The birthday cake, potato chips, and cookie bag were on the grocery conveyor belt with a half-gallon of milk to look normal. Did the cashier suspect that the food was just for me or was my facade of a birthday party a good enough cover? The birthday napkins probably did the trick.
Consuming my purchases was probably faster than had 15 6-year olds actually had at it. The chips were gone before I pulled into my driveway. I was 17 years of age.
Life as a bulimic is one full of facades, secrets, lies, and self-hatred.
I was in top form -- had there been an Olympic competition for bulimics no doubt I would have at least placed for a medal.
That life, that girl -- 15 years to 22 years of age -- is long gone and the eyes of a wiser woman have taken her place.
She was alone and terrified
Food her only refuge
The hate she felt for herself
Marked a sign of that isolation.
A secret felt by no one else
A pain too dark to remember
She shoved it in and buried it deep
To get on with Life.
Food obsession changed to work
And up an academic ladder she climbed
But carrying excess baggage
Even deep within made the climb exhausting
Bit by bit, year by year
Her vision began to clear.
Self-hatred fell away like bricks demolished at a construction site.
A blast, then slow removal.
Compassion rose as a light of love
Reflected upon the child she once was.
And she grew again
This time she traveled around the path of destruction.
The countering of bulimia -- and eating disorders in general -- arises in compassion: toward self first and then others.