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Anorexia? Bulimia? Please. Those unorthodox “dieting” methods are only for clinically insane people, right? But aren’t we all a little bit crazy?
Leaping clumsily onto the weary, stained-white scale, I crossed my fingers, praying that the cheeseburger and fries from last night wouldn’t show. My eyes popped opened at the sound of the “beep”-which meant that the ever groaning scale was done configuring my weight average-and saw to my horror that I had gained three pounds.
“Darn it! Hey, this doesn’t count! I just got out of the shower, so it must be the water weighing me down…”
As I was struggling to come up with some lousy excuse as to why I gained the unnecessary weight, my mom pounded loudly on the bathroom door, causing me to jump and slip off the scale, landing with my exposed back against the wall.
“Hey, you’ve been in there for ten minutes! Did you get glued onto the toilet or something?” My mom was getting angry; almost time to eat.
“Sorry Mom. Just got a little preoccupied. You know, Harry Potter.” I lamely replied. “Be right out.”
There is an odd assortment of books in my parents’ bathroom: my dad’s collection of Harry Potter-very used with pages bent to mark the location of the reader, - a cook book that had at least fifty sticky notes messily jutting out, a library book that consisted of fine paintings, - did I forget to mention it was due back in ’89? - Jane Eyre and a bunch of magazines, such as home economics, religion, sports, etc. The only book that could possibly be missing from this pile would be the Bible. I have absolutely no idea where it went; my sister probably used its thin, gold-bordered pages as toilet paper. Karma anyone?
As I briskly unlocked the door-hey, can’t a person get some privacy? - I opened the door to have my mom hastily shove me out, and the door speedily shut behind me. The light flickered for a while-hey, is anyone ever going to fix that? - like a dying Christmas tree beyond repair, then stopped completely. My mom vociferated some profane words, and then gradually quieted. I shook my head. Not even an “excuse me”. I drove the feeling away into an area deep into my soul that I’m too ashamed and too afraid to open. That’s the only thing you can do in my family without being a nuisance-drive your problems into your core to pile up like rocks a person muddled mind, to patiently wait one day to be set free by a wave of unexpected feelings. One word to describe my family? Detached.
My stomach growled painfully, drawing me from my distracting thoughts. Time for snack time. I slowly traipsed towards the kitchen, trying to appease my stomach by punching it repeatedly. I opened the panty to find nothing edible-at least, not junk food.
“Crap. I’m starving! Dad!!!” I often called upon my father, who was my food savior, to go get food. Anything and everything is fair game.
“Whatever it is, no.” My father, shirtless, trudged in with a glazed look. I guess whoever said that a three to four hour sleeping period was as good as eight hours is really full of it.
“I’m hungry, Dad. Let’s go get food,” I pleaded. Not only did he give me a doubtful look, he simply stated, “We have food here.” His hand reached for the cupboard and pulled down a glass and a bowl. Yay, cereal. Again.
“If that’s all you eat, Dad, then you’re going to become a skeleton and melt away completely.” I nodded wisely. Oops.
“..Right. You don’t even drink milk, so if I were you,” my father frowned thoughtfully, “I would take my vitamins and drink plenty of-”
“Yeah, yeah. I know, milk. But I get sick off that crap. Plus, I can’t swallow pills without nearly choking to death.” It’s true, milk seems to taste funny and it feels like I’m swallowing a mouthful of rotten mushroom spores. Vitamins-and pills in general- cause me to gag violently and unleash my guts everywhere. Once, I hurled so hard it splattered off my mirror onto me. How I stunk of Clorox at the dinner party later that night. Never did that again.
“Deal with it,” my father stonily replies, walking past me to eat lunch. Some people would find that rude and insensitive, but hey. That’s how it works around here: either you do or you don’t.
“Hmph.” I go to my room-which is practically where I live my life. The funny part is I don’t have a computer, television, or refrigerator located anywhere in my room. The only electronic devices I have are two lamps- well, currently one since the other broke- and an alarm clock with a radio. For me, this- and the computer in the kitchen- are all I need to survive. Being with people makes me nervous. And hungry. My way of socialization is texting, mainly to my father and sister. I call them daily, too. Aren’t I hoot? My mom thinks my anti-social behavior will be the death of me. Eh, it could or could not. I just can’t seem to reach out to others as well as I should. I must be defective.
When I’m at home, with no worries, I never eat, except for the occasional snack. However, if I have to go to school or do anything that remotely involves people, I’m a lean, mean, nerve-wrecked machine. Ha! I’m my own pocket-psychiatrist. Crazy is as crazy does. I’m not crazy- crazy people hear voices and do strange things. So why do I feel this slight tug in the pit of my stomach?
“Audrey, you are going to drive yourself crazy!” I throw my hands into the air, unconcerned for whoever may be watching. Talking to yourself doesn’t mean you are crazy, just comfortable with whom you are, or maybe you’re very insecure and pretend your vocal cords are the soothing words of a critical peer. Maybe.
“Ew, look at that flab! I mean, I have to get down to a size zero or at most a size one to be perfect!” Hell, being “skinny” is all I have going. “I’m not smart, I’m not pretty…” I begin to list all my insecurities, one by one, in a pleased tone. I am my own judge, jury, and executioner. Hold on, let me fix that: the world is my judge, jury, and especially my executioner. Why else would there be so many issues with people? “I wish I didn’t have to go to school…”
School is my catalyst for eating; my anxiety over schoolwork, tests, projects, and people cause me to shovel down more that 3000 calories a day. I don’t think I have a problem; it’s more of a choice, you know?
“Time is gone already?” I say in an incredulous tone. “Damn.” I never seem to have enough time in the day to accomplish anything, which is another reason why I get stress and start eating like a slob.
Normally, when I tell people I “binge eat” after eating half a box of pizza, I tend to get a bunch of stares, mainly disgusted ones. I am like a hibernating bear: eat a lot now, starve it off later. Now worries here.
“Sunday sucks. I hate homework.” My procrastination has reached a whole new level. Time to grab the books and a snack. Of course, my savior.
After spending a couple of hours scratching my pen on sheets of paper, flipping pages of unknown text, and randomly putting handfuls of pretzels in my mouth, I take a break. Frustration rises through my abdomen and reaches my throat as my temper begins to spark. Too much sugar. Time’s running out; need more food. I froze. “What?” My mind laughed.
“You didn’t eat for two days until this morning. I think you need a pit stop.” A silky voice wrapped a rope around my throat. As I shakily stood up, my hand outstretched with fingers curling, every horror I’ve ever faced ran nakedly through my head.
“Do it,” my mind drawled, “I need love.”
I’m not sick, just hungry. Very hungry. So hungry, I could eat anything, and I do. I begin to cry when I finish eating all I could stomach. I don’t have a problem, I’m perfectly okay. I’m safe, normal, and sane. Right?
I run away into my bathroom, my hell, where the walls seem to ooze with laughter. I cover my ears.
“No, this is all wrong!” I close my eyes, thinking it would all go away- it always does. But not this time. Suddenly, a wave of nausea hits me. As I return all I took that day, it finally hit me. What happened?
I’m not crazy. I’m a perfectly sane individual who has deep personal issues embedded in her skull, binding my every move. Normal.