Friday, April 27, 2012

Big Enough to Absorb the Pain

I have an eating disorder.

I’m a binger. I do not purge, or exercise it off, or take laxatives; I do not simply overeat. I binge.

I've been on diets, I've been on all of them, even the one you're just waiting to recommend to me. I’ve done the blood type diet, the menstrual cycle diet, the one where you drink shakes, the one where you eat carrots and celery and cottage cheese, I’ve done low-fat, low-carb, low-cal, low flavor. I did the Atkins diet when it was still just the Meat Diet. I have been on “not-diets” - the “healthy lifestyle” that would break me free from the dieting life forever. I know the lingo, I know what I'm supposed to say, and do, and feel. This time, I can do it! This time, it's about being healthy!

Diets do not work, at least not for me. I have dieted for over 30 years. I have lost and lost and lost many pounds, over and over; and in between, I binge.

I binge when I'm depressed, no surprise. I binge in order to not feel the things that I ought not to feel: sadness, anger, humiliation. But.... I also binge in order to not feel the things that I don't DESERVE to feel: joy, love, pride. I don't need anyone to tell me that I am embarrassing and ugly, that I should not be seen in public, that I don't deserve respect or love, and that everyone is allowed to hate me because I'm disgusting. I am unattractive. I am unfuckable. I know that. I believe it my very soul. (So shut the hell up already.)

I binge so that I don't have to feel... anything. Neither the humiliation that I deserve or the pride that I do not. Neither your hate or my own.

Food is a brilliant master, really, bringing both the pleasure and the pain. I can withhold it, be “good” and stick to the diet – but then I start to feel good about myself, maybe a little pride? Happiness? Oh no, I am still fat and unworthy, and damned if I won't prove it. Or maybe I'm just angry, maybe some jerk called me a fatty at the grocery store even after I've just lost 25 pounds and been to the gym three days already this week, or maybe life just sucks. But I don't have to feel that crap anyway. Not any of it.

Oh, and I know that I'm going to do it, I walk into it willingly, because at first it's so good, so soothing, so tasty and satisfying. I know that the guilt and the shame are ahead, and that's okay too, because at least I deserve that. Even when I hit that first level of fullness, I know I'm going to keep going, because a little guilt and shame is nothing at all and I deserve so much more, I deserve all the pain I can get. So I eat until I'm really full, and it's uncomfortable, and I'm humiliated, but that's good too. Just keep going. Finally I get so full that it actually does hurt, a little, and I'm stunned and disgusted with myself, and there I am, finished at last. But it isn't finished, because half an hour later the pain really hits and I'm sick and I want to throw up but I can't and I won't because this, this, this is what I wanted when I started because now I feel NOTHING. The physical pain kills it all and I'm riding high on a numb bubble and for now, just for a while, maybe an hour or so, I don't feel hate or shame or disgust or sadness or joy because there's only room for pain. And that I can handle.

I have become as large as I need to be to hold all of the pain inside.

What happens when I don't want to hold on to it anymore?


  1. Oh Lala,

    That touched something so very deep in me. Especially the part about not feeling pride.

    You've really captured the eating fix here....the place where we numb out...if only for a few hours.

    I am with you on this journey. The path is unclear, but I know its here.

    Keep on writing...your finding and revealing your soul.


  2. Thank you, Cassie. I love you back, ya know!