Spending My Life with Mia: Struggles with Bulimia
I’d like to introduce you to my best friend, support, love and life, Mia. I met her over nine years ago when I was 14years old. She came to me in a time of need and scooped me up in her arms, whispering, “Everything will be okay.” In that moment, I instantly trusted her with my life, my well-being. For a while, she kept her promise to me. She told me when to eat, or rather, when not to eat. She told me how often to exercise to achieve that perfect, skinny body I was yearning for. And when I slipped up and stuffed my ‘fat’ face, she taught me just how to fix it, teaching me to purge. “Twice the taste, half the calories,” she said. I didn’t know then that she wasn’t the friend I thought she was. She was helping me. She was the one that was responsible for all of the pounds of fat that were falling off my body. She was my source of strength, control, will power, and happiness. She was the only one who understood my desire for a stick-thin frame.
I adored Mia; I thought she was this beautiful entity that chose me, seeing something special in me. I thought she saw my potential, my beauty, hidden behind those extra 100 pounds. I thought she was the definition of perfection and when she promised me that I would be just like her, I was taken. She knew she had me. And for a time, she was everything I had hoped for. But her kind advice and support quickly turned to malicious hatred and criticism. Not a day went by where she didn’t have some sort of complaint. Even if I only had one apple for the whole day, Mia would call me a “fat, careless pig.” She would insult me until I was metaphorically on the ground begging for help. And then she would tell me to go to the gym until I burnt the apple and then some, off. I would always comply. It didn’t matter what her demand were, I would do anything to absolve myself from the food crimes I had committed. I would do anything to change her hatred back into praise. I was like a battered woman, making excuses for Mia no matter how horribly she treated me. She would kick me while I was down and I would run back to her crying and begging for forgiveness. Sometimes she’d finally praise me after I had run for hours, purged all that I ate and restricted all day. She’d promise that she’d stop being so harsh, but by the next meal, she’d be back to her evil, hateful self. She wasn’t keeping her promises any more.
On a particularly bad day, Mia was her usual alluring, charmingly evil self. As she did most days, she demanded I get on the scale. I complied, the need to know my weight now imprinted on my mind. I took a deep breath, preparing myself for the verbal abuse that was about to come my way. I knew I shouldn’t have eaten that cereal last night. I stepped on, eyes closed. Mia beckoned me to open them, to look at the number that was taunting me from the scale. I gathered my courage and finally took a peak. In my mind I was ecstatic. I had lost XX pounds! “ Mia will be so happy”, I told myself. But I was wrong. Almost instantly she started in on me with harsh words and insults. She knew my weak spots, my insecurities and used them to her advantage. Our argument looked something like this:
“You really think XX pounds is good enough? Are you kidding me? You’re pathetic.”
I’m sorry I’ll try harder. But at least I lost, right?
“You will try harder. You think you can just sit on your fat ass? That’s not enough. You can’t eat at all today. Not one calorie will enter that fat, ugly mouth of yours!”
You’re right; I can’t afford to eat today.
“You don’t deserve to eat. Not today, or ever. No wonder nobody at school wants to be your friend. I wouldn’t want to be friends with a weak, humongous worthless person like you!”
I’m sorry; I should have listened to you.
“If you can’t follow simple instructions or simply control yourself, you don’t deserve to be here. I think maybe you should just kill yourself. Nobody would even care.”
Maybe I will. I didn’t mean to let you down. I let everyone down.
“No you won’t. We both know you’re too weak and pathetic to go through with it. You’re nothing but a fat coward! I think you deserve a slower, more painful death. Much like the one I have planned for you.”
But I don’t want to die, not really!
“Then why did you want me to stay? Didn’t you know that bulimia is a death sentence? Idiot.”
At the time, I truly didn’t know that Mia would kill me. She seemed so kind and caring in the beginning. She seemed like a miracle solution for perfection. It was that day that I knew she would never, ever be happy. I had achieved my goal weight; in fact, I had lost more than my goal weight. I worked out almost constantly and starved myself. But no matter what I did, Mia wasn’t happy. She wanted more and more. She wanted lower numbers, more workouts, lower measurements, and smaller sizes. She wanted me to waste away to nothing.
And all the while, she was taking up residence in my head. Slowly pushing my own identity out so that she could take over my body. The more she beat me down, the more I felt I needed her, so I let her in more and more. Each day was a cycle of weighing, starving, exercising, binging, purging, weighing, binging, purging, weighing, starving. I weighed myself more than 20 times a day. I weighed after every meal, binge, purge, workout or just when ever I ‘felt fat.’ My world revolved around numbers and calories, sizes and measurements. I spent hours upon hours in front of the mirror examining my body. I would pinch the fat, suck in my stomach, and turn from side to side. I would stare and pick apart at my flaws. No matter how much I lost, my reflection always appeared huge. Mia had entered my mind and distorted my eyesight and self-perceptions. I turned to measuring tapes to try and figure out what I looked like, but they never seemed to match up. I literally had no idea what I looked like.
And to this day, I still can’t decipher what I look like. I couldn’t tell you if I weight 300 pounds or 90 pounds. But it really doesn’t matter. I was just as sick at my highest weight as I was at my lowest. Bulimia, and eating disorders in general, do not discriminate. They will take all races, ages, genders and most importantly, shapes and sizes as their victims. Eating disorders will attack their victims slowly, withering them away to nothing.
Over time Mia became apart of me. I was no longer Jordyn, the loving daughter, intelligent student, and talented equestrian. I was only on the sidelines while Mia took over my identity. I became nothing but my eating disorder. Every lie, manipulation, binge, purge, starvation was Mia’s doing. I no longer knew who I was, what I liked doing, or who I wanted to become. All I knew was that I needed to be skinny. I only cared about numbers, food, and weight. Nothing else mattered.
Mia slowly isolated me from my friends, family, boyfriend and hobbies. School and horseback riding lost importance for me in comparison to bulimia. It was all I knew anymore. Thinking about not having Mia anymore sent me into a complete panic. Without her I literally would be nobody.
At least, I thought I would be nobody. It took nine years, millions of weigh-ins, binges, purges and calories burnt, but I have finally realized that Mia is only out to hurt and kill me. I still fear losing her, but I no longer want to live my days obsessed with weight and appearance. I might miss Mia a bit, but I won’t miss the endless, exhausting cycle of starving, binging and purging. I won’t miss the sore throats, the hair loss, the depression or the pain. I know now that I can be more than my bulimia. I know that I don’t need Mia. I just need me.
Author: Jordyn D.
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