I take the cake…the chips, the ice cream, the pie, the cookies, the bagels, the popcorn, the candy… I buy the makeup, the paints, the brushes, the cards, the pens, the paper, the books, the notebooks, the art, the jewelry… I have a hole, you see, and it’s been there for years and years and years.
When I was little, I just wanted to fit in so much. I would do anything, say anything, change myself in any way that might make me acceptable, likeable, loveable. But I was so lonely.
In my teens, confused about who I was and what I was supposed to do – who was really my friend – what did I really like – I just became more lost, more lonely, felt more and more marginalized. I remember how helpful being able to drive was because I could hide my binge eating. I could get food while I was out, could dump it at the gas station, and drive with all of the windows down if I needed to air out the Chevy Nova that had once been my grandfather’s. I remember once eating an entire cherry pie on my own – remarkably, I think my mother got me that pie to reward me for doing well on an end of the year Regent’s exam…
As the years continued on, the pounds continued to build and the loneliness continued to yawn wider within me. College, which I had been told by t.v., movies, books, and college graduates was going to be a life-changing experience full of the best of times and the best of friends and probably the husband of my dreams… plus a career, of course, and independence from my parents, was not any of those things. I had some wicked roommate assignments the first two years, was awkward, my bipolar was blooming (though I did not know it at the time), and I would start with friends, but then lose them. I did not know why – I figured it was just that I was unlikeable, unloveable – that damn hole inside me kept getting bigger.
Thank god for waitressing over the summer of my junior year of college, as it helped me to rein in my weight and eating – earned me some friends whom I really cared about – and I found that being busy could sometimes fill the hole.
But only sometimes. There are times, seasons, when the hole is overwhelming. All I want, all I feel like I need, is someone to belong to. I was talking to a friend today about my goals – breaking them into pieces – smaller and smaller until they are ridiculously easy to start working towards. How does one break belonging down to pieces… I know, have always known, that food and things won’t fill the hole, but I’ve got to learn how one finds that belonging when she lives alone.
Maybe I can paint it in…