There is nothing glamorous about making yourself throw up.
You expect to remember the first time you do it. You think it’ll be burned into your memory like your first kiss or the day your parents told you they were getting divorced. You think you’ll remember every mundane detail – the date, whether or not it was raining, the pattern of the tile on the floor, the first person you saw after leaving the bathroom.
But all you’ll remember is the taste. The habit itself will sneak up on you like pneumonia in the dead of winter, festering through every inch of you while you sleep, and one day you’ll wake up and it’ll just be a part of you. Soon the coughing will be rhythmic and familiar and you won’t be able to remember what it feels like to breathe in and out without substantial effort. What does normal feel like? Like this? It must be like this.
You expect it to just be about you. You think you’ll manage your pain on your own, and no one else will have to feel the wrath of it. But the moment you break the taboo of hurting yourself, all darkness — all evil — seems within reach. The path between right and wrong becomes a slippery slope, and you’ll have moments where you wonder if there is any limit to what you’re capable of. If this, then what else? You will no longer feel like your old self — a person overcome with emotion and sympathy. Instead it will spill out of you, refusing to be felt.
You expect to cry. You think you’ll just lie down on the bathroom floor and evaporate into nothing. Instead, you’ll clean off your face, wash your hands, touch up your make up and return to your company. You will be shocked only at the amount of nothingness you feel. No high, no low. Just in and out, in and out.
Nothing you let in will be yours to keep for long. The pain you felt before will be replaced by a numbness that may terrify you, but will not change your commitment to the cause. None of this will surface until you stop. You will think of nothing, nothing, nothing for a year – maybe longer. And then you’ll finally come up for air – once, twice, relapse after relapse. Your throat will be scratched and your back will be sore and your thoughts will be nothing but steam on a mirror, blurring your image behind it.
All the things you’ve refused to keep inside you will invade you now. But you must feel them. You must cry. You must remember. You must fight. You must wrap your arms around your own waist at night and think, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
What does normal feel like? Like this? It must be like this.