a slight incident with bleach, pt. 1

Part 1 of 4.

It’s an addictive feeling, the tickling of fingers at the back of your throat. The air that comes up before the bile hurts a bit but the release you feel as your stomach empties is almost euphoric.

The first time I made myself throw up was disgusting. Vomit coated my hand and the site of half chewed McDonalds fries floating around in the toilet emptied the rest of my stomach without the aid of my fingers. I sat there on the bathroom floor with tears streaming down my face in shame. The shame hurts worse than the vomiting.

After the first experience it was several months before I tried it again. I can’t begin to tell you when it became a habit. It was just something I did after too much junk food or after stuffing my face with that second or third helping.

In the span of five years I’ve done it less than thirty times. That’s not so bad. It’s less than once a month. It wasn’t until I moved out on my own that it started up regularly. And even then it wasn’t my fault. After eating I would start to get a heavy feeling deep in my stomach. It kept me up at night and made me feel absolutely revolting until I purged myself. The relief that came each time was where the addiction began.

There is something extremely satisfying about being able to eat that double cheeseburger or chow down an entire bag of Salt n Vinegar chips all the while knowing at least half of it isn’t going to “complete the journey” as it were.

It did not make me skinnier and that was not why I did it. Not really. I didn’t have the dedication of a bulimic and nor did I want to develop it. And I couldn’t purge after every meal, only when that heavy feeling settled into my stomach. It also wasn’t something I set my mind to. It was just an addiction that grew stronger each time. A release and a relief granted every so often.

The verdict was still out in my mind as to whether or not I was fat. Sometimes I could look at myself, all 200lbs and think that I was the most gorgeous woman in the world. I had wide brown eyes and perfect brows. I was also tall, so while I still looked a bit chunky I could at least carry the extra weight with dignity.

It was the other days, the days where the heavy feeling set in, I looked in the mirror and saw Shamu. How could I have let myself get to this point? Did I not have any self-restraint? Did I not have any self-respect?

The truth was I didn’t.

I never knew why there was such an emphasis on being a size four, but I wanted to be one. It was ridiculous. After all, size fourteen is just a four with an extra ten. Or it could be two sevens. Two sevens sounds much better than fourteen.

And size fourteen is actually quite average. Granted, the average North American is grotesquely overweight, but average is still average. Isn’t it the same as the grade curve in college? If everyone is at the same level shouldn’t that be the level that people aim for?

Of course not.

I had other addictions too. Coca Cola, a drink I didn’t even really like. I drank cans and cans of it, never really enjoying it but still not able to stop drinking. And fuzzy peaches were another one. Now that addiction I liked. The sweet and sour taste that makes your mouth water, God it was delicious. If I let myself I could eat and eat those luscious candies until my mouth bled. They were my biggest weakness.

I had never been one for McDonalds until I got a car. But food ordered through the drive-through tastes so much better. I always hated ordering in the store, limiting myself to a single snack wrap and no fries, perhaps a small coke if it was hot out. Now by going through the drive-through I could eat a Big Mac, a large fries and a milk shake. It’s easier to pig out when you don’t have to face a restaurant full of people who could be judging you. When you order through a machine there is no shame.

I didn’t even notice the weight packing on again until I tried to put on my summer pants. Had my ass really grown that large? How was it even possible that my gut had expanded over my toes? I was disgusting.

It’s quite a vicious cycle. The more disgusting you become the more you eat. And, in my case, the more you eat the more you vomit.

I suppose my addiction could be compared to bulimia, though I will still deny that. Aren’t bulimics supposed to lose weight? Besides, I know we’ve already established that I don’t have the dedication for bulimia, but if I was going to continue making myself sick, shouldn’t I at least benefit from it?

I would like to stop this story right here. End it now and say that I am really smarter than that. Instead of resorting to the easy way out with diet pills and purging I made smart choices. I changed my lifestyle, began to exercise more and slowly eliminated the foods that caused me to balloon. I would like to say all that … but I can’t.

Instead, I have to tell you that the first thing I did when my pants didn’t fit was walk to the drug store (this sounds better than it actually is, the store is literally 54 steps from my back door) and buy a package of Slim Quick Cleanse.

I was so excited about my new ‘journey to lose weight’. I loaded my iPod with all kinds of inspirational tunes and went to LuLu Lemon to buy some proper and drastically overpriced exercise clothes. Slim Quick Cleanse promises to help you jump start your weight loss and I am sure it works if you follow the plan.

I didn’t and it didn’t work for me. You see, the plan consisted of a strict meal plan and an exercise routine that grew more difficult each day, designed to challenge the user. This was not what I had signed up for. I wanted an easy way out. A quick fix. Purging wasn’t really doing it for me and I was far too lazy for real exercise.

So instead I took the pills and failed miserably. The only thing I did right during the seven day cleanse was drinking plenty of water. I didn’t feel any better, and I ended the cleanse still fat with the added bonus of a stomach ache and frequent bathroom visits.

Three weeks after doing the cleanse I was back to where I started. My hair tied back with one arm clutching the porcelain throne and the other shoved down my throat, fingers tickling my tonsils. The addictive rush was still there but the shame came back tenfold.

This was truly disgusting. It was one thing to be fat, but it was another thing to be lying on your own bathroom floor, your arm covered in bile because you couldn’t bring your hand out fast enough. This was the rock bottom I had been careening towards for the last five years, though I couldn’t have known it back then (or, at least I had ignored the signs).

This was the moment where everything began. I hadn’t decided to change my life, that would have been far too mundane. No, I had decided to scrap everything all together. This moment, this perfect and disgusting moment, I decided to become someone else altogether. Out with the old and in with the new. Isn’t that how it goes?

And so it begins.