Honesty is a quality that each and every one of us should strive for. Whether that be in relation to big decisions or confessing it was in fact you who stole the last cookie from the packet (damn, how I miss cookies.) However, I have found being truthful has been particularly hard in these last months as anorexia has dominated.
Let me explain…
This illness has given rise to a whole multitude of awkward situations that I could not have foreseen. I would guess it’s like when you’re pregnant and, not wanting to reveal it quite yet, meeting with friends and family becomes fraught with that underlying feeling of guilt as your secret remains just that – a secret. Despite the fact that likening myself to a pregnant woman is a rather inappropriate comparison, considering the fact that a) I am not pregnant and b) I am in fact plagued with something far more sinister, I think you get the point..
Now every encounter I have with someone who I happen not to have seen for a few months (be that relatives or long lost friends), evokes in me a deep anxiety. Questions of ‘will they notice?’ alongside ‘do I say something?’ dominate my conscience as I am all too aware that anorexia is a visible condition – no matter how big that jumper is – and that not saying anything at all is, in a sense, not being honest to whoever I happen to be with as well as myself.
I have to admit however that these conversations do indeed dampen the mood. Nothing like an explanation of ‘well I would bloody love a slice of cake right now but actually the thought of consuming unplanned calories would plunge me into a panic attack so I’ll turn that one down’ to throw someone off guard am I right?
So, I find that I revert to not being truly honest far too often. When I do meet with friends, I plan it around times I know I have to eat. Can’t see me after lunch but before dinner? Sorry then looks like I won’t be seeing you.
Honesty is also interesting to consider in relation to meeting new people. Due to the fact I am attempting to survive a summer burdened with cancelled holidays and a lack of friends (as they themselves are off galavanting around the globe), I have found myself reaching out to blind dates. Hey, no judgement please – at least it gets me out the house and adds a little excitement to the otherwise mundane existence I’m currently trapped in.
However, this poses a tough question. Do I tell them about anorexia? Do I hint at the fact that not all is as it should be? I mean, it’s not great first date conversation really is it…? Who knows how they would react? Then also comes the acknowledgement that perhaps they’ll take one look at me and realise I’m not exactly healthy, I have been looking at this same body every single day, day after day for months after all, so maybe I am dangerously accustomed to it – not being honest with myself on a deeper level in this case too.
I look forward to a time where I don’t have to consider how honest I plan to be. Honesty should not be something to plan or decide on and I truly cannot wait for anorexia to be a word talked of in relation to my past – not my present.
Yours sincerely, a flightless bird, still yearning for wings.