Uninhibited Self Recovery This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

December 25, 2009
By , Independence, MO
The nondescript wood door was closed. You were late, and your hand hovered over the scratched knob in indecision. You could sit outside and wait, skip the meeting. But later Ms. Carly would tell your mother you weren’t there, even though she’d dropped you off. Or, you could walk into the room, and sit down. No one would say anything; all eyes would remain cast down. Still, their thoughts were ridicule enough.
On another day, you stood up before the room. With an intake of breath readying you to speak, you pulled in your stomach, and pressed your arms into the resulting cave. Your pulse was a vicious beat against your arms, quickened from a spurt of adrenaline. Hunger burned at the base of your stomach. You reveled in the sensation. Finally, you gathered enough bravery to speak.
“I am a recovering anorexic.”
The entire room pulls in one uniform breath. Perhaps proud of the statement, Ms. Carly takes a note on her clipboard and views this recognition as a step forward. What she doesn’t know, what the entire room doesn’t know, is that these few words are riddled with lies. So much falsity, that the scale tips, even as your weight falls.
The first lie. You are far from recovery. Sure, you can see the line, like a banner of a finished race, but you stop in the 5k jog and look around. You don’t want to take one step farther towards the finish line. Your parents stand beside the line, weeping, screaming, encouraging and punishing in each turn. A slide show of emotions cycling across their face. Your brothers and sisters are also present, but they are turned away, busy with something else. They will do anything, anything it seems, to not watch the race. Among the vicious crowd, you catch glimpse of friends, forgotten and current. Eyes awash in horror. And last, you find the face who started it all. A black void. Nothing, empty. In resolution, you turn on your heel, and begin to run in the direction you came from. Gathering speed, you feel freedom, but then arms reach out, pull you, tear you from your stride. You scream, and cry. Strike out and bite at outreached hands as they pull you towards the line, screams unbidden. No, you are not recovering, you can only get truly well if you want to be healthy.
The second lie is the ailment you name. This haunting can have no label, no medical term. It racks you in ever changing form. One day you secret away food, lie about what you have eaten and drink water and lemon juice to stave away fainting spells. Other days you rush to eat as much food as will fit into your slight form, until your stomach is no longer a flat wall, but a gorged rounded obtrusion. Then you hang over the bowl, and everything evil rushes out in one cleansing bout. But it is not enough, a large lump forms in your body, hard, and uncomfortable. All the evil will never leave. You will never be safe. Not from the world, not from the pressure, not from your parents, not your self. And never safe from him. Never, ever, ever safe from him. No. This is not anorexia. This is pain. Such a pain requires life. So you will starve this pain, until it withers and dies. Perhaps you will be required to die also.
The third lie is perhaps the most important of all. You are not anorexic. You cannot lay the word down in a list describing yourself, a depiction of you. No, this is more then one part. It is all. It is consuming. Anorexia is you. At the beginning perhaps, you had been in control. Eating when necessary to stop comments and imploring looks. But now, you are its slave. You bow to it, you weep for it. You would kiss its filthy feet. It holds itself tight in your inability to eat. Food is like poison, rejected from your body even when its what your starved cells need the most. And anorexia is not kind to its slave. It steals what you cannot willingly give. It takes your body, covering you in fine down and ripping chunks from your hair. It weakens your bones and shrinks your heart until your pulse slows, temperature falling. It thrives off your heat and steals your period and breasts until your resemble a nondescript body. Then, only then, does it cast you away. Left for the dead.
This is the last measure that you can bare, in this life of lies. The death. For you are more then anorexia. You knew what you were starting when you began the race. You were never fat; in fact, you now know that you are skinny. But it is not enough. It can never be enough. Even now, that you wish for an end.
And that is what you will get. An end. With each bite you refused to take, each night bent over the sink, you committed suicide. You chose your death. And the most sickening detail of all is you do not care. Because then, and only then, will you be enough. Then you will be safe. When you reach the starting line, you will have outrun his reach. You will be home free.
And, in eventuality, you are safe. You lie on a cool steel table. The death certificate marks heart failure and electrolyte imbalance. Only you would call it for what it truly was, suicide. The mortician is a young man, new to the trade. As he folds down the sheet, a sickening knot wells in his stomach. As if in a mockery to your attempt to rid your body of all substance, he pumps you full of chemicals, preserving your skeletal frame. He brushes concealer over your scars, and blush into your face. Still, looking down, he is haunted by the dress-clad body. You. You are too thin. You are the entity of death, and despair. Ribs protrude through material, skinny legs cocked at wrong angles. Even your face is sunken in, under the false smile he formed to your lips. He takes out one cotton ball, cuts it in half and places each half inside your cheeks. The effect is that of substance. And he turns away.
But now, you glance around the room, at the few eyes that have been lifted from laps. There is the crack addict; the boy with anger issues; a girl who burned her legs in great stripes with a curling iron. Even the boy who holds his arms safe from view, covering the railroad tracks of scars. And one truth pulls at you. You, anorexia, embody them all. Addicted to starvation, angry at the world. You self inflict harm until finally, finally, you run full circle, and you die. You sit down and wait to see the line, hoping the beginning comes soon. You cant wait much longer, you decide, as you listen to Ms. Carly’s pen scratch the paper.

Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Hay_Wire This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 28, 2010 at 11:28 pm
thanks for that comment...sunnyd
SmileySunnyD This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 28, 2010 at 8:24 pm
so many girls think of themselves poorly, like they arent skinny enough and all that, but really, even if they dont think so, they are all beautiful the way they are inside and out. everyone is
that1random said...
Jan. 22, 2010 at 5:02 pm
wow, that is a really amazing and powerful story, but its so sad! but true. i suffered from anorexia, and you described it so well, it really makes you think.
Site Feedback