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I’m 14, standing at 5’7” and around 160 lbs: overweight

In my freshman year, a yearly checkup at the doctors’ office revealed that I had become overweight

Overweight; the word felt like a hard, open-handed smack to the face

Those girls on TV with the size 0-2 pants started to mock me as relentlessly as every single mirror did now

Those models in the magazines, with bodies like an hourglass, without stretch marks, stomach pudge, large thighs, they prodded at my body fat, said I’d never look like them

Those dieting ads and weight loss commercials tenaciously insisted that if I lost 20 lbs in 30 days I’d look great and feel great

I stare at my body in the mirror for an hour or so, scrutinizing

Pinching at my arms, my sides, my stomach, my thighs, wondering where all these new stretch marks came from

***

I’m 15, standing at 5’7” and around 160 lbs: overweight

I’d been too embarrassed to wear anything other than baggy shirts and loose, belted pants since that doctors’ visit

Now the girls in the hallways seemed to target me, degrade me with conversations about “being fat” at a mere 130 lbs and how they lost weight by not eating

How could they have the nerve to call themselves fat when I was the fat one, the one who would kill to have control over my weight like that?

Control; I couldn’t just control my weight

Or could I?

***

I’m 16, standing at 5’7” and around 140 lbs: normal weight

It’s junior year; since my sophomore year started, I’ve asserted and followed a strict set of rules to control my weight

Skip breakfast (but don’t forget to take your meds)

Have a small lunch at school

No snacks unless it’s an hour before dinner so you don’t eat too much

Always drink something before you eat anything; tea, coffee, water, milk, juice, whatever

The golden rule is to let people see you eat, because if you’re seen eating meals, then who’s to suspect anything, right?

People started noticing my weight loss and compliments came in from all directions

I would smile and boast that I only slowed down when I ate now and cut my portion sizes

It’s not a lie, but it’s not really the truth

Truth; I couldn’t tell them the truth behind my weight loss

The actresses on TV, the mirrors, the models in the magazines, the dieting ads and weight loss commercials, the girls at school

All those years of snide comments about my weight from my parents, all those remarks about how a “young lady” should look from my grandmother

***

I’m 17, standing at 5’7” and around 125 lbs: normal weight

It was too much; I started losing control

My weight had begun to fluxuate grossly in a short amount of time as it got harder and harder to keep normal food down

It started taking me anywhere from 30 minutes to almost an hour to eat a small dinner, going small bite by small bite to make sure I didn’t eat too much

I became practically chained and leashed to the bathroom at home because everything I put in my body just wouldn’t process

Sometimes I went for days without anything more than tea or coffee and a granola bar or two until I felt it was okay to finally eat something

I couldn’t sleep at night because stomach acid seared at my throat and my stomach wouldn’t stop screaming

I couldn’t look in the mirror anymore because the stretch marks still spread further, my thighs still too huge, my stomach still too round

For months no one would listen to me when I tried telling them I could hardly eat anymore; they just dismissed it as side effects of my meds or it was just my metabolism

It took until recently for people to even start noticing that there was something wrong with me

My parents didn’t want to listen, didn’t want to believe me and kept telling me to stop worrying so much, but my friends were willing to listen, to provide moral support

I started to think, “You know, maybe now I can try and get things under control”

Control; my weight, my eating, my warped body image, it’s all about control really, because from the beginning I thought I was in control of everything

It was really everything, though, that had me strung up like a marionette from the get-go

***

Today, I’m standing here at 5’7” and around 115 lbs: underweight

My weight has reached an all time low even though I’ve been doing my best to eat normally again

I still get sick from eating sometimes, but this still doesn’t deter me from trying to get better

Fuck those girls, the actresses, the models

Fuck those mirrors, those dieting ads and weight loss commercials

Fuck all the shit my family says

Fuck; I just… fuck, I just want to eat with everyone again

I’m tired of losing weight

I stare at my body in the mirror for an hour or so, scrutinizing

Pinching at my arms, my sides, my stomach, my thighs, wondering where all these new stretch marks came from

 

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