Life Post E.D.
My Body, the English Bank Accountant
Things can get so awful at times…to the point when I think that they are absolutely unbearable, and then…my warped sense of humour kicks in. I have to laugh at myself. Recovering from E.D. is often an agonizing process, (though definitely worth it.) You would think that your body would be so pleased that you are now taking care of it. (You would think.) However, there are many surprising “side effects” of getting healthier. The following suddenly came to me, in a moment of writhing mental discomfort. Hopefully this will help you as well. Think of people that came out of the Great Depression. They had a tendency to horde things and hide money under mattresses. So this is my analogy. My body is the English Bank Accountant trying to reconcile the debts I incurred. (Yes, he’s English. Can’t you tell by his accent?)
One day I just walked up to my accountant and handed him my bank card.
“Here. I’m sick of this. I don’t want to do it anymore. Take it.”
He was so surprised that he just sort of blinked and took it from me uncertainly.
“You’re truly turning this over to me then?”
“I’m in charge now?”
He didn’t thank me or anything, which I found rather exasperating, but I couldn’t really blame him. With the alarming amount of unpaid bills and overdrafts that I’d racked up in the last mphmph years, it’s no wonder he wasn’t gushing with enthusiasm. However, after I’d been faithfully depositing reasonable sums of money and not withdrawing any, I began to get a bit irritated by his attitude. Actually, a lot irritated. I strode into his office one day, ready to give him a piece of my mind.
“Look,” I said without preface. “I’m not really thrilled with how you’ve been spending my money.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“These stupid packages keep showing up on my doorstep every day. I hate all of them!”
“I’m sorry to hear that.” But he didn’t sound the least bit sorry.
“Yeah, like the whole Hormone Replenishment Package? Thanks a lot. Super awesome. I missed that monthly event so much. &$@! If I’d known that was in the deal, I’d never have turned matters over to you.”
He sighed and looked up at the ceiling.
“Did you honestly think you could continue on entirely without them? Perhaps it’s escaped your notice, but there really are very few unnecessary features in God’s design. I realize you have quite your own opinion on the matter, but it makes no difference whatsoever.”
I narrowed my eyes at him and shifted my jaw.
I hate you.
I’m pretty sure he could tell what I was thinking, but he just raised his eyebrows blandly.
“I’m sorry, was there something else?”
“Forget it,” I muttered and ground my teeth and stalked away.
*Note: Before we go any further, I want to make it quite clear that I don’t, as a rule, talk to people like this. I can’t promise that I never snap back at people, but generally only after they have repeatedly jabbed me with pointy sticks and driven me into a corner. (Oh, yes. You’ll get to hear all about those too, eventually. Stay tuned.) However, I certainly wouldn’t go striding into someone else’s personal space and start waving pointy sticks around at them. Remember, this is an analogy.
At any rate, I certainly would never dream of speaking that way to my accountant, should I actually be able to afford one. It’s probably a good thing that I can’t. If, by some chance, my finances were left in charge of an Englishman who was this longsuffering and sensible and quietly determined to look after my own best interests, well…I’d probably just do something disastrous like fall in love with him.
Other Typical Interactions
I cheerfully stepped up to his desk, dressed in knit pants and a T-shirt, dangling my shiny new gym membership keycard.
He finished writing something and then put his pen down and looked up at me.
“Um, well, I’m off to the gym and, uh…I was wondering…could I have some cash?”
It was his turn to narrow his eyes and shift his jaw. He very reluctantly peeled off three faded one dollar bills.
“What?! Are you kidding me? I was thinking more along the lines of a couple of twenties!”
He didn’t say anything.
“I’m going to be there for an hour.”
He sighed and peeled off another dollar. That was it, the stupid tightwad.
“Thanks,” I said as sarcastically as I could manage.
I hate you.
Two Months Later
The next time I came to his office, I was a tensed coil of anxiety.
“Look, I’m not sure how much more of this I can take. Could you please just loosen up the purse strings a little bit? You’re killing me.”
His mouth twitched to the side in a wry smile.
Really? I’m killing you?
“I’m sorry, but you decided to entrust matters entirely in my hands. I must take whatever action I deem necessary to repair the not inconsiderable damage you have done over such an extended period of time.”
“Yes, I know, but…I mean, I think I’ve been pretty good about depositing money, haven’t I?”
“Yes, I agree. You’ve managed to deposit…reasonable amounts, perhaps not what I’d hoped for…but, nonetheless, useful.”
“Not what you’d hoped for? What were you expecting? Several thousand a day?”
“That would be most helpful, yes.”
“Are you smoking crack?? I’m not going to trust you with that much! Look what you’ve managed to do already! I’ve had to shop for bigger clothes three times!”
“Oh, so now we’re going to talk about trust issues? That doesn’t strike you as the least bit ironic?”
“Yeah, whatever. I guess I was being completely unreasonable in expecting you to be thankful. This isn’t easy, you know.”
“Yes,” he said in a softer tone, “I do realize that.”
“So, do you think you could…you know, loosen up a little?”
“I’ll take the matter under consideration.”
“That’s it? That’s your answer?”
The Next Day
I knocked on his office door, but I’d barely opened it half way before he deflected me.
“I said I’d think about it.”
What Seemed Like Months Later
When he tried to dismiss me again, I pushed the door open wider and walked straight to the chair across from his desk. I was decidedly edgy at that point. One hand wrenched at the ring on my other hand and my foot jiggled restlessly.
“When are you going to forgive me?” I finally blurted out.
“Wh-what?” He was actually astonished.
“When are you going to forgive me? I know I deserve it, but still…this is…awful.”
His eyes dropped and his brows drew down a fraction.
“It’s not a question of forgiveness,” he said very quietly. “It’s more a matter of…broken trust.”
I bit my lip and looked down at the floor. An overwhelming wave of remorse threatened to drown me. (I did/do have those, by the way, as well as tsunamis of guilt. It’s not always seething rage, or intense irritation. However, he probably didn’t see quite as much of the deep regret, because I didn’t voice it so…er…forcefully.)
“I’m doing everything I can to…build it back up again,” I said very softly.
“Yes, I do appreciate that—very much, indeed.”
You sometimes have a very funny way of showing it.
“Well…I don’t suppose you could…sort of…give an…ETA for this restored trust thing?” I asked wistfully.
He coughed awkwardly.
“Well, er…that’s rather difficult to say, really. Perhaps if you come back in six months’ time, I could give you a better answer.”
“Oh—ok,” I said faintly.
A Week Later
I knocked and peeked around the door.
“I said six months.”
Another Week Later
(Or Four Days, which is close to Five Days, which is near enough to a Week)
I poked my head through the doorway and heard him sigh very loudly.
I got the point.
Yet Another Size Up
I burst into his office in full freak out mode. Even he looked a bit startled.
“No, no! You cannot keep doing this to me! I will not allow you to keep doing this to me!”
“I told you. These things take time. They cannot be rushed. You have to be patient.”
“%$# being patient! This is hell! I. Can. Not. Take. This. Any. More.”
He made a helpless sort of gesture and said nothing, but my eyes followed his hands’ movements and noticed the ATM card on the corner of his desk. I squinted and shifted my jaw. My fingers twitched slightly. His eyes followed my gaze and then went back up to my face.
“So that’s it, is it?” he said quietly. (I couldn’t hear the note of bitterness then, but it was there.) “You really want to go back to that?”
“It was better than this #$@!”
“I think perhaps you are forgetting just how bad it really was.”
“Yeah, whatever. #@$ it! I don’t want to be fiscally responsible anymore. I want to be—“
“Yes, yes. I know. You just want to maintain a zero balance in your account and yet somehow magically have the necessary funds appear when you should need something, like say, stable potassium levels or—or something really extravagant like sufficient bone mass.”
“#@$ you! You know what my childhood was like! You can look all #@$ smug and pleased with yourself. You don’t have to deal with this! I do!”
He started to open his mouth but I cut him off.
“I’m telling you, this is pure hell! My own personal Room 101. I can’t deal with it anymore. Maybe you don’t care about being completely hideous, but I do!”
I knew I had touched a nerve with that one because I saw that little bone at his temple shift as he clenched his jaw. He drew in a big breath.
“Now look here! The only reason we’re not completely and utterly bankrupt is because I went about crawling on the floor to pick up any pathetic pennies and nickels you might casually drop in your wake of destruction. You never gave a thought to me throughout that hell, now did you? It couldn’t ever possibly occur to you to be just a wee bit grateful? No, of course not. In fact, now—at long last—when we’ve finally got something resembling a balanced checking account, you have the appalling audacity to be angry with me!”
But I wasn’t ready to stop being furious yet.
“&$# straight, I’m %$# off! I was prepared for a few—stacks—but do you have to fill the whole @#$& vault?!”
“Ha! Your perception of an overfilled bank vault and mine are quite different, I can assure you. I’ve no intention of changing my position on the matter. I will however, continue to take every precaution necessary to preserve our financial integrity and no amount of abusive language will persuade me to do otherwise.”
I ground my teeth.
I’ve never been quite so enraged in my entire life. Fantasies of drop-kicking him down ten flights of stairs flashed before my eyes. Total helpless fury. The one area of my life where I’d had a modicum of control and it had been wrenched from my vise-like grip. I was at his mercy now. (It ought to have shown me what he’d gone through, but of course I was too self-absorbed to consider that.) I spun on my heel and took long angry strides to the door, but before I touched the handle, I lowered my voice to the quietest, deadliest tone I could manage.
“I hate you.”
I yanked open the door, but not before his parting shot.
“That’s as it may be, but I don’t hate you.”
*Note: That part is real. I did actually hear that. I won’t say it was the voice of God, perhaps it was, or perhaps just His prompting a shred of common sense. But I do distinctly remember an especially torturous moment, in the shower, looking down at myself in horror and thinking, “I hate my body!” and then hearing the rejoinder, “Yes, but your body doesn’t hate you.” That was definitely a turning point.
Eighteen Months Later
Our relationship is a great deal better. Not perfect, mind you. There are still very bad days. I still don’t see eye-to-eye with him on a great many things, but, the anger is down to…occasionally irritation or feelings of despair. But not fury. The following might be a more typical interaction.
I walked uncertainly into his office. He had called me in, actually, which was quite surprising in itself. His face lit up when he saw me. I hardly recognized him, he looked so…happy.
He spread the pages of the report out in front of me and pointed fondly to the thyroid and cholesterol numbers in particular.
“These figures are wonderful. Excellent. Very well done indeed.”
“So…you’re…proud of me?”
“Exceedingly.” His eyes shone.
I felt a warm glow at his praise, but the credit was due to him, really. I had to tell him that.
“Thanks, but…it’s all because of you. You’re amazingly resilient, you know.”
His face flushed, embarrassed and pleased.
“Um…” I faltered.
I didn’t want to take the gloss off of his moment, but I really needed to know.
“Um, do you think that now you could…you know…increase the ‘funds available’ in the Metabolism account?”
His smile diminished slightly and he sat down across from me.
“I know you’ll probably never agree to my ideal, so I won’t even try to convince you. I’ll trust you on that one. Really. I am very grateful. You know that, don’t you?”
He cleared his throat.
“Yes, but…it’s still nice to hear.”
“So, I mean, at this point, I’ll take anything, but it would be really nice if…I mean, even if you could agree to bring the balance down to say, a size eight?”
I wasn’t sure if his face stiffened then, or if I just imagined it.
“Remember, eight used to be a horrifying number to me, not that long ago.”
“I don’t think that’s too much to hope for, do you?”
He swallowed and looked down and pushed the papers together in a neat stack.
“No. No, it’s…quite reasonable.” There was a long pause and he cleared his throat again. “It’s just…you had me so terribly worried for such a…very long time.”
I had to blink very hard and swallow a few times myself.
“I know. I’m so sorry I put you through all that.”
He made a wry face and gave a slight shrug.
“Yes, well…we came through it at any rate.”
“By the way, I don’t hate you.”
He quirked his eyebrows at me.
“Not quite so much, anyway,” he murmured.
I grinned back. It wouldn’t do to take ourselves quite so seriously.