When I was little I was really skinny.

There was a period of time when I was hungry a lot. It seem like food was hard to come by. It was after my parents got divorced and my mom was living it up as a twenty-something going out all the time.

Whenever we went out to eat with her and her friends, I would eat a lot, thinking if I didn’t have anything to eat for days after, I’d be okay.

From age 4 to 13, I remember eating a ton of junk food: Ruffles potato chips, Doritos, Chips Ahoy, Oreos, Snowballs, Brach’s bulk candies, Dreyer’s neopolitan ice cream, Drumsticks ice cream cones. Chasing the ice cream man and his truck with the music playing was actually a thing.

I remember telling my mom I’m hungry while she was on the phone talking to her girl friend. She would tell me to grab her purse from the closet and bring it to her. She would reach in a and hand me a dollar. It was so exciting to hold that money in my hand. I would walk to 7-Eleven and buy me a small slurpee (I would mix the coca cola and cherry flavors together) and a bag of Reece’s Pieces, the total was 97 cents.

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When I was in 5th grade, my band teacher, Mr. H,  would always bring me donuts every Wednesday. I got to cut class and hang out with him. Sometimes it was a dozen donut-holes, other times it was a sugar glazed donut. Every now and then it was a bear claw. I loved them all. I think he enjoyed seeing my face light up when he handed to me these treats. Watching me eat these donuts, he would sometimes he would comment that I had a fast metabolism, he said that’s how I could stay so skinny even though I ate so much. He was in his sixties and couldn’t eat like I did. That was the first time I realize that I was “lucky” to have a body with a “fast metabolism.”

I like how he could be mean to the other students and even make them cry. But with me, he was kind. He would put on his hand on my back and rubbed it. I never felt threatened by his touch. Although when I was in junior high, rumors started floating around about his floating hands.

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In junior high, I was going through some growth spurt and had a really large appetite. I ate an obscene amount of food. The things I could eat in one sitting were: a whole medium Pizza Hut pizza, two Big Macs and large fries, a dozen donuts, a whole platter of fried rice.

By 9th grade, I felt like all the food I was inhaling was catching up on me. I started to feel like I was gaining weight.

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I still remember the moment when I realized I wasn’t skinny anymore. My mom, sister and I were in a Vietnamese cell phone and pager store in Westminster (the Vietnamese enclave in Orange County). They were looking at Motorola StarTacs. At that time, that was the fanciest cell phone on the market. We were sitting in these chairs waiting to be helped. I was sitting across from my mom and sister. That was when my mom said to my sister to look at me, Doesn’t it look like she gained weight? Especially in her arms.

I was wearing a brown baby tee with geometric print on it (which I got from the Delia’s catalog). I remember the cap sleeves feeling tight around my arms.

I felt it. I felt fat. And when it was affirmed by mom and sister, I started to cry.

I had lost my “fast metabolism.”

I’m not the lucky one anymore. I can’t eat everything and still be skinny.

After that realization, I started to watch what I eat.

Obsessively.

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I watched what I put in my body. I also watched all of it come out of my mouth.

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I tried to be anorexic. Many times I was too weak and gave in to “eating.” When I did, I would throw it all up.

Some foods were better to throw up than others. Like ice cream was cool. Fried food, not so much.

There was a “perfect window” of when to throw up. It was 15-25 min after I was done eating. Anything before or after that window, there was no guarantee that all that I had consumed was fully regurgitated.

I would just wash my hands, and use my left index and middle finger and shove it down my throat. Worked every time.

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Throwing up was pretty disgusting and really uncomfortable. My body felt sore from all the convulsions.

Whenever I was upset with my mom for being hard on me, I would make it a point to throw up. It felt like an act of rebellion.

It was also my way of punishing my stupid body for not having any control over itself and needing to eat all the fucking time when I would tell it not to.

I had a lot of teen angst.

I remember hating myself for wanting to eat.

I hated my body the most when I was eating.

Why are you getting me fat?

Punishing it felt good.

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I don’t know why I chose to throw up in the bathroom sink and tub, instead of the toilet.

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After the lost round of barfing, when there was nothing left but bile, I would look up and see myself in the mirror. Eyes red and teary, wet eyelashes matted down. I would smile. Victory.

 

To be continued…