Whenever anyone asks, I say that I’m better now. I tell a wonderful tale of a once bulimic sixteen year old recovered through the love and support of her family. I tell this every time anyone questions my eating habits, or accusingly questions my chronic stomach aches. I tell the story because I’ve found if I admit there once was a problem, but claim to now be okay, people are quick to believe me. The truth is, I’m a liar. I’ve never gotten better, I’ve never sought out help, and I don’t think my family has ever had any idea.
The truth is, I don’t want any help. I used to think I did, but I’ve realized getting help means facing the issues I’ve now spent a decade running from. And I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready for that. Bulimia has become such a part of who I am; most of the time I barely even notice the way it controls my life, or the fact that it’s in my life at all.
I began to really think about this last night when I found a poem I wrote in my journal when I was seventeen. That was back when I thought I maybe wanted help. When I thought maybe I could get better. That was eight years ago. Last night I realized I can count on one hand the days I didn’t make myself sick in the last year. I know it’s wrong, and I know I’m sick, but I really have no idea if or when I will ever deal with it.
Here is the poem:
The photograph is torn, but it has survived, of a beautiful ballerina, no more than five. Bright blue eyes, satin blue bow, and bundles of brown hair. She looks into the camera, too young to know life is everything but fair. I look at the photo and I can hardly believe she was once so little, innocent and naive.
As the tiny ballerina grew up and out of her pink satin shoes, she grew into many insecurities she just couldn’t lose. While others could see she is pretty as can be, she overlooks her beauty, and their words she doesn’t believe. Her long bony fingers have become her only friends. Every time blood hits the water she swears she’s reached her end.
With watery eyes, and tears down her cheek, her once bright future begins to look bleak. Looking in the mirror she stares back at me. Her imperfections are all I can see. A cracked young soul on the verge of falling apart, purging herself while wishing for a new start.