Evelyn Lau’s “An Insatiable Emptiness” is the story of a woman who had been bulimic for almost eight years. The woman had felt emotionally abused in her home, especially by her mother, who claimed that Evelyn was good for nothing and ate enough for the two of them.
Evelyn turned to self-hatred as a result. So, she went on a vomiting spree and turned thoroughly bulimic, only to quit at the age of twenty two after she had punished herself enough, both emotionally and physically.The story is detailed in that it describes the abuse that Evelyn went through while living with her parents. The author explains her reason for self-abuse or bulimia through this account. Besides, she explains her bulimic experience with rich sensory detail that makes the story a pleasurable read. After vomiting, for example, the young lady felt “clean and shiny inside like a scrubbed machine.” She further describes the “chemical flower smell of the blue water in the toilet, the vomit that shot out as a burning liquid, drenching the sides of the bowl.
” The entire story is filled with sensory details, describing everything that is described thus rather vividly. As a matter of fact, the author allows the reader to see through her experiences of everything that has been described ‘in pictures.’Evelyn’s story did not move me because I ‘saw’ it as an exercise in self-pity, only a continuation of the sympathy that the author was seeking as a way of erasing the abuse she had gone through, especially at the hands of her mother.
The author mentions that her friends knew that she was bulimic. Apart from this, she writes that she did not succeed in erasing everything that she had meant to purge through bulimia.Reading her story, I though that Evelyn was meant to write this story as an attention-seeking exercise. She continues to blame her mother for her own fault. I, too, have been through emotional abuse at home. And, somewhat like Evelyn, I also turned to self-punishment in one way or another to stay put with the image my mother had of me.
Although I did not turn bulimic I understand that I punished myself through substance abuse and abusive relationships for a while. This was before I turned to counseling and realized that my life was my own responsibility, my actions were my own, and people who have abused me would only be happier if I punished myself. Hence, I turned to self-healing, and presently trust in making a good life for myself without relying on people with whom I have had negative experiences. I do not find for myself time to heal the relationships in which I had negative experiences. Instead, I focus on my own well-being. I believe that this is a legitimate way of dealing with the situation. What is more, I feel fortunate that I did not abuse myself as Evelyn did, given that physical appearance is important to me for the vast number of benefits that society associates with good physical appearances.
As suggested previously, I too have contemplated suicide as a consequence of abuse at home. Nevertheless, Evelyn’s account appears shallow to me today, seeing that I am over those negative experiences of my life. I no longer abuse myself.
Evelyn’s account serves as a reminder to me: I must never abuse myself because of negative experiences with important people in life, whether they were friends or family members. However, I see Evelyn asking for sympathy because I do not like to be reminded of abuse and negativity in my past. And, I see her asking for attention through her account because I do not want to attend myself on the negative and abusive experiences of my own. For me, that chapter of life is over. I hope that Evelyn would not have to write about it again either.