Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mind Mazes

Disclaimer: this is long and started of with an intention (which I no longer remember) and ended up being more like a minor lost in a maze of underground tunnels trying to find his way out by digging new ones and finding others and going around in in point.

If you manage to get to the end. Thank you and give yourself a hug and a thumbs up for me (perhaps even an applaud).

My mind is all clouded with conflicting desires. On one hand there is a bottomless pit––emptiness––and there is the food I try to fill it with; on the other hand is a craving to be thin. And, there, towering behind me is Bull Limia whispering into my ear. It promises me that I can have both, eat that, puke it, pop those pills and exercise. "They say it's wrong, Flushed, but for you, for you it's right. Doesn't it feel right? Everybody does things behind closed doors that are judged harshly should it come to light. We all have secrets. We all have things that they frown upon but what do they know of you? Only you know you."

And in my other ear another voice whispers to me. She is the epitome of health. "Do not pollute your body, Flushed. You only have one. Treat it right. Listen to your body, it knows best. Your body will wants to be thin and healthy, just as you want."

I listen to each, noting their points. Assessing the situation at hand. There is nobody home, nobody to disturb me nor entertain me. What is "healthy" anyway? Healthy is fruits and vegetables and exercise, right? What's so wrong with puking anyway? Too much food is bad for you, right? Not fitting into your jeans is bad for you. Fat clings to me longer than with the smell of regurgitated food. I can forget the episode in the restroom, the empty food bags, boxes and dishes piled high in the kitchen with a flush, a brush and simple household chores.

No eating doesn't seem to be an option for me. It only leads to a less thought out binge (read: worser decisions). If I let hunger roll into starving healthy food loses it's appeal. My body overrides my mind and devours all food, junk or healthy, without avail. Puking only gets rid of so much. The body absorbs calories regardless. For this reason I binge on healthy and low cal diet foods. I figure if my body does absorb calories the majority of it will be fat-free or complex. The binge may be volumous, but imagine how many more calories would be in the same amount of space with Doritos, Cheez-its, Pizza and Brownies.

The difference in the binge food, whether it is purged or not, is noticeable. When I consume junk food it leaves me feeling shitty. There really is such thing as a junk food hangover; I've experienced it. There have also been studies showing that sugar, processed food and well, the things that are generally found in unhealthy foods are addictive. Folks, I have done the research, I also found this to be true. I noticed that when I binge on junk, the more alluring it becomes, and the more likely the binge will be repeated and the proportions greater. It is a spiral of doom. I feel sluggish, depleted, defeated, and all the other yucktastic adjectives; and I always seem to gain. A gain A LOT!

It is not to say that bingeing on the healthy food does not make me gain or have me feeling sluggish. The degree of the effects are less with healthier food. Even my resolve the next day is better. The nutrition thins the fog of It. The fat-free and low cal diet food make it that much easier to zip up my jeans the following day. If I do it right and exercise, the jeans may even slide on a little easier than the day prior. I feel in control; a calm from the stress that weighs heavy on my mind. It makes it easier to smile when it is easier to hide, when there is a little less guilt of it all. It doesn't feel wrong when it's done this way. 

It is them that makes it feel so wrong. Those people that say it's disgusting and wrong and a disorder. But it doesn't feel like that to me when I do it "right." Just because the outside world seems to agree that it is wrong. Is it really? Or is it what our culture has taught us? The same culture that teaches us that thin is beautiful, brainwashes us with "doesn't being bad make you feel so good" when flashing images of luscious brownies topped with vanilla bean ice cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup followed by a commercial advertising the newest diet pills and "eat what you want and still lose" weight-loss programs. It's all mindfuckery that those people are feeding to us in any multi-media vehicle they can get to us. It's unescapable, the tv, the radio, the billboards... Is that not wrong? Is that not disgusting?

Bulimia is not healthy but neither are Doritos, Dreyers Ice Cream and muffin tops. There are links to cancers, diabetes and the like. I have a fucked up relationship with food and weight but is being concerned with it and worrying any worse than not worrying? Is becoming obese with high blood pressure, clogged arteries and a sweaty beast healthier than throwing up my food and having swollen glands and acidic breathe? No. I think the implications of a high weight are much worse than those associated with bulimia (I'm not touching anorexia...). Needless to say, I am aware of food and weight and the effects of it on my body.

My awareness is both my virtue and my vice. Those that are unaware tend to live in a world of lies. "Ignorance is Bliss" they say but is it? I watch my family members pile on cheese on their tacos and already cheesy beans, go for dessert, forgetting the chips and guacamole they noshed on before dinner was even served, and all the while they are sipping on calorie laden drinks (read: guzzling bottle after bottle of beer). They complain about how they can't get rid of this weight and they don't understand it (they've been good by having a yogurt for breakfast and chicken caesar salads for lunch), and how their doctor tells them their blood pressure and cholesterol levels are high. Mine are great, I go to the doctor and the test always seem to come back spectacular. I answer yes to exercising regularly and trying to eat healthily (all true) and my low blood pressure is associated with athletic people but come face to face hand to mouth with dessert or a serving of beans with a little cheese on them and my heart and mind go into overdrive.

If a magic entity gave me the choice today of ignorance or awareness, I would choose the latter. With the latter I have the power to change. With the latter I do not wonder why the scale goes up, I know. I can face the culprit again and know the consequences of indulgence now and high numbers later. 

With the whispers of Bull Limia and Healthy in my ears I try to teeter between the two. Balancing the scales. I like Healthy more, I hear all the truth in the words of Healthy but it is not a see-saw at a playground that I am standing on. There is not just 2 sides of this push and pull. There is the reality of my environment taunting me. The reality that tries to brainwash me with its catchy phrases and enticing me with its mouthwatering images to suck the decimals out of my bank account. The environment of tortilla chips with guacamole, pizzas and red velvet cupcakes because that's what people eat, apparently. The attitudes that they eat normally and I am not because my plate is covered in lettuce and vegetables and the soda I drink says Diet on it.

I am not saying that I am normal. But I question what "normal" truly is. Normal is what society does. Normal is doing as others do. But normal is very different from right and wrong; and "right" and "wrong" is tailored to the individual just as normal is. In this ED community of bloggers I am normal because I fit in with the majority. But the community as a whole is a minority in society, thus abnormal. I cloak this behavior to society so I can fit in a little better. I run to the community to pour my thoughts and  actions to light, I can be myself and feel accepted. In this community, my behavior is normal and thus, accepted while those people are not.

If my environment would have aligned with my aspirations of thin would I have felt "normal"? Would I have found IT? If staring me in my face were the choices of Healthy would it have drowned out the whispers of IT? 

What if I am the one who is "right"? I can see the mindfuckery attacking my thoughts each day and when I give into them I am trying to rectify the situation. Our culture and environment may scream "normal" but it is not right.

I don't think bulimia is "right" but I do believe that society is "wrong". I am trying to fight it. I am trying to choose healthy and when I don't I panic. I don't want to be one of them. To me, being one of them feels wrong. Healthy is right, I can feel it in my body. My environment seems to be against me. To be "normal" in society is confusing, it is always twisting and turning, pushing and pulling. 

I just want to go with what feels right to me. I would rather be healthy than bulimic. Sometimes being healthy is an obstacle; society, my environment, culture and, mostly, my emotions seem to be against me.  At those times listening to IT feels like the best choice.

Today I am putting forth effort to take on the obstacles and be healthy. I find this is the best way for me to get out of IT. I eat vegetable and fruits all day and thus do not feel the need to purge it. It is a sort of detox I suppose. I stay away from processed foods, even if they say "diet" or "low-cal" on them and opt for the goods that Mother Nature (and pesticides) has so graciously given us an abundance of.

It seems like, "Duh Dumbass! If this is what works for you than why do you keep finding yourself in this damn spiral of regurgitating food?" 

The answer is this: Pure Laziness.

I'm sure you've noticed that it is much easier to open up a bag of chips to munch on, and it is faster to heat up last nights fat filled leftovers; and less dishes and mess than to cut up vegetables or make your own healthy dish. It goes even further back that this; at the supermarket. It's so much faster and cheap to roll through the cereal and bread section than pick out pretty fruits that are not bruised and finding fruit that does not show evidence of the many miles it has travelled to get to your grocery store. When you are tired and just want to get home and eat, it seems like you have driven 2,343,232 miles and trekked through fields of orchards and climbed ladders to reach that piece of fruit. And then you get home and have to eat them in a timely manner before they rot (you know what they say about "one rotten apple...").  Of course, all this time and effort is completely worth it because fruits and vegetables and home cooked (healthy, low cal) treats are totally worth it but damn....I'm lazy!


  1. Your comparison of bulimia and the food that society deems normal is great. Cheetos and Red Bull are commonplace college food, whereas oatmeal or a fucking piece of fruit is so alien. Advertising is an industry the world could do just fine without. I've gone on many a diatribe about how much I hate anyone who is majoring in advertising. But we'll talk about that some other time.

    People who eat shit, don't exercise and wonder why they are so fat are just ridiculous. But hey, the 20,000 diet pill commercials say eating what you want and not exercising will still shed pounds and give you a sweet tan.

    If you are less apt to purge healthy food, then that's awesome. You should check out my post on the Green Monster if healthy is what you're after.

    Normal and abnormal are really useless terms when applied to things that are equally unhealthy. Normal eating of complete garbage is no better than bulimia just because it's socially acceptable.

    Good luck with being healthy and being less lazy. Hey, we need to be lazy sometimes...


  2. Dude.

    You're right about environment setting the norms.

    I mean, I'm part asian and on my mom's side, everyone eats fresh, healthy food and is normal sized. No one is obese, no one is diabetic.

    We live in Colorado, where people ride bikes, roller skate, ski, snow board, etc all year long and no matter where you live, you can see someone out running no matter the weather.

    No one questions my choices unless they seem really extreme (like the no dairy thing) but if I explain why I'm doing it, it just opens up a conversation where I end up swapping recipes and favorite health food store locations.

    But my father's family are from the south, and they are all fat, and they are all unhealthy and oblivious. They hate that I'm vegetarian, they get annoyed when I lose weight. They mock me for my choices. And gah, if you've ever been in the deep south where all the people are double know that the food myopia is as thick as the humidity.

    What is normal may not be synonymous with what is healthy, and what is healthy may not always be the obvious.

    If you're aware enough to figure it out, I reckon you're aware enough to know why bulimia is something you're fighting against rather than accepting of.

    It's your own inner voice that is telling you it's the wrong choice for

  3. I don't do junk, I can't eat that stuff. If I eat a normal single serving bag of something like doritos or whatever, my mouth feels like its burning, like the skin inside my cheeks is getting raw from the salt and preservatives.

    I'm unable to binge on junk food, so I binge on what I have in the house, which is health food.

    I always binge just to purge. I've never binged because I started eating, couldn't quit and kept it in/partially purged.

    And I don't purge to lose weight or maintain weight because I don't binge eat enough food to affect my weight in the first place. It's kind of like the purge is simply to blow off steam, so it's much different than what you seem to be describing.

    I purge less when I'm less stressed, and I'm less stressed when I simply refrain from eating at all...or I'm working out a ton and burning off my anxieties in the gym.

    Does exercise help you make the kinds of food choices you'd rather be making?

    I know for me, eating is easier after I've been to the gym than it is before I go. I feel justified in eating, and because I just did something really good for my body, I try and feed myself something equally as good.

  4. I hear you on the perfection vs procrastination thing. I am so fucking room looks like a closet tornado hurricane monsoon cyclone hit it full force.
    And yet, when I do clean, I clean top to bottom, nonstop until even the cracks in the plaster gleam.

    I would say don't be too jealous when you read my blog. My lack of need for thinspo has to do with the fact that my ED developed long before my ability to scrutinize my appearance/solid self-image emerged.

    In fact, you might say I have two EDs instead of one simple one.

    The purging is the first ED, the one which began when I was 4 or so. It is like a tea kettle blowing steam whistling, an emotional release or cathartic valve.

    Restriction is the second one, and arose due to feelings of fatness. I've been restricting since middle school.

    But neither one of them revolves around a desire to be thin.

    I am terrified of being fat, but my desire to be thin is actually a brand new thing, only 18mos old.

    The urge to lose weight, to actually get skinny is something I'd never felt before. It is exacerbating my pre-existing EDs to a level that requires my constant attention. Before, I never obsessed about calories. I either ate or simply didn't eat. I exercised a lot, but didn't care whether I gained muscle weight or not, so long as I wasn't *fat* anymore.

    I might not eat junk food or dairy, or meat, or bread or sweets, but I feel like B/P cycles are always unhappy regardless of your choices in intake.

    It doesn't wear the same mannerisms as your ED or other girls' EDs, but it's just as unnatural.

  5. Anonymous26.7.10

    I agree with everything you've said. If my brain were functioning properly, I would add my own two cents, but I'll just say this, for now.

    Have you also noticed that the people in those commercials and on those billboards, eating the cupcakes, the "100 calorie" snack packs, drinking their "light" beer, devouring all this junk food, are beautiful, thin, glamourous individuals? For Cheetos, they don't show some overweight middle-aged man sitting on the couch bathed in the eery glow of the television. They show instead a lithe, thin, energetic, smooth-talking cheetah. They're models; they're actors; the entire "symbolic" moment is a lie. They sell us lies every day, and then ask us why we're so damn lethargic and fat. They show thin and happy folks eating at fast-food restaurants, smiling, laughing, having a grand ol' time. And they are all lies.

    It's hypocrisy. They sell us the crap they can get away with poisoning, loading with preservatives and dyes, artificial flavors, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, and the like. They get away with it because the majority, the "norm", are either indifferent or ignorant.

    And it doesn't help that natural, organic, closer-to-Mama-Earth food, actual nutritious as-God-intended food, is so damn expensive when half the population is unemployed or barely able to pay the bills on time.

  6. "My mind is all clouded with conflicting desires. On one hand there is a bottomless pit––emptiness––and there is the food I try to fill it with; on the other hand is a craving to be thin." You just summed up my feelings perfectly in that one sentence.
    And you're very right. People tell us that our strange food-habits are unhealthy, but then they go out and overeat on junkfood. Is that healthy? I'd much rather live in my overawareness than their ignorance too.
    I'd say that normal, in society's eyes, is rather unhealthy. I mean, normal is to eat dessert every night! I'm pretty sure that that's not the way we're supposed to be. You're right; you don't want to be a part of "normal" society. It's really not healthy. Try your best to be healthy, darling. There's not a thing wrong with being in the minority there. Socieety can go fuck itself over with junk food, but you're better than that!

  7. I just gave myself a hug, because I read every single last thought-provoking word of that post. But it wasn't nearly as big as the hug I want to give you, darling.

    You have hit on the exact thing about our society that makes me want to scream and makes it so hard for me to even imagine myself without my anorexia (although I do recognize your differentiation between that and bulimia). We are fed such ridiculous mixed messages that it's no wonder we're all fucked to hell. What the fuck IS healthy anymore?

    That being said, I do believe that there are lucky ones out there that have attained "Normalized Eating." And I do believe that you are strong enough to get there, especially if Healthy is what you would rather be. If you're interested, check out this definition, it's very enlightening, and pretty accurate in my mind:

    Thanks for your thoughts, I'm glad we come to the same community to check in on our sanity :)



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