Unlovable

We go to the wedding today. I wear 2 different outfits: one to the ceremony and one to the reception. I don’t eat all day so that I might look vaguely acceptable (to myself or perhaps some passers by). My boyfriend doesn’t look at me, or notice me, or comment on my apprearance. Given the horrible things he said a few days ago when I was trying on dresses for this event, maybe it is a blessing – you know the kind they say come in “disguise”.

I starve and I primp and I preen. I paint my face and curl my eyelashes and spritz and tease and my legs are tanned and my collar bones are glittered. I brush and comb and fuss and tuck and pin and change and inspect and criticize and adjust and ruefully accept the outcome. We arrive at the ceremony and he says a blanket “you guys looks snazzy” to all 3 of us. Snazzy…the epitomy of compliments. The truth is he only has eyes for his daughter. When she is around, his son and I cease to exist.  I get compliments from his friends at the wedding. Complete strangers talk to me in the washroom telling me they like my dress or hair. One woman hugs me and uses the word “gorgeous”. My boyfriend barely acknowledges me. He is disconnected, preoccupied and I am just the maid who had fed and cleaned and dressed and delivered his children to him while he has been drinking with his friends. 

He takes his daughter “for a walk” which is code for calling her mother. I sit at a table for ten fat, repulsive and alone, staring  into my appetizer, looking for love. After the briefest pretense I walk away from the table and in my high heels and lace and pearls and curls, I toss back up the disappointment. There is not enough wine to soothe my discontented soul. 

His daughter is sick and whiny. She takes up all our attention. There is no time for “us”. There is no hand holding. There is no smiling into each other’s eyes. There is no dancing at this wedding. I hold her and she fidgets, unhappy. He holds her. She cries for cupcakes. No matter what we do, she is fractious. We are home by 10:09pm on a Saturday night. I wanted to slow dance in his arms and dream of our wedding which we both know (but won’t acknowledge) will never happen. The kind of things you do when you are only 9 months into a relationship. I wanted the overflow of love and happiness from this union to flood out hearts. But there are children to take care of  and his stomach is upset by the Indian food (which I hear about in graphic, unromantic detail), so we go home. I pour myself wine in the kitchen, take out the flower from my hair while my boyfriend puts his daughter to bed. His woefully neglected son comes to me in the kitchen and tells me that he feels like we don’t love him. I wrap my arms around him knowing exactly what that feels like and hating myself for not being able to stop him from feeling it too. 

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Trying On Dresses

After the tragedy of trying on dresses for my boyfriend the other night, I decided to try on some dresses alone today. I need one (or two) for the wedding we are going to tomorrow. I put on my favourite BCBG dress that I had altered from a size 8 to a size 2 when I was pretty sick a few years ago. (That is ED sick in case you were wondering.) It zipped. It fit. Angels might as well have sung the Hallelujah chorus for me. I am certainly nowhere near as thin as I got 2 years ago, but I am well on my way.

At my CT scan today the nurse told me that it was easy to redo my dosage because I was “so tiny”. It went a long way to healing the devastation of my boyfriend asking me how “it was even possible” for me to fit in my friend’s dresses, because she has “a much smaller frame” than me. I got the “skinny bitch” out of my coworker as he rapped my hip bones and told me I had no ass this week. (We are dancers so there is nothing weird about observing each others’ bodies.) I got a “you have my dream body” from a pretty svelte girl at a party last night.

My boyfriend, the kids and I ate dinner on the back deck tonight. I made salad and baked pasta. I had 3 helpings of pasta and probably would have had more, but everyone got up and went inside. My stomach hurt as I cleaned up dinner. As per usual, my boyfriend was upstairs bathing his little girl and talking to her mother on the phone. It is the part of the night where I get to clean up dinner and the kitchen (aka the shitty chores), instead of bonding with a child that I desperately need to bond with. After a while I heard him calling for me from upstairs (I’m guessing they were done with her mother and it was ok for me to exist again as someone other than the maid). I ignored him, tossed back my wine and went to throw up dinner. I plan on looking even thinner in that dress tomorrow.

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S**t People Say To Me

Last night’s comments came from my darling boyfriend. I am still determined to write a book on dumb s**t people say to someone with an eating disorder. It is endless…

We have a wedding to go to on Saturday so I borrowed some gorgeous dresses from a friend of mine. I borrow dresses from her all the time because she has a wardrobe I simply can’t afford.

My boyfriend asked me when I was going to try on the dresses for him and I told him I felt like a heffalump and hadn’t been planning on it. I felt uncomfortable putting dresses on in front of him and standing there in my underwear. He asked me what would determine which of the ten dresses I picked on the day and I told him how fat I felt was always the determining factor.

So I started putting on the dresses. I was on the second one when he said, “how is it possible that you fit in K’s dresses?” I looked at him startled as I tried to zip up a dress that was a bit big for me. “What do you mean?” I asked staring at myself in the mirror.  “Well she is shorter than you and has a much a smaller frame than you,” he responded in all seriousness. I just opened my eyes wide staring at him in horror. He saw the look on my face, “this isn’t going to end well for me is it?” he asked. “Not when you compare me to someone who has just had their second baby and tell me that they are smaller than me,” I responded as I removed the dress and went to put on sweat pants and a t-shirt and covered up my disgusting body. “Aren’t you going to try on the other dresses for me?” he asked as I closed the bathroom door. “I would prefer to do it when I am by myself,” was all I said.

I got into bed fully dressed. “What is that unhappy look for?” my boyfriend asked. I just looked at him wondering how nice it must be to be so clueless. I lay there thrilled that I had purged my dinner. It had been validated for me. He tried to touch me and I could tell he wanted to have sex. I just turned out the light and rolled over. I didn’t want to be touched. The man who tries to pretend that I am “hot” and “sexy” all the time just told me in-not-so-many-words that I was fat. He is forever trying to convince me that I have a beautiful body that turns him on. He has undone everything in a few words: “How is it possible that you fit…she has a much smaller frame than you…” All night I felt it eating away at me. I wanted to be anywhere else rather than lying next to him. He tried again this morning to cuddle me and put his hands down my pants. I firmly pulled my pants up and my shirt down, covering the body that is so repulsive. He took the hint and got out of bed.

The wedding I was looking forward to is ruined. The beautiful dresses I was so excited to wear hang on my wardrobe taunting me. I don’t want to go. I don’t care anymore. I had planned to get up and go to gym this morning. I feel horribly depressed. I feel hung over from drinking and purging last night. My anxiety is out of control. I want the man I love to understand, but he doesn’t. He makes it worse. All the time.

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On Being Raped By Your Husband

Trigger Warning: RAPE

I never spoke about it. I never told anyone.

I married at 22. It was a big mistake, but I was too young and dumb to figure that out until it was too late. Over night the person I thought I knew morphed into a monster. The facade he had while we were dating slipped away and I was left on a rollercoaster with a man who was unstable, violent and dangerous.

There are a lot of bad things that happened in the almost 2 years that I stayed in the marriage. In those years my eating disorder spiralled out of control. I was confused and couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong. It took me too long to realize that I needed to get out and towards the end, the abuse started.

I have spoken to girlfriends who have shared their stories of abuse. Most of them are ashamed in some way for something that was not their fault. I was no different. I never called the police. I never reported it. I couldn’t bring myself to confide in family or friends. I didn’t know how to explain that the person I was married to had raped me. It seemed that no one would believe me. After all, I was married to him and willingly living with him while we tried to fix what was wrong.

In the end it was unfixable. In the end being beaten and raped was worse than the cheating and I left. The damage was already done.

A few nights ago I had a massive breakdown and couldn’t tell my boyfriend what was wrong. He asked if I knew what was wrong and I nodded. He asked me if I could tell him what was wrong and I shook my head. I sobbed in the middle of the night and asked God why I wasn’t worth more. Why when I was so young and innocent, He didn’t save me from something so unspeakably terrible. Why I am still haunted, broken. Why I am always poised to run from the man who loves me, because I have loved the wrong man before and paid for it. Why it is so hard to trust that it won’t happen again.

In the dark I am tortured by the memories of being held down, violently restrained, suffocating, unable to escape as he raped me. I try to blur the details, but they are so vivid: the sound of my own muffled screaming, the pain. I can’t erase the disgust of being used, abused and forced to do something against my will; of being violated and tarnished and damaged.

It is 8 years since it happened and I am still scarred, still scared. There are times when it comes rushing back, out of nowhere to drown me.

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Post Purge Hangover

Bulimia hangover.

I wake up feeling like I have been run over. I look awful: eyes puffy with dark circles, fat face, dull skin. My stomach is empty, burning full of bile and nothing else. My throat feels like I swallowed glass. I am exhausted, dehydrated, migrainey. I am empty.

I hate the morning after a purge. I love the feeling that stays with me long after the hangover. The numbness and calm; the anxiety ebbing away.

Everything is beautiful this morning: my boyfriend and the children (even at 6am), our life together…all the chaos that upsets me doesn’t seem to matter. The lack of control is negated because I have found control elsewhere. I stroll into the day calorie free, armed only with coffee and I know I can do this. I can starve even though my anxiety will spike in a couple of hours. I can curb it later with wine and if I have to eat, I can purge that too. All is right in my world, if not well. All is as it should be: familiar and comforting, soothing to my tormented soul. My demons are placated.

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Coping

I have been slowly falling back into my ED habits. I say slowly because part of me is not sure if this is going to set off another bout of kidney issues. I am consciously restricting (although it is not very severe at the moment) and the purging is becoming more regular. Thankfully, my binges are not of epic proportions at the moment, so it is easier to hide. The few months of not engaging in ED behaviours when I thought that was causing my kidney problems, are over. I am so thankful to be able to cope for now. Tonight I knew dinner was going to be purged. My plan was to come home and not eat after being disgusted by myself all day. Lately, I have become more aware of myself size-wise and the usual loathing for the sight of my naked flesh is back. It started with a photograph of me in a bridesmaid dress that I will be wearing in June. I was blown away by how huge I was. “Beached whale” sprang to mind and has not left since. The last month I have been suffering terrible distress over my relationship and it’s never-ending complications and drama. I found that purging eased my anxiety. There are only so many nights you can freak out, sob yourself to sleep and expect your boyfriend to remain understanding. Part of my distress is that I think there are things he doesn’t understand or doesn’t care to.

On Saturday night we were out for dinner with 3 other couples and their kids. We got to the restaurant and everyone was picking their seats when my boyfriend suddenly disappeared. He was outside on the phone to the mother of his daughter and it drove me insane. For the two hours that we were out as a family, he had to go outside so that his child could talk to her mom because it would be totally unreasonable for her to wait until the morning. I understand that I am just supposed to “get it” and go along with it, but I lost my mind. Everyone else was sitting there with their partner and mine was nowhere to be seen. Rude to our friends and more than rude to me and I have no intention of tolerating it. The situation is so ridiculous and yet even more is asked of me. Every few days it is a massive ordeal of me breaking down, crying and having to explain it to him. I know it can’t go on like this. If he doesn’t eventually get it without me having to point out every unreasonable thing that I’m just expected to tolerate, then I can’t survive. I figured he knew how much he had to ask of someone to be with him in his situation and that would mean that every effort would be made to make it bearable not the opposite.

Back to ED. We got back from the restaurant on Saturday evening, he went to put his child to bed and I went to throw up. The relief was immediate. I remembered why purging works: the numbness after. Tonight, after eating dinner, despite my intentions not to (mmm…pasta), I waited for him to take his daughter for a bath. Bath time upsets me because I can’t be a part of it. It is the time when she calls her mother (and they all pretend I don’t exist) and I am left to clean up dinner and the kitchen, parent the other child who barely gets a look in, tidy up and make lunches for school. It upsets me, but then what part of sharing my boyfriend’s time and attention with his kids and their mothers doesn’t upset me? So tonight I waited til bath time knowing that as usual, he is so focused on her that I can get away with whatever I want and he will never notice. I glugged a couple of glasses of wine (which I know I should give up, but I can’t) and purged dinner while he was upstairs with his child and I was quietly “not existing”.

It is the only way I know how to cope. It will mean that I, and more importantly we, can survive this.

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Choices and Consequence

Here is a list of things I vowed to never do again in a relationship:

  • date a north American
  • date a non-Christian
  • date someone with no money and/or who wouldn’t pay for things
  • be the one who went backwards and forwards between 2 houses, living out of the boot of my car, during that weird in between part of the relationship when we weren’t living together
  • live together without at least being engaged first (hello, can I wait long enough for some commitment before giving up my maid services for free?)
  • wait endlessly for an engagement/wedding
  • move into his house rather than mine
  • be the one making all the sacrifice and assuming all the risk in the relationship
  • live on his timeline
  • give up the opportunity to move home for a man and stay in North America because of him

I never even thought to add that I would never date a man with kids because that was never part of any equation. In fact the day before our first date, I swore blind it wasn’t a date simply because he had children and I didn’t want to get involved in that kind of situation. Don’t ask me how my big list of DON’Ts is going…

Some days I look at my life choices and laugh at myself because they are just so laughable. Who does these things? Who makes these kind of dumb decisions? Who doesn’t learn the first time around and keeps repeating the same mistakes?

Well…I never said I was smart. After all, I am a fat bulimic. And, on that note, I have started purging again.

I had to. Life is boring. It is mundane and of course I swore blind that the only reason I would stay was for an extraordinary love. Yes, I am waiting for the kind that sweeps me off my feet. The kind that they write about or make movies about. I said I wouldn’t stay if it was just going to be ordinary. Well guess what? It is ordinary – EVERY DAMN DAY And I don’t think it is ever going to be enough for me, in the same way that I will never be enough. I am bored by the routine.

My heart is somewhere else. We all know that. I have never made a secret of it; never hidden it. I am a discontent. I am a dreamer. I am in all likelihood delusional. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that every day is the same: wake up (chronically sleep deprived) to a dirty, disorganized house. Try fruitlessly to clean or tidy or sweep or do dishes or put toys away or stare at the mess and die on the inside. So much for a never-ending love story: it is more like never ending laundry. Nothing I do makes a dent in the chaos. Go to gym or work or both. No matter. I am eternally fat anyway. Come home to cook and clean and clean and cook. Who cares. It never ends. Try to be the perfect step-mommy. Fail. Try again. Fail harder. Give up. Cry in the bath tub. Pull myself together. Have a melt down. Drink excessively. Try to instill some boundaries. Fail, of course. Bake some healthy cookies. Feed the kids candy. Give in. Hate myself some more. Read a self-help book. Realize I am a bitch. Make school lunches. Realize I am not their mother(s). Try again. Fail again.

This is our “dating”.

I have started starving again during the day from the anxiety. I have started coming home longing to binge my way to oblivion. I look forward to drinking the most. What else is there to look forward to? No date nights (no money). No weekends away (no money). No wining or dining or shopping or movies or drinks or vacations or diamonds or roses or who cares anymore. I am obviously not worth those things.

I have made his life infinitely easier and made mine infinitely harder. I thought somewhere along the line there would be some reward, a payoff…something to make it all worth it.

There is the perfunctory “I love you” in the darkness before sleep (no sex – again). It is sad and empty and it sucks the life out of me: not my mistakes, but the ones that I’ve agreed to pay for by being here. That I will pay for over and over again every day of my life that I chose to stay. I try to tell him that I am not meant for this life. That I am not the person for him or his children; that I have made the wrong decision. He doesn’t believe me. It is like he is fighting to hang on to me because he wants someone to love. I would want to be loved if it was me in the situation instead of him. I get it. I keep saying that he needs someone else. That I am freaking out. That I made the wrong choice. He cannot allay my fears or calm me. He is too tired to see that this will not work. It cannot. There is no time for us. There is no foundation to build a life upon together. There is no room in his life for me to squeeze into. I don’t want to be mummy number 3. Third place does not sit well with me. Failure is my biggest trigger.

And yet he loves me, despite my failing. He loves me and I don’t know why. In 32 years I have never managed to love myself. He told me this week, “you are much more loveable when you aren’t trying to run away”. I am always trying to leave…

I sit here alone in the dark on one of our only nights without kids. I am serenaded by the hum of the dishwasher in the kitchen and the washing machine in the basement. At least in the dark I cannot see the mess (I have made of my life).

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Data This Week

Meals deliberately missed: 2

Meals purged: 0 (for a total of 3 months purge free) UPDATE: purged tonight…offically ended my 3 month streak just hours after I wrote this.

Days of premediated caloric restriction: 3

Accidental binges: 1

Planned binges: 1

Gym workouts: 4 so far…

Total meltdowns: 1 (crying naked in the bathroom in the middle of the night)

Partial meltdowns: 2.5

Number of migraines: 6

Longest lasting migraine: 3 days without any respite

Days since last hospital visit: 17

Weeks left til trip home: 13

Anxiety level: please send Valium

Glasses Bottles of wine: too many

Months since I moved in with my boyfriend: 2

Number of days period is late: 1*

*(I did just have my IUD removed a couple of weeks ago and am waiting for things to “normalize” whilst trying to avoid any unplanned babies.)

Triggering comments from this week: “Why don’t you go have a nap and then you won’t eat anymore?” “She loves food…she is a woman after your own heart.” “You had 3 carrots and a banana for lunch? Watch out you don’t get fat.”

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