Fears. Abuse. Delusion. Sadness.
The devil inside of me has no fear of me. I allow it to live. Its a familiar monster. I know its face. I know how it moves. I know what it wants. I want it dead.
My devil as a name. Bulimia was its name first. It has become emotional eating or Binge Eating Disorder. I can't lie about it. Its a battle as any addiction. I wake up and ask myself how will I battle this devil today and it runs thought through my mind functioning like a bullet in a barrel.
I've lived with this disorder for 20 years. I'm still not "cured". This is work for me. This work has many battles to win before the war is over. Addressing past abuse, fears, and hurt is in progress. Feelings and emotions swarm around me as if to temped each new coping skill. That's that devil, Tricky Tricky devil. I fail at times. Sometimes I do win but this battle is tiresome. It relies on inner strength and hope. It uses my dreams of healing as a weapon against that dragon of deception. Its been a long battle.
Being a Black woman with a eating disorder comes with its own baggage. Its hard for me just to be alone in my own issue. Black women have believed wholeheartedly that Eating Disorders are for white women. We believe that we have a better sense of our bodies and a love for our curves. This keeps many of us with a disorder afraid to admit we have a problem. What is wrong with us? Why can't we have the same love and pride in our bodies as other Black women? That devil speaks all sorts of lies and those lies are loud.
My disorder isn't simply about body image. I wish it was only that simple. Being an introverted person, already very self reflective, having any trauma is going to live in my head space too long. I'm going to try to figure out why did that happen. So imagine, a little girl being sexually abused by not one but multiple people. Shhhhhhhhh....that secret is safe. That little girl kept it quiet and decided though to keep moving on. That seed of abuse was planted deep inside me. As much as I thought I was 'over it', that pain has to manifest. It has to find a way to be seen and heard. Trauma can never been silenced.
I fell in line with authority. My parents, aunts and uncles, school, or any authority figure were in control. They said it and I did it. I couldn't rock the boat. Don't make any noise. Follow the rules. The only way I found any freedom was in music and fashion. At the same time, there was a great level of love that came from those two things. My parents LOVED music. I could talk with my dad about it. We didn't talk much about anything else but I could talk with him about his love of it. My mom was a seamstress. We designed outfits. We would watch fashion themes shows on tv. They weren't being judgmental. I was free in those spaces. Free.
Understand that if I did anything "wrong" and my parents were just being parents and correcting me, it felt like a knife in my stomach. I needed the approval. I'd fall back in line. I couldn't be a bad girl. Nope. At the same time, there was an internal battle to just be myself. I'm still battling this question today. Who is Rhonda? My battle had me being sexually active, making poor choices in men, and had me needing some control. I felt controlled by everything and everyone outside of my mind. What can I have some contorl over? As this is going through my mind, I lost about 15lbs my freshman year of college and this little amout of weight really garnered praise from my family that I didn't expect. Beautiful, model-like, gorgeous were words resting on my ears. So, this gets love and attention? Understand, that's just the devil talking. My family loved me before and loved me always. I'm not a mentally healthy 19 years old. I've never told anyone about the abuse as a child. Its all spinning in my head and needing to show its face. This love I would accept. My body was the key to get this love. Without this body, no love.
The game is this. You know you're sick but your sickness doesn't really want to be healed. Its not like a pain in our side. It provides some level of comfort. And, the drug of choice is food. Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder are both connected with food and unlike being addicted to cocaine or alcohol, I need food to live. I have to eat. Abstaining isn't going to work. So telling someone with a Binge Eating Disorder reduce their intake of food doesn't work. An addict can't take the drug to cure the addition right? So what do we do? Therapy, Therapy, and more Therapy. I have to heal the little girl in me. She has to know that she's safe. Its ok for her to be loved on for just being. Mental wellness is my goal daily. My body isn't my enemy but I have to tell myself this almost daily. I'm not healed but I'm on the path to being whole for the first time in my life. That's amazing to me.
Black women suffer from eating disorders as we do with other addictions. No more shame. Its real. Find a therapist. Get treatment. There's both inpatient and outpatient treatment. I'm on my path to be healed. I can't expect to be better overnight because its been a long journey of mental self-destruction. I do know that the second half of my life will be greater than the former. I took the first steps to gaining my freedom from that devil inside. God knows I shall win.