Person of Significance

January 9, 2013
She seemed perfect.

I watched her paint on a countenance of confidence every morning. When she walked to school, her steps were light. There was a carelessness in her strut. I heard her deep, echoing laugh resonate about the school halls, heard the swish of her hair as she tossed her dark brown locks over her shoulder. She sat in class with her back straight and her head raised high.

I watched her fling flirty quips at the shy boy in science class, just the right amount of red spreading over her cheeks as he looked up to meet her heavily mascaraed green eyes. I heard orange leaves crunch under her feet as she and her many friends skipped and twirled in the autumn air, giggles protruding the morning silence. Her laugh slid off her lips practiced and charmed.

Then we came home.

I saw the painted confidence stream off her face with a quiet flood of tears. I heard her sharp, short gasps as she muffled her mouth into her pillow, trying to hide the pang of emptiness that bore a hole ever deeper into her stomach. I began to notice the flicker of doubt pass over her eyes before she spoke, the twitch of her lip that meant she was longing for acceptance.

I heard the loneliness of silverware clanking against the sink, as if there were anything to wash off the sterling silver but her pride that was dwindling day by day. I saw dreams of being a dancer, an artist, a muse, flushed down the toilet with the remains of last night’s dinner, as I watched her wrists shrink down to the size of a child’s.

She looked in the mirror and was satisfied with the tininess of her waist, but I knew the girl she was staring at wasn’t really her. I wondered what happened to that wholesome girl whose smiles exuded a true sense of happiness, whose twirls and leaps were lined with passion and perseverance. What happened to the girl who would break out into dance in the middle of the day just because she wanted to bring some light into a heavy world, the girl who was content with herself but who would fall in the dirt and bruise her knees if it meant helping others? Had she been tossed in the garbage with a million mornings’ breakfasts? Or was she hiding in the crevices between skin and bone that got smaller and smaller every day?

We learned to get through it, her sickness.

She taught me not to leave insecurities buried inside, where no one could see or heal them. From her hidden brokenness I learned to be keen and to notice the signs of shatter in others. Slowly, the hole in her stomach began to close up. As she healed I watched the present, struggling girl and the past, wholesome one begin to merge again.

I accepted that she was a part of me, this “other” whose tiny body I had lived through for two and a half years, pretending that I was okay while I sunk deeper and deeper into my hole of despair, feigning perfection when really the scarily skinny me was just a cover for the hurt I felt inside. She was me but I am more than that now, happier than ever and confident that while she will always be inside of me as a reminder of what I was, I will never revert to being that girl, that “other” whom I had once become.

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freakycatlover said...
Jan. 15, 2013 at 5:41 pm
Wow, Very relatable!
shinegirl24 said...
Jan. 15, 2013 at 2:31 pm
Wow. That was really, really awesome. I love what you did here. I love the perspective, especially how she's watching her other self dwindle into nothing and how they "both" have to get through it. I think there's a lot of truth in that depiction of how someone so bright can go down such a dark road. You did an awesome job. I loved it!
laila_265 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm
Thank you so much! 
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