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Health and Wellness


An original excerpt from Panopticon.

File:Flower reflection

You wake up every morning to the sound of a metal fan and your own blood in your ears. You walk to the closet, choose an outfit, and lay it on your twin mattress. You do not look toward the mirror. Make sure to allow no wrinkles to form on the bed as you grab a bathrobe, and towel, and shower caddy, and walk penguin like to the communal bathrooms. You do not look toward the mirror.

In the shower you turn the water to the highest temperature, letting the steam rise up as the water beats down on your bare body, reddening your already pink complexion. Maybe, you think, maybe if it’s hot enough, it will make you thin.

You do not look toward the communal triptych mirror as you trudge back to your mattress. While you were in the shower, your shirt has wrinkled.

You manage to blend like camouflage into the world around you. No one ever questions your presence, though no one acknowledges it, either. You could be a waitress, or a mechanic. You could be a bus driver, or a tattoo artist. You could be the gum on the bottom of a sneaker, and no one would question your motives.

You cannot fall asleep at night. You are haunted by the outline of a man you’ve had no intimate relationship with. Fit build and narrow features; dress pants, starched shirt, blonde hair. You seem to run into his type everywhere.

In a café, you stare out a huge bay window, into the street. Your red lipstick lingers on the edge of your mug. You think back to when you first bought him coffee; he told you lipstick was tacky. This is the first time you’ve worn lipstick since.

You cannot fall asleep knowing that his Yankee blue sheets are thread counted at 800, and his alarm is set for five o’clock in the morning.

While you stand in front of the 10-inch mirror, you consider covering it for good, with the sheet you don’t sleep with. Your roommate gets dressed in it, though, so you leave it.

In a way, you need the mirror. To validate your awkwardness and your mismatched outfits. You need it to put on makeup in an off chance you feel sexy. You need it to haunt your silhouette, like mockery.

It bothers you that you can’t shop in most stores; you can’t go to theme parks. You can’t ride a metro because your body is too large to fit through the gate rail. You can’t fit the safety bar of the rollercoasters past your stomach. When you ride in other people’s cars, you no longer bother with the seatbelt. If it’s older than 05’, it won’t fit across your landscape.

You are not attractive enough for men to ogle at. While other women are fighting to stop catcalls, you walk alone down an alleyway knowing you will not be stopped. You will not get robbed. You almost wish you would.

You don’t use vending machines anymore, not even the healthy food vending machines. You are too traumatized, too self-conscious, and too afraid.

The machines you would buy from are in a room where people sit and complete homework, or gossip loudly, or wait for class to start. They stare at you the entire time you are fighting with the crumpled dollar bill and exact change. You feel their eyes on your back, you feel them staring at your fat rolls, and your ass.

“Out of all people, she doesn’t need to be buying from a vending machine.”

“Jesus! Go buy a salad with that money.”

“Really? This isn’t a fast-food restaurant, what do you think you’re going to buy in that machine?”

“Will she buy the chocolate bar, or the pop tart?”

You have only purchased water.

Note how your body moves; it is slightly slower than the year before. You have deep, indented frown lines near your mouth. Your eyes follow slowly in different directions instead of quick successions. Your hands are shaky.

It isn’t even that you’re sad, you can handle sad. It’s the fact that you are exhausted. You live inside your head all day, analyzing and thinking, and thinking, and thinking, that by the time you get to do anything else, you are too exhausted.

You take more showers than before, maybe two, three per day. You stand there under the water and pretend it’s holy. You still pretend, even years later, that it could change you. This could be your confession. This could be you redemption. You stop making your bed, so now everything you own, is wrinkled.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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