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Happy Anniversary to me ~ 9 years bulimia free!


i want to eat the whole world
consume it, devour it, hold it
so it will hold me
and show me i am loved.

hugs, kisses, attention
who needs it?
when there are reeses and hersheys and butterfingers?
those i need, they give me love
and all the things i missed.
but i don’t need them, either
and i don’t want them.
they are too close to me,
and i will retch them away.
i am in control here
i like it better alone.

everyone thinks
i am so strong
and confident, and independent
and tough.
or maybe i think so.
but i know that i am not
yet also that i am.
do not come near me
i don’t like to be touched
stay away.
please hold me, and love me
and tell me you will stay.

4/13/92

I wrote those words over 20 years ago, during my senior year in college. While I don’t remember writing it, I do recall the events surrounding this particular binge and purge. It was the last exam of the spring semester and someone brought candy bars to school. We sat in the hall and chowed down waiting for class to start and I continued to eat my way through an all-essay English lit exam. When my test was through, I walked to the professor’s desk, plopped down both my exam and a handful of candy wrappers, and walked out the door, disgusted with both my gluttony and my literary performance. I went straight home where, I have no doubt, I regurgitated chocolate better than I regurgitated Chaucer. It would be another 12 years before the eating disorder finally stopped.

I waived the white flag on the dark night of February 6, 2004, at the end of a particularly hard week of purging and several hours into a virus that put the Civil War to shame. To state it delicately, the North and the South fought it out in my bathroom and my body was both soldier and battlefield. Never before (and never since) have I been so completely ill, my body wracked and dehydrated from vomiting, all night long, every eight minutes, with equally spaced bouts of diarrhea tossed in for fun. Wrapped in a soiled blanket, lying alone in a pool of sweat on a cold bathroom floor, I begged the Universe to just let me die. I think it enjoyed the irony, because out of the darkness, I clearly heard someone ask, in a very sarcastic tone, “Do you like throwing up? Because if you do, I can give you some more. And some more. And some more.” I hate being nauseous more than just about anything, so again, I begged to just let it end right there. And then, knowing it probably wouldn’t, I bargained.

Please God just let me live through this and I will never throw up again.

And I know it sounds crazy, but just like that, the compulsion to vomit vanished. Even through an IBS-type illness that hit almost 3 years later to the day and still continues, I’ve not had the undeniable urge to eat myself silly and hang over the toilet in regret. Oh, I’ve had my moments, but the moments don’t win. Still, as a monologue on overcoming self-abuse, this post fails miserably. I have no secrets to success, no words of wisdom, and no advice to advance because there’s no logical reason for why things changed.

Unless you take into consideration the reason for the purging. Like all addictions, bulimia is our attempt to control our seemingly out of control environment. But I think that’s just the illusion we tell ourselves, the candy-coated outer layer of this particular piece of chocolate.

What it really is ~ what in my opinion, every addiction really is ~ is a way to create chaos and frenzy so we don’t have to stop and listen to the silence. In the silence we can hear the voice of our own spirit. In the silence we can hear the voice of our higher self, our higher power, nature, the Universe. In the silence we can hear ourselves, and we can hear the truth.

We aren’t normally taught how to hear or embrace that truth because we live in a society that teaches us to look on the outside for our answers and that truth is what everyone else says it should be. Most likely, your voice is going to say otherwise, and that’s a whole lotta scary. Better to flail around in the frenzy than to float in our own pool of peace.

Be warned, though ~ the spirit world is patient but unrelenting. It wants you to know you are fabulous, and it will continue to speak to you and show you just how wonderful and unique you are, even when you don’t want to listen. In the people you meet, the songs you hear, the movies you watch. In the clouds and numbers and symbols and all those odd little events you chalk up to chance and synchronicity, it will speak to you. You can move from one addiction to another, and it will follow you, waiting to be heard.

And that is where the answer lies. That night, while the Universe was showing me just how horrible my life had become, I let it speak. I listened, and I answered back: no more self-hate. From that point forward, we began the journey of working together.

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love. hate. social drugs. (oil on canvas, found in an LA thrift store)

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