Beneath Her Skin

By , Mishawaka, IN

There’s a lot I hated about being in my teen years. I hated my eyes gleaming black at me as i examined myself in the mirror everyday. They reminded me of two pools of melted down metal that had been mistakenly dripped into snow. Red threads streamed off of them. If they weren’t red from crying, they were red from all the weed I smoked at age 14. I hated them. Dirty saltwater eyes stationed in the middle of a round, pale face. The funny thing is that I knew back then it wasn’t ending. It had become my friend, my obsession. The way I looked. Things I couldn’t change. Tracing my body with the tips of my fingers every night before bed, I wanted nothing to do with her. She couldn’t reach me, standing across from me. She was locked inside the mirror cabinet in my lower class house that held the pills that almost killed me. Her face was mine. Her marble eyes were mine. But her name was not. Ana. It was Ana. Not with two N’s. And not Mia. There are not two N’s in the word anorexia, and there are not two chances. There is only one infiltration from her, and she stays there forever. I became obsessed with the way I looked. Messy hair, curves, scars, skin tone. Things that were beyond out of my control. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t say anything. You can’t talk when there are fingers in your throat. I don’t know what was worse; the way my body hurt from constantly making sure I was posed and ready to expose parts of myself to the world, or the way the stomach acid tasted. There were 3 words. Are you hungry? I don’t know the answer. Yes and no. I am hungry. Ana is not. I am tired. Ana wants to look in the mirror some more. It wasn’t a disorder, or anything you could catch. It was an addiction. I see people now saying that addiction is a choice, that addiction is not a disease. Thank you. I am not diseased, I am not ill. I have not made a choice, and I am not gone. I am starving. I spent middle school flushing my life down the toilet quite literally. It is the most intimate thing about myself, admitting it. Admitting that something is wrong. They ask me why. They ask me how can they help. You can not help. She wants to see the skeleton that lies beneath it all. She wants to see the veins pressed against my skin, begging for some form of nutrition. I still hate when anyone brings up that I don’t eat around them. And I was nearly recovered for so long. Then my friends brought it up. Sarcasm here and there. Calling me new labels that suffocated the soul that lies within me. Small. I didn’t want to be small. It was never about that. Not for one second. I sit quietly now when they mention it. It’s all I can do. And it’s strange to still be in shock when anyone makes remarks about it. I see people of other races, and even larger girls being called beautiful for their differences. It’s art when somebody smokes cigarettes, even if it’s killing them slowly. But I am not art. The people I’m close to have made sure that I know I am not art. How could I be? Why is there no shame in smoking. Smoke reaches the back of your throat as my fingers reach mine. You blow it out as I blow out a little bit more of myself each time. I feel attacked. Not by what I’m infected with anymore, but by those who insult it. It isn’t a joke when they point it out. You can’t joke about people cutting themselves, but it seems like you can joke about this to my face. Every time I get close to recovery, I hear the same phrase again. “She doesn’t eat.” I don’t need to eat if you fill me up with all the sarcasm and jokes about it. Cut me open. It all comes out the way my insides come up. I want them to see my collarbones. I paused to touch trace them, just now. Can you believe it? Can you believe that she examines her collarbones every night for hours, or gets excited at how small her wrists have become. Maybe one day they’ll be small enough to slip away from it all. Maybe. But until then, I pray to anyone out there that I’m left alone long enough to eat enough to survive. Just enough that I won’t get strange looks. Just enough so that I never hear the worry in my mother’s voice when she notices the change in eating habits and clothes sizes. I’m getting by. I’m surviving. But I’m under this demons spell. And no matter how much I throw up, it never leaves me.
But I breathe. I live.






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