Tuesday, January 29, 2008

once again, invincible

i made myself vomit for the first time when i was fourteen.

i was in michigan, it was july-ish, and my mother and aunt sandy were drinking miller lite on the porch in the backyard. i had just wieghed myself in her bathroom, and came running downstairs in shock and disbelief, hell... holding back tears.
"katie, calm down. what's...what's wrong?" my mom's tolerance has wained in the last couple of years, but when she was younger she and my aunt sandy would drink the summer afternoon away, there in the shade. aunt sandy used to smoke kool cigarettes, her slender light peach nails completing the line of sixties glamour, along with her frosted pink lipstick. she was the second person i loved to watch smoke; where she would hold the cigarette, how she would inhale, ash... an expert sexual smoker. my father of course was the first person that intrigued me, but my aunt, she was the one to teach me.

anyway. "aunt sandy, you're scale is heavy."

she raised her eyebrows at me. "baby i just bought that scale. if it's already broken, i'm gonna be pissed." her throaty laughter resounded in my ears and confirmed the inevitable:


"Oh, stop being rediculous... you're rail thin. aren't you supposed to weigh more than that? you're already what, 5'6"? 5'7"?"

5'8". and a half. i was bigger than the rest of the girls at my ballet school, bigger than most of the girls at my middle school. i was awkward, with giant hands and feet and... ears, and... everything. i was always the tallest, my choreographers always interjecting, "okay, line up shortest to katie." which they thought was a hoot but made me want to remove sections of my femur to fit in.

but i had never wieghed more than 110. how did i gain four pounds since the last time i weighed myself? i pondered this outside with the hens, as they clucked on about how my mother could never gain weight in high school and how aunt sandy was a two until she had brendan, who was my age. maybe it was the smell of the cigarettes, or the stale beer that had spilled over the pop top can and dried on the wood slats, or the fear that everyone now knew just by looking at me that i was almost 120 pounds, the largest amount that i could ever possibly think of on my frame. 120 pounds?


i got up and went inside, sat down on the couch, still thinking that now i definately could feel my thighs rubbing against one another as i walked in. i flipped the channels on the tv, thinking about how i could feel the fat on my upper arms shake and jiggle as i moved my fingers on the remote. i watched commercials about law firms and mc donalds, and i couldn't stop obsessing that i was going to go back to ballet and they were going to kick me out because i was fat.

i got up, ran up the stairs to the bathroom, and locked the door. i stripped off my shirt and looked at my shoulders and bare ribs. i could see my heart beating in my jugular, getting more intense when i realized i couldn't see all of my ribs and (holy shit!) my tits were bigger. i was sweating profusely at this moment, this slow motion, stuck underwater, kinetically blurry snippet of a minute, realizing i was growing. my hips were widening, that's why my size 2's didn't fit anymore. my bras were tight because my chest was filling out. i put my hand to my throat, then to my forehead. tits were like a death wish in ballet. i knew a dancer in the company that wore two sports bras and taped her chest down with packaging tape before she could ever even fit into a costume... and i was already so tall...

i was pacing, shaking. my mind raced with questions, sickened my stomach with a sweet nausia that rose in my throat. and with that, i looked at the toilet, the smooth white porcelain, cool to my fingertips as i knelt by it's side, felt the tiles slide under my calves as i laid my knees to the right, looked into the clear, calm water in the bowl, and shoved three fingers down my throat until the gagging turned into heaving.

it was horribly violent. my eyes burned with macara tears and became red with blood flow. my throat was scratched and bloody from my fingernails slicing the back of it. mucous dripped out of my nose and down my lips and chin. my left knuckles were white from gripping the toilet bowl so tight, and i broke my pinkie nail on the plastic hinge of the cover. after it was over, after the spaghetti-o's and fruity pebbles had been purged from my memory, i laid my head down on the cold tile floor, and relished in how much better i felt. about all of it. i had won; it was out of me.

i splashed some water on my face, rinsed out my mouth, and cleaned up my ponytail. i glided right past the scale with not so much as a glance, and went on my way, back downstairs, to play on the swings under the shade of oak trees and drifting kool smoke, thinking about how i was once again, invincible.

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