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Wasted Years

by Suzette
(Lima, Lima, Peru)

I first made myself vomit on a certain afternoon about 5 years ago, when I was 24. I have had body issues since the age of 18, when I started university. As a teen (16 to be precise), I gained a massive amount of weight for my short and small frame and yet I could be best described as a curvaceous girl, and a happy one at that. I liked my body naked. My hips were round, my waist small, and my bust nicely developed. However, with clothes on I looked dumpy. And out in society, I felt awkward about my womanly figure...which I felt betrayed a sexuality I was't comfortable exploring. I still wanted to be a girl, alien from any harrasment. I would try to hide under coats in warm, humid Miami days. and yet, when I was alone in a bathroom and I could look at myself as I was, I felt beautiful.

And I was happy. I lived in my own world, happy inside my own head. I was talented and bright. I wasn't popular and I was never asked out ( really, I wished to be invisible at least physically), but I felt like I contributed something to this world though my art and I cherished reading and analysing the things I learnt.

There were bad days. Days of abuse by my mother. I was strong willed and independent and I clashed with her. She's strike back by belittling me and hitting me where I was most vulnerable. I have never been a great beauty and my mother was and still is a very beautiful woman. I could never measure up to her. And she knew this. So whenever we'd get into an argument, instead od addressing the issue, she's just strike a blow by calling me a fat pig. I'd run away and cry. If your own mother things you're jst a fat pig, who could ever think you're anything else than that? and yet, after I was done crying, I'd look at myself and see someone not at all ugly. Maybe not beautiful, but I saw somebody that I liked in the mirror.

I went to university, and to my surprise, a few boys sought me out. I knew I wasn't hot, but for the fist time, I saw boys who were interested in getting to know me. And yet, I did begin to crave the attention I'd see the other girls getting and with my classes, it was easy to skip meals. I can't say I began dieting on purpose, but once the weight started dropping due to my new hectic schedule, I began getting the attention those hot girls always got. To my 18 year old self, it was amazing. A miracle. I loved the new sense of power it gave me. The boys finally wanted me and I relished in playing with them.

It was this power I was afraid of losing, this sense that if I lost this, I would never find love. So I would starve myself. And the skinnier I got, the more I worried about gaining anything back, the more I felt I had to keep on starving. It was the price I had to pay. And at home, my mom finally told me, regularly, that I was beautiful.

Multiple sources of pressure, and my internal drive for love, this all kept me eating little if anything. I was beautiful and I was loved. and if i had to starve so be it.

however, this obsession with being thin also sucked the life out of me. I no longer painted, no longer drew. My old self was gone. My sense of self, so strong and vibrant, was a memory. I now loved for the love of others. This is what most fucked me up.

Fast forward 6 years to the age of 24. At some point along the way, I had started exercising like a maniac. If I ate anything, I ran to the gym and shut myself in for hours on end. My legs bulked up, my breast shrunk even more. But I needed some way of burning those calories. X calories burnt, keep running. X calories, keep running. X calories, keep running. I ran and ran with no place to go. No other hobby or interest except punishing myself for eating.

And so, at 24 I stood in front of the mirror and hated what I saw. I had never vomited before and hated the idea. But my hatred for my body was so strong I wanted to destroy myself somehow. punish my disguting body for being so ugly. I hated my chunky legs and my lack of breasts. I killed myself running and starving and yet I had fat on my thighs and butt. I looked grotesque. I realize my mind is warped at this point, but It's the demon inside of self loathing, that drive to annihilate oneself, which had me in a choke hold.

I took toothbrush, kneeled in front of the toilet and played around. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do, but after a few minutes, something came out...and it clicked...if I did this, I wouldn't have to run so much. I could enjoy food and the just throw it up. Purge on everything I had denied myself since the age 18, nd in a few minutes, wipe it away by vomiting it out. Once I flushed the toilet, it would be like nothing had happened. The relief I felt was overwhelming. No more anxiety over what I was eating, no more guilt. I just needed to eat and purge it out, purge out my sins, my weakness, my greed, my gluttony.

However, I also looked in the mirror and I saw the disfigurement in my face...puffy cheeks, blood shot eyes. It was ugly. and yet, i looked down at my stomach and the sense of emptiness was so wonderful. I felt light and free.

Over the next few months I perfected my technique. In just a few minutes I could purge out pounds of treats. I would get up and look down at the mess inside the toilet bowl...had I really eaten all that? I flushed it all down and it was if it never happened.

However, I became even more obsessed with my body...had I vomited everything out? Or should i go work out just in case? I'd go work out. I felt a sense of euphoria when I purged, I had manic energy.

However, my obsession had become my life. I had a few guys i dated but i never let them get too close. i didn't want them to see the real me. they loved my body and loved sleeping with me, but if they knew how fucked up i was inside, they'd be disgusted, i told myself. I had too many problems to be with somebody, so I lived from one booty call to the next. I just craved their desire and their attention.

At 26 I met the first man I could see myself marrying. he loved me, all of me. and i started vomiting less. I was high on love and the emotions it entailed. eating was secondary, he was my new drug.

however, work began to overwhelm me. I felt anxious all the time and food was nearby, I began to gorge on food, free food available. Brownies, cookies, treats. When work got to be too much, i would sneak away to the kitchen and stuff treats into my pockets. I'd go to the bathroom, stuff my face. vomit immediatley and go back to work. I felt at if the anxiety i felt had been purged along with the food I had consumed.

However, people noticed. and people began to talk about me. they weren't concerned, they just relished in the juicy gossip of having a bulimic in their mists. I began to rebel and did it more often to prove I didn't care what they thought.

My contract ended and I walked away. I figured once I was away from that job and that anxiety, I would no longer purge. But I also left behind the man I loved. He stopped caring for me, stopped calling. I grew so sad and desperate. I started to eat again, eat to fill the emptiness. And at home, I would purge to my hearts content. I even fucked up the plumbing.

I met someonw new. It was intense, sexually. He was unlike anyone I had ever known. his sexuality met my own and we'd go at it like animals. sex with him was all i cared about. but i began to fear that if i gained weight, he wouldn't find me sexually i began to starve, binge and purge. I wanted his desire, his sex, his body. and I had it. and then he went away too. He had won a scholarship to go study in spain for a year. I was devastated. I knew it was just sex for him, but for me, it was what fed me.

he never wrote. he didn't care. I sank into a depression. I ate and punished myself. I hated myself. I convinced myself I didn't deserve love.

I've been alone for the past 2 years. I wonder how I got lost. I wonder if there is something to live for. i wonder what happened to that girl I used to be, before all this bullshit.

I have stopped binging and purging almost 2 weeks now. I eat what is best for me. I keep it down by ignoring the demon and stepping away. I look better in the face,

I can't say i like the changes in my body. I want my breasts back but now at least they don't look like deflated ballons. I have started taking maca which has helped with my mood. i feel centered now. I'm trying to learn to love myself, not my reflection. I hate my dimply butt and my chunky thighs. I tell myself this is just the path to recovery. I tell myself that my body will sort itself out. I just need patience. The road I was on led me nowhere. This is the beginning of a new journey. One in which my looks don't matter. in which the love or the sexual desire of a man does not define me.

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Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community

The Bulimia Recovery Program