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MOTHERS & SISTERS.
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"Thinspiration! Realizing waif status through self-loathing" by S.R.
April 16, 2015
Home, smoking, with two friends. Friend #1 (female) leaves. Friend #2 (male) and I sit in silence until he slides over and hastily presses his lips into mine. Unexpected. Friend #2 has only ever been friend, has serious girlfriend. Friend #1 returns. Feeling apparently dissipates.
Vainly admiring features in mirror later, suddenly sickened by them. Waves of insecurity, humiliation, sweat, nausea.
A human (non-demon) person once told me I wasn’t thin enough to be depressed. I believed her; I believe her now.
“You don’t seem like the kind of person who could find anything boring.” His knuckles brush my knee. It’s a small office, granted, but I flinch away.
Bad vibes at this party. I prickle at every gendered comment, every unwanted touch and mention of my sexuality in conversation. There are a lot, apparently.
It’s just a bad high.
Something about prescription drugs. I’ve had one drink. I’ve eaten 350 calories today. It’s probably withdrawals from the antidepressant I no longer take because it interacts with Vyvanse and Adderall and self-control doesn’t always suffice.
“Really feeling being alone this semester,” I explain in a response to an already intrusive question. “That’s a shame,” into my ear, “I was so looking forward to my turn.” His tongue grazes my cartilage, hand grabs at my waist.
Teeth grind hard. “You shouldn’t treat women like that,” I say, annoyed with myself for trying. Knowing I’ll come off as pretentious. As a bitch, a tease, an attention whore. Out of nowhere, a miniature Asian schoolgirl type pops to his side. “I’m not really a feminist,” she chirps. Jesus. Cheeks flare with rage, flip him off (her too?) and turn. Bolt with Irish exit in mind, choking down what has been officially deemed “stress nausea” but which I secretly think is some ugly vestige of another eating disorder.
It’s a societal thing; it’s not his fault. Jay-Z or Ray Rice or Bill Cosby or whoever the fuck made this okay. It is okay. I was wearing heels. I was wearing leather pants. Whatever.
I wake up not better. That’s what people tell you, it’ll be better in the morning. I’ve found it’s the real catalyst to go from sadness to depression.
Roll tongue against molars and draw stomach in hard, craving that nebulous size that will finally fix this, fix me.
His face is so near mine, hands slide through the gap between my skin and jacket. I am paralyzed. All I can think is I do not want this. All I can think is STOP.
The sex is fine. The sooner he cums the sooner I can go anyway, so I respond to that effect. Arch my back and pull him in. I want to shove him off of me I want to recoil I want to be alone but this is not rape, so.
Later, when he wakes up horny at four in the morning to rail me against the wall, when the rough brick tears at my back and he bites too hard, I will regret this.
Sharp toenails curl into my skin as he climaxes, collapses. His lips on my forehead, I roll over and hope the cold shoulder precludes further advances.
6 a.m. Not alone. Am I fucking crying? That seems unnecessary. Slide over him and dart out. Walk home to a slow chorus of catcalls and honks. Elderly man offers me a ride home because I’m “too pretty to look so sad.” I consider it, stupidly, until he gestures to his lap.
This is a kind of vignette experience with my particular breed of anorexia. I don’t mean to glamorize it. Anorexia will not get you all of the male attention I am fortunate enough to receive (and please, rethink fortunate). The New Yorker tells me it’s “the impossible subject” because its literary genre, the “survival memoir,” makes it attractive. The doctor in the article urges me not to write about it, not to encourage others with “how-to” manuals. But I’m not pretending to be recovered; this is not a survival memoir, this is it for me. I’m addicted to this delusional starvation high. I also like prescription drugs. Obviously, I’m no role model.
Point being, this is not the graceful suffering of some ethereal skeleton goddess, and it never is. Anorexia is not glamor, it’s not even interesting, and it should never be confused with a weight loss scheme. It is not discipline, it is not beauty. It is illness; it is obsession and tedium. It is counting calories, skipping all events with food, avoiding friends with appetites. It is being so insecure that you tell your best friend in college about your eating disorder and because you’re not thin enough, you don’t think she believes you. It is ignoring recommendations for intensive residential treatment programs because you think the other patients will be thinner (better). It is finally telling the girls you live with about your problem and then avoiding them for days because you’re afraid of being a burden. It is not attaching your name to something you’re proud of because you’re embarrassed about the subject.
So, if you’re here for a “how-to.” Here’s how (you fucker). Hate yourself, but not just the surface. Hate everything about yourself with such deep and confused conviction that it literally makes you sick. Vomit after every meal you consider too much, after every situation where you feel uncomfortable, like you’re occupying too much space. Stop eating because you don’t deserve it. Because you’re not thin enough to be depressed. Have people tell you not to write about it, because it’s such a desirable disease. Because you’re so lucky.