February 28th, 2014
Please be aware that this story deals with mature/intense themes regarding the subject of eating disorders.
You don’t know what it’s like to want something so bad that you would do this. You can’t know.
I remember the first time I did it: Purging after eating a French fries at a family dinner. I didn’t want it to be a thing – I didn’t want it to keep going. This was only going to happen once. That was what I told myself.
I knelt on the cold ceramic tile and gagged until I purged. I felt cold, and sick, and dirty. But I brushed my teeth, washed my face, stepped out of the bathroom, and smiled. Nobody knew. My mom didn’t know, my dad didn’t know, my brothers didn’t know, and my sister didn’t know.
No matter the disgust that I felt after purging, every time I stepped onto the ballet floor, it was worth it. Every vomit stain and every purge was worth it because I knew I was getting closer to what I wanted to look like. I was getting closer to what everyone wanted me to look like.
I didn’t purge every day. I didn’t even purge every week. But that changed.
I was with Annie and Courtney and we were visiting Venice Beach for the day. Their tight and tanned skin and bleached hair let them melt into the beach life almost seamlessly. Walking beside them, I knew I wasn’t like them. My thighs weren’t taut like theirs were, and my hips weren’t lean like theirs were. But that didn’t matter. We walked through the hot sand to the cold pacific.
One the way back, we joined up with some of Annie’s friends: A couple of cute guys. We laughed and flirted and offered them a ride back with us. They joked with us as we walked through the sandy streets of cracked asphalt, soaking in the ambient beach music and the smell of fried food.
And then it happened.
As we piled into Annie’s car, laughing and joking, he said it.
“You have chubby ankles.”
And that was it. The next week, I purged every day. The week after that, I purged after almost every meal.
It was a release. Every time I vomited the meal into the toilet, I was getting what I wanted. I was getting closer to having the body that I wanted. I wasn’t going to have a pudgy butt, I wasn’t going to have flabby arms, I wasn’t going to have thick thighs. I wasn’t going to have chubby ankles.
So I kept purging.
After breakfast, I purged. After lunch, I purged. After dinner, I purged the hardest. I went to bed hungry, and I woke up hungry, and it felt good, because I knew I was going to be who I wanted to be. I knew I was going to be who everyone wanted me to be.
It kept going. For some reason, in the back of my head, I thought that I’d stop at certain point. It was like that thing that you always tell yourself you’ll do, like that road trip you always plan, or that repair you always tell yourself you’ll make when you get the time. But that point was in the future, always in the future, and so I kept going.
Last week I purged eight times in one day, and for the first time, it scared me. My stomach was empty, but bloated. My head felt light, but full. My skin felt tight, but thick. I lay awake in bed, my stomach yearning for anything, so I crept out of bed and found a bag of Cheetos. Not a small bag, the 16 oz, no. A full bag. I took it and ate the whole thing, then purged harder than I ever had before.
When I finished, I rolled over onto the bathroom floor, orange vomit dripping down my cheek. I inhaled slowly, then exhaled slowly.
I was so afraid.
And I still am.
Because in the back of my head, I thought that I’d stop at a certain point. But that point is in the future, and I haven’t reached it yet.
And by now, I’m not sure which point I’ll reach first.
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