You ask me why I eat in secret.
I wish you couldn’t see me eat. I wonder how much you think about what I eat. I decide what I will eat next to make it look like I am not eating too much. I wait until it is noisy enough in the room so that you may not notice how much I am eating when I grab more food.
I sit there acting like nothing is wrong because I don’t want you to notice I am screaming inside. I don’t want you to know how embarrassing this is for me.
You ask why I can’t have more self-control. I tell you, it is because I used to have all the control in the world.
You ask me why I take food out of the trash. I tell you, it is because I used to spit my food into it.
You ask me why you find food wrappers, empty cans of vegetables in strange places around the house. I tell you, it is because I pushed food away for so long–and now there is a shaking, anxious girl inside of me that is terrified she will never have enough.
You ask me how I could have an eating disorder when I’m not skin and bones. I have no response for you because my voice is trapped in the bottom of my stomach—the stomach that screams to be filled, to be emptied, to be punished. I have no words because how can I explain that what goes on inside speaks louder than what I reveal on the outside? I want to stop, but my body rebels.
What can I call this obsession, this war with food?
I wish I could have the guts to show you the monster within when I eat by myself. I wish I could make you feel the deep hunger when I restrict, make you understand how the gluttony consumes me. I wish I had the guts to show you the stashes of food I hide in my room, in my purse, in my desk drawers.
I don’t know how to explain why I isolate myself, why I hide in the bathroom, why I sneak off into a secluded room to eat. Embarrassment holds me back. I try to keep this hidden even though I don’t want to suffer in it alone.
This is why I do not want to eat to begin with. This is why I fear hunger.
You ask me why I eat in secret. I tell you, it is because I am ashamed to eat at all.