Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Being a recovering bulimic is a pain in the ass.

We arrived home in Boston today and I felt relief: to be home, where my mail is and bills are, where my dog's bed is and mine, where I can sit in the kitchen and know where every utensil belongs. It was nice to be home. After unpacking the car and starting laundry, Heather and I sat down to exchange more gifts and then started on bills and receipts while enjoying a glass of Cab (thank you neighbors). I called USCIS for a status update... not much progress. We prepped dinner and ate (thank you Cinny for enchiladas). And then I fell apart.

I was planning to enjoy a chocolate after dinner. Cinny bought us a box of white and milk assorted chocolates from See's. Lovely. Except there were peanuts and I'm allergic. So no chocolate. Big deal, right? Wrong. See, in the middle of leaving home (Georgia) and not sleeping and having a cold and having, as Heather correctly named it an "emotional attachment" to food, I began to cry. And not just crocodile tears...sobs. And I find myself, 30+mins later, still on the verge of tears.

I don't know if food would solve this problem. 80 lost pounds later I presume food, especially dessert, would not solve this problem. I'm tired. My body is worn down with a two-month old cold. And, most of all, I'm hurting. I left my family yesterday and I miss them already. It always happens like this- a few days of deep sadness post-leaving. Five years later, I'm still not good at leaving them. I buck and cry and cry and buck. Big kid.

Tonight was primed by leaving and triggered by food. Food, especially dessert, is my trigger. Rich cheesecake and gooey chocolate. Whipped cream. Ice cream. Cake. They remind me of home. Of comfort. Of caring. Of hands that baked and dished. Those that shared with me. Of nights alone when they didn't and I recreated alone. Baking and dishing and eating. Comforted.

A non-bulimic can't understand why it's such a big issue. Why I can't get over it or eat something else. A non-bulimic can't understand that in my head I've already made a decision (whether conscious or unconscious) to replace my feelings with "X", whether "X" is a See's chocolate or a cupcake or brownie or ice-cream. The choice and substitution has been made. Done. And when the substitution fails, then there's this emptiness. A desperation that begins because there's nothing to hold on to, to be comforted by. And a replacement doesn't work. If a See's chocolate = sublimated grief then how can a Hershey's kiss replace it just because it's there? If a replacement were an option it would have to be chosen. I have to choose to sublimate my grief with a "See's chocolate" or "Hershey's kiss". The grief is too important just to be replaced by whatever is available.

Then when I realize there's no replacement, that a See's chocolate is it or bust, I collapse. Cry in pieces on Heather's lap. Deep sobs. Whether for the grief of leaving or the grief of not eating chocolate I don't know. They're now one and the same. And I'm lost. No family. No chocolate. No replacement.

I'm sure this sounds crazy to the reader. It's a little crazy for me- now nearly 12 years since I first became bulimic- it's still crazy. And I'm writing it out so it's not in my head- alone. And because when I'm writing, I'm not eating. Or drinking. And though this is shameful, it's a better solution than feeding (literally) this demon that's a little crazy. A little shameful. And very real. Still, five years since my recovery began. Still very real.