I haven’t gotten into the whole minimalist/Marie Kondo thing. We keep things pretty tidy, and frankly, I like those silver stilettos that I can’t quite squeeze into but still wear once every (two) year(s). But, it recently dawned on me that I feel a little bit of a bittersweetness in bidding farewell to bulimia. It no longer brings me joy–it never did, but it did bring me SOMETHING. Control? Release? Relief? I don’t quite know, but it served a function. For 25 years. It no longer serves that function, so it no longer has a place in my life.
As odd as it seems, I feel like I need to express gratitude in some way–to say “thank you” for whatever the eating disorder did for me. I promise I’m not romanticizing bulimia. It is ugly, and dangerous, and consuming, and it wrecks you. But, I don’t know that I would have survived without it. That’s hard to say, because I’ve spent so long feeling guilty and ashamed and weak for giving it purchase for so many years.
I don’t know that I could have survived an emotionally abusive childhood without an outlet. Did I have positive outlets? Yes, actually, I did–music, sports, friends, reading and writing. But, the emotional turbulence was too much, too consuming to be buried in lines of poetry and meters sprinted. It needed something nastier, something more visceral.
I’m not sure whether I’m explaining this at all well. But, I don’t know if I could have carried on to become the person I am today without it–would I have turned to drugs or alcohol otherwise? Would I have succumbed to (more serious) depression?
I don’t know the answers, of course, but in a family where therapy is taboo (just pray it away!!) and emotions are crushed down and secrets piled into mountains, I don’t know what might have happened if I didn’t find this crutch. Were there better options? 100 percent. Were there worse options? Maybe.
This is a convoluted way of saying that in some twisted way, I’m thankful that I had some way to survive. But, the “joy” my ED brought was never real, and I can see that now. So, with some sort of weird gratitude, I’ve said goodbye.