On the Subject of Poison

CW: Eating disorders, drug abuse.

I threw up today. Felt the sick somewhere in the center of my stomach and stepped quietly into the bathroom. As always, I felt relief, and imagined poison pouring out of me as I did so. It had been a while. I went to sleep afterwards and twisted on a mattress under oppressive dreams.

I first discovered the comfort of vomiting when I was using heroin and cocaine. I would eat something, usually a bag of chips, or drink a soda, and then would sit patiently as I was tied off and my veins pricked with needles. Immediately afterwards, my stomach would roll and I would go into the bathroom to void it. The pure, clean sensation of vomiting made me feel like I was spitting out everything that was in the way of the drug. I felt higher or lower afterwards, depending on the chemical. I was as addicted to throwing up as I was to shooting up.

I'm fat and I've always had a weird relationship with food. As a child, I would sneak downstairs in the middle of the night for spoonfuls of sugar and peanut butter. The scarcity of food in my childhood, the uncertainty where the next meal was going to come from, my mother's shame and anger at getting food boxes and using food stamps, all these things infected me. I didn't like to leave leftovers, because what if I never saw them again? I had to eat all the food. I had to eat it now before it disappeared.

And I'm fat, so, you know, that just gets read as: Well, she's fat, of course she overeats with no question as to how I started overeating.

Fat women get judged for their eating disorders. No doctor would ever hear me say: "I binge eat and then vomit," and think anything other than "she has an eating disorder."

But regular people? Not doctors? The public? You all are terrible.

Do I understand that starving myself won't make me skinny? Of course I do, but the shame I feel when I eat is overwhelming. I feel like people are watching me in disgust, noticing how fat I am, noticing the way I eat, noticing what I'm eating, noticing my stomach, my double chin, noticing me, seeing me eat. Staring.

So I put off eating until I'm filled with a horrible, wonderful dizziness that reminds me of the drink and how good it used to feel to be someone other than Kiva. And then I eat.

And today, I threw up again.

God, there is something powerfully good feeling about purging your food. People who don't enjoy the sensation of throwing up may not be able to understand, but think of it this way: I am treated like every time I choose to eat, I am choosing to put poison in my body. When I purge it out, I feel clean and free.

But I also know that it's terribly unhealthy, that I shouldn't do it. I know I shouldn't, but that's the thing about doing it: I'm fat, so I feel like people think I should be doing it. Better that than eating, they think as they stare at me in disgust.

I know I cannot sustain myself on nothing. I know I have to one day get a better relationship with food. 

But I cannot help but wonder how much more support, care, and understanding I would receive if I were skinny.