Food is my best friend and worst enemy. Few pleasures compare to a good meal, and few leave me as wracked with guilt.
I’ve always liked to eat. As a child I rarely had to be encouraged to finish my plate; indeed I would often go back for more. My parents encouraged me, praising my appetite, and I have long sought to feel accepted and secure through praise.
Food became a source of comfort, making up for a dearth of friends. Reliable: a sure rush of pleasure and a slow come-down in the warm afterglow.
I might often feel lonely but I can always rely on eating to take my mind off that for a brief spell, fill the aching void and dull the pain.
As I gnaw my way through the pile of food, gnawing back at me from inside comes my guilt. Guilt at overindulgence, guilt for my lack of self-control, guilt for my obesity, guilt for my weakness.
So I purge. Put my finger down my throat as far as I can reach to trigger the gag reflex, make my stomach spasm and eject the food I just ate and that weighed so heavily on my mind.
I keep going until I am dry retching, nothing left, red-faced and struggling for breath. Eyes blurred by tears. I blow my nose, clean up, rinse out my mouth and wash my hands. Realise that the emptiness remains, that the aching remains, that the guilt remains and was not voided along with the food.
My thoughts turn to food again, my desire for comfort warring with what remains of my will. I choose emptiness this time and sit in melancholy silence while the void inside feeds itself on the remains of my tattered soul.