Mam was cleaning in the kitchen, her strong, brown hands scrubbing vigorously at the stains upon the smooth paneled cupboards. I approached tentatively, my hands curling awkwardly at my sides, feet dragging reluctantly upon the tiles. my hope, flickering like a weak candle flame in a draughty, cold church.Seeing me, she stopped, glancing at me enquiringly. "What's the matter, Em?" she said.
Get to the point.
"I was wondering mam," i began, my voice barely above a whisper. "I wrote myself a new meal plan amounting to about 3500-4000 cals. I was wondering if...if you could look at it for me..?" My voice trailed off at the end; I had lowered my gaze to the floor as I spoke. But at the final few words I snapped my head up again. I had to see and witness the expression on her face.
Something flickered across her eyes like the shadow of a bat flitting across the bright surface of the moon. I searched those beloved, dark green eyes desperately, with the fitful, desperate hope of the last survivor clinging to the wave-washed rocks.
"Ok, Em," she said, reluctantly, wearily. My heart felt like it had been cleft in two by a butcher's cleaver. I quickly turned away from her, my own eyes filling with a rush of salty tears. Pathetic, I know: but I had so badly, so intensely longer to hear, to see, that ready willingness to help me, which she had so readily exhibited in a former time, a former place. That being, of course, in the days of my hospital admission; when everything had been so centred on little Emmy's recovery.
But things, this time, are very, very different.
As I turned and went back up the stairs, painful, fleeting images began to dance across my mind's eye. Images of that bitter, bitter time: but embedded in the thick soil of that bitterness there lay a sweetness which now I longed for more than anything in the whole wide world.
That being the open support, and encouragement, of my parents, who at the time had constantly and consistently advocated every single aspect of my recovery. Mam had sat with me through my most difficult meals and had held my hand everytime I would break down in tears over my bloated, distended stomach. Daddy would often ask me as to how I was coping with the meal plan, and offer gentle words of encouragement whenever we sat together and ate our spreaded scones together at half past 4. They were constantly checking in on me, asking me how I was doing. Every little goal I met, every single step of progress I took: each and every one of them, they would acknowledge with a hug or a smile,
But now all of that is gone.
Now...things are different. Mam and Dad aren't involved anymore. Now it is just me. Me, and a flimsy piece of paper upon which is inscirbed the meal plan that I wrote up for myself. Me and my broken spirit and my cracked heart.
And I know - I know, with every piece of soul - that I am the one who is to blame.
Because I know that they are beginning to give up. All those countless tears and countless promises, that this time, it will be different, Mam. I wont slip up again, I promise. All those countless ruined meals and failed attemots at "true" recovery. Is it any wonder that they have given up on this? Is it any wonder that - whenever I ask for thier direct support - they appear detached, disinterested, distant? Is it any wonder that they think, here we go, again. Emmy says she's going to recover.
I know that Mam and Dad think that this place at which I am now at - this semi-recovered state at which the sufferer is not "severely", dangerously sick, but yet, still sick -is the furthest I am ever going to reach in my recovery. I know this. I see it in their eyes and in their faces. I read it in Mam's face when I asked her that question after breakfast today. I hear it in Daddy's voice when he tells me, in the weary, resigned voice of the defeated soldier, to stop picking at my food and start eating like a "normal person". I sense it in that uncomfortable, loud silence that fills the space between us every time I try to express how much I am trying, or to make them aware of the battle I am continuing to fight, every hour of every day.
Mam and Dad have laid down their weapons.
They think the battle is over; won, by ED.
But this is where I have to prove them wrong.
This is where I have to show them that the Emmy they knew and loved was not destroyed, forever.
I have to prove to them that their little girl is not lost. Well no; let me rephrase that sentence. That their daughter is not lost. Because the truth is I am no longer a little girl. I am a young woman with an eating disorder, who still has, in some ways, the body of a girl. A young woman who has decided to take this fight into her own hands. Because she realises that she no longer can depend on her parents to manage her recovery for her. It's her who has to do the doing. It's her who has to be the strong one, now. For all the love that I bear for them, and always, always will. For all that they ever did for me, and continue to, every day.
Because no girl has known as much love as I have had, growing up here in the sweet leafy surroundings of my beautiful childhood home. And I know that my parents care about me. And that nothing in the world will make them happier..if I choose to recover.
And so I fight on. I look at my meal plan and feel a tiny surge of pride as I think to myself, well done, Emmy. Because I am sticking to it. I am doing it. I am getting stronger by the day. This second relapse has proven to me I am my own source of my greatest ever strength. I am doing it alone but I know that I am not alone. I know there are people in this world rooting for me. Willing me to move on; and leave that sick, frightened, thin little girl behind.