I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Crackers

Memory by memory, I am writing a memoir about my life and dealing with mental illness. The story below is the first story that I have written and I will post other stories as they are written. The names have been changed. I hope that people enjoy them and will give me feedback, as I would like to publish them someday.
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I was afraid to eat the crackers.

I had been sick all day, but I was afraid to eat the crackers.

Now before you go thinking that this is about some lame girl with an eating disorder, let me tell you that I was far more sickly than just that. Why was I afraid of the crackers? Because of the relationship between me and my codependent roommate.
This was the scene I remembered – This was the scene that made me wince even as my stomach made me wince with the stark physical pain. Why I was afraid of eating the crackers.
I had been sitting alone curled up on the coach, watching an awful movie – a British retelling of Emily Bronte’s Jane Eyre – a retelling that took all of the joy out and left only pain.
So Melissa called and asked if I wanted to join her for dinner with Nathan at The Pickle Barrel.
“The Pickle Barrel? Ugh. I’ve heard that place’s food is so greasy. You know I don’t do greasy! […] No, really, I’m fine. I’m watching a horribly bad British movie and you guy’s wouldn’t like it. Seriously, I’m alright.”
And I truly was! Even though the adaptation wasn’t good, it felt good to watch it by myself. It felt good to know that this was something I wanted to watch, and finish, with only myself to please. I was loving myself and nobody else.
A few hours later and I am so intensely glad that the miniseries is over – the male lead’s acting was terrible, though I did admire the furrows in the brow of he woman who played Jane Eyre – I commended her for having the courage to be faithful to the role assigned – a true PLAIN JANE.
I sighed to myself and turned on my computer, “Should I write or actually do homework?” when my phone rang.
It was Melissa again. “Hey Corey! Do you mind if I bring over Nathan and Laura to watch a movie? We’ll be quiet.”
“Oh, sure. I just finished my movie, so I’ll watch it with you.”
I don’t remember what we watched – I was too busy trying to be social, of which I did not do a very good job.
Nathan and Laura and Melissa bustled in amid laughter and I turned off my computer. “What’re we watching?” I asked.
I got no answer, except for a loud shriek followed by the exclamation, “You can’t have the window open! We’re wasting air! We’re wasting money!”
Huh? What window?!
I was so confused. “What window?!”
“The bathroom window!”
“What bathroom window?” I cried. Oh my God, I was SO confused.
“The long, narrow window near the ceiling!”
I stared at Melissa stupidly. I had no idea what she was talking about.
I got up from the couch, slowly walked to the bathroom and peered inside.
“Oh.”
There it was.

Inside the shower was a tiny, extremely narrow window right before the ceiling started. I had had no idea that that window was ever there. Well, I certainly had NOT opened that window. I’m a freakin’ little person! I relied on a tried, but true adage: When you don’t know what to say, proclaim your own stupidity out loud.
“Well, I didn’t open it, because I didn’t even know it was there.” I said curtly.
Melissa quieted down.“No, I guess you didn’t.” she said, measuring the distance between the bath tub rim and the windowledge. "It must of have been so and so. She did take a shower here last night.” Melissa looked at me and then back at the window. “You wouldn’t be able to reach it.”
“This is getting just plain rude,” I thought.
“I could too.” I protested. “I could have reached the window if I had stood on the rim of the tub, but, I didn’t…”
Melissa stepped over the tub rim, stretched, and closed the window. Laura and Nathan sat down on the couch and pushed play. I sighed.
I was still a little hurt. Why did she have to yell at me like that? Didn’t she know that I hate yelling?! And I didn’t even deserve it. In fact, I was left feeling incredibly stupid. I had lived in this house for three and a half weeks and I had never known that there was the potential for someone to get their kicks while I was taking my shower. Great.
I sighed again. And waited on the couch until the movie was over and our guests would leave. The house was silent, except for the laughter of people paid to laugh on a world that isn’t real. No one besides these folks was going to be happy in this house if I had anything to say – or not say – about it.

So here I am. Afraid to eat the crackers. But I guess that I haven’t adequately explained the situation yet.

You see, I helped Melissa decide on what to buy for an event and no one ate the crackers and she was planning to return them, so she wouldn’t be accused of spending her professors’ money exorbitantly.
But my stomach really hurts and the only thing that sounds acceptable to it is soup and crackers. I look at my watch. It is now 3:30 in the afternoon and I have now finally made up my mind. I am going to have those crackers! Recovery comes first and I need to eat!
I put a couple of dollars in a little bowl – surely that will be enough to compensate and as I am picking up the bright red box, the phone rings.
“Hello?” I answer.
“How could you do this to me?!” shrieks Melissa.
“What?!” I shriek back in stupid disbelief.
“Oh, no!” I think to myself. “Don’t tell me that yesterday is repeating itself – I can’t take anymore of this!”

Well,it did. Yesterday repeated itself.
Melissa had seen a note I had written on facebook, jumped to conclusions, and yelled at me again for something awful I had done without even being able to.
And I lost it.

I yelled and I shrieked back and told her that I was leaving. And I did. I spent two weeks living out of my car and sleeping over at my friend, Natasha’s. I never ate those crackers – but I’m not afraid of them anymore either. I left them and the nice, good girl who was afraid to eat them behind. For good.

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