When I was in my teens, maybe 15 or 16, I don't remember, I knowingly taught myself to be bulimic. Not because I was overweight (I was, but I was somewhat reverse dysmorphic, er ... a term I'm officially coining to say that I didn't have an accurate view of my body and did not loathe it).
I taught myself bulimia because every eating disordered character in every story I (obsessively) read wound up getting the attention they needed, talking to terrific counselors who listened and gave them comfort, having their parents pull together and stop acting like self-centred jerks. As an added bonus, the characters' boyfriends stopped acting like sex-crazed maniacs and more like, well, in retrospect, girlfriends.
Perfect! I thought with a brain that was obviously addled. That's my plan.
So after dinner, when the spirit moved me, I disappeared. Sometimes to my parents' en suite bathroom, with the transistor radio turned high. But more often out the back of our garden, behind the hedge of evergreens, to toss up whatever I could of my dinner.
From early on, this activity left me with mixed feelings. I was amused that the evidence was gone before morning, and totally weirded out that my dog was likely concealing it, if you know what I mean ...
I felt guilty, because, hello? It was kind of gross.
But moreover, I liked it. I didn't know why, but I did. It wasn't like it did much for my weight, that continued to yo-yo like crazy.
Was it control? I certainly didn't feel like I had that anywhere else in my life ... but bulimic behaviours soon became the norm, so any feeling that I controlled something was short lived.
There was something, though. I felt ... relieved. I felt momentarily unburdened of the angst, pressure and sadness that had always existed for me. And I was pretty sure I could eat ... well ... anything.