In 2007 when I overhauled my life it wasn’t gradual. It was overnight. It was full throttle. It was obsessive. It was annoying.
“Jesus, Megan. Why do you have to get so obsessed? Why can’t you ever do anything small? Why does it always have to be such a big, damn deal!” were the hurtful words I heard. In my frustration, I cursed out my mother and I stormed out of the house. It was a long time again before I went home and we could pretend that little episode never took place.
What I couldn’t say then but I will say now is this…
Because for the first time in my life, I could look at myself in the mirror and not be disgusted at the image looking back at me. Because I was learning how to eat portions and foods that made me feel good about my body and myself. Because I was learning a better control than eating too much and relieving myself after. Because at the end of every evening that Caroline and I fall face first into a large, cheese pizza I have a choice to make that most people do not.
I was angry that she didn’t know but how could she?
The first time I ever binged and purged was my freshman year of college. My roommate and I would go down to the dining hall, eat ungodly quantities of food, rock/paper/scissors who’d get the bathroom first when we got home, and then race back to the dorm room. It was great to have someone to share such a dirty, little secret with who didn’t shake her finger at your new coping mechanism but understood it; understood why you did it; understood why you continued; understood why you liked it. Someone who didn’t point out why what you were doing was wrong, as if somehow you didn’t already know.
I’ve never said the B-word. I never felt as though it applied to me. I didn’t do it with every meal. Hell, I didn’t even do it every day. I felt like taking a word that belonged to people who truly lived with this horrible disease and eating disorder would be wrong. It would be like calling myself a runner because I ran once or twice every few months.
I’ve never said the B-word because it was never about the food. For whatever reason it started, it continued because of the peace I could bring myself with a heaving stomach. When the world was falling apart around me I could go through the motions, nothing would happen, and I could relax. When I found myself in a crowded room and people were crushing in around me, I could close my eyes and think about getting home and “setting things right” and I could get through the crowded student center. I thought about it all of the time. How it felt. How I felt. I would get excited about it. I would be lying if I said I never think about it anymore.
I’ve never said the B-word because I never sought help to stop. I’ve been seeing Dale for the almost 5 years since I stopped and I’ve never mentioned it. I stopped for no reason more than when my tonsils were removed a few years ago along with my adenoids and it made things uncomfortable.
I continue to abstain because I make better choices and I obsess over the foods I put in my body and I exercise to compensate for pizza night and try not to remember that I like it.
Do you wonder why I’ve come clean after all these years. Yeah, me, too. Because I’m in my 30’s now and I heard this is the time to do something about the stuff I learned in my 20’s about myself. Because I have 3 younger sisters at home and I wonder what I would do if I found out they had a dirty, little secret they’d held onto for so long. Because I worry people think I pointlessly obsess over silly things and I do, usually, care about what people think of me even if I say otherwise. Because daily I find people interested and willing to talk about their unhealthy relationships with food. Because it might be time to say the B-word.
Hello. My name is Megan. And I think I may have been bulimic.