For The First Time

For the First Time


The first time I had ever heard of anorexia

I was eight years old,

And I was sitting on Mommy’s lap.

“They starve themselves,” she told me

“Why would they do that?”

“Because they’re sick.”

And that was it

A simple and clean response

To a disease that was rarely simple

And never clean.


The first time I met Ana

I was twelve years old,

And staring wide eyed into the mirror.

As if every other time I looked

It had only ever been a lie.

A mass of cellulite that had stuck itself

Right over the sharp edges of bone.

When did I become this?

How did I get here?

The acidic burn of bile hurdled and clawed its way

Up the curved ridges of my throat.

It begged for its release but I pushed it down.

Far, far away.

I turned away from the mirror

And avoided what I believed I could not change.


The first time I heard her voice,

I was fourteen years old.

She mocked me as she crept into my thoughts.

She told me that I was

Too fat

Too lazy

Too stupid

And then she told me that she could fix it all.

I ignored her,

She couldn’t be true,

I was better than that.

But the shocking realization tore into me

When I stepped onto the scale.

The numbers shot up and it was all too much.

Her laughter seethed inside me

And her screams settled inside my heart.

Too fat!

Too lazy!

Too stupid!

And she was right.

Her words had made a home

In the hollowness of my belly.

White lies spilled from me like rain water down the gutter.

I’m not hungry

I already ate

I’m allergic

I would not eat and give her anymore reasons.

Hunger was a rabid animal that clawed against my stomach,

But my lips were sealed in Ana’s kiss.

I would rather choke than swallow a single piece.


The first time Ana’s tone turned sultry,

I was sixteen years old.

I had proven myself to her

And she spoke in gentle praise.

She took her boney fingers and caressed my cheeks.

In a breathy whisper she told me that I was strong.

The way my skin had paled and my fingers shook,

I should have felt weak.

I clutched onto her like a safety bar and collapsed into sobs.

My salty tears licked fiercely into my own skin.

I was stronger than all of them.

I fasted longer and harder than anyone else.

I never gave up on her.

I loved her and I was nothing without her guidance.

She would make me beautiful.

Dig out my collar bones, my cheekbones, my hips,

Until they were jutting out

And sharp enough to cut flesh.

With low hums of appreciation and praise,

She comforted me when nothing else could.

I was hopelessly devoted.


I was seventeen when everything changed.

Every meal had become a struggle,

Every calorie a fight.

Her voice guided every decision as I turned away people and food alike.

I found myself back in front of that same mirror.

When did I become this?

How did I get here?

I was slowly falling apart at the seams.

And there Ana was,

Coaxing me away from the shiny reflection.

Her mask was cracking before me.

When I pulled it off,

I found myself staring back into my own blue eyes.

I could blame Ana all I wanted,

But she wasn’t real.

It wasn’t a sardonically beautiful girl

Pulling me to the brink of starvation.

It was just me.

It was all in my head.

Mental illness personified.

“Because they’re sick”

My mother’s voice played over and over again in my mind.

That is when I said goodbye to Ana,

For the first and last time.

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