I can relate…

July 17, 2009 at 3:42 am Leave a comment

I just read an excerpt of “Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater” by Frank Bruni.  Wow!  SO much of it sounded familiar.  Never getting enough food, sneaking food, always being too big in comparison to my peers, throwing up after eating too much.

I’ve never approached full-fledged bulimia, but I have thrown up to purge the excess calories.  Interestingly enough, I never did it as a child or even a young adult.  It’s much more recent than that.  The first time was a couple of years ago, and I went through a period where I did it fairly regularly.  Then I would stop, and then when things got stressful, I would do it again for a spell. 

Mr. Bruni talks about finding a bathroom where he’d have privacy and giving his face time to calm down so that it didn’t reveal the signs of his vomitting.  I have done the same thing, sneaking into the bathroom in a restaurant, hoping no one that I knew walked in while I was throwing up, putting eye drops in to get rid of the redness before heading back to the table.

He doesn’t mention this, but I wonder if others have had a hard time making themselves throw up.  I’ve had times when, no matter how I tried, I couldn’t get anything up.  It’s maddening.  So frustrating to bring tears to my eyes with the effort, hacking and gagging, with nothing to show for it.

I haven’t done in it in several months, but it remains tempting, especially right now when my weight’s up 5 or so stubborn pounds.  I think that what keeps me from making it a habit is that I’m generally so health-conscious.  It’s hard to justify self-induced vomitting when I otherwise work diligently to take good care of myself.  But I definitely feel the pull of it.  It’s an appealing solution to a problem that frequently seems insurmountable.

The author describes his favorite foods like he’s writing a love story; he remembers every nuance: the texture, mouth feel, scent.  Food is like that for me, too.  It’s extraordinarily vivid and compelling.  He mentioned that he’d volunteer to clear the table so that he could lap up the remnants of dessert.  Me, too!  The author turned away from the scale in the doctor’s office.  Me, too!  I even went so far, when I got older, as to refuse to be weighed at all.

One thing I didn’t do was throw up when, as a child, I didn’t get the additional servings of food I wanted, which Mr. Bruni did.  That seems like very odd behavior to me, and yet it makes a weird kind of sense.  My relationship with food is so disordered that odd is normal.  It’s a struggle to relate to people who don’t feel an irresistible compulsion to eat.  I am bewildered by people who can leave food sitting in front of them without giving it a second thought once they’ve had their fill.  It’s foreign to me, truly foreign. 

While our stories are not exactly the same, I feel a kinship with Mr. Bruni.  I understand the torment, the fear, the shame, the turmoil that he’s lived with all his life.  I will be buying his book very soon.


Entry filed under: about me, books, coping strategies.

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