Yesterday you complained to me that you were fat.
‘I wish I was anorexia’ you laughed.
‘I’d be skinny and everything would be so much easier.’
And my heart stopped in terror.
Trust me, darling, you do not know what you are talking about.
Our foolish culture has led you to believe that anorexia is just a synonym:
a synonym for thin – or watching your weight –
or maybe a fad diet.
Anorexia is waking up in the middle of the night to a pained body
revolting against its unnatural usage
and stomach clenched tighter than a fist
shriveled bones painfully creaking as you roll over
and attempt in vain to fall back asleep.
Anorexia is biting your tongue till you draw blood
to avoid giving in to those chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven,
starving longing for one small slice of homemade pizza,
turning away from even an apple
all for the sake of the vicious voices in your head screaming
It’s never enough.
Anorexia is tears running down your cheeks
crying with the heart soul deep pain of listening to your best friends
imploring you to please just eat something
and trying so damn hard to bring the fork to your mouth
yet your lips refuse to open, your brain refuses to swallow.
Anorexia is dizzy and shivering and high on adrenaline
until it crashes and you’re miserable and freezing fingers and forlorn
and unable to stop your own rapid demise
Anorexia is dreading the invitation to a friends’ house for the day
because, ‘oh gosh they’ll feed me’ and how do I not eat without arousing suspicions
which I cannot conscientiously allay?
Anorexia is lying to your parents
lying to your therapist, lying to your doctor, your siblings,
each and every time they ask if you’re okay
or ‘have you been eating?’
Anorexia is weak, almost passing out
but laughing it all off as ‘a touch of the sun’
or ‘I just need to drink more water’ –
having your little brother run from you because your fingers
and toes are ice.
Anorexia is no circulation, your very hands
falling asleep under the slightest pressure, your hair thinning in great clumps,
your eyes hollow, and your skin darkening.
Anorexia is a constantly parched throat
no matter how many bottles of water (0 calories) you gulp down
no matter how many sticks of gum you chew
in a faint effort to eradicate the faint yet persistently lingering
smell of death
Anorexia is watching in agony as your little sister
spits your disease back in your face the moment you insist
that she eat
After all, ‘you don’t eat, so why should I?’
and not knowing how to explain to a six year old
that you are mind sick
Anorexia is failing tests –
failing grades – failing conversation because your starved brain
cannot formulate words into coherent sentances anymore.
It’s a never ending, constant battle – a mind trap
where I’m damned if I eat, and dead if I don’t.
it’s a head-war, only it’s one I can never seem to win.
It’s the mind’s slow torture,
it’s the inability to see, when you look in the mirror,
what everyone else sees:
It is not beautifully tragic.
It is not grand.
It is not heroic.
It is not strong.
It is not disciplined.
It is not self control,
and it is most certainty not health.
It is an awful sickness
an inescapable war
a feast for your demons
a living hell
and a slow painful death if you do not recover.
So please, baby, before you end up like me –
brain starved and shivering and counting every calorie to death –
I beg of you, go.
Run. Bike. Swim. Hike.
Lift weights. Drink Green Juice.
Sing. Dance. Fight. Make Love.
Walk. Skate. Ski. Kiss.
Anything – anything – but listen to the voices.
Now…while you still can.
Before the madness consumes you.
You must get out.
Before it’s too late.