, but astoundingly significant steps I’m taking have taken me a fair few rungs from the floor.