Monday, August 13, 2007

Fine From The Outside

When I lived in Texas, I used to run about three miles a day, even in the stifling crazy heat, used to run by a woman's university (Better dead than coed! read the signs when the state tried to force them to accept men) and an eating disorder clinic, ran past a KFC and my ex-boyfriend's house. I'd always pause when I got to the eating disorder clinic because sometimes they'd do nature therapy (which consisted of them sitting outside and talking about their feelings instead of sitting inside and, umm, talking about their feelings), and I wanted to see how I measured up, if I was skinnier or fatter than the girls who had been sent away for help. A lot of the girls looked really sick, but many of them didn't -- the bulimics seemed fine from the outside, but if you looked at their knuckles, you could see the tell-tale scrape as the finger caught at the teeth before going down the throat. Although the more sophisticated ones used toothbrushes to make themselves vomit to avoid scarring -- the irony being that their stomach acid would eventually rot their teeth. The hardcore anorexics had a hunted, haunted quality about them, purplish skin, emaciated frames; some had small feeding tubes inserted in their stomachs through their belly buttons, the first mouth for us all. For all the days that I ran by the clinic, my temptation to rubberneck never subsided. The treatment was hugely expensive, and I was fascinated by people far gone enough to require it.

I stopped running outside eventually, moved away, got another route. Despite all the propaganda about the joy of running, I never felt it. It remained a dismal way of keeping down my weight, of making sure that I didn't let myself change. Never got that endorphin rush, never felt that my mind was clearer or my ideas better afterward. But I did stop looking at everyone else after a time, did stop caring if I measured up to the fitness standards of the hospitalized. The clinic, as I remember it now, looked generic and lovely. It could have been anything -- a school or church -- from a distance. It could have been a place anyone could afford to go.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"You know, it's not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself." James Baldwin

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: That Which Divides Chant

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!


Charles Gramlich said...

Such trauma over eating, in a world where most have plenty. People are strange, very strange indeed.

paul said...


eric1313 said...

All I every felt after running long distances was my lungs filling up with that lovely asthmatic sticky feeling--you never forget the times that you can't breathe, times you had to choke just to breathe; a lot more than running.

Very poigniant today and I would have liked to have read more. That's the way to do it, m. Stay cool if you can.
peace out

the walking man said...

Awww hell no I haven't run or even walked faster than necessary since boot camp in '72.

Don't like the tonnage? Offload some by averting your eyes, don't like the tone, adjust the knobs.

Can't eat because you look like a rhino when you really are a your eyes girls a wee bit of a difference between 5 lbs over and 50 lbs underweight.

"But I did stop looking at everyone else after a time, did stop caring if I measured up to the fitness standards..." At first we see, then we learn and, then there comes wisdom.