When I was a teenager, I failed at being bulimic.That sounds weird, because how can someone fail at something so basic? My problem was not lack of dedication, but lack of gag reflex. I couldn’t make myself throw up.
I cannot express how frustrating the moment was that I realized this. There I was, leaning over the toilet, excited to have found a way to cleanse myself of the shame of my fatness, and… nothing.
Now, of course, I’m thankful that I wasn’t able to fulfill that particular craving, but I look back at that moment and it makes me think about a lot of things.
First, it makes me wonder how I got to the point where I was to become upset that I was unable to develop a severe eating disorder. I mean, shouldn’t I be grateful for the saving grace? Shouldn’t that have been the turning point, the AHA! moment in the after-school special? Instead, it was an added drop on the “you’re a failure” sundae that was my life at that point. I was so much of a failure, so bloody useless, that I couldn’t even get bulimia right. What a fucking loser, that voice would say. Christ, how do you even deserve to live if you can’t even get this right?
Second, it makes me think of my relationship to food.
Food scares me, guys. No matter what I do, no matter how little food I eat, and how much I exercise in tandem with that lack of food, I never get to the weight I am supposed to be at (more on that later). Let me put it to you this way: while I was in university, and later in college, I subsided off of – AT MAXIMUM – 800 calories each day. That is not including the days I skipped eating entirely. I also ran, walked everywhere, exercised, and my job had me standing up all day. And I wasn’t eating fast food – oh no – I lived off of lettuce and peppers and apples and peanut butter. Sometimes there was cheese and ham in whole-grain tortillas. However, at no point during this time did I ever weigh less than 130 pounds. The frustration that I felt during this time didn’t equal my failure at throwing up, but it was more like a constant ache of failure. Every day I would look at myself, and look at all I was doing, and I would wonder what the fuck was wrong with my body. Why did it hate me so much? Why wouldn’t it cooperate with me, and lose the weight I was trying to hard to be rid of? Even now, my mum suggests I return to my roots of tiny calorie sizes in hopes of achieving my goal, but given my experience back then, I’m a little jaded. I fast still, but could I do it as a lifestyle again, knowing that it didn’t work for me before? Honestly, I don’t eat that much now anyways, but have I lost the weight I want to? No.
Finally, thinking of that moment of desperation in my parents’ bathroom makes me think of why I want to be the size I want to be. I’m 5’3″ (ish), and I desperately wish I could be 110lbs. I have about 50lbs to go before this happens, and that fucking terrifies me, because part of me knows it’ll never happen. A few people have suggested that, given that during my healthiest point I was 130lbs, that’s probably the weight I’m meant to be. Sure, that gives me hope that I can get there, but it also dooms me from being 110lbs without going to extreme measures. I hate that I want to be a weight that, frankly, isn’t really healthy for me. I have ample cleavage, wide hips and a solid back, along with a hardy bone structure. Even the shape of my bones tell me I’m meant to be more a Betty Boop than a Victoria Beckham – but I want it so badly, I ache for it. I don’t necessarily want to be able to count my ribs, but seeing my collarbones, my hipbones, and my shoulder blades would be perfect. And the most twisted thing is that I know that this is wrong. I shouldn’t be thinking like this. But my cheekbones are so pretty, if only they would stand out. I could be so beautiful if only I were thinner.
My husband loves the way I look, but every day I see myself the way I am I wonder if he’ll one day realize I’m not as pretty as he thought I was. Will he feel like I tricked him into marrying me with my wit and charm? Will we not be able to have kids because I’ll be too disgusting to fuck? I should point out here, he has never, ever given me reason to think any of that is true. He finds me very sexy the way I am, but this is just what my brain does. It does the same with with my abandonment issues (which is a topic for another post).
The reason I feel this way is multifaceted, but I know where a lot of it comes from. My mum was so beautiful when she was my age. She was like 90lbs when she and my dad were married. Even now, after years of working in an office, she’s pretty tiny. She’s also super paranoid about her weight. She keeps a chart on the washroom mirror, and weighs herself every day to make sure she’s losing the weight she wants. She also told me that a boy with whom I’d gone on a date was lying when he said I was sexy. That if I didn’t lose weight, I would never be married, and would never be loved. My dad, a strong, physical type has always been in shape despite a little beer belly he’s carried for a time. He was a football player, a weight-lifter, and so many other things. I cannot tell you how many times he’s told me or mom how unattractive we look fat.
My parents and I have talked about this sort of stuff since. I told them how unhelpful it was – indeed, how much it is exactly the opposite of what I need – and yet it still happens. How I will be beautiful once I lose ten pounds. Twenty. Thirty. Even when I was at my best weight back in highschool – when my anorexia was at its peak – it was never enough. Five more pounds and then you’ll be beautiful. Five more pounds, and we’ll be proud of you.
If I had a million dollars, the first thing I would do is get liposuction on every single part of my body. My legs, my stomach, my arms, my face. Everything. The only guaranteed way to get rid of all this fucking fat. Even now that I’ve fixed a lot of my neuroses.
I read an interesting article the other day that said, “Get rid of the middle man in your happiness. Don’t tell yourself you’ll be happy ‘after you lose that weight’. Be happy now.” I try. I do. I used to look at myself in the mirror and tell myself I was beautiful every single day. I was told enough times that this practice was stupid and an excuse to be fat that I stopped. With it stopped the happiness and self-acceptance that came along with it.
I hate being fat, but I’m at a point where I feel hopeless. I can exercise and eat well all I want, but I’ll never reach that 110lbs that I want to be. I’ll never make everyone happy with my weight. Honestly, I don’t even know that would make me happy with it anymore.
Five more pounds, maybe. Just five more pounds.