Hooked

pleasure masked danger.
tasty tidbits floated before me,
to and fro
with the ebb of the sea.
innocently, I ate and at
once knew fulfillment.
my first true friend.
food filled me and comforted me during the chaos of childhood.
Dad on drugs?
Mom missing in a fog of depression, medicating with food?
it’s ok.
food took care of me.
it gave me love and acceptance,
compassion and solace.
or so it felt to me.
until food suddenly turned from friend to beast.
untamed, wild with primal need, it tore me
apart from the inside out.
for years, the compulsion gave me comfort,
it allowed me to frolic, feeling free -
but now the hook was set.
the compulsion pulled me from binge to binge to binge to binge.
I grew into an expert dieter -
able to starve and sweat, binge then purge,
controlling the uncontrollable.
these were hooks, too, baited with the expectation of perfection.
finally, the boys liked me but perfection was always five pounds away.
then male gaze turned into male violence and 
I hid in the bags and boxes,
finding hooks upon hooks upon hooks inside each bite.
so I lived for twenty more years in
endless cycles.
 trying to recapture the pleasure of that first bite –
the elusive peace that tortured me with its inaccessibility.
I was being dragged, dead weight in the water, through life.
being propelled from one moment to the next, 
absent from reality, present only in my obsession.
with a shock of clarity, I saw my sickness from what it was –
spirit crusher –
soul killer –
making my child motherless just as I was motherless.
an orphan of compulsion.
glittering with hooks and twisted with line, I flopped into recovery.
desperate to save my child from living with an absent mother, 
I seek to be set free.
I listen and follow, trusting those wiser than myself to 
teach me how to cut the lines, 
expose the barbs and remove the hooks.

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