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Skin and Bones

Author's note: I wrote this mostly as a coping method, and to get it out of my soul. Most people don't know...  Show full author's note »
Author's note: I wrote this mostly as a coping method, and to get it out of my soul. Most people don't know about this part of my life, but I shouldn't be ashamed of it. I should share it. So I am.  « Hide author's note
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The only things I looked forward to in my life were turning sixteen, so I could get a job at our towns public library, and…turning sixteen, so I could get a job at our towns public library. Having little to no ambition in life, I found it easy to think about ending my life. I would tell myself that no one would miss me while I was gone, and that actually, they would like it better so they didn’t have to look at my ugly face. I even went so far as to complain to my mom that I felt like my sisters didn’t like me. I really felt this was how it was, and she offered to talk to them about it. I told her that it would be fine if she did, as long as she didn’t tell them too much. Tell them too much as in: name my actual disorder. It was ok if they knew I was depressed, I mean, wasn’t that obvious? But I didn’t want them to have a label like anorexia that they could stick to me. I didn’t want them to know I had an eating disorder. I was weird enough to them already. So, on a night everyone was free, my mom told me I should hang out in my room for a while, and she, the girls, and dad would have a little chat. Of course, I sat right by my bedroom door, desperately trying to hear what they said for myself. I could make out a few things that were being said, but not much. At one point I heard my sister, Grace saying boldly that she didn’t hate me, she just didn’t know how to deal with me. She said I was often mean, and didn’t talk to them, so what was she supposed to do? At one point, she started to cry, and that set me to crying too. This was just so hard. I wished I could just go away, and come back when I was better. I knew the only way that could happen though, was if I was sent to a hospital in Iowa City. Which was a good hour and a half away. If I was sent there, I knew all of my eating would be monitored (so no more hiding uneaten food) and I wouldn’t be able to have any exercise. Right now I looked at going to an institution or hospital as an option, but soon, I wouldn’t be able to.
“Lydia, you’re just not gaining weight like you need to be” my nurse said to me. I looked down at the floor, concentrating on the carpets pattern. I nodded. “If you don’t start putting on weight, we are going to have to look at some other options. I really feel like being an impatient might be right for you, and even though your parents would rather not do that to you, you have to cooperate, or else there will be no choice. I don’t want to be the bad guy here, but this is reality.” Yes, this was reality. And I was now facing it. For months now, my mom hadn’t been to strict. In fact, looking back now, she was probably much too soft. She didn’t really watch me when I ate, and so I was able to get away with eating less. Sometimes I would get so mad when she was paying attention to what I ate. For example: one night during supper, my dad gave me quote a large serving of spaghetti. Now, my mom and I had talked over what I would eat, and I was supposed to have whatever amount of spaghetti my dad serve me, some green beans, and two pieces of French bread. Tears started to form in the corners of my eyes as I tried to look at my mom pointedly. I was trying to ask her if I really needed to have two slices of bread, without making a scene. I tried throughout the whole supper, and still did not catch her eye. So, I ate all of the meal. All she had said I needed to. I felt guilty and sick. And then, that night when I was getting ready to head to bed, she said the worst thing she could’ve possibly said. “Lydia, I didn’t get a chance to tell you, but since dad had given you all of that spaghetti, you didn’t have to eat that second slice of bread.” What? I was furious! I had ingested extra calories, just for her to tell me that it was all for not? “Why didn’t you tell me? I hate myself now!” I wailed. “I forgot” was all she said. “I hate myself.” I said again, and I meant it.
I realized my mom couldn’t always watch what I ate, but she didn’t even try to pay attention, and so I just started seeing how much I could get away with. I was mad, and so I fought back. I also developed some bad habits. I would see one of my sisters eating something or not eating something, and I would compare what I had eaten that day. Often, it seemed like more. I was probably blowing it way out of proportion, but I didn’t feel that way at the moment. In reality, I needed to eat more than they were anyway, because I needed to gain weight, not just maintain it. That wasn’t able to penetrate my thick skull, though. I still felt like it was unfair for me to have to eat more than my sisters. Some days I could negotiate with my brain and make myself feel ok with it, but most of the time I felt guilty. It didn’t help that sometimes my dad would say “what are you eating?” and I would get irritated and tell him, and then he would say “you like that?” Oh, how I wanted to reply that no, I actually didn’t ‘like’ it, but he and mom were in fact making me eat it , whether I wanted to or not. The way I see it now, is even though I had to go through a bunch of needless pain sometimes, I still should be thankful that I wasn’t forced to be an inpatient somewhere. Especially since when my doctor was threatening to have to send me there, it was near Christmas. I don’t know how I would’ve handled that.
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