“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

On day 34 of not eating, I stopped being hungry. It was a Friday night in March 2014, and the smell of pizza filled the house. My parents scarfed down slices as quickly as they could, hiding from me. 

I breathed in the pepperoni-scented air, waiting for my mouth to water... but... nothing happened.

Dragging my IV pole into the kitchen, I slapped the bag of nutrients that was pumping ‘dinner’ into my arm. “This bad boy is tastier than pizza!” Guilty faces cracked into laughter as my parents scooted over so I could finally join them. 

Every day after that, I binge-watched Man v. Food and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Watching Adam Richman take down 18 cheeseburgers in an hour or Guy Fieri moan over a bite of apple pie gave me such joy. If I couldn’t eat, I was giddy to know someone else was out there getting fat and full. 

When I could eat again, three months later, that first nibble wasn’t nearly as satisfying as enjoying others’ contentment. 

With this one wild and precious life, I will strive to make the people around me feel full — of happiness, hope, passion, and, of course, apple pie.

— Michelle Henry