the ex bulimic of my soul, of my heart, shall preempt this message by stating that yesterday’s once-in-ten-years-weigh-in (outside of annual gynecological visits) yielded 110 pounds. that was WITHOUT my kate spade heels but WITH heavy designer jeans, a graphic tshirt, cute elephant jewelry, four cups of coffee, three bags of starbucks nuts, and one banana. so, i imagine and hope for the actual number to exist somewhere around 109. there, i’ve said it. if you want to know my weight, it is 109. nine is my favourite number.
as you all know, yesterday SUCKED. i was knocked off of my rocker, feeling bulimic, yet not even remotely so. but as my blog friend missy poetically stated, “the worst days in recovery are a gadzillion times better than our best days in disease.” i couldn’t have said it any better myself.
so what REALLY happened yesterday? i have pictures to explain it all! 🙂
25 of september, 1999: it was my one month and four day anniversary of being BULIMIC. before that, i was anorexic for six months. so for one month, from the 21 of august of 1999 until the 25 of september 1999, i ate and ate and ate and ate and ate and ate. i was a senior in high school. and although i vomited and ingested laxatives, i naturally gained some poundage.
at my grandfather’s birthday party, on the september 1999 date of subject, in response to my new one-month-old puffy aesthetics, he said, in his sweet, beautiful, italian english accent, “BELLA, YOU LOOK-A HEALTHY!” as he said those words, he rubbed his fingers on his chin, indicating that my face had filled out, to one of a FAT italian woman.
it was one of the worst days of my life.
when i look at that photograph, when i see the white abercrombie long-sleeved t-shirt with blue lettering, when i remember how every inch of my heart and brain felt at the exact moment of his comment, i smell laxatives. i smell vomit. i smell tears. i smell shame.
so now, 12 years later, i wanted to capture “the healthy birthday image” because it would create a great “then versus now blog story.” right? so, i visited my grandfather, hoping to vindicate myself of that terrible memory. but when i entered their home, my sweet italian grandmother exclaimed, “you look better than you did a month ago. you’ve filled out. you’ve gained some weight.”
my heart sank.
i haven’t gained weight. i’ve lost some. but my heart didn’t just sink this time, because i felt shameful for myself, for my aesthetics, for my failure. it sunk because i felt shameful for people. they judge. and judging is hurtful. i even hopped onto the scale in my grandfather’s bathroom, scared out of my god damn wits, hoping for 115 max, and the numbers came out better than ever. but why do numbers matter? they don’t. but to an ex bulimic, numbers are, consequentially, everything.
i love my grandmother. i love my grandfather. and although they finally know about the bulimia, they’ll never quite understand what i’ve been through, what i’ll go through. so i’m warning you all now. when you’re grandparents in 50 years and the granddaughter or grandson fluctuates, don’t judge them. just love them, for who he or she is on the inside.
how does your family treat the matter of aesthetics and eating disorders? how do you respond?
© nicole marie story and nicoleandgwendolyn.com, 2011.