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. Her work has appeared in Apogee, Huffington Post, and The Rumpus, among others. She is currently finishing her MFA in nonfiction at the University of Wyoming. Find her at jennytinghui.com or @pantaloonies.