Mum It’s Me!

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Sometimes people with Eating Disorders binge on large amounts of food. They become hopeless addicts and to satisfy the Demon of Eating Disorder, they’ll steal food to sustain their addictions to food.

 

Dear Readers,

A young person suffering from Eating Disorder (she hasn’t been professionally diagnosed yet) would like to share a snippet from her life with us. This is to create meaningful impact, awareness among parents even though according to her, to some it may sound ‘mundane’. Here on this blog, we try to publish untold struggles of Muslim Sufferers. It takes a lot of time, lots of hours to convince someone to share their struggle on blog. Over the course of years, we’ve come to understand the immense power of the true ED stories around us: they allow us to connect, to understand, to change, to heal. When told with blunt honesty, they make a difference in people’s lives.

 

Mum It’s Me!

By: 15 year old, Pakistan

 

I told Mum, it’s me who’s behind all this missing food, but Mum refuses to believe me, it’s easier to blame others. She knows she can yell at them,  hurl abuse at them because they don’t have the power to answer her back. She’s their Boss!

Tonight Mr. X is coming to our home. Everyone was involved and busy with home chores, running helter-skelter taking and putting everything in place. Everyone’s action was fast-forwarded like being under the influence and command of a remote controlled sensor.

It has taken Mum three months to get Mr. X to come to our house. The food has to be a classy and extra delicious. Yeah, that is a banker.

Mum’s rehearsing her speech. She needs to impress Mr. X as elections are imminent.

“I’m hungry”. I sneaked down the stairs and try to gain access to the kitchen.

It was a sheer impossibility as Aunt Y; the cook will always be there, acting on instructions.

I grabbed a bottle of water and went back upstairs.

It’s so aromatic. My stomach rumbles.

A knock landed on my door.

”We’ve got three more hours to go before Mr. X gets here. Get ready; I want to see how you look in this outfit.”

Without a question, I changed clothes. She examined me, made a few suggestions and walked out.

She comes back with another outfit.

“Put this on,” I did. After five changes in 30 minutes. she’s satisfied.

I saw helper S. She’s got such a cute little boy. Some days he plays in our backyard. Helper S has been with us for nearly 3 months now.

“The money I get from here will send my boy to school. I’ll pay for his admission fee, she’s told the other House Staff. I’m making his uniform at home.” She boasts.

She resumes in the morning and closes in the evening. Her husband hawks corn from street to street; he works at night too; every day at 5 pm he comes and pulls up his cart outside our house. Helper S dashes out with her son and they go home together.

Some days I get home at 5pm from Evening Club and I see little Fella outside our house helping his father sell the corn. I approached them one day and bought some corn. I took this picture because he looked so serious, so cute helping his father. He doesn’t speak the language, so communication is always a problem.

 

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Mum always yells at her; “Why is my freezer getting empty? Why are there dry fruits? Why are candy tins empty? What happened to fruit juice? I asked you to cook leg of Mutton, why is the chunk missing? Why is there less food in the pot?”

I can’t tell mum,I binge. I don’t have guts to do that. I simply block my ears with my index fingers when my mum yells and screams and accuses every one for theft.

I go out to watch impatiently. At about 30 minutes after, she’s got an appointment. As mum was about to make her way to the saloon, her two friends arrived.

I watched as mum put imported chocolates, dry fruit, mints, and mouth fresheners in small bowls and puts them all over the room. I watched as she gets the house helper to wash the glasses again. She asked her to touch up the flowers and sprayed them with water.

She’s slightly stressed.

A delivery man came here. It was a food from Restaurant X, one of the top end restaurants here. Everything goes into the oven. (Aluminum box types). There were heating instructions. A man from restaurant X came to serve Mr. X and to ensure these delicacies and special food were delivered to Mr. X in the way he wants it to be presented.

I went down, no one was there. I quickly grabbed two aluminum foiled large containers and dashed for the stairs. I dropped them in my room. I went back into the kitchen, Helper S watched as I prepared platters of food and took them upstairs. I knew she wanted to stop me but she couldn’t, she was very shy. You never question the masters of the house. One of the instructions she must obey. This was the core of her contract.

I make my way through all the food. The food was amazing. It has to be after all Mr. X is coming. I don’t stop. I’m in pain but can’t seem to stop.

After a while all is calm. I clean up my room thoroughly. Take care of everything, all the evidence.

I heard shouting. Mum’s back. Crack, the voice of slap was loud, I watched as she slapped the Helper S across the face. I walked into the middle of the stair case and leaned down the banister watching the ugly disturbing scene unfold in front of me. I saw little Fella watching as mum hurled one abuse after the other at the helper S. She’s crying, she keeps saying. She doesn’t know anything

She’s fired. Her two month salary will pay for that pricey food from pricey restaurant. Another call is placed to restaurant. It’s emergency. The Manager well known friend of my father promises 40 minute delivery with extras.

After 30 minutes Mr. X walked in. They just can’t seem to do enough for him. Everyone is on high alert and grace.

At the dining table, where food costs months of salaries of our help, he tastes one dish after other. He never comments, just eats, while mum and her friend’s talk about their love for poor, their care for the society and their sleepless nights over people dying of hunger in Sindh.

I watch. Helper S has swollen eyes. I avoid her gaze and excuse myself from the table.

After 45 minutes, it was all over. There’s more yelling. Mum’s friends have joined in. My heart is in my mouth. Little Fella is holding his mother’s shirt tightly. Now his mother cries uncontrollably in broken Urdu. I find the courage and take my mum to the side away from all the eyes and tell her it’s me. Mum it was me and not Helper S. Mum looks at me oddly and next thing she said; “look how caring, soft-hearted and innocent my child is, she’s taking a blame for this thief”. Mum’s friends look impressed,

“But it was me mum, ask Helper S”. I retorted. “No daughter, you’re too naive, we’ve to deal with these people with upper hand or they’ll eat us alive, wipe us clean.”

 

Days fly by. Some nights I slept, some nights I roamed the balcony like a wild cat.

I can’t seem to get Helper S out of mind. What shall I do?

Three days, I engaged in a battle with my mother at will. The fourth day, my father a reasonable man, returned from the States. He’s. He sends our driver with the money. He came back looking perplexed; they’ve refused to accept the money. They are pathans, very strong minded, arrogant people. “Sir, they refused to accept this and they said that God will provide for them. My mother became furious, “these arrogant people, I bet they want more money, they are taking advantage of our good nature of our kindness, Oh Dear they are so right with the saying; bhalai ka zaman hi nahi raha; no good comes out of doing good these days”. She stared at me.

Now, weeks later, I thought it’s so easy to get in the world of ED and get completely lost. Actions have consequences. I don’t want to think about my actions but I no longer know who to blame my Eating Disorder, where I restrict and then binge and then restrict and I’m always unhappy with my myself my body, myself, my mother or the society? I come from a status quo where I’m constantly told appearances matter, making an impression matters, success matters. We pay so much at the restaurants. At times bill is 70,000 PKR, but it kills us to pay a basic 5,000PKR wages to our help.

Why this story?

I share this to show that actions have consequences. I shared this story so that I can remind myself about what I’ve done and opt for forgiveness; I share this to tell Helper S that I am so sorry.I share this story to tell Little Fella one day you may come across this on internet, if you ever read this, believe me, I’m so sorry.

Please forgive me.

 

 

It’s hard to accept a person is binging, eating too much but the act does provide you with an opportunity to address the issue, once and for all. In the end, it might provide you with the tool you’ll need to help the person accept treatment in the best setting.

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About Author

Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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