in a world of choices, i choose me

Many people are scared of their immeasurable imagination—of all the beauty it conjures. They are content in their reality; never growing, never branching. Never achieving the next greatest thing, as if doing the same thing every day reaches their maximum potential. It doesn't and they know that and they're terrified.

I, however, am terrified of the world's most necessary necessity. Food. I developed an eating disorder at age seven. Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. Eating less is comfortable—less I eat, less I choke. By the time I was twenty, there were five things on my shopping list of staples. It was a careful deliberation of texture, shape, size, colour as well as other factors. I had no happiness. This wasn't fun. Not when hair fell out, skin dried, or I gained weight then cried.

The eating disorder was eating me. It yelled and yelled and yelled at me; it was only trying to save me. I listened. It was the only protection I had.

To this day, my eating disorder still feels like home. But it isn't. I'm aware of this and yet I'm drawn back into its comforts almost every time. It cradles me when I have nothing. It'd be so easy to relapse; ARFID consumes every other thought. I retrace the dead ends surrounding it all the time. I have trouble forgetting its address.

Remember how I said people are happy with reality?
Unlike most humans, I am petrified of actuality.

This messy, confusing world has far too many open-ended questions. It is childish, really, except I can't fathom what it is to be six. I stare at my niece, wonder if I was at all like her. I'm jealous of her carefree happiness. My therapist invited me to propose something days after that. She asked, "can you imagine the things you'd think about [sans ED]?" I didn't answer. I'd probably allow myself to eat an orange. What would I think? Feelings aren't something I'm good at doing anything with. I don't use my eating disorder to control; I numb out. See, I'm afraid of being wrong—as a person, at my size, in the application. I thought that if I made myself smaller, I'd be better. Better at handling life, better than I was.

Imperfect things—like the world—make me want to, quite literally, bang my head on a wall. I check my papers until they're (nearly) late, rewrite the same sentence three times because I didn't like the first go. My therapist challenged me to only edit an essay twice. By posting, I'm exposing myself. Exposing the fact that I am human, I make mistakes. I'm scared. Scared of criticism and emotion. Here goes nothing. I'm doing Hard Things. How easy it would be to crawl into myself and stay comfortable with the façade I'm living in most days. I'm not. Why? At the end of the day, there are better things to think about.

author's notice: the piece comprises original instagram captions. i needed to post something because my fingers were itching.
thanks for reading!