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Hidden Shame

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I’m killing myself slowly, I can feel it. My body will soon wither away into nothing but skin and bones. Where once beautiful golden-red hair flowed down my back is now coarse, dry hair that comes out in clumps when I wash it or run a brush gently through it. The beautiful perfectly oval-shaped nails I once took pride in are now gritty and chipped, no matter how much time I invest in them each night. My skin in cracked and wrinkly, covering the bones that seem to stick out more and more as each day drifts by. I haven’t menstruated in months, my body not having enough blood or energy to continue its monthly cycle.
But I don’t care about any of that. I am skinny and that’s what it takes to be beautiful in this world… right?

I reach down to place a hand on my stomach, willing the grumbling to stop. But secretly I welcome the groaning noise, the empty feeling in my abdomen, because it means that I am in control. I hate the feeling of being full, because that means that I wasn’t strong enough, that I lost control for a few minutes while I indulged. Having food in my stomach is like dropping your shield in the heat of the battle. I can’t do it because then I’ll die. I’ll get fat and then who will want me? Nobody likes fat girls. No boy will want me if I my thighs jiggle, or if my stomach fat spills over my tight jeans. No, I conclude, fat girls just don’t belong in this world.

I’ve been on a liquid diet for three days now, and the dizziness threatens to overwhelm me if I take another step. I close my eyes and breath deeply, trying to make the dizziness go away. When the world finally stops spinning I open my eyes and where do they fall? The refrigerator.
Food has never sounded nor looked so good before. I can just taste the ice cream melting on my tongue. Can hear the crunch of potato chips in the bright yellow bag. I can smell the cookies on the shelf in the cupboard.
I stop myself quickly. If this goes on for too long I’ll start to eat, and that would be a disaster. I turn away quickly and then find myself on the floor, overwhelmed with dizziness. I am so close to fainting, but somehow I manage to stay conscious. I lie there—a pathetic heap—and let my mind wander to food, as the grumble in my stomach grows louder.
Suddenly, I can’t take it anymore. I scramble to my feet, ignoring the faint feeling coursing through my thin body. I practically sprint to the fridge and grab everything and anything that’s edible. The ice cream was first. I downed the pint in record timing and then moved on to the corn chips. I literally dumped the jar of salsa down my throat and then cram in as many chips as I could fit in my mouth. For the next forty-five minutes I sit there on the kitchen floor and eat everything in front of me, even licking a spilled bowl of cereal off the tile ground.
When I finish I think I’m going to burst. I pull my shirt up and glance at my bulging stomach. Terror strikes every nerve of my body. I’ve lost control.

Lifting up the lid to the toilet I bend over and took a deep breath. Jamming my fingers down my throat I gag. I cram them down farther until I feel warm vomit cascading over my fingers and into the toilet below. I choke and cough uncontrollably, but I don’t care. I have to get it out, have to get the control back. I take a sip of water, rinse, and then spit it out. I flush the toilet and wash my hands. Then I stick my fingers down my throat once more. Over and over again I purge. After the third time I notice reddish vomit flowing into the toilet and I realize that I have already hit the salsa. This lets me know that I am close to getting everything out. Two more times and then it’s over, there is nothing left in my stomach. I cough uncontrollably—so much that I cause myself to throw up again. Tears stream down my face as I fight to gain control of myself. Finally, I stop and draw in a shaky breath. I turn to the mirror and am horrified at what stares back at me. My hair has become disheveled and wreaked of puke. Mascara streams down my face, creating dark lines that crisscross my cheeks. My eyes are swollen and bloodshot from crying. My fingers are stained with puke as well as my favorite t-shirt. I hurriedly take it off and wipe my face and hands and then have no choice but to throw it in the trash can. The horrid smell of vomit hangs heavy in the bathroom, almost suffocating me. I want to get out of there so bad, but there is still one more thing that I must to do. I remove the scale from under the sink and step on it. The little dial speeds backwards and forwards for what seems like an eternity, but finally it lands on the correct number. One hundred and six pounds. This morning I weighed one hundred and four.
I gained two pounds.
I am horrified. I can’t purge anymore, I’d just bring up blood. I blink back the tears that spill from my already puffy eyes. I lost control and now I have to pay the price. Two pounds. For the first time in my life I don’t know what to do, I am no longer in control anymore. But it’s then that a clear realization hits me. I have never been in control to begin with. I am the prisoner and my eating disorder is the guard. Will I ever get that control back?



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