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Mirror Image

By , Bryan, TX
It's a swirling vortex, sucking you further and further inside of its clutches.
It's a massive black hole, stealing away your family, your friends, your whole world.
It's a life-shattering disease that rages like a wild hurricane inside of your body.
It's a false promise, a careless whisper, a teasing caress.
Anorexia Nervosa, or Ana to her closest friends, will slip into your mind when you're at your weakest, and she will never let go. She curls inside your snarling stomach at night, whispering into your brain- "I'm here for you. I understand you. I can help you. You have to listen to me, and you'll be pretty, thin, perfect."
All I ever wanted was to be perfect.
But she lied to me. She promised beauty, I got none. She promised thin, I got porcelain bones protruding through my scaly skin. She promised perfection, and I got 83 pounds of self-hatred.
I lost two years. Two years that could have been spent laughing and loving and living my life. Instead, they were spent counting calories, measuring inches, staring at the crack in the mirror that was my reflection. I stared up at the ceiling at nights, letting the silent tears run down my face. Ana was there again, telling me she would help, if I could just stay strong for her.
I did. I'd been burned once, but I still dipped my toes back into the fire, mesmerized by its dancing glow. I let Ana swim through my head, mess with my eyes, play with my brain. She went to work, re-wiring my hard-drive until I didn't even remember what I was supposed to look like anymore.
She told me, "One more sit up, one more pound, you're almost there, you're so close." But I never was; it was all just part of her plan.
I was fading away, losing my hold on life. I floated through the days like a leaf catching a ride on a breeze. Ana was always there to give me an extra shove when I slowed down. She writhed in my chest, making it hard to breath, hard to live at all. The weight fell from my body like a curtain. My stomach was concave, always empty. My hair was brittle, my fingernails a baby blue. My jeans were size double-zero. I think the day I had to cut a new hole in my belt to hold them up was the day I really realized what was happening-
I was never going to be good enough for Ana. I'd tell her eighty pounds, she'd fight back with seventy-five. I knew even if I managed that impossible weight, she'd always be there to knock me down another notch. And she was- she said seventy...
I said I'm through playing.





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