When I mention Anorexia, people often say, “That is when you are concerned about your weight, right?” I want to clarify this notion first. Weight is to Anorexia as a speedometer is to a car going really fast. Really, the weight and the speedometer are both just gauges. Neither weight nor the speedometer can improve the performance of the car or actually help you reach the goal but they can definitely tell you if you are getting close.
Anorexia started when I quit eating. It really is that simple. Anorexia quit killing me when I began eating. Anorexia set a new course for me when I ached most emotionally. Anorexia is a set of rules, a set of punishments and deprivations. These rules silently scream what the victim can’t say out loud~ ever. “I don’t deserve to be fed.” These rules are and remain very effective. They deeply, quietly, effectively punished the person I hated the most.
I hated me. I feared I deserved to be hated. I thought my mother offered the proof I needed and removed any doubt I desperately clung to. Mother told me she hated me nearly every day for years. I bet she did. No one offered instructions to this seven year old child. No books told me how to navigate the innocence robbing atrocities that happened in the dark of my well appointed country club home.
My hopeful heart was mutilated and the safest place on earth instantly became a silent, gut wrenching war zone at the moment one grown man became a cowardly thief of my innocence. I didn’t know how to act like nothing happened. I didn’t know how to brace myself for the next sneak attack, learn to sleep sitting up, applaud when a second perpetrator joined the childhood robbing parade down the hallway of “home”. I couldn’t act like nothing happened, study for school, hide in my closet hoping to never be found, act like nothing would happen again this time, hate me, hate them, hate life, and act like nothing happened. I think, intense stress in a child is like the carbonation in a can of soda. If you shake it violently, it will eventually explode.
I was a whirling tornado trying to be heard while I said nothing. I was destruction and entertainment desperately needing to be seen, hoping I would never be discovered. Mother often said that I was ruining her life. I think the louder I protested life’s injustices, the more she feared upsetting the first thief and golf pro. The pressure I imagine she must have felt to keep the peace must have been
enormous. Confrontations between us were frequent. They fought behind closed doors. She and I fought in the open. I was no match for her, she emphasized her disdain with a slap to the face. “I hate you!” she echoed out loud into the air as I silently sighed relief, we finally agreed. I hated me too.
At the young age of ten you gauge your value by the affection, love and devotion received by those who care for you. My mother served as my “speedometer” of worth. According to the gauge of my mother’s affection or my perceived lack of it, I was an epic failure, unlovable and somehow my living was ruining her life.
When my mother’s voice was no longer available to confirm and gauge my worthlessness, I picked up where she left off. When she wasn’t available any longer to yell, “I hate you and you are ruining my life…” I started! But I didn’t yell, at least I didn’t yell so anyone could hear me. I silently screamed my self-hatred and confirmed my secret worthlessness every time I refused to feed my enemy, me!
Anorexia gave that secret message of hatred wings. Anorexia could have rented a sky writer plane and wrote the message of worthlessness across the sky for all to read. And you can trust me; everyone would have known who that message was for. The message in the sky was elegantly scrolled in my imagination, “Disappear! You are ruining my life! I hate you!….die already!?”
Back then I was looking to my mother to reflect my worth back to me. I needed milk of “nurture” and found none. Since then I have found some other milks and other mothers that have nurtured my recovering body. I want to share a few of those recipes with you here. This recipe was given to me by the “Mama” Linda God gifted me. Like real nut milks and coconut milk deeply nourish your body, this woman deeply nurtured my wounded soul (my mind and emotions) until I could see that I was whole.
* * *
MAMA WEIGHS IN
To weigh: to measure, put in balance; to evaluate in one’s mind, consider carefully or judicially to reach an opinion or decision; to analyze, appraise, estimate, examine, ponder, reflect upon or think about.
But what if you had been robbed of this ability?
Is there a closer human relationship than that of an unborn infant in the mother’s womb? The power of that relationship is far reaching. A mother was designed to nurture-protect, feed her child, communicate to her child that she is loved, valued and seen as having great potential and purpose. If a mother herself has suffered emotional wounds to her own heart in her lifetime, sadly she may unsuccessfully supply the nurturing her child needs. God’s plan is always designed to provide a way of us surviving the wounds of life so He can fully restore what appears to have been lost. Our enemy constantly prowls about looking to take advantage of our wounded, vulnerable places. Wounds must be recognized in order for us to acknowledge they need to be healed and believe there is someone capable of binding up those wounds and mending the brokenhearted.
As I began my walk alongside my new, soon to become friend and eventual “daughter” my heart sensed there was much hidden behind this tall curly headed commanding woman. I believed the first day I saw her, God had given me an extremely important assignment which would become life-giving to us both.