With this in mind, I’ve found myself stuck on a question that was only recently put forward to me by a close friend. Do you regret the first time you did it? By ‘it’ she meant self-induced vomiting and by ‘regret’ she was undoubtedly referring to the many horrors that consequently followed this very occasion. The natural response to such a question is, of course, yes. Had I not done ‘it’ that very first time, perhaps I could have avoided the two years of misery that ensued. Yes, in hindsight, that would have been most favourable I’m sure. But this would be a most unsatisfying answer.
Bulimia Nervosa isn’t an easy thing to be proud of in your life; particularly when said life has been so shortly lived thus far. And though I certainly bear no pride in its dominance over my life, I also find it difficult to regret. In many ways, to regret the role of Bulimia in my life would be to regret the person that has subsequently been produced. Mine is not a story of strength or even triumph. It’s one of evolution.
My Secret Life: A Memoir of Bulimia documents just this. The story of how an eating disorder – albeit an aggressive case – is born, developed and ultimately overcome is one of evolution; both of the illness and of the self. The mentality that first seduced me into doing ‘it’ and that endured through the depravity of my Bulimia was the same that pulled me out of that darkness. It’s the same mentality that reigns now. It has not changed nor compromised – merely evolved. And so, I find it difficult to regret such a thing. To do so would surely lead me to regret the mentality by which it was nurtured and by which this book has been written. This question is best asked under a given context and circumstance, as we have already determined is essential. Said context may be the present and the given circumstance may be the writing of this book under the mentality of today. Only then can it be assessed accurately and with all things considered. Do I now regret the first time I did it? No, probably not.