My little sister passed the popcorn as we sat in front of the television watching a movie on the lifetime channel. We both sat in partial disbelief at the movie about a teenage girl battling bulimia. I’ve heard about this strange eating disorder and couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to binge eat just to bring it back up moments later. After the movie we went to our rooms to fall into a restful sleep. I couldn’t however forget about what I saw. A plan started forming I would “research” this eating disorder by practicing it. After all what was all the hype right? I never took into account that the girl on the movie really hurt herself badly.
A few nights had past before I made up my mind to start my “research.” Friday was a perfect day because my family would have pizza and snacks laid out for us. I casually ate my dinner feeling like a top-secret spy. I was beginning to feel high with the idea that no one knew what I was doing. After dinner we cleared away our mess before I snuck a few bags of cookies, candy and chips into my bedroom not that I had to but I saw the girl do it on the movie so what was good enough for her should work for me. I carefully sat everything on my bed and stared at all of my loot. A faint knock on my door caused me to throw a pillow over the goods. “Can I come in?” it was my younger sister “Why? what do you want?” “Just let me in” I did a final sweep with my eyes before swinging open the door. My little sister pushed her way in eyeing things suspiciously. “I just wanted to know if you wanted to listen to music in my room” I tried to think of a good enough reason and went to the one excuse that always worked. “Not tonight I have this book I really want to finish” She hunched her shoulders and left the room nonchalantly.
Eating snacks at night was never this exciting my mind began thinking of food as this extreme way to lose weight. How awesome that I could eat whatever I wanted and not pay the price for it so to speak. I sat Indian style on my bed and began to eat. Everything tasted so good better than before. I ate until my stomach couldn’t take anymore, I ate until I felt nausea. I didn’t feel any guilt for eating that much because I knew it would be out of my system in a minute. I walked to the bathroom and hovered over the white bowl sliding my finger down my throat until I gagged and then brought up everything I ate. I did this repeatedly until I felt empty. As I walked back into my room I thought how could anyone keep this up but I would do my “research” for an entire two weeks before I gave it up. I repeated this ritual all of Saturday and Sunday.
By Monday I was so use to not keeping anything down that I refused to eat breakfast because I wouldn’t have enough time to go the bathroom afterwards. During lunch period I stood in the lunch line and told the lunch lady “Can you please give me two fruit cups and an extra milk” My smile must have warmed her because she obliged. I sat with my friends feeling mischievous for having this secret. I happily ate with my friends even offering to eat what they did not want. My eyes shifted to the big round metal clock looming over the doorway I excused myself with a quick “I’ll be right back” before getting up to go to the bathroom. I checked each stall before hovering over the big white bowl and sliding a cruel finger down my throat. I stood in front of the foggy mirror in the girl’s room and smiled a wicked smile I was proud of keeping a secret and I felt powerful. I walked out of the girl’s room smiling and met up with my girlfriends anxious for lunch.
Two weeks had past and I had reached my deadline to quit my “research” but I didn’t want to give it up. I almost forgot the reason I started and even if I wanted to quit I couldn’t now because my gag reflexes caused me to automatically bring everything back up. I no longer had to use a finger just tell my brain that I was done eating and it did the rest. My mother stood at the bottom of the stairs yelling dinner and the mere mention of food made me sick. I dragged through the long hallway and down the stairs avoiding the suspicious stares of my father and sisters. I slid into my seat disgusted with the idea of eating mashed potatoes and gravy. On this short journey I’ve discovered which foods were harder to bring up and mashed potatoes made it on the list. I ate somberly trying to pretend I was still excited about my secret. I ate slower than normal and my father asked me numerous times if something was bothering me. The answer was always no and I excused myself promptly after dinner I had an appointment in the bathroom.
A week turned into a month and now I had a full-blown problem but I knew it wasn’t with my body but my mind. I allowed my mind to become addicted and form a habit I no longer had control over. All of the pride I felt before was gone and I wanted to tell my mother or sisters or someone but I thought surely I would get in trouble. I told my father I wasn’t hungry so I could lye across my bed and think. I told myself I was quitting and that enough was enough. Food wasn’t my enemy and each day after that I forced myself to eat and refused to go to the bathroom afterward it took two weeks for my brain to realize that I didn’t want to bring anything back up. I no longer looked at the girls in any movie about eating disorders as strange or over exaggerating but I understood them on a level that no one else I knew could.