It’s funny, how the carnation a girl tried to hand me is what left me shaking in the stairwell. It’s funny, that the hand I use to shove down my throat has a silver band with the words “I am loved” inscribed. It’s funny, that the iPhone app used to document my “progress” for weekly group therapy is frequently what sends me running to the bathroom. Actually, it’s really not funny. At all. But it’s reality. Or well, it’s my reality at least.
Eating disorders come in all different forms. Sometimes quiet. Sometimes wafer thin. Sometimes young. Sometimes grown. In this instance, it comes in the form of a loud, marathon running, twenty-four year old architecture student, who calmly walks down to the bathroom at the end of the hall and purges whatever she inhaled at dinner.
I maintain a healthy weight, excellent GPA, and strong friendships. Not the poster girl for eating disorders one typically thinks of. But if you take a minute to look, and I mean really look, you’ll probably notice the red rings around my eyes, lingering smell of vomit in my hair, and inability to breathe when certain topics are brought up. The “strength” you see I find in shoving my finger down my throat. The “confidence” I appear to exude isn’t even skin deep.
At 15, I emptied myself out for perfection. At nineteen, I stuck my fingers down my throat for control. And now, I just ask myself, little one, who are you emptying yourself out for?