They're not really sure when it all started. What day it was when their brain decided that their body wasn't their own anymore. That it couldn't be their own. Because how could they possibly look like that. Soft curves and pillowy thighs. It was the small things, at first. A pair of their old pants couldn't fit them anymore, their shirts getting tighter around the arms. Everything clung to their body like saran wrap, a reminder of how disgusting they were- are. It was jarring, because their parents would always call them skinny bone when they were a kid. They always felt pride in being the smallest, and when that started to change, they felt as if something had been taken away from them. Their identity was lost. Now, they just get reminded that they should lose weight, and that they eat too much. That they're too big, need to slim down. Even so, it wasn't until after several years of being uncomfortable with themselves but not doing anything about it, that everything began to spiral.
They tried to clean themselves from the inside, two summers ago. In a glass room with bottles of water to chase down their breakfast. It didn't work. They felt sick, and miserable. They brushed their teeth after, and cried because god, they can't get anything right, can they? Not even this. So they stopped with that. Broke the habit before it could start. They curled up on the couch under a blanket, and felt empty, wishing it would translate to reality as well. But reality was that they were heavy, taking up space that belongs to other, better things. They went to work after, and made an excuse as to why they couldn't eat their lunch, not wanting to admit that their sickness was self induced. A few weeks later, they played ukulele on their birthday and recorded it, in that very room. When they rewatched the video, they felt distraught. How is that them? How did they get to that point? Arms squeezing out of their shirts, jeans making a muffin top out of their tummy.
It was January. Months of exercising every night with no results lead them to this. Their mom stopped making them breakfast and lunch, too busy getting ready for work. They were in grade 10 at this point, anyway. 16 years old, they could be trusted to make their own lunches. So they went to Tim Hortons, bought a sprite, and had that for breakfast and lunch. They felt like utter shit, but it was euphoric. They realized, they didn't need food. They were overweight anyway, so a little bit of weight loss wouldn't hurt.
That became a habit. No food at school except for the lone slice of buttered bread from their friend's sub. Dinner consisted of small portions, half-eaten and fed to the garbage can. There was always some semblance of guilt, but at that point, they couldn't really stop.
Then came quarantine. With no one home during the day except their careless brother, they didn't need to eat. So they didn't. They drank tea and did workouts and passed out from the exertion. Dark circles made a home under their eyes, and their body hurt from mistreatment. But it was working. The numbers on the scale were showing progress, and that's all that really mattered. Every ten pounds lost felt like an achievement, no matter how sick. Their clothes hung from their frame and their jeans were even looser than before. Their belts were too big and they could wear children's sizes again.
Until one day, the feeling of food in their stomach bothered them too much to handle. They tried purging again. This time it worked.
Now that's a habit too, much more so than the other. They love feeling hungry but god, they missed food so much. They eat and eat and eat, stuffing themselves like a turkey. Then, they go talk into the big white telephone for while, telling all of their dirtiest secrets. The bathroom fan is on and their eyes are burning and their throat hurts. Their parents are behind the door in the living room, watching TV, laughing. This is beauty, they thought grimly.
Currently, they feel empty. They can only think about their next meal, their next binge, their next purge. They want this to kill them.
They were depressed before, but not like this.
Their parents have started to notice just how much weight they lost, occasionally asking for their current weight. They always lie to make it seem less drastic, but secretly, they're proud of themselves whenever they have to say how much they lost. They're halfway to their goal now, halfway to perfection.
Perfection is dizzy spells and bloody knuckles. Perfection is cold fingers and hazy vision. Perfection is nausea, with or without food. Perfection is open wounds that never heal. Perfection is shaky hands and pale skin. Perfection is bruising and chest pains. Perfection is food undigested, hours later. Perfection is worried glances from loved ones. Perfection is losing yourself in the beauty of it all.
Perfection is overrated.
But their not sure how not to crave it anymore. It's been too long. Too much damage has been done. Might as well go all the way then, right?
Then they'll get help, promise.
Then I'll get help.