This is how I wake myself up:
I shop at a very expensive yoga clothing store. As a ballet teacher, I wear that type of clothing 6 days a week for work and get a special discount there because of my position.
A few weeks ago I had a gift card to said store and went to buy a new yoga top and pants. I don’t try things on there. I just grab them in a size 6 and they fit***
I got home and put the yoga top on and it looked awful. The built-in bra didn’t cover my boobs – it fit in the band around my ribs, but the length of the material was just to short to comfortably cover everything and not squish them awkwardly. I was disappointed as the top looked pretty on the hanger, but I knew a size 8 would be too big around the ribs so I went to return it and get my money back.
“What was wrong with it?” the stick insect behind the counter asked as she rang through my exchange.
“It just looked lovely on the hanger but horrible on,” I responded without going into detail about how a 6 fits in the ribs, but doesn’t have enough material to contain my boobs.
She looked disparagingly at me, “yeah you do have to have that certain body type for this top.”
I think my jaw hit the floor.
She kept looking at me.
“Well obviously I just don’t have that body type,” I responded incredulously.
She smiled in mock sympathy, “I know what you mean.”
I took my money and left in disgust.
*** I used to be a size 2 or 4 in this store. Barfing at my own fatness.
“Hello giant,” a coworker greets me at ballet. I am wearing some sky scraper heels and trying unsuccessfully to hide the 10lbs I have gained since June.
“Please don’t remind me that I have giant genetics,” I implore him.
“Oh you have the “V” gene,” he says giving me a salacious look. “V for voluptuous”
My jaw drops in horror.
“Don’t say that to her,” another co-worker interrupts. “She thinks voluptuous means ‘fat’.”
Well we all know that’s what it means.
Everyone knows that you never ask a woman if she is pregnant. Girls especially know that this is a code you don’t break no matter how obvious it is.
Today a colleague at ballet asked me if I was pregnant while patting my stomach. She actually thought it was acceptable to pat my belly and ask if I was expecting a baby. I looked at her in horror. I told her that was a terrible thing to ask someone.
“Why?” she seemed surprised that I was upset.
“Do I look pregnant?” I responded.
***This is the worst part. Brace yourselves***
“I don’t know,” she answered.
I. Don’t. Know.
Well I am obviously fat enough that she thinks I’m pregnant. The sad thing about that is I have actually lost weight lately. That there was all the encouragement I need to keep purging, exercising and restricting.
The tragedy of the whole day was when I relayed the incident to a friend and they said to me, “well if she knew your situation, she wouldn’t ask.” Meaning that my boyfriend has already had 2 accidental children with 2 different woman and our lives are negatively impacted by it every, single day. Said friend then said this: “It’s not like you want to be the third woman to have his child.”
No, I do not.
We went out for sushi last night. I had eaten some grapes and nothing else all day. By the time we got to the restaurant I was ready to cry from hunger and agitation.
My boyfriend’s food came first; all four plates of it. I kept waiting for my tofu and rice to materialize. All I kept thinking was how f**king tired of being hungry I was. I am always hungry. Always. I can never fill the void. I don’t know what it is like to not be hungry. I am hungry as I write this…starving, empty.
After we stuffed ourselves my boyfriend complained about how much he had eaten.
“Are you going to throw up?” I asked.
“No. Why? Is that your plan?” He raised his eyebrows at me.
I laughed and continued shoveling rice down my throat, “we don’t talk about that. I’m old and ugly enough to do what I want.”
“You’re not allowed to do that,” he said in all seriousness.
I laughed some more. Nothing on earth would come between me and purging this meal.
When we got home I shut the bathroom door, turned the water on and threw up. It felt right and good and I was relieved afterwards. During the day I had accidentally caught sight of my reflection when I was taking a ballet class. It made my skin crawl. I am aware of how fat I am, but sometimes it still shocks me.
When I came out of the bathroom my boyfriend looked at me:
“You look guilty…”
I didn’t make eye contact, “of what?”
“That’s what I am wondering.”
I didn’t respond. I couldn’t sleep for hours because of the pain I was in. My kidneys still hurt.
The next morning I mentioned how awful I was feeling which is normal after purging.
“It must have been all the food we ate,” my boyfriend replied.
I shook my head, “it’s not the food.”
“Why would you say that?” He asked suspiciously.
I am not sure if he was asking me if I purged or is just hinting at it. Did he want actual confirmation? I don’t care to talk about it. I don’t need him to know and to ask questions and to fight me on this. I prefer to stay disordered. I don’t need help – I am beyond that. I don’t need saving – there is nothing worth saving. He can love me as much as he wants. I will never love myself.
When I was growing up, my mother told me often that “everything in moderation” was good for me.
Perhaps she could already see my extremities even then. As a Libra (represented by scales), I am perpetually amused that my life is not balanced at all.
Today I ate 2lbs of mini cucumbers for breakfast. I was so hungry that it felt like I would die from it. I woke up full of bile and acid. I binged and purged my way through uncountable amounts of food last night. Never full enough to be satisfied; never empty enough to be loveable. To look at me you would never know. My fat rolls negate any signs of illness; the cellulite and stretch marks blind everyone to how sick I really am.
I left ballet untouched by my overdose of vegetables and raced wildly for dinner. Obsessed, demented, focused: all I could think about was tofu and rice. It is all I want to eat at any given time. It is on my safe list. Sometimes I can almost justify it.
I start eating and cannot stop. I register that I am full and continue to shovel anything-drowned-in-soy-sauce and acceptance down my raw, sore throat. When I am done, the panic sets in immediately. What have I done? What was I thinking when I imagined not throwing this back up? I pay and run from the restaurant like I am fleeing the hordes of hell. My demons keep pace. I have about half an hour before I am meant to meet my boyfriend at home. I drive with purpose – agitated – run inside and start purging the calories that are sloshing around my insides. The relief is instantaneous. I have minutes to spare before my boyfriend is home. I wipe my face, fix my makeup.
I find a bottle of wine and settle outside on a beautiful, end of summer evening. No one will ever know. Too empty, too full…all I know is it is not enough. I am not enough.
Coffee, thyroid medication.
More coffee, an hour at the gym with my foot in a cast.
Celery and hummus.
More celery, more hummus, more coffee.
My coworker sits in my office and lectures me on eating (while he eats). He informs me that I will never have to wear a tutu and pink tights on stage again and therefore I should enjoy food. He mentions that I should get over my issues and I disagree telling him my demons keep me company.
“What do you want me to eat?” I ask as I shove celery down my throat and try not to gag.
“Bread,” he gestures with all of his Russian passion in the direction of my collar bones which seem to upset him. “It is so light; there is nothing in it.”
“I love bread so much. I dream about toast,” I confess like my soul depends upon it. It seems wrong to admit this; like I am betraying the wilting celery that is trying to nourish me.
“You need to eat some bread,” he is pleading with me now. “Good, grainy, dense bread.”
He is the devil. I shake my head as if to remove the picture of bread from my mind. He is always trying to get me to eat.
Dinner at a friend’s house: 4 plates of food, wine, cake. I sit at the table and start to sweat. Panic.
I will die of this feeling. I am out of control after restricting all day.
While they make coffee and dessert in the kitchen, I purge. The relief is instantaneous.
Fast food drive through on the way home from dinner:
2 veggie burgers, onion rings, 2 family size fries (to fill the hole in my heart where there should be a family). I sit in a parking lot as the rain pours down and I shake. I have found love on a Wednesday night. There is ketchup and comfort at the bottom of the brown, paper bag.
Purge, purge, purge.
Bubble bath and a conversation with my boyfriend on the phone: “I’m taking you out for your favourite Italian on Sunday night. Do you want to go on a picnic on Saturday? Maybe we could go to the mountains…I have some wine for Friday.”
I can hear the calories we are going to consume. I just want to lie in his arms and close my eyes and never eat again.
5lbs down in 6 days. I have a stomach full of pills and coffee and emptiness. Finally…
After the break down I had at my doctor’s office about my 15lb weight gain, she promised to refer me to a specialist. I explained to her about my vegan/vegetarian diet, exercise, hypothyroidism and eating disordered history. She was adamant that my weight gain and inability to lose weight are not related to hypothyroidism because I am medicated. According to her, that means I am “cured”. When she said that it had to be something that I am eating, I nearly lost my mind and the little sanity I have left. I explained to her about the calories I track every day, all the time I spend in the gym and I told her that given 21 years of having an eating disorder, that I know about nutrition and weight loss. In the end she said she would refer me to a specialist to make sure that there wasn’t another medical reason that I was gaining weight and couldn’t lose it.
Today I got a referral in the mail to a nutrition program. Thanks to my doctor, they have enrolled me in a group course called “Secrets To Weight Loss Success”. To say I am mad doesn’t even begin to cover it. Her referral just goes to show how little she cares about me or my health – mental or physical. I could write her a book on nutrition and exercise and I guarantee there is not one thing they could teach me about “balanced meals”, “snacks that cause weight gain” and “keeping weight off successfully with exercise”, that I don’t already know. When I was in her office she told me that I don’t need to lose weight and that my BMI is normal. Now I have a referral to go and sit with a bunch of fatties and discuss how not to eat McDonalds for dinner. Needless to say, she is no longer my doctor. Who gives someone with an eating disorder a referral to a weight loss course?