The Perfect Pantomime

From Ms. Magazine:

PerfectPantomime_sm Between the ages of 14 and 21, I spent countless hours cross-examining the emaciated reflection in my mirror. “What’s wrong with you?” I’d demand. “Who are you, anyway? And why don’t you know who you are?” Yet instead of recognizing my obsession with weight loss as a sign of an identity crisis, I told myself my problems would be solved if I just lost a few more pounds. Like most girls with eating disorders in the ’60s and early ’70s, I never received treatment. Then, at 22, I fell in love. My lover knew how to see and hear and touch me. He fed me pasta, wine and laughter, and, in so doing, taught me how to nourish myself. Suddenly, starving my body made no sense. But shadows of self-doubt remained and, within them, the half-life of my eating disorder. I no longer deprived myself of calories, but for decades, I “could not” eat meat. Evenings and weekends, I “had to” work, while everyone else had fun. And although I thought I was content with my husband, the slightest marital disagreement would render me mute. Instead of confronting our problems, I would run away, literally, often running through injuries for hours. By the age of 36, this relentless physical punishment had permanently crippled my right ankle.

Then, my marriage of 20 years fissured and, at age 46, I once again became a stranger to myself. The woman who lived in my skin would stand blinking blindly in front of the bathroom mirror.

More here.