Disclaimer: I was ‘recovered’ for two years, after almost 10 years of b*llshit.
Bullsh*t. The symptoms were tamed but the root was never solved.
After sending Nicole a first draft, she wanted to know, “Why do you purge?” Simple question. Not a very simple answer. How does a healthy, happy, aspiring opera singer, one with amazing friends and family, spiral downward so drastically, right to the very bottom?
I always want to burst out laughing when I tell people even the minute details of what I have been going through. The response is always something like “Really!? I never would have known! You seem so happy and healthy and I thought things were going amazingly well!” And then I think to myself a couple things: Yep! I’m getting away with murder! So it almost justifies my self sabotage.
Anything it takes to maintain the facade people seem to like. And then I feel fraudulent. And pathetic.
Women and men who are thin, have good jobs, exercise, and look put together, are perceived by the rest of the world as though they are in control of their lives (whether it is a facade or not) and they most certainly get treated differently. Most people want to be in the company of those that are put together and in control. And if you’re in shape/thin and pretty then that must mean you’re in control and it also must mean you’re HAPPY. People also generally want to associate with happy people. Believe me. Looking like you’re staying in ‘shape’ means you have ‘control’ over your dietary and exercise habits which in turn probably means you have control over everything else in your life. Being able to exercise and eat well is a privilege. When a person comes across as though they have their life under control, and things are going great, then others are drawn to that. Who doesn’t want to be envied, or looked up to? Who doesn’t want to be desired or sought after?
My entire professional background and personal interests are based on being an entertainer. I’ve always been in the spotlight, the face of a company, a voice on stage. From acting and singing, to selling wine, hosting wine tours and wine parties, to hospitality management and food and beverage direction to high end residential property management. You better BELIEVE I better look like I have my sh*t together. Unfortunately, especially as a young girl, what others thought/think about me (Fashion, complexion, who I dated, what I was going to do with my life, my teeth, how good I sang) was immensely important. Having that approval. Being a big fish in a small pond. Being approved of, desired, and coming across as extremely put together so that I get treated well has always been important to me.
So when I started to question my career choices after my junior year of college, I started to diet and exercise. I got braces, too. It all started there. I was addicted to looking good. My relationship with my long term college boyfriend failed, and I stopped singing. But I looked better than ever. Because looking good made me feel good and that got me places I never imagined I would be. I was becoming a different version of myself. A fraud.
I’ve been scared that if I do not purge I’ll be back to that old Sarah that I just saw so much physical flaw in. Funny thing is she was an amazing singer, was ridiculously more social and laid back, and she was healthy. Healthy and HAPPY. I haven’t had a menstrual cycle in 6 months. Last time I went without one for 6 /7 years. The bingeing and the purging started up again innocently enough around Halloween. And the weight started dropping off again. And I felt lighter, daintier, prettier. I know there were better ways to keep the weight off. But I also knew what most definitely worked.
So I suppose I purge because I am scared of getting to that ‘REAL’ place again. Where I have to deal with the real effects of my diet, my running, and my wine drinking. Reality without the comforts of drinking and bingeing and purging scare the living sh*t out of me. It has now become an ingrained habit. Like a robot. Every day. But it’s catching up to me. Big time.
Moving back to Boston, I started packing on the pounds again. But I was happy. My focus was shifted on my new amazing job and new relationship. And I was healthy again.
But I started to feel uncomfortable with myself. With my new healthier weight. And it just kept climbing!
My trip to Aruba in November of 2011 was the LAST straw. I had to get this weight off so I could start feeling ‘better’.
Progressively I have been feeling shittier and shittier. The slate isn’t as consistently clean anymore. Do you know what I mean? I’m bloated, and tired, and hung-over. But, like a robot, I get myself out that fucking door to run my four miles every single morning, get home, shower, apply my make-up with shaky hands, make my unsatisfying rice cake, almond butter and banana breakfast even though I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money at Whole Foods for so many other more what I am sure would be much more satisfying, healthy breakfasts; and Groundhog Day begins.
I promised myself I would stop with the caffeine, too. It doesn’t help with my anxiety and propensity to have panic attacks. But I love coffee and make some anyway, despite my desire to cool it on the caffeine. Why not just get decaf beans next time, Sarah? I make it in my French press with this gorgeous coffee I just ground at Whole Foods. It was a new blend too tempting and deliciously aromatic to pass up. I’m a fucking adult, and if everyone else can have coffee, so can I! Then I wait, and the anxiety kicks in. GREAT. Tomorrow I’m switching to decaf, DEFINITELY decaf. I just love the taste of coffee so the caffeine doesn’t matter anyway, right? Especially considering I hate the way it makes me feel. The only thing that will calm me down now at the end of the day is a glass of wine. I’m a fucking adult. If everyone else can have a happy hour, then I deserve one, too! I’m an adult, and I have control. Right? Don’t I?
After I have that glass (sometimes even at work these days), I usually go out for more… or make sure I go home for more.
And then I go food shopping. I’m a fucking adult and want to make a nice dinner for myself, and I can handle being alone. But I buy so much. Just in case, you know? Just in case I’ll ‘need’ it. And then I go home and ‘relax’. I’m a fucking adult, run every single day (over 200+ day running streak now. Zero pain. Energy ebbs and flows) and eat well throughout the day so I deserve something I have deprived myself of. And then I make SO much of it… enough for ‘leftovers’, open up the next or third bottle even, pile my plate high…. then tell myself ‘this is the way I need to cope right now… it will go away… it’s the last time…. you deserve this…. it’s so fun so pleasurable and exciting to eat all this fucking delicious food and to be able to get rid of it… and then you can have MORE… make those cookies and maybe have those bagels you bought that you never would normally have bought with that expensive goat cheese and raspberry jam; OHHHHH and butter, too…. god the butter and the warm bread and cheese…… the rest is usually a blur and I wake up and it starts all over again. Each day the wine is more, the binge is more…. the foggy brain, the shaky hands…. it’s all just getting worse.
It amazes me how much wine I drink every single night and yet I still preform really, really well on race days.
For me it is habitual. This physical, robotic ritual. A cycle. When I am not alone, I don’t even have the desire to binge. Not one bit. What gives? Whether I have been drinking or not. When I am alone, I only have the desire to binge if I have been drinking. And lately, I have been drinking JUST so I can let loose to have that feeling to binge. Drinking to justify a binge. And do you want to know what is just so utterly hilarious and ironic? I ABHOR the feeling of being drunk. Because I abhor the feeling of not having control. Heh. It is so scary to be afraid of yourself. I sometimes feel as though I am watching it all happen before my eyes with zero control.
That aside. I actually do really like myself! And I WANT to weigh a bit more. I’m just scared of the reality of it all. So if I want to stop, and have a normal healthy life, then why in the FUCK do I self sabotage!? I am the queen of engaging in activities that offer rewards. And lately I have been indulging in them ALL. Shopping excessively, buying scratch tickets, running, drinking, and bingeing and purging. There is a root problem here to it all. Not one different solution to each and every one of those issues. There is one ROOT.
I’m just so MAD at myself. I have a great job, fabulous friends and a very supportive and loving family. Yet I am killing myself slowly even though I don’t want to die. (I mean, fucking duh, LOL) I want to get married and have kids some day. I thank the universe every day for my best friend, sister Samantha. She is my saving grace and dose of sanity. She is three years younger but totally takes care of ME. I hope that someday I will be able to play the role of older sister, the role I was ‘designed’ for. She is getting married to an amazing man in September and I couldn’t be happier. Yes, I am envious; but we all follow different paths.
Interestingly Nicole has told me that her martinis help her to relax (of course!) and in being uninhibited she LOSES the desire to binge. For me, I relax and lose all inhibition, too; but it has the complete opposite effect on me. Does this mean Nicole truly wants to be healthy, and when she is uninhibited her deepest desire is to be healthy without bingeing and purging and therefore stays strong? And for me, when my inhibition is lost, I just delve deeper into finding comfort and joy in food and self sabotage because I am not at peace with myself?
Oh, and I am scared as SHIT. I’m petrified of all these changes ahead of me. I know, I know… one day/step at a time. I can only handle tackling one thing at a time.
© Nicole Marie Story Enterprises, LLC and nicoleandgwendolyn.com, 2011 – 2013.