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One Mistake

By , Hamburg, NJ
Her name was Ana* and this is the story of her struggle, all because of a single error that had altered her life. One day as the bell rang for lunch, she finally noticed the empty shelf in her locker, and realized she had forgotten her lunch for the first time ever. With a slight frown, she walked towards the lunchroom, her books in her arms instead of her usual lunch bag. She thought to herself, I guess I will be lighter today for ballet class since I won’t be eating lunch. She sat down at her usual table, and smiled at her girls in a silent gesture. Without meaning to the girls noted her empty hands of her usual huge lunch bag full of its homemade contents from her Mother, but Ana shrugged off their comments. One of the girls offered Ana some food, but before she could think about it her body took over and shook her head for her. Ana bit her lips not saying that she really did want something to eat, but it was her fault she didn’t have anything since she forget it. She managed to re-direct the conversation and soon the girls all forgot about her empty stomach, but not Ana. At the end of the period, she went on to her next class despite her rumbling stomach. As she sat through her biology class, she could not help but wonder why had she said no before she thought about it? It was as if for a silent moment she was overtaken by someone not herself.

In the back of Ana’s mind as she blanked out of her class’s lecture from her teacher, she remembered a specific day in gym that had burned itself into her mind, never to be forgotten. As she was changing her clothes, one of the girls noted the size of her thighs, and Ana could not help but grip them in her hands. She could feel their weight in her hand, and cringed slightly at the old thought and distinctively remembers the feeling. The girls laughed at her as if it was nothing, but she knew they were calling her fat. Ana blamed it on being a dancer and having muscle, and blew it off, but never truly forget the incident. In that moment in lunch, it was as if the scene played over in her head so she refused to accept the offered food. That one day of not eating lunch had caused Ana’s life to change forever, but nobody knew or they did not ask about her well-being. When the next day came, she purposely forgot her lunch thinking to herself: if I forgot it yesterday why do I deserve it today?
Three months later, Ana’s forgetting lunch was now a regular occurrence, that none of the girls questioned it. The girls rather ignored the fact of Ana not eating as they did not want to pressure her. The girls also stopped asking if she wanted food because Ana always answered too hastily. The girls noted Ana becoming weaker by the day, barely able to hold her stack of books, but still they said nothing about it. Ana herself thought nothing was wrong, but if anyone asked she always had a hasty excuse ready to give to shock down suspicions. She knew she was growing weaker in the back of her mind, and nearly collapsed in ballet at the barre and had gotten worried looks from everyone. Each day her rumbling stomach demanded food but her mouth refused every time she had tried, the first day of forgetting her lunch flashing into her mind. Instead, Ana learned to drink water to fill her stomach, but that did not help her health at all. As she went to pull her hair back in a bun one day for ballet class, a clump of her blonde hair came out as she touched it and she stared in horror, not knowing what she had done or become in barely four months.

Ana had developed an eating disorder, but she refused to admit it to herself until she ended up in rehabilitation. When she was checked in by her parents, she had gone down to 75 pounds, which she did not see anything wrong with. The counselors first asked her about her general knowledge: friends, school, and family. Soon the counselors went deeper and asked her what had caused her eating disorder, her mind snapped back to that one day in lunch when she had forgotten her lunch, and the next day she deemed herself unworthy of it. Since she forgot her lunch once as an error, it forever changed her life, changing her lifestyle and who she was. Ana has assumed if she did not need lunch one day, she should not eat it the next, and overtime it began to affect her life more and more. A small error had grown inside of Ana and erupted into a volcano that controlled her life, or what was left of it. Ana’s story truly shows how easy it is to lose control once the crack is placed on the foundation, corrupting the former solid conditions. As Poor Richard says, “A small leak will sink a great ship” which Ana realized happened to her once perfect life all because of a small error on her part that ruined her life.

*= The name (Ana) is often the abbreviation used for those affected with the eating disorder rather than say the entire name: Anorexia Nervosa, making it fitting for the story.



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