You are a fat old woman, she says as I look at myself in the mirror. Fat and stupid and careless. You don’t deserve to eat, she tells me as my stomach rumbles. It rumbles because I purged tonight. I took my kids to dinner at Chili’s and carefully ordered the low-fat, high protein meal I know is safe. I checked the stats on my iPhone, I cut my pieces into tiny tiny bits and I drank my water. But still I purged.
You are a horrible mother, I nod as I hear the voice in my head. You purged in the bathroom when your children were right outside the door. In a public restroom, where anyone could have walked in. You took your toothbrush and shoved it down your throat. God, you cannot even PURGE correctly. It took, what, 7, 8 times before anything came up? But then it came quickly. The cream-covered cheesy pasta with chicken that your son had leftover on his plate. Not enough to take home, he said. His brother didn’t want it. And you didn’t have the strength to ask the waitress to just take the plate away. The fat waitress who waddled, reminding you of what happens when you eat cream and pasta and cheese. What was it mom always said? Five minutes on the lips, five years on the hips. Waste not, want not. Children starving in China, and wasted food just thrown away. So you ate a bite. Then two, then the rest. You could have stopped there – IT WOULD HAVE BEEN OK. Sometimes you can just eat a bit of pasta and not gain weight. But not you. You had to feel the cream sitting like a pool of sludge in your stomach, the pasta like rocks. You wanted it, the purge, the rush, the… emptiness. The power. And for what? Maybe a third of a cup of penne with cream sauce?
So after your youngest finished in the stall next to you, you told him you had to go poops and you’d be right out, he should wait with his brother. And then you dug through your purse to your travel toothbrush and toothpaste which are conveniently next to the razor blades. Briefly you pondered cutting instead, but that leaves a mark. Praise God, at least you were smart enough to avoid scarring yourself again. So instead you opened the brush, and shoved it down your throat. As your children waited patiently outside. At least you’re fast about it. You may be worthless trash, but at least you can still purge quickly and pretty quietly. Bravo. Encore. Oh, because there will be an encore. You’ll never get rid of me.
After the pasta came up, you couldn’t stop, could you? It was so easy then – just a little bit more and there was dinner. Smooth and easy and even though you felt a little dizzy, you fixed your hair and brushed your teeth, idly wondering if you should find a dentist you can trust to tell your secret to. And then you stepped out of that bathroom and took your children’s hands and left the restaurant. The place where nearly everything on the menu is over 1,000 calories and far too expensive. And as you walked to your car, you were calculating how many calories came up. How do you record this on MyFitnessPal?
You are a liar and a cheat. You’re a bitch of a wife. You promised to tell him, to tell your husband who just worked at 16 hour day and commuted for 3 hours, who is probably waiting for you at home while you now pick up hangers and cereal and bread at Target as though nothing has happened. How can you EVER tell him you purged while his children were with you? That you pretended everything was fine and prayed they didn’t know.
And there it is. You are a fat, old, ugly, useless piece of garbage who puts your need to splurge on pasta above the emotional and physical safety of your children. And as you look in the mirror, and wipe away the makeup and the glossy exterior, you are naked. Naked and hideous. You look like a boy with your stupid short haircut. Your smile is crooked and too toothy, your eyes wrinkle too much when you smile, and don’t even get me started about those cottage cheese thighs.
You listened to me tonight. All this work, the dieticians, the psychiatrist, the psychologist – it’s been almost a year and you’re reduced to eating off of a scribbled piece of paper that is supposed to be your meal plan. You’re not even a real anorexic, you stupid fool. Because if you were, you’d be thin. And you know that you aren’t. You’re weak, you always give in – you always eat, even if it’s not enough. You were never bright enough to figure out how not to eat. You even asked your shrink for a higher dose of your anti-depressant in the hope not that it will help with the depression, but that it will help you be less hungry. Even the psychologist said you’re not anorexic. Who ever heard of an eating disorder “not otherwise specified?” It means it’s in your head, you idiot.
It wasn’t the pasta. It wasn’t the sauce. It was the assignments you haven’t written, the marketing pieces due last month, the job details you promised two months ago so you can renew your contract that expired last month. It’s the insurance company reminding you to send in the paperwork so they can fix your car that you dented. It’s the back taxes that your accountant has fixed but is waiting on you to answer his questions. The bookkeeper who takes care of your dad’s finances who hasn’t gotten paid in over a month. The housekeeper you haven’t hired, the decorator you can’t find, the laundry piles everywhere, and the reminder that tomorrow is another 16 hour day but you are far too lazy to get anything really accomplished. You’re a sham, a fake, a glimmer that once people see the real you, they’ll leave and never come back. They’ll take your kids – you’re such a horrid mother – and your husband and all that you love and you will be alone again. Only you won’t be alone. It’ll be you, and me, and your toothbrush.
You are so weak and pathetic, you can’t even shut me up.