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Today, Clouds, A Cat, and A Bulimic
today is a new day.
today is a fresh day.
Its slighly cloudy with a chance of precipitation.
I am a freshman in college now. Graduation has come and it was long awaited. My grey tabby tries to sit on my keyboard as I write this. His fur is soft and warm against my dry, chilled skin. Its funny how much he knows about me. About everything. Its funny how he knows that I need him now. Its comforting. The way he curls up against my arms and purrs softly, calmly. He gently reminds me of past an future.
Now, barely an adult at 18, but still quite a child, I have had a lifetime of experience. I have experienced bad and good things, amazing and horrifying things.
Eight years ago was perhaps the last time I have ever seen my birth mother. I like my life that way. She never really added to my life once she gave it. She left me many years of baggage that I still carry on. Today, I open one metaphorical suitcase and share with you its contents.
Unfolding a memoir, I see myself, younger. I see that she's hounding me about my weight. Im all of six looking up at a woman whose yo-yo dieted for so long, her skin hangs from her body in folds that remind me of a bat for some unrelated reason, and she's telling me I need to be thinner. My short legs are too chubby, my cheeks too full. I need to look like some ematiated beauty, though ematiation, starvation isn't beauty. From now, if I seperate myself from the pains of hearing I'm ugly, I can see it was her own insecurities she breathed down my throat. But at six, memories are etched in feelings, emotions.
My mother, its hard to claim kinship to her, was bulimic. At the time, I didn't quite put two and two together. My Mommy was beautiful- at least to me. So what if she was "rounder"? She was my mother, the roundness was comforting when I wanted a hug. I didn't want to hug a pencil. But I didn't know why she was getting thinner. Why she'd lock the bathroom door and run the bathtub water when she went to the potty? Why her eyes were so glossy, glassy, and her breath reeked of vomit after the yellowed lights went off upon her exit from the restroom. The scent wafted under the door, sickly sweet and horribly pugnent- the smell I associated with the ER at the local hospital.
It was sickening. She'd eat and eat and eat, shoving food into her mouth then run to the bathroom to undo it with a sick sloushing of her stomach. I dont think she realized it, but I was watching. Little girls often do. We play mommy and we watch ours to learn how.
My mother and I do not speak to each other. There are many reasons why. To this day I doubt she knows how much I was watching. I doubt she knows that for a while, I was my mother's daughter. I was bulimic.
I was afraid, mad and upset. I was scared of becoming my mother. I was scared of hurting those I loved, of seeking sexual approval from men I'd met the day before, of lying to everyone, of telling myself I was worthy of not sabataging myself like her. Like she did. But over time, I did almsost all of those. Except sleep around. Thats one thing I haven't done.
I became bulimic when I sat in my bathroom, upset about some girl, Christine L. from elementary school, who called me fat. Yes, I was fat. Yes that was my fault. I ate too much and exercised too little. At the point in which she did that, I was on the edge. The edge of tippping over. The metatphorical precipice that leads either to good or bad. I fell to the bad. And hard. Being 11 and on the edge is hard to imagine, but I had seen things that were the stuff of nightmares. Stuff I barely allow myself to think on. And here comes this girl, who like most everyone else I knew could only the see the surface of my life. The front children put on, adopt to be equal and she had to choose that to pick on in front of my class? When at home, I ate and ate and ate, shoving food into my mouth and then ran to the bathroom to undo it with a sick slouching of my stomach.
Unlike my mother, no one found out. Not until I told. I was an active bulimic for almost a decade. Im only 18. Bulimia kept me from suicide, but barely. It didn't keep me from cutting and exercising until I literally fell down in pain, exhaustion, and literally unable to move. I was hospitalized with a "mystery illness" that no one, not even several doctors and nurses could define. I sat there, mere days before my junior prom, hooked up to machines that would stabalize me in the event I was about to die. I was. Except, it wasn't from heart attack or stroke. My stomach was mere nanometers from rupturing and allowing my stomach acid to literally eat my heart out. On serious medication, I attended prom, but had to "take it easy".
Not even the hospital visit ended my addiction. I just knew I had to be more careful. By September of my senior, I had finally seriously quit. Though I had tried for over a year.
What helped me stop, was many things. Being "monitored" when I went to the bathroom was one. My cat simply walking in on me one afternoon. Being yelled at by my aunt and grandmother only caused me to lie more about it. But what really stopped me was knowing that I didnt have to live life wondering if and when someone else was going to find out. And that this was never what I wanted in life. Life is so short, you can't just waste it. Its easy to say that, but I have almost died so many times, I can not count.
For me, Bulimia was an addiction. I needed it to be okay. I will always be a bulimic, regardless to whether or not I binge and purge. Once an addict, always an addict.
I guess I am just sharing my story in the hopes that maybe this will reach someone out there who is bulimic, who has considered it. Or maybe this will cause someone, another Christine perhaps, to stop before they insult someone. Maybe they'll see that no one's house is a house of glass, there are hidden closets and horrors that you may not understand. Maybe you see a fat girl, maybe you see me. Or maybe you see another girl whose been raped by her father, has carried two of his children and has been assualted by her own mother everyday of her life. Perhaps that seems far-fetched, like a cheap movie, but movies are based on reality. On someone's reality. So, take a chance to stop and realize no one's life is as it seems.