Cover Photo: Art by Brian Rea for Catapult
Art by Brian Rea for Catapult

In the Harsh Climate of Wyoming, I Learned to Listen to My Body

My eating disorder dictated my relationship to food. Then I moved to Wyoming, whose unforgiving landscape reminded me: We eat food to survive.

Stay behind in Austin where you belongI’m trying to start over. Stay in the heat, with the tech startups and the awful, congested traffic. Stay behind and let me live.

Brokeback MountainBrokeback Mountain

Once you think you’re getting used to the cold, there’s the altitude. At 7,200 feet, Laramie is considered relatively high altitude. High altitude lowers your appetite and makes you sleepy and dehydrated. You can never breathe quite enough, because you’re always two breaths behind.

layered

I’ll go on a hike I’ll go on a five-hour hike and I won’t eat at all to make up for this.

it

Go to bed and don’t even think about dinner.

terrified

really

with it

You can existBut only barely. And on my terms, not yours

Jenny Tinghui Zhang is a Chinese-American writer and educator. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Wyoming and a 2016 VONA/Voices fellow. Her work has appeared in/is forthcoming from Apogee, CALYX, and The Rumpus, with essays in Huffington Post, Bustle, and HelloGiggles, among others. Her story “Curiosities” was shortlisted in Cosmonauts Avenue’s 2018 Nonfiction Contest judged by Ocean Vuong. She serves on the editorial staff of Adroit Journal and is finishing a collection of linked stories about a Chinese-American family. Find her at jennytinghui.com / @pantaloonies