Purgatio – Part 1 of 3
Despite what people think, I am okay.
I am happy with the way I am, and how I’ve gotten there. I never regret the choices I made or the paths that I have taken, for they have all gotten me to a place and will continue to lead me through my life. Besides, what would life be if it weren’t a complete disaster? It’d be a rainy Sunday afternoon doing nothing.
Yes, I was bulimic. No, I have never lost weight purging. This is one reason why I don’t tell people I am bulimic (or rather used to be, but like cancer, it’s more of a remission), they always assume I’ve lost the 25 pounds from purging. No I purge for fear of becoming what I used to be. I know I’m not mentally sane, because that is an unhealthy statement. Nobody ever said Einstein was sane. Yes, I am insane. I am so far from perfect and yet I drive my life around that word. Perfect. I’ve worked hard to get where I am, and I won’t give it up so easily. Bulimia is psychological. It “turns the mind,” in the words of the Yoga Sutra. It is (like body dysmorphic disorder) an unrealistic and fake perception. I see myself differently than how others see me. But for once, I don’t think I rally care about what others think of me. If that was the case I wouldn’t purge. I purge for me. I am mentally corrupt in the sense that I was something so unattainable and unrealistic. But it makes me happy.
Purging is the easiest form of eating disorders. It is the control-Z button for life. In documentaries, you always see bulimic girls crying after they purge – and some of them do. But doctors, therapists, and counselors have no idea what it feels like to live with bulimia. A lot of girls, including me, are actually happier after we purge. After the first time it gets easier. It’s like n Lord of the Flies when he first kills the pig. He didn’t want to. He tried to resist, but he couldn’t. After he killed the first one, he wanted more. It became much easier after the first time. I only did it a couple times a month, but that doesn’t make it okay. Honestly, after I purged, I felt so much better about myself. It is a relief to purge. In Latin, purgation literally means a cleansing, cleaning, or justification. It feels refreshing and pure, and yet it is so filthy and unnatural. I placed Purgatio under Gula because to me gluttony does not mean the over excessive use of; it means the waste of. To purge is to waste the nutrients to satisfy the emotional distress of body dysmorphic disorder or some other fancy disorder the doctors made up to explain why we do such things.
…And then there are people dying of starvation because they don’t have any food.
Fall of sophomore year I went from 135-140 lbs to 120 lbs – just working out and eating healthy. However, I became obsessed, and I was afraid of gaining the weight back. Everyone said I looked great and I didn’t want to lose that. So in January, I started purging, but only every once in a while, whenever I binged. I never lost weight from purging. I also never told anyone. I drank natural diuretics (like green tea and black coffee) in order to kick up my metabolism and suppress my hunger. I experimented once or twice with laxatives – I was not that fond of… the results and consequences. Also it didn’t really do much.
One day in July, I purged and it made me really weak and sick. I told my two best friends, Dominique and Niccolo, and they gave me the strength and the incentive to finally stop. I knew I needed to stop and the only way I could do that is if I felt guilty about it. I needed to feel guilt. Even today, when I feel the urge to purge, I think of them and how disappointed and sad it would make them to know I do that to myself. I promised to them that I would never do it again. Of course, I did it one last time in August of 2011. I never told them about that. After that, I’ve tried so hard to keep my promise that I do everything to avoid binging or feeling full or bloated. It’s not uncommon to trade one eating disorder for another. I didn’t know it then, but this was the catalyst for some anorexia.
Despite the bulimia, that summer I lost 10 more pounds – really in the last few weeks of summer. It wasn’t from purging, but I can’t really say it was ‘healthy’ either. I was probably eating less than 1000 calories a day, and I would stop eating in the early afternoon. I even used to take the dinner my parents made up to my room and throw it away. This is another reason I put this entry under Gula: throwing away my food. It wasn’t difficult for me at all. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t missing sweets or fast food. I didn’t really want to eat. I was barely trying at this point. I don’t know if I will ever be able to eat again without thinking of what it will do to my body or overanalyzing the nutritional value. I never counted calories. I only tried not to binge or eat too much.
I have always hated my body. I think I started dieting when I was about 8 years old. Everyone else said I was fine. Now I’m 5’4, 110 pounds, with a healthy BMI of about 18.7. Over the last year, there really was no “Struggle”. I don’t wish I could eat more. I’m not really hungry. To me, I eat healthy. I get about 50-70 grams of protein per day. I’ve actually gained some muscle over the last year. I feel so much prettier, stronger, and healthier than I did a year ago. For the first time I’m actually happy about my body, and now everyone else hates it.
I’ve kept this a secret from all my friends, because I was afraid they would be mad at me for thinking I’m fat when I’m not. Meam innocentiam in eis oculis conservare volo: I want to preserve my innocence in their eyes. I don’t want to tell people, because I am afraid of hurting them. I don’t keep it a secret for my benefit. I keep it a secret for theirs.
I understand I probably don’t sound sane, and that I should go see a therapist. But I am a dancer and I care about my body. I will do everything I can to make it stronger, healthier, and better. I can do twice as many pushups as I did a year ago. I no longer have a muffin top. I like the way my hipbones stick out. I love the curvature of my spine. I love my collar bones that frame my shoulders and my neck. I like my ribcage and all the bones in my torso.
Today, I am in remission or sober (or whatever the word is) from bulimia. I know that it was not the right choice to make, but not necessarily the wrong path. I definitely don’t regret it. In a sense it was the purging of my innocence. Like killing the pig, it became easier and easier. I am no longer afraid of bulimia, like I did when I was little. Honestly, I contemplated bulimia since I was 11. I never went through with it until I was 15. It is a scary and very heavy thing for an 11 year old to endure. It has changed me. I don’t know whether for better or for worse, but I have changed. I will never eat the way I used to. I will never look at my body the way I used to. I will never be the same girl I was. However, I have an experience in my life that I will never forget. And who knows, maybe someday I will use this experience to help others.
I have purged my innocence. I have corrupted my mind. I have turned my mind. I have lost sanity. I have lost true perceptions. And yet I know that I am stronger, wiser, and more content because of what I’ve taken from it all.
I am okay. I am healthy. I am strong. I am beautiful. I am okay.