This is REALLY HARD to blog about, but I’m going to do it anyway

(This post is going to be like freaking novella-length, just to let you know upfront.)


As you’re probably all aware, I usually have zero hesitation about posting personal nonsense on my blog (example, example, example).

But the very personal thing I’m about to post today is something I’ve resisted talking about, both on this blog and in person, because not only is it personal, but it’s very shameful, very embarrassing, downright disgusting, and something that I wish I’d never gotten into.

It’s something I wish I didn’t have to talk about.

But I have to talk about it.

I have to talk about it because it’s part of me now. It’s part of who I am, no matter how much I think I have it under control or how much I think I’m over it at any given point. It’s there, either in the background or foreground of my existence. It sucks and it’s stupid and it’s disgraceful, but that’s what it is.

So I have to talk about it, if only to…alleviate it in a sense? I don’t know. Anyway.

Content warnings: food, diet talk, weight, addiction, disordered eating

So rewind things to the beginning of 2010. Long time ago, huh? I was in Vancouver and was miserable beyond all comprehension. I lived in a shit basement apartment where I received none of the “internet included” internet signal and had to listen to my landlord stomp around the floor above me. I felt incredibly incompetent in the psych grad program because my supervisor treated me like dirt (and because I was pretty incompetent, let’s be honest), and I was just a miserable human being overall.

I wouldn’t say I used food for comfort because that’s not really a thing I’ve ever done, but I did stop paying any attention to not only the types of food I ate but the quantity as well. I was going to the Dunbar rec center (because UBC’s rec center was a joke and Dunbar was a block away from me) and had figured that a half an hour of really shitty running (we’re talking running slower than my current walking speed and still having to stop like every ten minutes) was enough to allow for practically 300 M&Ms every night (not exaggerating).

Sometime in April of that year I bought a scale—I actually think my original purpose for this was to just take it apart, haha—but I eventually got enough courage to stand on it and found out I was approximately 140 pounds (okay, it was exactly 141 pounds because that’s the kind of shit my stupid brain remembers rather than anything important). 141 isn’t huge—it’s right on the border between “normal” and “overweight” for someone my height—but it was only the second time I’d ever been that heavy (and the first time was back in junior high when I was taking a med that made me literally eat sugar straight out of the bag…but we’re not going to get into that because this blog post is going to be embarrassing enough as it is!).

Here’s something important: in response to this number that I did not like, I made a very conscious decision that, starting on May 1st (because I’m weird with dates like that), I would start eating better and working out solely to improve my health. If my weight decreased as a side effect, fine; if not, it wouldn’t matter, because I was going to make these changes to improve my health. Health first, weight second. I made it very clear in my head that this was the goal.

Health first, weight second.

And then, on May 1st (which was like four days later), I started working towards this goal. I started watching my food intake a little bit more closely (no calorie counting, but I tried to just be more conscious of the amount of food I had and the quality as well) and I started working out more seriously. I made myself go to the UBC gym (even though it was in a basement with no windows and was way too small given the number of students that school has) and I started doing HIIT on the elliptical machine and some strength training stuff, like lifting weights and doing planks/sit ups/push ups.

Which was great. I did this all summer and, by the time I actually stepped on a scale (which I didn’t do until mid-July because again, weight loss was not the main goal), I was down to 127. Despite the fact that weight loss wasn’t the goal, that really motivated me to continue. Health first, weight second, of course, but I definitely liked the side-effect of weight loss.

So I kept working at it.

By the end of August that year, which was about the time I came back up from a little jaunt in Moscow to continue my second year of hell grad school, I was around 115 pounds. I don’t know if I believe in the whole idea of a “set point,” but I do know that my body naturally tends toward about 120 pounds, give or take like two pounds. Anything above or below that requires effort. So it was a bit of work to have gotten to 115 and to keep it there.

But I quickly realized that didn’t want to keep it there. I had never been below 110 in my adult life and was super curious as to whether or not I could actually get there and, if so, what it would feel like. So I worked a little harder. Much more attention to my diet (I think I actually started keeping a calorie log around this time?) and more consistent workouts.

(This, coincidentally, was also around the time when I started my walks, but those were definitely not tied in to the weight loss thing. They were stress relief. Totally different thing, so let’s not drag my walking into this, okay? My walking is a blameless, wonderful thing.)

One nice (?) thing about my body: if I want it to do something, it’ll do it. I wanted it to get smaller, and it did. I think I was around 109 or 108 by mid-October. I was now keeping a very strict diet (as in, I logged everything down to the gram—including chewing gum—and made sure to never go over my calorie limits) and was exercising consistently about three days a week at the rec center and walking during the weekends. Everything was still pretty healthy.

Health first, weight second.


But then I did a thing. It turned out to be very bad thing.

It was late at night on some October evening and I was really wanting some peanut butter, but I was already approaching my calorie limit for the day. I dug around in the kitchen to see if there was anything else I could have instead and found a half-empty box of Eggo waffles in the freezer. I had never had peanut butter and waffles before, but that night it sounded like the best thing in the world at that moment. So I toasted two waffles, put peanut butter on one of them, and put the other one on top to make like a little sandwich. I justified doing this by saying that I’d only have one bite of it.

Which I did. I took a bite.

But as I was chewing, I saw an empty glass on the table and thought, “well, what if I just spit the bite out? That gives me the best of both worlds—tasting the waffle peanut butter sandwich and not ingesting (too many) calories from it.”

So I took the glass and spit the bite into it.

Then I did it again. And again.

I did this for the whole waffle sandwich. I just chewed it up bite by bite and spit the whole thing into the glass.

Was it satisfying? Eh. It was actually kind of gross. But I didn’t actually eat the waffle sandwich, so that was all that mattered.

I cleaned out the glass and that was that.

I planned on never doing it again. Making this a habit was not even a thought in my mind at the time. It was a one-time thing that left my mouth a little dry and was nowhere near as satisfying as actually eating something. Not very fun, not really worth it. No desire to do it again.

But as time continued, the idea of chewing up and spitting out something that didn’t fit in my calorie budget – to taste something good without the consequence of the calories – remained a latent thought in the back of my mind. And the next time I had a serious craving for something “bad for me” (I think it was cookies) and didn’t want to waste my calories on it, I did it again. Chewed it up, spit it out.

And that was the start of a very long, dark, disgusting period of my life.

I couldn’t tell you exactly when I allowed this chew-and-spit thing to escalate to the point that it really did take over my life. 2010 was a very bad year and so was 2011, and I spent a good amount of time trying to forget everything I experienced.

I can tell you, though, that by the beginning of 2011, I was around 102 pounds (okay, exactly 102.4 on January 1, 2011) and was doing the chew and spit thing very, very frequently. I honestly thought it was genius. I could cheat the system! I could taste the “bad for me stuff” without having to actually eat it and without having to resort to throwing anything back up (I had tried that too, but it was very difficult and not always successful).

I called the chewing-and-spitting “the coward’s bulimia.” I was goddamn proud of it.

No longer did I have to budget calories for the “bad” things. I could be “good” with the foods I ate and just chew and spit the bad stuff. I dropped my daily caloric allowance to around 800 calories or so, but never felt deprived ‘cause I could chew and spit whatever the hell I wanted.

Now I want to stop here and try to put some perspective on this, because it’s important. This chewing and spitting wasn’t something I did every few days or even once or twice a day. I did this from the moment I got home from campus to the moment I went to sleep. It was constant. I calculated it out one day and figured I was chewing and spitting upwards of 25,000 calories a day and was spending well over $100 a day on chew and spit food.

That’s a lot of wasted food.

That’s a lot of disgusting, chewed up, wasted food.

Looking back on it, I can see now how wasteful it was. I can see now how much money I threw away on buying food that was just going to swish around in my mouth for 10 seconds or so before being spit out. I can see now how absolutely disgusting it was of me to have a gallon-sized water pitcher dedicated to my chew and spit and how revolting it was to spoon gallons of chewed up food into the toilet.

I can see now how much mental energy I wasted on this absolutely repulsive habit.

But I certainly couldn’t see it at the time (or if I could, I ignored the hell out of it).

Gone was “health first, weight second.” I could feel my teeth and gums deteriorating. There was a fog in my brain that never went away because I was only giving myself about 700-800 calories a day and was also still working out quite intensely at the gym every other day. My period stopped completely.

But I was losing weight and it felt So. Fucking. Good.

Weight first, health second.

I turned 23 on February 2, 2011. I remember that I was 97.4 pounds on my birthday, and that’s about all I remember. Really, my only memories from 2011 were of a) how awful grad school was, b), how miserable I was because of grad school, and c) how the number on the scale kept decreasing. I don’t remember any books I read. I don’t remember any of the walks I took. I don’t remember any conversations I had with my friends or any stories that I wrote or any music that I loved. I hardly remember the blogs I posted.

But I do remember the numbers on the scale.

I remember that I had to go to the hospital for an unrelated issue sometime in mid-June of 2011. The nurse there asked me if I was anorexic and I thought that was the best compliment anyone had ever given me. And I remember chewing up the muffin they gave me at the hospital and putting the chewed up remains of it under my pillow because I’d be damned if I was going to let that compliment allow me any sort of lenience in my diet.

(And I’m thinking now how absolutely disgusting that is and how mentally sick I really was at that point.)

I graduated in June of 2011. Do I remember giving my thesis defense? Not really. But I do remember that I weighed 94.8 pounds and that my mom and I went to Dairy Queen after my defense.

I remember feeling guilty for a week over the fact that I had Dairy Queen.

I remember “punishing” myself for it by having it again later that week and forcing myself to throw it all up just as a reminder that throwing up was the consequence for actually swallowing any food that was “not allowed.”

Weight first, health second.

The rest of that summer really was a blur. I was done with Vancouver—the thesis had been completed and I had no reason to stay—so I moved back to Moscow for a bit. My dad and I went on a cruise to Alaska in late July. Just like everything else that year, I don’t remember the cruise so much as I remember spending six or seven hours a day running on the treadmills in the exercise room, having a plain baked potato and broccoli at dinner, then sneaking down to the buffets later and chewing and spitting huge amounts of cookies in the bathroom.

I was 90.2 pounds when we got back from the cruise.

By this point, as you can probably imagine, I was running pretty low on money. Spending $100+ a day on stuff that was just getting chewed up and spit out made my funds deplete very rapidly, especially after I stopped earning anything from grad school. I sold a decent amount of my possessions that summer in order to earn just a little bit of money. What did I do with it? I spent it on chew and spit food, naturally.

I was leaving for London, Ontario (grad school AGAIN) in August. I kept telling myself that London would be my “fresh start.” I would stop the chewing and spitting once I moved to London. No problem. But I’m pretty sure I just told myself that so that I could justify massive amounts of chewing and spitting that summer.

In August, my mom and I left to drive across the country and move me to London. I told myself that once that road trip started, there would be no more chewing and spitting. But I would somehow manage to sneakily buy some candy out of a vending machine or in a grocery store and would go into the bathroom while my mom was sleeping and chew and spit for an hour or so.

And as you can probably guess, I did not stop this disgusting habit once I was finally in London. In fact, it got worse—most likely because I was once again very stressed, very far away from my family, and really didn’t want to be in grad school. The moment I got the smallest bit of extra money (that is, money that didn’t have to go to tuition or housing), I would go up to the grocery store that was conveniently like five blocks away and blow it all on chew and spit food.

We’re talking lots of it. I would buy bulk ingredients to make dozens and dozens of cookies, then chew and spit them all. I would buy those industrial-sized tubs of ice cream (those ones that have the big handles on them) and chew and spit it, as gross as that sounds. I would buy dozens of those bulk bags of fun-size candy and chew and spit all of it. I suspect I spent 98% of my grocery money on chew and spit food and only 2% on food that would actually make it past my mouth.

This was probably when this whole thing was the most out of control (save for right before my thesis defense, maybe). I couldn’t concentrate during my classes because all I could think about was what I was going to buy at the grocery store that afternoon. I couldn’t do any of my homework because I was busy chewing and spitting all night long. It was all about getting that comforting “high” of tasting a lot of food that was really bad for me, but still seeing the number on the scale go down. It was all I cared about. It was all I was.

I reached my lowest adult weight of 86 pounds while I was in London. I’d like to say that I felt like garbage at that weight, but I actually felt fantastic, physically. I didn’t feel like I needed to sleep, I had a lot of energy, and I felt like I was pretty healthy (even though I clearly was not).

During my last few weeks in London I was really dangerously low on money. I had maxed out my credit card solely due to buying chew and spit food (I was still spending $100+ a day, possibly more than that on weekends) and was starting to sell some of my stuff so that I could continue to “afford the habit.” My old iPod? Sold. My entire Sims 2 CD collection (I had all of them)? Sold. The few bits of non-Walmart jewelry I had? Sold. I almost sold my guitar. That was my last resort, mainly because I knew I could get a decent amount of money for it and thus was saving it for a “splurge.”

I don’t like to use the term “addicted” lightly, but I really do think that this chew and spit thing had gone beyond a terrible habit and had actually become an addition. And if you’ve ever read or seen anything on addition (or even disordered eating), you know that there’s often a control element to it. A person feels like they cannot much of what’s going on in their life, so they control the one thing they know they can: their eating or weight or the amount of drugs/alcohol they consume. And it’s easy to see that as a coping mechanism when you’re on the other side of it, but when you’re in the throes of it, you’re lucky if you can see anything else at all.

For me, this whole food/weight thing came about during a period in my life where I felt like everything was out of my control. When I left for grad school, I was going from living in a small-ish town that I’d been born and raised in to living in a big city in a different country and being away from my parents for the first time. I was younger than everyone else in that grad program by at least five years. My supervisor terrified me, berated me, and really didn’t help the severe imposter syndrome feelings I was having while at UBC. I didn’t have any friends (or at least any friends who were anywhere near me). And when I moved to London, very little of that changed. I was alone. I felt like an imposter. I didn’t care about school. I was so sad. I needed something that only I could control—something no one else could take away from me. And in my case, that ended up being control of my intake (or lack thereof) and weight. That’s cliché as hell, but I can’t deny that it’s accurate.

I’d like to say that this whole issue had run its course and had disappeared by the time I got out of London and moved back to my dad’s place in Moscow. It did not. Being out of school for the first time ever, I was aimless—and that was just as bad of a feeling. I continued to chew and spit, funded entirely by the “allowance” my dad gave me for food and such while I was looking for a job.

I’d also like to say this whole issue had run its course and had disappeared by the time I moved to Arizona with my mom. It did not. We lived in Marana for the first month or so while I was down there. Marana was hours away from anything—including grocery stores—but I managed to find two gas stations on my 10-mile walking route and you can be damn sure I spent every cent of money I had on chew-and-spit food from those gas stations.

Once I got a job in Tucson, I finally had a steady, relatively high income. It was my money again, finally, and I could do what I wanted with it. I suppose at this point that you can guess where a lot of that money went. Let’s just say I made an excuse to stop at a grocery store and/or Walmart every single night after work.

All this was still late 2011/early 2012. Looking back on it now, this part of my life really didn’t last super long, but it certainly felt like it did. Time crept during these two years, but also seemed to not exist at all. The end of my time in Vancouver to the end of my time in Tucson (August 2012) is an odd combination of a sharp recollection of how agonizingly long each day was (due to the fact that the only thing I felt I had to look forward to were my nightly chew and spit marathons) and hazy, lumbering half-memories of things I was told I did (or things I read about in my blog).

Mentally, I was very, very sick.

If you’ve made it this far, you might be wondering if I still partake in this incredibly shameful, wasteful, disgusting habit.

I don’t.

I wish I did, which itself adds an entire extra layer of shame and embarrassment to this whole disgusting ordeal, but I don’t.

I did, though, for quite a time after the peak of this behavior in 2011/2012. In fact, I was still doing it for the first few months after I’d moved up to Calgary. The frequency with which I was doing it, though, very slowly began tapering off around the end of 2013, and I attribute this to three reasons:

Reason 1: school and work. School (undergrad at least) is my comfort zone. I loved being an undergrad. Being able to go back to the undergrad environment allowed me to channel a lot of my energy into, finally, something positive. Add my job of teaching on top of that, and I was really just running out of all that free time I used to have and used to fill with chewing and spitting. I was also, finally, feeling a modicum of happiness.

Reason 2: walking. Around 2013 is when I really started to get even more into walking. I started going for longer distances more frequently and thus it was something that started to take up even more of my free time. And as the walking has increased from 2013 to the present day, I can guarantee that there is a very strong negative correlation with the number of miles I was walking in a day and the amount that I chewed and spit. Nate has joked with me a few times about how he thinks I’m addicted to walking, and though I deny it, I often wonder if I’ve just replaced one addiction with another, at least on some level, at least “part way.”

Reason 3: my mouth. This is actually the main reason I don’t chew and spit anymore, as stupid as that sounds. The amount of chewing and spitting I did – the frequency, the volume, the fact that I didn’t do any aftercare for my teeth – has ruined my entire mouth. I don’t know if it was the acid from my spit, the food itself, or a combination of the two, but I have completely wrecked my teeth, gums, and who knows what else. My mouth is in constant pain to some degree or another. My teeth are very discolored. They’re sensitive to everything. I probably have tons of cavities and most likely gingivitis. I can’t chew on the left side of my mouth at all because the upper teeth there throb for hours if any pressure is applied to them. My gums bleed heavily every single time I brush my teeth. I foresee very expensive and painful dental work in my not-so-distant future whenever I either get the courage to finally go to a dentist or am forced to go to one due to all my teeth just falling out all at once. The good (????), though, is that chewing and spitting itself results in incredible, unrelenting amounts of pain, over and above the pain my mouth is already constantly in. That’s not enjoyable in the slightest (and I don’t want to exacerbate the damage already done, which I’m sure chewing and spitting would do), so that’s that.

So I guess those are my reasons as to why I “got over it.” I got busy, I found a “healthier” outlet for my addictive personality (walking), and my mouth just hurts constantly. And writing all of this out now, the fact that I was able to “get over it” the way I did really seems to invalidate the whole “this was an addiction” thing and is making me question whether or not I’ve really earned the right to call it an addiction in the first place. People with actual addictions can’t just stop them, right? What right have I to compare this stupid, disgusting habit to, say, an alcoholic’s plight? Was my experience with all of this legitimately as hard as it felt, or was it all just nonsense – a slow self-destruct, but still completely in my control? I don’t know. I am nothing if not adept at discrediting my own feelings and experiences.

But you know what? I didn’t “get over it.” Not really. All of this – the chew and spit thing, the food thing, the weight thing – it’s still here. It’s still, unfortunately, part of who I am (which is the whole reason I’m writing about this in the first place; if this was just some embarrassing phase from my past, I’d just keep quiet about it so that no one would ever have to know about it and I could just forget it ever happened). It lingers. It lingers behind every thought, every action, and every moment of my life.

I know that probably sounds overdramatic, but it’s true. I hate myself for starting such a disgusting, wasteful, resource-consuming habit. I hate myself for allowing it to be the focal point of my life during my early-/mid-twenties and allowing it to develop into an incredibly unhealthy way of coping with “stuff.” But I also hate myself for stopping. I hate losing that level of control it gave me over food and my body (specifically, my weight).

Was the chewing and spitting out of control itself? Absolutely. But the number on the scale kept getting smaller, so I didn’t really care most of the time. That part of my life was under control. Chewing and spitting made losing weight so easy. I could calorie count down to the milligram and still feel like I could have anything I wanted, as long as the excess ended up being spit into a cup, sink, or toilet rather than being swallowed. Ultimate control.

Unfortunately, I do not have the same level of control without the backup of chewing and spitting. It’s pretty sad to say that of all the embarrassing facts about myself that have been divulged in this blog, this fact is the most embarrassing of them all in my opinion. But it is, I admit it, and we’re far too down the rabbit hole of this blog to take any of this embarrassing stuff back anyway, so why not just go all out with it?

I wake up every morning hating the fact that I am not 87 pounds. I am objectively an ugly person no matter what weight I am, but 87 pounds of ugly is certainly more desirable than 117 pounds of ugly, and at least at 87 pounds, if people could find no other good things to say about my appearance, they at least couldn’t deny that I had discipline.

Luckily, there aren’t a lot of pictures of me when I was in the double digits weight-wise (I can only think of one; I’m not sure if my mom has any others). That makes it harder for people to find said pictures, compare them to my current body, and criticize me. “Why are you so fat now?” Hell, I’m lucky that all of the people who knew me “in person” during the height of all this nonsense (save for my parents) are people I am no longer in contact with. The criticism would most likely be unspoken, but it would be there. “You lack discipline.”

I try to suppress these thoughts. I work very hard – every day – to keep them from taking over my life again. This also probably sounds overdramatic, but it is unfortunately true. It would be so easy to fall back into that destructive pattern because I still remember how great it felt to have that level of control over my body despite how out-of-control my methods were (if that makes any sense).

I feel like I’m constantly on the edge of being “safe” from these thoughts and allowing them to completely overrun my thinking. I don’t like hearing people talk about weight or weight loss or diet or even exercise because conversations involving any of these topics seem to poke at that part of my brain which holds on to these thoughts. The thoughts are dormant now, but I don’t know how much poking would bring them to life again. I feel such a high level of anxiety and fear whenever certain topics are discussed because I know that that part of my brain is there and waiting to jump to the forefront with enough prodding.

I hate it. I hate being so agitated by conversations involving weight or weight loss or anything like that and hate that feeling of near panic that I experience when I hear people talk about such things. I hate knowing that while I try to stay in control of these destructive thoughts that I’m still not the one in complete control. I hate the idea that one day I might not be in control at all and that dormant part of my brain will be prodded into waking and will take over every moment of my existence once again. But I also hate not having that control that came with being out of control.

It’s all so convoluted and weird that I don’t know if I’m even making sense anymore. I’ve never liked my body, but now it’s a constant reminder of the fact that yes, I can mold and shape it into something more along the lines of what I want, but in reality, doing so involves giving up control on a different level. It’s a constant reminder of the fact that, in multiple ways, I have failed.

I also have a really fucked up relationship with food now. I don’t know if my relationship with food has ever been completely healthy (whose is?), but much worse now than it ever was before the whole chewing and spitting thing. I spent so much time meticulously keeping track of calories that it’s hard not to do so anymore. It’s hard not to keep that running tally in my head. It’s hard to eat something with triple digit calories and not feel the slightest pang of panic, because when your daily limit is around 900, anything with 100+ calories is a decent chunk of that allotment.

I hate eating in front of people. I can tolerate it if it’s my immediate family or my husband, but even that is not the most enjoyable thing. I’m trying to do better with this, but sometimes it’s still rough. On a rational level, I know that no one in a mall food court is probably even aware of my presence, let alone paying attention to what food I’m eating. But on that level of irrational thinking that goes along with this type of thing, I feel every eye on me, every person judging me for every calorie that I might consume. Do you really need that? Aren’t you fat enough already? I can’t believe you think it’s okay to have that. You’re disgusting.

I like to eat alone. I will make up any excuse not to eat in front of people (especially strangers/non-family). I will wait until everyone is asleep and then make dinner late at night so that no one can see how meticulous I am with my food preparation and how long it takes me to make something as simple as pasta and broccoli (it takes at least a few hours) or salad (at least three hours). Food is a solitary thing now. I don’t think it ever used to be before all of this nonsense went down, but it certainly is now. I am better about this than I used to be. For example, last time my mom and I were in Spokane, I had ice cream in the mall. But you can be sure it was way more stressful than having ice cream in a public place should ever be.

I don’t even know where I was going with all of this. I guess I’m trying to say that even though I am “over” this incredibly disgusting, wasteful habit of chewing and spitting in the sense that I don’t partake in it anymore, I am most certainly not “over” many of the related issues – issues that either were brought on by the chewing and spitting or already existed and were just brought to the surface by it.

I also don’t know where it goes from here. This is, like I mentioned, still a daily thing. I think about it constantly. It’s always on my mind to some degree – sometimes in the forefront as I am actively trying to keep it from taking over, sometimes in the background, burning like a little pilot light waiting to ignite a larger flame with the proper fuel. Sometimes I feel like I am doing fine and will never fall back into that mindset. Sometimes I feel like most of my actions and activities in life are nothing more than a distraction to keep from going back to chewing and spitting. Sometimes, especially when I feel like I have no control over anything else going on in my life, I miss that old habit. As destructive, dangerous, and disgusting as it was, it was also comforting, reliable, and even enjoyable. Sometimes I wish my brain would give in to those little poking, prodding thoughts and allow itself to fall back into that mindset.

I try not to let his happen. I constantly, constantly try. I hate that this whole thing makes me out to sound like I’m saying, “ooh, listen to my struggles, my life is so hard,” especially when so many other people have worse things going on in their lives than this stupid nonsense.

But I didn’t like keeping silent about this, either. I feel like I’ve kept silent about it long enough and that I’m finally in a head space where writing all of this out won’t cause a “relapse.” I want people to know about this, because it is, as I mentioned at the start of this, a big part of my life. It’s part of me. It’s shaped how I think and how I act.

At the same time, it’s scary to put it all in words that others will be able to read. My mom will read this. My husband will read this. People I don’t even know might read this. That’s terrifying, because once they see it I can’t take it back. I hope they understand. I hope anyone who reads this understands. I also hope that this helps somebody out there. I know my blog doesn’t get a lot of traffic and I have no idea how willing a stranger would be to read (*checks document length*) nine and a half pages’ worth of rambling, but maybe someone out there who is feeling the same way, who has gone through something similar, or who is thinking about using this type of coping mechanism to gain control over their body can read this and get something positive out of it. Maybe they can see that they’re not the only one who has felt this way. Maybe they can see that they’re not the only one who has used chewing and spitting as a method of control. Maybe they can be deterred from ever even starting chewing and spitting by reading about how much destruction it causes despite it sounding relatively harmless.

I don’t know. Writing this out has been beneficial to me, at least, even though I feel like I wasn’t able to express everything exactly the way I wanted. This is probably the most personal, embarrassing stuff I’ve ever written, but I’m still going to post it. I want it to be public. And if you’ve made it to the end, thank you for taking the time to read it all. I think everyone, to some degree, has dealt with something that has changed them as a person but that is also either deeply personal or very embarrassing. This is my “something.”

So please be kind.

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