I Am Now & Forever Shall Be … A Bulimic

In 20 years, we’ll look back, and the Mother’s Day present will be adorable. I hope. Crafted at school, it’s a letter to mom, complete with lines for kids to “fill in the blanks” with details about THEIR mom.

My kid filled in my weight with a guess of 20 pounds. Twenty pounds. Looking at the number, I realize what it means. I’d be dead.

But when I unfolded the piece of paper, a grin swept across my face before I thought better of it. I saw 20 pounds, and I loved it. Hello, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, my old friend. I haven’t missed you.

I’ve never kidded myself that I would get “beyond bulimia.” I am, and forever shall be, a bulimic. Not throwing up does not change that. That I now actually weigh more than I ever have in my adult life, save for when I was ready to deliver my child, does not change that.

But I thought for awhile that I’d at least gotten past the insanity. The place where 20 pounds sounds good, where that evil part of my brain doesn’t bounce up and down saying “who cares if it’s unhealthy, woohoooooooo, woohooo.”

Perhaps the worst part is that the grin spread wide in front of her as I read the words out loud. She has the most beautiful belly. A little birthmark at the base, just above the line to those little girl undies. A little pooch. Not much, just enough to show that she eats a nutritious diet. It’s a pooch that comes and goes. When she’s about to sprout up, it grows along with her appetite. In the days directly following a sudden spurt in height, it’s non-existent. And then it comes back, a perfect little roundness from sitting comfortably, watching TV shirtless at home.

I would never.

I sit here, even now, today, in my own home, in a room by myself, with a pillow cross my lap. I’m dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, but I feel the much larger roll of my belly, and I cover it.

She asks why, and I tell her I grabbed the pillow for my ankle. I lie.

Just as I lied when she asked why I was smiling so widely at her present I was nearly smirking. “Oh, Mommy’s just happy,” I said, burying my nose in her neck as I pull her in for a hug. “Mommy is just so lucky to have you.”

Lucky because so far, by the grace of something, I have been able to separate the woman who stares into the mirror and shudders from the woman who stares into those big blue eyes and says “I love you, baby girl.” So far.

I’m trying. Oh God, am I trying. I just don’t know how much longer. Because if 20 pounds makes me smile like a maniac, what little devil is waiting behind the next corner, just waiting for me to grab hold and dive off the bulimic cliff with it?


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  1. ((HUGS)) You are at a place now where you can be OK with that you know. We all learn from our mistakes, but it takes a strong woman to still admit to themKas

  2. I knew we had a connection because of something we hadn't quite figured out. I'll never write about my experience, in fact, I've never told anyone, except for my mother when she found it. I applaud you for being brave, for sharing your thoughts, your struggles, your constant battle with this constant nagging of wanting to be paper thin and light as a feather. Maybe we can talk more next time we see each other. I think it would be good for me to finally talk about it, with someone other than my mom.

  3. Great post! Sometimes it is so hard to be honest about our life…but it really does help!

  4. Oh how I identify with this post. Maybe someday we can even talk about why, but know that I think you are amazing for writing this. Bravo for you for sharing it with everyone, and for seeing those feelings in yourself, acknowledging them, and working through it. That shows tremendous strength! You are inspirational, and awesome!

  5. My kids had to do something similar but with out the weight. But they said I was 22 and loved my cooking. 🙂 if only I was 22 and not the 37 that I am. Granted I don't want to be 22 again but if they think I look that old I am ok with that. 🙂 lol Thanks for the great article and we all have those areas on our bodies that we could always improve and you know what… who cares. As long as you are happy and healthy that is all that matters. I think you look beautiful!! 🙂

  6. I hope someday that you'll be able to look at your own belly with the same feeling of love and acceptance. I think that day will come. I was just telling a friend that this month marks my 11 year anniversary of 'recovery'. We are so much more than the shape of our bodies. Be well.

  7. ((hugs)) I can definitely relate. Too scared to write it out loud and admit that I still struggle too. Thank you for opening up and for sharing. Sending up prayers for you ♥

  8. I think I would have shared your smirk as well:) As women we want to be light as a feather, right? But it is more important to be healthy and kind to our bodies. We are not perfect, but we are beautiful. You are a beautiful person inside and out Jeanne. Have confidence in yourself and in your beauty and I hope that this battle continually diminishes.


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