Weight of the Matter This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I started out at 123-and-a-half pounds at five foot six. And that was a good weight. I was happy. I know now that I was thin, even underweight. And I wanted to stay at 123-and-a-half, 5ƌ". So I decided to eat less.

Then I stopped eating breakfast. And then lunch. I wasn't hungry anyway, right? And my stomach would growl painfully. And it felt good.

Next I was weighed at 110 and half pounds. And this was not good, the doctor said. And my mother wept and moaned that she had failed. And I wanted to stop it.

Soon it became like a sick, twisted game. How little could I get away with eating in a day? How many days could I go without driving my mother to tears? How long before anyone noticed me diminishing away to nothing?

Then I heard the stories. If you were too thin, your body would live off your muscles, eat away at your heart. Heart attack. Without calcium, your bones become weak. Without the right nutrition, you die.

You don't sleep. No oxygen to your brain. You can't think straight. You don't have any energy to do anything. There is only one main thought and action – lose weight.

And you are cold. Even in the dead of winter you were never this cold. Layers of clothing can't keep the freezing out. Icy hands and feet. Numb fingers and toes. Blue nails. Chapped lips. Pale skin. Maps of thin, ugly veins. In the dark, in your room at night, it's like already being buried in that box. It's dark and cold down here. And lonely.

And there's a screaming in your head. It is fear and no one else can hear it. You don't want to gain weight. You don't want to die. You don't want to make other people unhappy. You don't want to be sad. You are afraid to be fat. You're afraid to die. And the screaming continues, piercing your eardrums.

Ninety-two pounds. A nutritionist, a physician, a therapist, and a weigh-in are your constant companions. The all important weigh-in that controls your entire life. 97. 104. 108. 108-and-three-quarters. 118. 114. 116. 119. 119-and-a-half.

Right now I'm 118, 5ƌ", and FAT. And there's no one down here to hear me scream.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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