I have always felt and said that those with binge eating disorder are some of the most powerful souls aboard this ship. Why? Because we have so much hunger, as is apparent in our binges. We don’t just eat, we devour, we breathe in, from a seemingly endless well of desire.
The hunger itself is something to be proud of. Yes, it’s a gift – but in a world where we were taught to be small, we never had it at our fingertips – we never had it taught to us – to satisfy what we are really hungry for.
Only until we destroy ourselves with food enough to realize what we are doing to ourselves to we wake up and realize there must be another way. If we realize.
The hunger won’t go away. Making ourselves small won’t work. What must change is the way we satiate it.
I don’t know what your hunger is, but I know what mine is. My hunger is and has always been to read and write. To learn and to disseminate. To understand, and then to teach.
I remember very distinctly sitting on my bedroom floor making a list of how to become smart. My list included reading 9 books a day, and that wasn’t the only thing on the list. There were other daily “must”s. After I made the list, I looked at it and felt it was satisfactory. I do remember having a moment of wondering how realistic this would be, but no mind.
After making the list, I thought about starting my first book for the day, then walked to the kitchen, made myself a snack, and went to watch tv instead.
You see, nobody was home. I was alone. I was 9 or 10.
My hunger initially manifested itself in the list I made for one clear reason: to become smart. I was hungry for knowledge, for learning.
But – and I’m not sure why this took the turn it did – I quickly realized I could satisfy that very same hunger with large quantities of food and entertainment.
So I redirected my hunger.
Twenty + years and a twelve-step program later, I am learning to redirect that hunger again.
To its original target.
Why did I ever derail in the first place? Because I was afraid of failing.
I looked at my list and a part of me, deep down, must have known I would never meet those expectations.
Eating was something I could not fail at.
And so you see, perfectionism got me into this mess in the first place. I didn’t know how to be compassionate with myself, and say my best is good enough. It’s got to be. I didn’t know how to value the hunger in the first place, and I placed the importance on the results.
I didn’t know how to see the beauty in my hunger to learn. How to love myself as the soul feeling all that hunger.
Instead, I placed value on the results.
Today, I sit here unable to use food, because I know it will destroy me. In this walking so close to the edge – in this understanding of my own fragility – I am given the biggest gift of my life: the opportunity to return to the original hunger.