Continuing with the car analogy I used in last Wednesday’s post, we find Healthy Ali driving on the road to Recovered and Eating Disorder Ali tucked away in the trunk (I’m picturing a white sedan with tan leather interior-a car I drove for most of my thirties).

INT. ALI’S CAR – DAY

Healthy Ali (HA): Looking in the rearview mirror. Hey, how ya doin’ back there?

Eating Disorder Ali (EDA): A bit muffled but intelligible. Oh, so now you talk to me? Why do I have to be in the trunk? You know, it’s not super comfortable back here and I was a way better driver. A pause. Don’t you still need me? I think you still need me.  Can I at least get in the backseat?

HA: No, sorry girl. I know how you operate and I’m not falling for that one again. Look, I appreciate all that you have done over the last three decades but…

EDA: Kicking and screaming. GET ME OUT OF THIS TRUNK!!!!! Seriously! A trunk!! This has to be illegal!!! LET ME OUT!!!!

HA: Do I need to stop the car? EDA is still kicking and screaming. Okay, I’m pulling over. She pulls over to the side of the road and stops the car.

EDA: Suddenly quiet. Hey, did you stop the car? Why did you stop the car? Legally speaking, I don’t think you can keep me in the trunk.

HA: Seeing how you only exist in my subconscious, legally speaking, I think I’m in the clear.

EDA: Softer tone. I just want to help. I can protect you from the hard, scary feelings.  I know you still have them. I know you’re scared. If you let me drive, or at least let me sit in the backseat, I can take some of the fear away.

HA:  I know, but the fear doesn’t scare me like it use to. Fear is part of life and I choose life. Look, thank you for keeping me safe when the feelings became dangerous. Back then I wasn’t equipped to handle those feelings and when they got to be too much you swept in and took care of it.  But because you always took over, I never learned healthier ways to cope.

EDA: No, you have to admit that I made things healthier as time went on.  I mean, you use to binge and purge several times a day.  Your whole life revolved around food, binging and purging.

HA: Yes! Because you wouldn’t even let me in the car!

EDA: And when you refused to stop banging on window, I let you in. I let you convince me to commit to some recovery. Okay? I found healthier ways for you to cope. Constant dieting worked really well. A pause. Justifying. It was way better then bulimia. I also threw in some emotional overeating which then fueled your need to lose weight. I mean, it was a brilliant cycle! You were so focused on eating and then trying to the lose weight that you never had time to deal with anything scary or hard! And, hello! There are a bazillion different diets out there, I seriously could have protected you from feeling anything for eternity.

HA:  Yes, I get that, but I don’t think it was genius or beneficial. By keeping me in a constant state of trying to lose weight, I always felt like a failure. Instead of caring about who I was as a person, I focused solely on what I looked like as a person. And because I never met this ridiculously subjective definition of what I thought other people defined as beautiful and perfect, I never felt like I was good enough. A pause.  Look, while you did make things a bit better, I’d argue that your tactics were still very harmful both physically and mentally.

EDA:  Thanks not fair.  You finished law school, didn’t you?  Passed two bar exams, got three different great jobs, met and married Steve and gave birth to two wonderful boys.  How could I have been so bad if you did all that with me behind the wheel?

HA:  It’s true. Some great stuff happened with you behind the wheel.  But they only happened because I was finally in the car.  And since I’ve been driving, things have gotten even better.  Just imagine…

EDA: Not listening. Look, I have been calling the shots for over three decades and I will admit that it’s not perfect, but I am what you are used to.

HA:  Not anymore. You know I want more and I cannot get there with you.

EDA:  That’s harsh HA. Look, I’ve evolved, I’ve changed.  Who’s to say I’m not worth keeping around.  Need I say canary in a coal mine?

HA: I am a canary too, EDA. You have done so much that I am grateful for but it is time.  This is extremely hard and I wish I knew a better, easier way to let you go.  Saying goodbye to you is a loss.  A very, very big loss, which is why this week has been so hard.

EDA:  I just can’t believe I have to go. I’ve been here your whole life and the last few months I’ve been in the trunk for you! Girl, I got in the trunk! Pause. Realizing that it’s over.  I suppose I don’t know how to say goodbye. I don’t know how to let go. What will become of me?

HA: I don’t know. You’ll be free. I wish this was easier.  It hurts and feels like I am losing a dear friend. If it makes you feel any better, I feel like I’m going to have to mourn the loss of you.

EDA: That does make me feel a little better. Can you say I was your best friend? No, no it’s okay. I get it. But you can mourn me.  I am definitely mourn worthy.

HA: Smiles. Yes you are.

EDA: I suppose it is time for me to make my exit. Is it possible to make a graceful exit from the trunk of a car?

HA:  If anyone can do it, it’s you.

EDA: Could you maybe pop the trunk?

HA laughs and reaches down for the lever at the base of driver’s seat and pulls.

End scene.