Zero: naught; nothing

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In my freshman year of high school I was deemed a size zero in woman’s clothing while changing at a small thrift store downtown. At school in the girl’s changing room before track or gym I’d always feel a small swell of pride when girls whom I knew and didn’t know would comment on my size: “Wow your so skinny”, “I wish I was your size”, they would look at me with flushed envy and curiosity at my paper thin skin and delicate doll like bones, “What size are you?”, I would say I was a size zero and their wonderment would continue to flourish.

 

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Sometimes I would stare at myself in the long full length mirror in my bedroom and wonder how I was able to fit my lungs and kidneys and liver and heart and brain into such a small baby bird sized body, I wondered if I was missing something because it seemed so impossible. The next day I told my friend of this and she refused to talk to me for a whole day, I asked her why and she told me to stop bragging.  

 

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The size zero section was fairly small, and clothing I wanted to wear was rather scarce. I looked at my friends with long legs and curves I wished I had and told them of my envy. They looked at each other in surprise and confusion, half heartedly thanked me and under their breath called me a b****. I spent the rest of the day wondering what I had done wrong.

 

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I was often mistaken for a younger child at the high school, students would talk to me as though I were just a kid of ten, when I would tell them what my age really was they would look at me with widened eyes, mouths open slightly, gaping at the strange creature before them. “Wow you’re really small for thirteen”.

 

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In my sophomore year of high school I became one hundred pounds. Though I was still a size zero in clothing I felt an incredible weight in my legs, I looked into the full length mirror in my bedroom and wondered at the thickness of my legs which jiggled slightly as I walked and spread out thicker when I sat. I looked a bit different, but I was still a size zero.

 

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Over the summer I had grown tall enough to not be mistaken for a girl of ten. My legs slowly lost their magical wonder, girls stopped asking what size I was and how much I weighed, but they stilled envied me enough to keep me pacified with pride. 

 

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In my Junior year of high school I became one hundred and five pounds. I had grown an inch taller over the summer and my features had finally begun to settle into place. I was becoming your everyday regular old teenger, and I hated it. The fairy like magic I had once possessed disintegrated before my very eyes. Everyday I stood in front of my full length mirror and watched in disgust as the fat festered on my skin. 

 

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At school my heart would sink as the minutes in the girl’s locker room would tick by without a word of compliment to the size of my body, but as I stood by the full length mirror in my bedroom I understood the lack of attention my skin gained. I was a normal size.

 

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I spent my summer trying to gain back what I had lost. I needed so desperately to verify myself again, to remind myself that my skin was magical and wondrous. I ran in the mornings, ate little amounts of food and kept a bottle of water on me at all times. I kept hoping to lose more weight, I desperately wanted people to look at me with wonder like they had once done. I wanted so badly to me more than just normal. So I ran more, ate less and slept often.

 

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Over the summer I spent my time at the pool, not really swimming, just watching skinnier, smaller, fairer girls walk float around like fairies. I watched as they lounged around on towels and swam in crystal clear water. One time I saw a women mistake one of the girls for only twelve, the girl laughed and said she was sixteen, and I couldn’t help but feel a fevered envy in my throat. I remember when those comments use to bother me, but now, I wanted nothing more but to be mistake for a girl of ten again. 

 

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One day I ran so hard that I saw sparks in my vision.

Bright flashes of light and color danced like fireworks in my eyes. My eyes grew heavy and my head grew dim, and I closed my eyes for only a moment and the fireworks ceased to exist. I felt like I was floating, just like a fairy. 

 

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I woke up in a white room, wearing a white gown. The smell of artificial cleaning and steril metal tickled my nose. My eyes caught a glimpse of a small girl in the reflection of a window that sat next to me. The small girl’s eyes were circled with dark shadows and her collar bones protruded off her skin. We smiled. At last, a size zero again.






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