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The Art of Hating Yourself (Trigger Warning: Eating Disorder)

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The Art of Hating Yourself (Trigger Warning: Eating Disorder)

Post by Brianna on Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:57 am

AN: This is one of two stories I'm considering submitting to my school literary magazine. The second one is "The Art of Grieving" (Am I creative with my titles? Not at all.)



Hating yourself isn’t easy. Actually, Anastasia has recently decided it’s a full time job that’s more grueling than any job out there. The constant nagging voice in your head, the one that tells you that you’re never good enough. It’s there, always pointing out your imperfections. Anastasia’s little nagging voice in particular likes to comment on her body. It likes to point out how her legs jiggle when she walks, how the fat just hangs off of her arms. She is reminded every-time she walks by a mirror that she should be sucking her stomach in or clenching her butt to make it look smaller. At night she stares into the full length mirror and the voice divides her body parts up like a butcher. It tells her where exactly she needs to tone muscle and where she needs to shed fat. Every-time she tries on an outfit that voice is there, ready to critique and judge, but never to praise.

“Those jeans are too tight, you need a bigger size.nLook at how that muffin top sticks out over that skirt. You should really lose some weight. Think about how much better you’ll feel, how much prettier you’ll be.”

It’s never ending, the inner criticizing, and Anastasia is just about ready to do anything to make it shut the hell up. She knows she isn’t fat, not really. But she isn’t thin either. She has to admit that she does, at least occasionally, have a muffin top. That at certain angles she does in fact have baby cheeks or a double chin. Perhaps if she did lose a little weight she’d look better, but not only that, she might feel better. More energized and more at peace with herself. And with that peace with herself Anastasia might finally find some peace in her mind.

“That shirt makes you look pregnant. Your ass is huge in that dress, you could use it as a shelf. Do you see your chubby cheeks? What are you, five? Look at that double chin it looks like a turkey giblet. Do you see the way it moves when you try to talk?”

She started off slowly. She picked healthier options. An apple instead of chips. Skinless chicken instead of fried. She snacked less between meals and began to take daily walks. Slowly she began to see progress. Her legs were getting more toned and she did begin to feel better. She knew she was beginning to lose weight because her pants got looser, her shirts began to hang instead of hug. And that voice? For the first time since it made an appearance she began to hear praise from it.

“Look at how much better this dress looks on you. You’re no longer popping out of the seams. Of course, you could still stand to flatten that stomach. Maybe with extra crunches. Those jeans might be looser, but the next size down would still be too small.”

Anastasia didn’t care that the praise was always followed by more criticism. Instead she was resolved to try harder, to slowly edge out the nagging and have it be replaced solely by praise. Her walks got longer. She quit snacking between meals and cut out breakfast altogether. She purchased a notebook that she began to use to count calories. Every single bite that she took was recorded. She would write down every single thing that the voice told her to work on, resolving to work harder the next day. She bought a scale and weighed herself every morning at eight-thirty and every evening at nine. Slowly she began to run every other day, increasing the distance little by little. The numbers on the scale dropped. People began to notice and they’d tell her how good she was beginning to look. Those compliments made her feel high. They made her feel as weightless as she wanted to be.

“Yes, you’re legs are getting more toned, but they still jiggle when you walk. And look at how much your thighs touch, it’s as if they’re fighting to be in the same space.”

Yet, the voice still wasn’t satisfied. For every pound she lost it wanted her to lose two more. Skipping breakfast changed to skipping both breakfast and lunch. She began to make excuses to avoid dinner, and would fill up on water instead. Sometimes she’d just get so hungry, and she would almost slip up. Her mom would bake fresh cookies and she’d almost take a bite. Dinner would be pot roast, which was her favorite, and she’d almost eat a second helping, which would turn into a third, which would turn into a fourth.

The first time she binged, she wanted to die. She felt as if the world was ending. “Fat pig, fat pig, fat pig, fat pig,” the voice said on repeat. She laid in bed and cried, her chest aching with each sob. She didn’t get any sleep that night, choosing to stay up all night instead to do crunches and squats, trying to burn off all the calories she could possibly burn.

The second time, she was more prepared. She had bought laxatives after the first binge. What she wasn’t prepared for though, was the cramps that would come with taking the laxatives. They were gut-wrenching and made it feel like her stomach was trying to claw it’s way out of her body. She felt nauseous and unable to move from her bathroom all night. The next morning she feigned being sick to skip school, and instead stayed at home and exercised. Even after taking the laxatives the night before she felt as if the calories were still there, still trying to make all her hard work and progress fly out the window.

It wasn’t until the third time that she binged that she remembered how a few years the talk at school was centered around how some girl who had been a year above her had been caught making herself throw up in the school bathroom. It was said that a teacher had walked in and saw her, down on her knees with two fingers shoved down her throat. When Anastasia bent over her toilet that night and stuck a finger down her throat she almost pulled her finger out when she began to gag. Yet it was that voice, the one that is never quiet, that made her keep her finger that. It was that voice that made her ignore the tears that began to fall down her cheeks as her eyes watered. And it was that voice that made her continue heaving and gagging long after all the food that she had stupidly ate came up. When she finally did go to bed, she was exhausted-emotionally and physically. She fell into a dreamless sleep, and when she did wake up, the relief she felt at knowing that she managed to purge her body of all those calories that she had shoved down her throat made the sore throat and the bruised knuckles worth it. When she got up that morning to run, she felt lighter and more free than she had in a long while. To think-here was a way to eat and keep people off her ass without having to worry about gaining weight.

The distance that Anastasia would run got longer as the months went on. The numbers on the scale dropped from the 130’s to the 120’s and then into the 110’s. Her dress size got smaller-dropping from double digits to single digits falling closer to the magical 00. Yet the voice continued to criticize. Thoughts about food slowly consumed her every waking thought. Anastasia began to avoid mirrors, looking straight ahead when she would walk by them. When she did have to look into one, all she could do was point out what areas of her body needed work. She began to hate those nights over the toilet that she once found relief in. She avoided making eye contact with her parents, not wanting to see the fear and worry in their eyes.

Yes, hating yourself is a full-time job. One, Anastasia had decided, could kill you. Yet, before it did it was a job that could tear you to shreds. Anastasia no longer felt free when she purged. She didn’t feel free when she would look into the bowl and see blood. She didn’t feel free when she would have to stop walking because she was sure that if she continued to move , that she would pass out. Going without meals no longer made her feel light and empty and exercising no longer made her feel as if she could do anything. Anastasia felt tired all the time. She was no longer hungry, the hunger had, instead, been replaced with a dull ache in the pit of her stomach. Watching the numbers of the scale drop simply fed into her will to become perfect, to become light enough to fly. She wanted to waste away to nothing, she wanted to become invisible. When she walked, she wanted to be able to walk on water. The voice was no longer something she wanted to silence. Instead it simply fed into her determination to become the best, to become the smallest and the prettiest. Hating yourself is a full-time job, and Anastasia is a workaholic and fully committed to her job.

_________________

-Brianna

Write hard and clear about what hurts--Earnest Hemingway
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Brianna
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