Lady Lazurus and Anger

“I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it—–

A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot

A paperweight,
My featureless, fine
Jew linen.

Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?——-”

Sylvia Plath, extract from Lady Lazarus

Sylvia Plath scares me.

I could hear my eating disorder in her voice.

I could feel the anorexia in the taunts and the mockery; in the red hot anger and the reckless self-destruction.

When I first got ill, this was what it was like.

Anorexia feeds off and fuels anger. It is like living in a perpetual state of rage. It takes the anger that you’ve got; then, when that’s exhausted, it will provoke you into getting angry– and then move onto the next supply -

Plath says it better than I ever could:

Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I’ve a call.

It’s easy enough to do it in a cell.
It’s easy enough to do it and stay put.
It’s the theatrical

Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:

‘A miracle!’
That knocks me out.
There is a charge

For the eyeing my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart—
It really goes.

And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood

Or a piece of my hair on my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash—
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there—-”

Sylvia Plath, extract from Lady Lazarus

Suicide and holocaust allusions aside, Plath’s tone is bang on.

Anorexia made me savage and cruel. It wanted me to self destruct – spectacularly. It goaded me to scratch and scream at those trying to help me.

It’s okay to be angry, it’s human to rage and hurt –

- but there are better ways of doing it and dealing with it that break the cycle.

An eating disorder keeps the anger going – but never addresses it; recovery meets it head on – and let you sort it out.

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