[ESSAY] âMy Struggle with Bulimia Started at 9â<br />
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and I just earned my MFA. This past Thanksgiving, I even ran a Turkey Trot, my first 5K. Even though I had put my body through years of torture, finishing the race proved to me that my body was still strong and capable. I’m still strong and capable.

Food will always be part of my heritage, as it is for many African American women, but now my participation and interactions in the Southern tradition are different. Instead of slaving over a stove every week to commit my great-grandmother’s recipes to memory, I collect oral histories from the elders and write down their stories, documenting the experiences of the community so that the knowledge won’t be lost.

As I work to remain in recovery, it’s also my mission to help other young women do the same.  I travel the country talking to young women about self-esteem and rarely a week goes by when I don’t get a Facebook message from young women from all over who have heard my story and are worried about their own health or a friend’s.  I tell them that there is help, that they too can get better with treatment, that they are not alone.

Eating disorders don’t belong to a specific face or race or shape.  Any one of us can fall victim to this sickness. And with help, any of us can be survivors.

Latria Graham's essay on bulimia can be found in the anthology Going Hungry: Writers on Desire, Self-Denial and Overcoming Anorexia. Follow her on Twitter