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The shattered glass that was my life
When I was fifteen I’d look in the mirror and warp my reflection. I wouldn’t see the perfection that God formed – my small frame, slender face, clear skin, green/blue eyes, and silky red brown hair. I would instead see a short girl with a tiny double chin and some stomach chub.
I was 5’2 and weighed 107 pounds.
My whole family is skinny. My mom’s 5’5 and weighs 115. My dad’s 5’6 and weighs 140. My older brother is grossly skinny, and the younger ones are also. So when I saw myself in the mirror, I’d wonder where I came in.
I went on a lot of diets without telling my family. But they never worked. So I decided that I must have a slow metabolism and started eating much less. The feeling of an empty stomach soon became familiar to me. I enjoyed going to bed hungry. I was an empty cold body, an identity based on my weight and the size of my stomach.
Whipped cream with strawberries and granola. There was a big bowl of it in the house where I was babysitting. They said I could help myself to anything I wanted. So I did. I filled one cup and savored every bite of it. I had another cup. Then a little voice called my attention to something. I imagined that white, cold cream sitting in my stomach, clogging it until it couldn’t digest food anymore and twisted my insides into a gray knot. Get it out. Now. Some unseen force propelled me to the bathroom, locked the door, forcing me to kneel in front of the toilet. And put my middle finger down my mouth until it touched the back of my throat and pushed. I gagged, my tongue forcing out of my mouth, my face white in my fear. Again. Do it again. I tried. Again and again, forcing myself to gag and gasp the cream out. My pocket vibrated. I leaned over the toilet and watched as my friend’s smiling, confident face displayed on the screen. The tune of “Come Save” by Sarah Reeves played in my ears as the screen faded and a missed call alert popped up. I forced myself up from the floor and washed my face. It was white and clammy in that cold way, and my eyes were bright from unshed tears and the nightmares in my soul – the delusional voice in me controlling my essence. My hair, done up in a messy bun, hung over my carefully waxed eyebrows, hiding the arch of thin brown hair that stretched over the green valley below.
You freak. The voice was back. What kind of sicko pukes up her food? I hate you, you b****. My eyes filled and a drop of salty crystal slid over my cheek and onto my lips. It was followed by another, and they spread on my mouth and made it shiny like lip gloss. I stood there sobbing, my nose and eyes getting puffy and red. My friend called again. I answered this time, blowing my nose and closing the door to the fragmented pieces of my soul.
Come back from school one day and collapse on my bed crying. Just massive, racking sobs that clench my heart in a black marble fist and squeeze. I have my period, or what’s left of what it used to be, and there is a bottle of pain killer on the table. I pour it onto my bed, thinking how pretty the white looks on my green and blue and purple and yellow striped sheets. And count. Thirty-seven. And look at a water bottle on my desk. And look at the time, 5:21. And raise my hand, which is shaking, to touch the pills. My ring catches light. The pink stone shines prisms of light on the lavender walls. Fragmented rays like my fragmented soul. I pull my hand away.
In the bathroom shaving one day and look down at the razor. The yellow handle contrasts to the silver blade which reflects my face. And place it sideways on my skin and press. Doesn’t break skin. And pull it gently towards me, leaving a crimson ribbon behind like the pain in my heart. And lift the razor, the metal now tinted red with blood that is the disease in my bones, the pain in my heart, the shattered pieces of my soul – the dirt and evil in me. When the evil in me leaves through that tiny line, I feel clean and fresh. Now put band aids on my thigh and shower.
And look down as I shower and see only my stomach that my giddy eyes perceive. And shampoo my red brown hair and soap my skeleton body and feel the cuts stinging from the white foam. I feel clean. And dry and put on leggings and a sweater, because I am always cold – in June.
Start pulling away from school – ignoring my friends, flailing in class, crying and emptying my eyes at home and leaving tear spots on my sheets. And coming down for dinner and pushing it around my plate.
Start hanging out with my best friend’s boyfriend, sitting on a bench at midnight, our legs just touching, and I can feel the warmth through his dark blue jeans. Seen through a glass door by my classmate, who warns another girl about me.
And through all this, everyday, losing ounces and pounds until one hundred pounds remain on a sixteen year old girl who is 5’2.
I got normal again – saw a psychologist, made new friends, got along with my parents. I also started doing better in school. And then I went on Ritalin for my ADD. The doctor said that I would experience a loss of appetite. I knew this, because my little brother is also on Ritalin. So I nodded, smiled, and charmed the old bald guy.
But I didn’t know how much my appetite would leave. So when I lost three pounds a month later, I was slightly nervous. I had finally lost my baby fat and was totally happy with the way I looked. I told myself that if it went under ninety-five I’d tell someone. And it did. Soon I was ninety-two pounds without clothes. And then ninety-one with clothing on. And now ninety with clothing on, and eighty-eight without.
My parents don’t know how little I weigh. They know I’m less than one hundred pounds, but they don’t know by how much. I have to gain weight now, and a lot – before my doctor appointment in two weeks, or they’ll take me off the medicine. I need the medicine.
I wonder how many teenage girl s have this problem. How many girls want to gain twenty pounds? Guaranteed not many. Really few, if any. I am one of few. I have conquered anorexia, bulimia, cutting myself, and being suicidal. If I did that, I can gain twenty pounds. Just watch me.
This is the shattered glass that was my life.