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Tuesday , December 14, 2010
Laura Jane Investigates: Does Life Need Frosting? (PHASE I)
"Does Life Need Frosting?" by Laura Jane will be serialized into four installments, to be posted every day for the next four days, counting today. In my opinion, nogoodforme.com could stand to be a little more like Charles Dickens, I mean, "Dickensian."
PHASE I: PREPARING MYSELF EMOTIONALLY BY UNDERSTANDING MYSELF INTELLECTUALLY (Monday, July 20th, 2009)
Tomorrow morning, I am going to eat, I mean, fuck up, a Cinnabon.
In my life, the iconography of "The Cinnabon" is rich. Rich as a Cinnabon. They loom large in my legend. Cinnabons are for airports, and for days I already spent, in the year 2001, with Ally. The days when we invented "scrappiness."
In 2001, Ally inspired me to write the first good sentence I ever wrote: "Her name's Ally like an alley cat." In 2009, she is Allison to the world, but she'll always be Ally to me. Ally is my best friend. She is so close to being sunshine; I can't even picture her face without smiling stupidly. In 2001, we wrote lists of our favourite things about each other; I remember one of hers for me was "I can feel John Lennon's presence in everything you do." It troubles me that I was once deranged enough to bother cultivating a persona intended to convince my schoolmates that I was cosmically possessed by John Lennon's "spirit," but- either way- it's still the best compliment anybody ever paid me.
At my high school, if you cut class, you would get a phone call home at around 8 or 9 PM. It was an automated message letting your parents know that you were a big stoner fuck-up, but it was hilariously easy to get around- all you had to do was talk on the phone to your friends all night! In 2001, Ally and I cut class almost every day. We'd get stoned, take the bus to the mall, get stoned again, share a Cinnabon, get stoned a third time, and then sit outside Wal-Mart in a shopping cart, smoking cigarettes and making up stories about the lives of the people we hoped we would grow up to be.
It was in a shopping cart, on one of those pointless afternoons spent being bad for being bad's sake, that we realized there was a word to describe who we were then, today- and well obviously it was scrappy. Scrappy people. I may be growing up, but I'll be scrappy as shit 'til the day I fucking die. Ally and I are Scrap Sisters for life; Cinnabons are the official food of scrappiness, and I fucking WANT ONE.
Nobody has ever come right out and said, "Laura, I think you are only vegan because of your anorexia," except for one bitch once, but I feel like everybody's always thinking it. I'm paranoid to a point where I feel uncomfortable writing down that I'm paranoid, because, really, I don't think I'm paranoid- I think it's true. I only just figured out that it could be paranoia, because "I am 100% confident that every single person in the world is constantly thinking about how I'm only vegan to spur on my anorexia" seems irrational, from somebody else's perspective.
The straight story: I became vegan in November of 2006; not surprisingly, it coincided with my being very, very ill. However, it did not directly come about as a means to facilitate my eating disorder. I became vegan to externally justify why I never ate, always turned down food, and was losing weight disturbingly fast. When somebody offered me a cookie or whatever, it was a lot simpler to say "I'm vegan" than to say "No, sorry, I can't eat that because I am completely fucking insane and the way I eat is completely fucking insane and I would rather slit my wrists than eat one tiny crumb of that 'fat,' disgusting poison you are sabotaging my perfect awesome skinniness by offering me; by the way, fuck you."
When I was sick, veganism was of course invaluable to the 'success' of my anorexia- how could it not have been? I had an eating disorder, and it was eating. But, as a 70% non-orexic, it's very clear to me that if I didn't want to be vegan, I wouldn't be. If veganism in any way fucked with my ability to enjoy this sweet freedom, I'd ditch it in a heartbeat.
I am grateful for anorexia. I am grateful that it has forced me to address my relationship to a fucked-up, misogynistic condition that most women never even notice is there. But I am hyper-attuned to it; it's everywhere. Every day, I am faced with countless instances of women apologizing for the fact that eat food.
One of my roommates subscribes to a magazine named Women's Health. I smoke cigarettes, and steal her magazines from the kitchen table to leaf through while I smoke on the patio. Once, I read Women's Health. A more accurate title for it would be, The Young Woman's Guide to Softcore Anorexia. Every single article (except for some sex tips that are givens, and some "toning your upper arms" tips that are maybe givens, I don't know) in this dumb crap shit fuck filth rag is some sort of shoddy, poorly-researched take on "how a girl can most effectively restrict her caloric intake without noticing it."
While I realize that not everybody in the world is a recovering anorexic, and that some people are legitimately overweight because they overeat and should probably deal with that, what really blows my mind is that such a magazine should exist at all. Why is it that so many women can only comprehend the process of eating within this pre-defined context of "binge vs. purge"? The notion of overdoing it, and then "underdoing" it to compensate, is so pervasive: things like "I ate a burger last night; I need to spend an extra half-hour on the elliptical today," or "I had a cookie; it was so 'fat' of me."
I am grateful for anorexia. At this point, my thirty percent-orexia shows itself mostly in the extreme positivity of my relationship to food and my body. I have trained myself not to automatically equate eating with guilt and shame, or to immediately connect the caloric density of what I'm eating to an irrational belief that it will make me gain weight. I don't make up dumb rules designed to "atone" for my "sins." I eat what I want when I'm hungry for it. It's miraculously simple, once you get the hang of it.
One of the worst worsts about anorexia is that you can never stop thinking about food. You can't distract yourself, because you're starving to death, and your body copes by making you think of food, hoping that you will eat it soon. Your inability to think about anything but food compounds your fear that there is something innately 'fat' about you, and, in turn, motivates you to be an even more hardcore about your anorexia. Fun!
I have been a troubled sleeper since I was a kid, but there is no insomnia worse than "Cinnabon Insomnia," which was the story of my every single night for like six hundred days in a row. It was really fucking miserable to be anxiously awake at four in the morning, mooning over the farfetched fantasy of myself fucking up a Cinnabon. Tomorrow, all my "dreams" are coming true. I'm cool with being vegan forever, but not with this all residual Eating A Cinnabon urgency hanging over my head! I am excited to live a life unencumbered by the possibility of the Cinnabon. I eat whatever the fuck I want, and I want a fucking Cinnabon.
Stick at it, and all your dreams will eventually come true.
Tags: Charles Dickens, Cinnabon Insomnia, Cinnabons, Does Life Need Frosting?, eating disorder awareness, eating disorder recovery, Fuck Women's Health magazine, getting high, high school nostalgia, John Lennon, scrappiness, veganism
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