There's not much to be said for my experience at university. From the very beginning, Trinity became a place in which I felt like a tiny, non-descript, little white pebble; a pebble lying upon a beach of shining, glistening gemstones. Those gemstones never lose their sparkle: they are remarkable, flawless, perfect in every way. And then there is me, the dull, insignificant, pale little rock; not wanting to be noticed while simultaneously yearning for someone to see its pain.When the sea rolls in, the gemstones keep their ground; the pebble, on the other hand, is torn away and dashed haplessly against the rocks.
Tossing and turning, I try to make sense of my situation. Well, I am alive. I know that much. Though it's true to say tht life with an eating disorder is really just like...living beneath a cold, oh, so ice-cold sea. Because noone can see your pain; in here. Hidden beneath those swirling waters, its easy for people to forget that you are still there.
Deep in the water, your emotions become numbed. Hard to see, hard to feel, hard to breathe.
Four more months. That's how long I have left at Trinity. Every day I pray my silent little prayer. Dear God, please, just let me pass. To me these final few months will be like traversing a cliff face of black rocks; black rocks with cruel, tooth like, razor sharp edges. So much rests, it seems, on me getting through them successfully; of reaching that shining, golden prize lying in wait at the other side. That being? A degree. A piece of paper that will certify that I am a Trinity graduate. But what if I don't make it through? What happens if this - the final, final term of the four year degree which has caused me such endless heartbreak and unhappiness - is destined to be the one in which I will trip, and fall?
A failure to me, as I see it, wil destroy me. It will tear my heart and rip me into pieces; break me, as a body is broken when it falls upon those sharp, pitiless rocks.
And then there is this sea. So cold, so deep, so desolate. And those gemstones twinkle all around me, so near, but yet, so impossible distant from me. They are proper Trinity students, a Voice in my head mocks. and you will never be one of them.
You are going to fail and then that will be the end..of everything.
I have to try..try to get out of here.
But what...what is the more important thing..?
To get out of this sea? The sea of my eating disorder?
Or to sacrifice everything in order to traverse those rocks..?
Because that what I have been doing essentially, for the past four, five years I have been in Trinity. Letting recovery fall by the wayside; prioritising college, college work, over everything - including gaining or maintaining an acceptable weight; and all the various other aspects of my recovery effort. The reasons for me doing so are both manifold and complex. But the primary one is that which I know all to well that to dedicate myself 100% to recovery would mean that my college work would inevitably suffer.
This being, of course, because of my fear of the effects of a true recovery effort upon my work ability, my concentration. I will give you an example. Today I awoke and thought that as part of my morning intake I would make myself a cheese and mushroom omelette. The image swelled in front of my eyes, tantalising, tempting. But then, I shook my head, pushing it away. Because I knew what would happen if I did dare to do such a thing: my anxiety would shoot through the roof; I would dwell upon it for the whole entire morning, the Voice would explode through my head, labelling me with no end of obscenities.
And thus rendering any atempt of concentration literally impossible.
But can I afford to really..well, postpone a true recovery effort, now...?
Can I afford to wait for another few months ?
But I am scared and so afraid. The chasms between the rocks loom below me, dark and threatening, insidiously menacing. If I were to fall into them, so much would be lost, it seems. The degree. Thousands upon thousands of wasted college fees. The pride and delight of my parents and family. That security of being the girl who passed. No. If I fall onto the rocks now, I will be forever branded as the girl who tried, and failed.
I only have one body, right?
Can I afford...can I afford to put it at risk? Sure, four months is four months, but I mean...
How do I know how damaged it is right now?
And so the battle rages on between the rocks and the sea.
Put college first Emmy. It's only for a few months, like. And then you can recover, if you want. But I know you don't really want to. I know you want to remain with me.
No. I want to...I want to recover. Right here, right now. I can't go on like this. I need to regain the weight; yes, the final few kilo, and beyond...!
No, you selfish b****! How dare you? How COULD you?! You're willing to sacrifice all the money your family threw at your degree, all because you just want to leave the skinny girl behind? That's what you want, is it? You REALLY want to stop being the just-a-bit-too-thin girl? You want to end this, right here? I will not let you, Em. We're in this together, you and me. Emmy and ED, hidden beneath the sea, stuck together forever, like a limpet attached to a pebble wedged in the sand.
If only I - that pebble - had the courage to wrench that limpet from my back. But I am desperate, so, so desperate, to cross those rearing rocks. And as the days flicker past me, that burning question rages across every passage of my mind. What do I do here. Please, someone tell me what to do.
To emerge from the ice cold sea..
Or to dedicate, for that time that is left...
everything I have into scaling those terrible, terrible rocks which I know, if I fall upon them now,
will tear me apart like thorns ripping through paper.