I was tracing my middle and pointer fingers along my protruding ribs when she returned. I felt her disappointed eyes scan over what once were my breasts and down my hips, which seemed to reach out for help. Her hand grazed over the lower portion of my stomach and clasped it within her cold, lifeless grasp.
"Not good enough," she firmly whispered into my purple tinted ears that could no longer conduct any heat.
I slid on my sweatpants and T-shirt that engulfed me in faded black cotton, the most slimming color, and headed downstairs to find the breakfast that my parents had left me before they left for work. My stomach was screaming out for comfort; sad, sick screams that begged for pity.
"One bite wouldn't hurt," I said as I reached for the slightly burnt toast with my shaking hand.
"Eat that, and we have to double your exercise today." She made my arm weak, and it fell to my side. "Is that really what you want?"
I headed back upstairs without breakfast, and upon reaching the top step my energy had diminished. I had to take a moment to recollect my breath. I leaned over, breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth while each individual vertebrae in my spine jutted through my T-shirt. Her fingers scaled up my back, stopping at every peak before collapsing into the deep valleys between bones.
"You know what time it is, don't you?" She led me to the bathroom.
Right at that moment, my body numbed. The lump in the back of my throat returned, and I felt tears dripping down my washed out cheeks. I collapsed onto the ground next to the toilet, resting my temples against the cold, off-white porcelain.
"I don't want to," I said to her.
"You have no choice," she chuckled at my fear.
I looked down at my bony hands. Could there be any comfort in these talons? I stared. I wanted them to protect me or lead me to a place away from here. Instead, my middle and index fingers found their way to the back of my throat.
Each time my stomach contracted my back spasmed, and every muscle tensed up. Pain radiated through every limb. Nothing but cries for help came out of my mouth as she screamed at me to try harder. Her voice echoed through my head like a vivid nightmare and eventually I heard nothing; my world went black.
I woke up in a puddle on the chipped, tiled floor of my bathroom. Using the support of the counter, I hauled myself to stand before the mirror and look. Dried tears were crusted into the crevices under my eyes and strands of hair were stuck to the drool in the corners of my mouth. With bloodshot eyes I considered my body, and I saw her. She was fat, amorphous, curveless, undesirable, and ruthlessly disappointed. Her eyes like the gaze of raptor said,
"Not good enough."
National Eating Disorder Awareness Week was February 26th through March 4th, but I don’t want this sensitive topic to be limited to seven days each year. The goal of NEDA just this past week was to spread the conversation and awareness while sharing stories that some often don’t hear. This is not a true story about me, but it could be for many other people around us while we are stuck in a state of oblivion.
Stop not talking about it, and start offering support to those who need it.