When I think about the fact that I’ve had an eating disorder for five-and-a-half years, I feel like I don’t know myself … like no one truly knows me. In general, I’m terrible at keeping secrets, but this is the one that I’ve never been worried I’d disclose. How can such a significant part of my life be completely isolated from the other people in my life? I feel torn and incongruous, like there are two parts of me split by a bloody fence.
It’s somewhat ironic, the way this has all unfolded. Before I adopted an eating disorder I was thin and in shape. Now, after bouts of anorexia and bulimia, I’m heavier than I ever would have been had I simply let my body alone. Of course, I wouldn’t mind going back to the days of twenty calories, when I went to the prom as a junior in a dress that my twelve-year-old sister can’t even fit into now. God, I’d kill to have that jawline back, the cheekbones, the concave stomach. I can recognize I was ill then, but I’m ill now too, and at least then I was attractive.
I counted last night, and I know six other women that have eating disorders. How did this thing get so pervasive? Six? They’re in every quarter of my life. I guess self-hatred is immune to social borders and idolatry is prevalent in every area near a GLAMOUR billboard.
I don’t want to be bulimic anymore. I’m not one of those girls who treasures her illness; I want so desperately to slough it off, like some old skin, but I just can’t shake it. I love food. The words sound so crass, like they were mumbled through thick jowls and a flabby tongue; they sound like fat people words, sloppy and graceless. Right now I’m ending a night-long binge and even though I’ll throw up tonight, I’ll feel disgusting tomorrow. It’s all so depressingly cyclical, I’m dancing around the crumbs on the rim of my plate and I can’t tell where I began.
Five years. Five years. Half a decade spent hunched over in showers purging into Ziploc bags and Tupperware containers. Five years of laxatives that have wrenched my insides and paralyzed my bowels. Five years of waiting for my roommates to go to bed while I ransack the fridge, the pantry, the freezer, the floor, the vending machine. Five years of never feeling beautiful, of sucker-punching my body image in the face of Natalie Portman, of glancing at my bulbous reflection in every car window, of losing control.
My insides are so battered, I feel I’m just a skin holding in pulsing chaos. Truly, I’ve lost myself and I can’t recover. How did I let it get this far? Why can’t I stop? Nothing is tangible to me; all is beyond my grasp.