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monster in my mind
I laid on my bed, no not my bed i suppose, the bed in my dorm, and stared at the ceiling. There really was no escaping, was there? The monster would be in my head now, a year from now, sixty years from now when I sat out on my north Carolina porch. She would always be in the back of my mind, nestled somewhere between my frontal lobe and ventricals, waiting. Preying on my soul for me to relapse, to feed her the air of nothingness she craved so badly. When I listened to her, her teeth, her ruddy skin, and evil, accusing eyes all transformed, did I tell you? She became beautiful, with long silky smooth brown hair hanging down fragile arms that appeared breakable, but at the same time looked tone from hours at the gym. Her eyes were the color of granny smith apples, and her skin was tanned and illuminated, with little makeup on besides my old favorite shimmery MAC lipgloss. She was me as I craved to be. I realized something that night; The monster looked eerily like the reflection I saw in the mirror lately. Uneven skin, anger in every feature and fat where it didn’t belong, she was hideous. The only difference besides the snarling, sharp teeth seemed to be that when I looked at my expression I saw sadness underlying it, not anger. But the phenotypical outcome was generally the same. She was someone who wanted to hide from the world, to run away from it until she was satisfied, but couldn’t exit it completely as much as she so desired to be out of existence completely. I had forgotten this feeling. I had so much control over it after I had gained enough strength to make myself healthy again, I had even forgotten her threatening face. I remembered to remind myself of the dysmorphia that came along with my monster, that I saw myself differently that others, and that what I saw as fat or ugliness was not there at all to others. I had trained myself, through intensive rehab, to move on and be happy again.
And now, because of one tiny trigger, she was back with vengeance.
Kyle was the trigger. I was in a new place, far away from home, attending class at a tough university in a different state. I was stressed, and it showed through the bags under my eyes and lack of luster in my skin. I was vulnerable, but I was strong. My past was something I was slowly becoming comfortable enough to talk about, and I had told him and all my friends upon the first week of school that I was a survivor of anorexia nervosa. I tried to avoid going into depth with too many details, just mentioning it in a distant, passing voice because it was too unpleasant. I was supposed to be having the time of my life, not acting my part out as a victim. I was strong now. I was invincible.
Kyle was crazy, and soon after our friendship began, I had lost all respect for him. He was an excellent actor and could convince you he was the nicest person ever if he wanted to, but when I had heard of him hurting a girl, everything in my mind was erased and I could see right through him. He had hit a female, and no one seemed to believe it was true. It was all too familiar to me. Alex’s face flashed through my head the moment I saw her hot tears streaming down her cheeks, down to the bruises that danced across her throat. I saw myself, two years before, in the same situation with Alex. Although sometimes I was unregretful of the strength everything I had experienced in my short life gave me, his face still made me cringe in anger. I remembered how he had told everyone that I hit him, beat his ass as he would say. And I would sit in my desk at school, walk down the hallway surrounded by whispers, and pretend it was true rather than risk being called a psycho liar, while he played the part of the forgiving boyfriend, holding my hand and looking admirable since he put up with a crazy girlfriend.
Kyle knew that I had his entire existence perfectly analyzed down to a T. I tried to hide my sarcastic yet cruel remarks from escaping my lips, in respect for the people I was friends with who didn’t see who he was. He knew my friendship with them was dangerous to his narcissistic and histrionic nature, and I became his new target. Fat. That was the weapon he used and convinced several other guy friends to use. Fat, fat, fat. Everytime they passed me I heard it. I shook it off, I didn’t care what they said because I knew I was better, that I was far from fat. But She cared. My monster couldn’t bear to hear it. And it started again, the calorie counting, the goal of hunger pains being my only daily aim, and the sleeping to avoid eating. The extent was not as powerful as before because I could control it, but doing so was so exhausting, it took all my energy to keep it under control, and to stop it entirely was too painful to think about. she could control me too, though, it was
But it would never be satisfied, I knew that. The numbers that it passed onto my real mind were so low, that I knew it was almost completely impossible for them to show up on a scale unless I was a prisoner of the Holocaust, toying with the thin line between life and death. Kind of like before, I guess. I so often remembered the helpless look on my mother's face, like she knew there was nothing she could do yet blamed herself for not being able to save me. I’d had no idea I was so close to becoming nothing more than a memory to others until, out of curiosity, I decided to see if there was any correlation between the seizures I would have during that year of hell and the situation I was in. When my search results appeared on the screen of my laptop, I struggled to find seizures on the page of complications that accompanied the disorder. I was about to give up as I reached the very bottom, when finally the bolded letters appeared. There was only on complication below it. One thing left for me to do at that point. That was to die.
The thought that scared me the most of Her now wasn’t that I could die. I knew I would never be able to fully fall back into that point with what I knew now. What scared me beyond belief occurred to me in a dream one night. I looked older, maybe twenty four. I was noticeably different, but not dramatically so. The amount of time that passes through college where the knowledge accumulated in your mind seems to pass to your face, making it more mature, seemed to have lapsed. In my arms, was a perfect baby in a little pink receiving blanket, sleeping quietly against my heart beat. Her face was angelic, peaceful, and most of all beautiful, with rounded pink lips and curly brown hair. Her skin was a light caramel shade, obviously her father was biracial and just my type. Suddenly, she started shrinking and shrinking, right in my arms until all I was left with was a tiny square of pink blanket. The monster had taken her too. That became my biggest fear, that one day, my eating disorder would be inherited by my future daughter. i always woke up, right after she disappeared, and couldn't help but feel sad for what i had put my own mom through.
I wanted so badly to rip Kyle’s head off, to make him suffer as I did, but never in a million years could I even fathom to wish the feeling of Her on him. It was so cruel, so unfair, that I had to live with Her and kyle didn’t, as if I deserved it when he was such a horrible person, a bottom feeder.
The ceiling was providing too much distraction for me to evaluate my situation. The concrete was dabbled with fault lines and indentations and small puncture wounds. Even the toughest of materials can be damaged in vulnerability.
I moved outside to the tree I often smoked by, where the cold would numb me from staying out there long enough to analyze the wounds in the surrounding environment and allow me to think of a reason this was happening.
I lit up a cigarette, something I had been doing far too often lately. Kyle. Kyle. Kyle. The name stung my throat to consider speaking out loud. The anger was frozen, fierce and constant in my mind. My pulse raised and the adrenaline raised through my veins. If I came down to it, if he were to hit me like he hit Mina or lunge his palms toward my jugular, the scary but pleasing thought was that I could take him. He was so much like Alex in so many ways, I felt as though I knew him better than he knew himself. He was a predator, and he was determined to make me his next victim. Mentally, physically, it didn’t matter. He wanted to destroy me like Alex did in the exact same way. He wanted me to become his own personal toy, someone he could control and overpower and make to feel inadequate so I never left his side. The difference arose in the motive behind it. Alex had loved me. I couldn’t deny that. It wasn’t the love you read about or see across the television when you watched The Notebook, but he wanted me with him. Kyle was obsessed with me differently. He didn’t want me on his side or to be with him romantically, although at one point I was sure he did, because he knew it was impossible, that I knew what he was. But he wanted to knock every ounce of confidence from my body so he owned me and could control me, belong completely to him no matter the distance.
He wanted what I have, and could never get it. So he had decided if it didn’t belong to him, if he couldn’t take it for himself, then I wasn’t allowed to have it. It placed me above him, and he wanted to be at the top of the human food chain, the alpha.
Then I realized that in the back of my mind, the reason I had always said people talked about other people, was no different in this scenario of obsession than it was in high school when a girl criticized another’s outfit.
Kyle was unrequitedly jealous that I had what he didn’t, strength and contentedness. He would never find happiness in life, because he would always be longing for what he couldn’t achieve. When I, up until a month ago, had everything I could have asked for. I was so happy it radiated through every detail of my being.
I stomped out my cigarette, but not angrily. This time, it was out of determination. I was not going to let him get me down, and I was going to show him that he couldn’t. She screamed in my head, the beautiful women in my mind with the perfect physical appearance morphed into the monster again, but I just smiled. She wouldn’t be bothering me anymore. I wouldn’t let her. I wouldn’t let him hurt me. Karma would handle him when he hurt someone again.
I walked back into my dormitory hall and headed for the vending machine. I watched with no guilt or remorse as a Snicker bar fell from the third shelf.