I woke up this morning at 9 AM with terrible cramps. I went back to sleep at 1 PM and slept until 6 PM. Needless to say, I didn't accomplish very much after that aside from watching Sex and the City on my couch.
The entire concept of menstruation is puzzling to me. While anorexic, of course, I stopped getting periods. I didn't have even one for almost two years and I used to love it. Who wouldn't like not worrying about cramps or bloating or pre-menstrual bitchiness? But really the absence of my period caused more harm than good. I didn't consider it then, but it was sort of like my body's final submission to the hell I put her through. She wanted only to become a woman, and I could not let her. So she stopped trying.
Now that I am eating regularly again and am trying to make peace with my body, she is resentful for all of the ways I've made her suffer. The periods I have post-anorexia are a million times more painful than the ones I had pre-anorexia. Before I didn't see what the big deal was. I barely cramped at all. Now I become completely incapacitated.
Even if I spent the rest of my life apologizing to my body for starving her for so long, the debt could not be repaid.
I think back to one of my favorite poems by Sharon Olds. Though it is about a Russian girl starving to death during the famine of 1921, a girl who, unlike me, would have eaten any food given to her, I can't help but see her body as my own. I want to feed her. I want to say I'm sorry.
[...] Hunger and puberty are
taking her together. She leans on a sack,
layers of clothes fluttering in the heat,
the new radius of her arm curved.
She cannot be not beautiful, but she is
starving. Each day she grows thinner, and her bones
grow longer, porous. The caption says
she is going to starve to death that winter
with millions of others. Deep in her body
the ovaries let out her first eggs,
golden as drops of grain.