There has been one constant through my years. One thing that was always there through suicidal depressions, upheaval at home, trauma, high-flying manias, new jobs and new apartments, years of an eating disorder and treatment. One thing that I have always loved beyond my ability to express and one thing that I have always wanted more than anything else.
I want to write.
I have, at times, entertained this as a career option. I have investigated writing programs, investigated ways to make this thing pay the bills. I always come back to the same thing: I’m just not good enough. Even if I could, by some miracle, get paid for my writing, I’d probably be writing about things I hardly care about: school board meetings, political debates, random local policies.
I want to write about things I care about. I want to write and make people outside this thing understand the torture that we with eating disorders live with every day. I want to write and encourage people out of the wilderness, into a land flowing with milk and honey and macaroni and cheese and dessert. I want to do all of this, of course, while firmly remaining planted in my eating disorder.
I thought about finding a way to be a travel writer. The premise being that I would travel to exotic places, write reviews of hotels and restaurants (ha!), show people the beauty that exists outside their little corner of the world and encourage them to explore on their own. Obviously, I cannot possibly write about exotic locations if I never actually go there. I cannot write about places I have never been. I have to pack the bags, pull out the passport and step foot into the unknown.
So how could I possibly write about the things I care about if I’m not willing to step foot outside my “comfortable” eating disordered existence? How can I make people understand my experience if I am still in the experience, where it is too raw, too emotional, too muddled to put words to? How can I encourage people to travel to a recovery that I have never seen and never experienced?
Just the thought of packing those proverbial bags (or, perhaps, in this case – throwing some of them out) and traveling with no guide map and no assurance of arrival is terrifying. So, too, is the idea of being lost and confused and out of my element for days or weeks or months (or years) at a time.
All for the hope that the place I land is better than the place I am.
So I want to write – but do I want it enough?