I knew something was up when I found Jane already sitting
on Jean’s family-room couch, coffee mug in hand. They each took a turn
sharing their concerns and offering up evidence of my “disordered
eating” as if they were reenacting a scene from an ABC Afterschool.
Though I knew their hearts were in the right place, I was furious. They
just don’t get it, I thought. If they did, they wouldn’t ask me to eat.
They would know how much aliveness there is in hunger—how light and
strong it makes me feel. If they got it, they would understand how
connected this was to my mom and, more specifically, to not having my
mom; in fact, they should applaud me for finding such an elegant outlet
for my grief.
I pleaded, “I’m fine.” (I’m not.) “Back off.” (Please don’t.) I assured them I had it under control, but I didn’t. And, though I couldn’t admit it, I was starting to get scared. Every time I reached my stated goal weight, I set a new one before I stepped off the scale. I had reached ninety-nine pounds and was now going for ninety-five, maybe ninety. Yes—ninety sounded better.
My friends gave me an ultimatum: either I would tell David what I was doing or I would go to an eating-disorders clinic within the next week; otherwise, Jane would call David herself. A voice inside me cried out, Please don’t make me eat. Being hungry is all that is feeding me.
Where Have I Been All My Life? is a compelling memoir recounting one woman’s journey through grief and a profound feeling of unworthiness to wholeness and healing. It begins with the chillingly sudden death of Rice’s mother, and is followed by her foray into the center of mourning.
With wisdom, grace, and humor, Rice recounts the grief games she plays in an effort to resurrect her mother; her efforts to get her therapist, who she falls desperately in love with, to run away with her; and the transformation of her husband from fantasy man to ordinary guy to superhero. In the process, she experiences aching revelations about her family and her past—and realizes what she must leave behind, and what she can carry forward with her.
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