Bearing witness

by MB

I miss being hungry. Being full is uncomfortable. The simple cycle of having needs, expressing, fulfilling, and satisfying them is a process I don't yet understand. 

Hollowness was my ally, my most consistent want. By nature, of course, it was logistically unattainable. But it always seduced me, begging for resurgence. This is not to say that hunger is comfortable (a distinction always worth reiterating) but rather the opposite; it's consistent discomfort is it's true appeal. It's reliable. 

It's not a distraction, really, though I could imagine how it might be perceived that way. It's everything else that's a distraction. When your thoughts are all centered around the very simple concept of being hungry - of ridding yourself of food and thought and flesh and emotion and pain and vulnerability - the whole world is a distraction. Connection takes energy, emotion, relationships require fuel to be maintained. 

Also, being hungry feels good. Emptiness craves more space on which it can encroach, marking and staking territory until it becomes the sole occupant. As you get emptier, draining slowly from your own body, you have to work harder to keep disappearing. An inflatable mattress leaks air consistently at first, the hiss of its exhale is steady. But as it loses its shape, the air gets tired. First, you apply pressure to the parts that seem to be retaining air, the pockets in the corners which seem to be fighting against you. When you've exhausted that route, you pick up the mattress, markedly lighter, but still room for improvement, for emptiness, and you begin to compress it methodically, ensuring as you go that each square inch of fabric has been squeezed and pushed and prodded until it is absent. A significant amount of exertion later, you're left holding its shell, crumpled and bunched into the smallest-possible shape, lopsided and deformed.

Congratulations, you've achieved your goal. the mattress fits back into its carrying bag, finally protected from any exposure to the outside.

At this point you should be exhausted, because all that draining and depleting and manipulating was hard. work. But you did it. Except no one can see your hard work, the products of your labor, and you're relegated to basking in the nothingness that is your own self-satisfaction.