When Angus told me he was leaving, after 14 years together, it literally felt like somebody had reached into my chest and tore out half of my heart. I walked around with a sucking chest-wound for a long time—2 years really. Little by little it started to scab over but it never felt right again. It was like the old part couldn’t grow back. Gnarly scar tissue could only cover up the hole. Then I met Robert and my heart started to bleed a little bit, like that scar tissue was getting pulled back, so I could let somebody new in. That scared me a lot. I thought, “What if I let him in and then we don’t end up together? We have to end up together or I’m going to end up even more damaged!” And I made some stupid decisions in my panic. Ultimately, my irrational behavior drove Robert off. So I brought about the very thing that I was most terrified of having happen. And now I’m left with this open wound again.
Here’s the thing that they don’t tell you about being healthy: you can’t numb yourself. I use food to self-medicate. Other people use alcohol or drugs. For me, it’s always been food. It makes me feel comforted and safe, like I’m doing something nice for myself. And also, I’ve been thinking that being fat was what I used as my excuse for why nobody wants to be with me. If I’m fat then it’s not because I’m broken. It’s because men are shallow, not because I’m too fucked up to be with.
But what happens when you can’t have the food? You just have to feel the pain; there’s no way to dull the feelings. Now I feel pain all the time. It’s not going away. I cry every day and I don’t know how to escape. You just have to bear it. It’s no wonder so many people use food, drugs, alcohol, or sex to hide. It’s exhausting and it doesn’t stop. And the worst part is the realization that even when my heart stops bleeding again, it won’t be whole. I’m going to have to learn to use a scarred and damaged heart. I know logically that it can be done and I’m most likely strong enough to do it. But thinking about the energy and grief that lies between me today and the day that I know how to use my heart properly is so demoralizing that it almost stops me from moving forward.