Category Archives: Ballet

Undefined

I am triggered by everything:

A photo of dancers I used to idolize when I was 16 and starving, desperate to be even half as skinny as they were and still are. I scroll past them. My brain does a double take. I back track. I scrutinize their emaciated arms, their collar bones, their sunken cheek bones. They are all smiles, superior in their anorexia, mocking me. Twenty years have gone by and they are still thinner than thin.

I see my reflection in an unsafe mirror…so that’s what thighs and hips and stomachs look like after two babies in quick succession – well mine anyway. A vast, mass of undefined lard, rolling and oozing and overflowing, fleshy like raw dumplings, doughy like unbaked bread, ever expanding…never ending. Never ceasing to amaze me in horror to fascinate me as I stare. “Is that really me?” I don’t recognize myself, this untamed, unmanageable, out of control lump. I don’t fit into my clothes or my brains neatly, compartmentalized boxes: bulimic ballerina has been replaced with fat stay-at-home-mum. Fat, frumpy, fleshy, unfit to be a mother or an anorexic.

I read an ED memoir a friend lends me. I stop. I put it away on a shelf where I cannot see it. I pick it back up a week later. It makes me remember that I used to purge just as easily as I breathed. After this long, would I even notice if it crept back in? If I slipped a couple of times that were more intentional than unintentional? After all, there are days where I seamlessly substitute my calories as I go. Latte? No, americano. Vegan mayo? No, mustard. Salad dressing? Not necessary. More pasta? No, more veggies. Two slices of toast? No, three quarters of one slice is more than enough for breastfeeding two babies. I shake so much, so often from hunger. I don’t get any thinner.

I don’t want to think of the other bad days where I unintentionally eat two muffins instead of one. When I eat half a bag of chocolate chips and then wonder why I’m carrying this “baby weight” 7 Months later. I’m surprised when these things happen. Half a packet of digestive biscuits later I am unsure where I went wrong. But I’ve never pretended to know so why start now?

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hey fatty…

This is how I wake myself up: 

 

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Words Of Wisdom From A Stick Insect

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.

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The “V” Gene

“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.

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Girl Code (And More Dumb S**t People Say To Me)

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.

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Love and Purging

 

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.

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Dancers and Eating Disorders

What do ballet dancers really eat…

I find this article skewed and one sided. As a dancer with 22 years of eating disorders behind me, I wish they had represented both sides of the argument.

http://m.huffpost.com/uk/entry/6105968

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Moderation

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.

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A Day In The (Dysfunctional) Life Of

 

8am

Coffee, thyroid medication.

9am

More coffee, an hour at the gym with my foot in a cast.

11am

Celery and hummus.

1:30pm

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.

4pm

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.

7pm

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.

7:30

Purge, purge, purge.

8:30

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.

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Finally

5lbs down in 6 days. I have a stomach full of pills and coffee and emptiness. Finally…

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