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High School Me

Pain

Dear High School Me,

I still remember the day we met: I was 13 and I saw you standing behind me as I stared at myself in the mirror. You pointed out the fat in my stomach and the jiggle in my thighs with a frown. As I began to cry, you put your arm around me and whispered that it would all be OK if I followed your commands. Before long you had trained me well and weight began to fall off. I perfected the art of fooling my friends and family, mastering the phrases "I already ate," or "no thanks, I'm not hungry." The compliments of others and my new ability to fit into size zero jeans were only a bonus to the satisfaction that came with feeling as if I had total control. Sure, my stomach growled constantly and I didn't sleep anymore due to the constant pains, but I finally felt like I was doing something well.

Then you started getting jealous and controlling. You wouldn't let me hang out with my friends because you were afraid they would learn our secrets. Every time I tried to eat you would knock the food out of my pale hands. You made me say cruel things to my parents any time they got close to catching on. Before long, you were the only one I could turn to. When I got lonely, you invited Bulimia over and she taught me how to have my cake and eat it too (as long as I threw it up afterwards). Together, you completely isolated me within your world of lies, rules and paranoia. My hair started to fall out, I barely had the energy to get out of bed, and my skin was nearly see-through, but you told me the bones protruding from my skin were beautiful, and that kept me going. Despite being too weak to walk up the stairs without seeing spots, I had never felt more strong.

Our friendship lasted for five years and we may still be together if it weren't for the grace of my boyfriend and his family. With their help they guided me away from your deception and showed me that life without you is possible, and so much sweeter (not just because I can eat brownies without feeling guilty again). I'm not going to pretend that I don't think about you sometimes, because I do all the time after I eat, when I feel hungry, when I'm laying in bed with stomach pain because you will always be in my life. There are days I wonder if I made the right decision kicking you out and changing the locks. After all, you were my sole confidant for so long, the only one I could turn to when the weight of life was too much to carry. But my boyfriend's love and the support from him has helped me more than you ever did, and that is why, Anorexia, I'm writing to you—to tell you that you don't own me anymore. Yes I do miss you, I miss being able to fit into a size 00-0, a size XS-S, not having to worry if someone is going to make fun of me or laugh at me for being fat or not fitting, I miss being on Xanax, adderall, norcos, all different kinds of pills and being stoned till I passed out so I didn't wanna eat every day... I lay in bed in the middle of the night going over all the calories I ate that day contemplating on why I ever let you go. I contemplate giving up all the drugs and I get to the point where I miss being 14-17 and walking into the hospital at 86 pounds being hooked to an IV, a feeding tube and wondering what nurse I'm going to get that month. I had become well known at Sierra Vista.

I had gotten to the point where my bones were as fragile as dust, hair thin as air, taut skin, stretched like overused silly putty, white as a ghost. I had started asking myself several questions: Is this what you want? Is this what you so desperately tried to succumb to? Is this what you asked for?

I didn't know what to think, I didn't know where to go or who to listen to so I followed you...