Author: Mackenzie Anderson PM
stream of consciousness, third person narrative. Anorexia. Don't read if it's triggering. Not glorifying it, just trying to make sense of it all. R/R if you want.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Drama - Words: 1,930 - Reviews: 4 - Published: 10-09-05 - id: 2024169
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Just some... Thoughts. Sorry it's so disjointedly written. This is the way my mind's been running. The third person narration is intentional; it's harder to write as an "I" point of view. Review if you want, but this is mostly therapeutic for me... If you're going through the same, you have my sympathy. I hope this has given you strength, to know that you are not alone. E-mail, im, review... I'm always willing to talk and/or listen. This could be triggering. I'm sorry for that. There are numbers, so if you've sworn to avoid number talk (if you've been in therapy, you'll probably understand that-just basically, hints at weight and calorie count), I suggest you stop reading.
She had never thought that silence could be so loud.
But she could hear it like it was any other noise. Gradually, other sounds drifted into her consciousness. The ticking of the clock, the soft whirring of the fan, the breeze drifting into the room and unsettling papers on her desk. But it was always laced with that awful silence, that drove it into her brain like a hammer with a nail.
She didn't sleep well anymore.
If she could force her body to go to sleep at a decent hour, she had nightmares all night. Six hours was her personal record as of late, and the rest of the time she survived on caffeine and sugar. It was amazing how much coffee could do if it was the only thing in a person's system. She heard people talking about how espresso and coffee in general wasn't very strong, and she always fought a wry smile. It didn't really matter how strong something was when it was all you had in your system. There was the assorted bagel, salad, small piece of chicken, soup, or something of the like. She wasn't stupid. She knew she couldn't survive on nothing at all.
But she was getting dangerously close-yes, she used the term dangerous to refer to it-to being able to. She could function, reasonably well, with little to no nutrition in her body. Take that, she thought bitterly, thinking of the doctor that had spurred the entire mess into motion in the first place.
We'll worry about that later; you haven't lost enough weight for us to worry about yet.
Those words would haunt her for the rest of her life.
Bitterly, so bitterly, she slipped out of bed, stared into the mirror. She undressed, her clothes falling away to the carpet of the floor and leaving her body bare. She inspected her flesh, running her hands along her limbs, harsh in some spots and gentle in others. She could feel a bone or two here, and a few there, and she fought tears. Am I thin enough now? she thought, feeling a sudden wave of anger sweep over her. She wanted to smash her fist into the mirror that she usually avoided, but such an action might be misconstrued.
That thought made her smile. She wasn't insane, wasn't trapped in a house suffering from postpartum depression, but she was trapped, in a way, in her own mind. So maybe it was fitting to think of that particular short story at this moment.
She rarely saw what people described to her when they referred to her body, but that night, she could almost see what they did. Illuminated by moonlight alone, she could see the bones that laced her flesh, the bruises that had propped up from god-knows-what. A slight touch was enough to make her flesh react into a brightly colored bruise. They were almost pretty, in a unique way. They reminded her that she was alive, when sometimes it was so easy to forget.
Thirty-six pounds in seven months.
It was frightening, something she found herself admiring in spite of herself. Such an impressive feat-or at least it would have been if she hadn't done it in the way that she had.
Stop it, she thought irritably. Stop listening to them. You're fine. You're not underweight.
Ignore the warnings, the words of concern, her body protesting, pretend it's all okay.
She was good at that.
After all, she'd had plenty of practice over the years.
Paste on a cardboard smile, present it to the world like something so casual, so sincere. Lie.
She was good at it. She could even fool herself, sometimes.
That thought brought her back to the present, and she stared. Her eyes were rimmed with black circles, her face pale, her eyes dull. Her flesh was dotted with bones, not too severe. In some people her weight would be a good thing. If she looked healthy.
Stop it! she thought fiercely.
Words drifted into her consciousness.
I think you're malnourished... Have you been eating? ... Is there a chance you're anorexic?
Skinny little arms...
You need to eat...
Like eating was so goddamned important! She was surviving just fucking fine without doing much of it.
Yes, the voice of reason said almost calmly, which is why you just had to give a blood sample for them to test for signs of malnourishment.
Deny it. Deny it until the death.
But what would that do?
She wanted to ask that therapist...
Am I thin enough to worry about it yet?
But so bitter, not very sincere. She both desperately wanted to stop feeling like this, and at the same time, keep practicing what she was starting to consider an art. It was something she got better at over the years. It was to the point where she couldn't even say truly that she had an eating disorder.
Anorexia meant that she purposely avoided food.
She didn't. It just never occurred to her to eat. It wasn't that important, in the midst of her busy life. She didn't have time.
Keep fooling yourself, you idiot.
She wasn't even underweight.
But she had lost thirty six pounds in seven months.
She had been overweight before.
Because of a medication, not because of how she ate.
She was at a healthy weight.
Yeah, but for how much longer? Losing five pounds a month meant she only had a few months to go before she wasn't considered healthy any more.
This had been going on since January, and it was now October. Almost a year, and she had barely noticed it as she lost five pounds a month. Not that extreme, in her eyes. She had only noticed it when her clothes started getting too loose. It was just irritating. Like those jeans she had just bought a month ago that had been tight, and now were rather loose.
Such an inconvenience.
The dizziness, getting out of breath easily, her racing heart, her appearance...
It was all such a pain.
People would start to think things about her.
And she couldn't have that.
Look, she was writing in short paragraphs. Too many short stories and plays; maybe it was time to read longer things with longer paragraphs and sentences that were well-developed. And complete for that matter. (: see reference)
She never thought she would live to see the age of nineteen.
The rate she was going, she wouldn't see it for much longer.
It scared her, but not enough to make her want to stop it forever. If everyone was that goddamned worried about her, they'd bring it up. And they didn't. So they weren't worried, because it wasn't that bad. Her leaps of logic always put things right in her mind.
Was she doing this for attention, then? No. She didn't want to be noticed, and that was the point. She wanted to continue to obsess over her private fascination with courting death in ... private. What good would it do if people noticed and fussed over her? Then she'd have to - god forbid - stop. And that just wouldn't do. It would ruin her progress. Thirty six pounds was a record for her. The last time, she'd only lost twenty two. Of course, she'd weighed less when she'd started that time. That was rather discouraging.
The worry was interesting to her. She was always fascinated with morbid things. Like the time she'd been told that she always had to push, just to see how far she could go before she had to stop. That she had an insatiable curiosity to constantly test her limits. And that had interested her, before she'd promptly forgotten about it.
She wasn't anorexic.
That was what this was about-she was forever getting off topic.
She still ate things, for god's sake. Pizza. Chocolate. What kind of anorexic ate pizza? See, she was fine.
Another leap of logic.
The nagging voice tried to speak. Yeah, pizza. If that's all you're eating once a day. But she ate more than that.
Which is why she hadn't wanted to answer the doctor's question on what she'd eaten the day before.
She should have. There was nothing to be ashamed of. She'd had a bagel and half a piece of bacon. A Twix bar. A frozen little pizza. Fruit snacks. That was at least a thousand calories...
Wait. She hadn't thought in terms of calories in a long time. But she'd see. Bagel-150. Cream cheese-200. Bacon-150. Twix-200. Pizza-300. Fruit snacks-60. All together... About 1000. Which was plenty. In this day and age, who the hell actually ate even that much? It seemed like so much to her, and she was angry at herself.
And that day, what had she had... Two frozen waffles and syrup. Espresso with cream. Another little fucking pizza. Chocolate. Sounded like a normal person's meals to her.
Which is why you're being checked for signs of malnutrition.
Which are going to come back negative...everything will be perfect, fine, in order. Just a slight iron deficiency, which has always been there. Too much stress and anxiety. That was all.
And then she could tell them they were wrong, and not to worry.
She'd just hide the dizziness.
It was harder, at work. They knew her well, and for her to be so inactive was worrisome. And the manager that knew why she'd gone to the doctor was ignorant.
"You need to finish eating that"
Sigh. "Did -- tell you why I went to the doctor yesterday?"
"Did she tell you that I'm malnourished?"
"Did she tell you that I'm anorexic?"
Pause. "You can't be anorexic. You eat."
And people wondered why she was so damned confused.
She couldn't even figure out if she was anorexic or not. And if she wasn't...then she didn't need to do anything, didn't need to change anything.
She just didn't want to change.
(( : Reference to Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper." I've been reading too many short stories for my Literary Analysis class. The story's about a woman in the 19th century going through postpartum depression, and she ends up going insane... You can do a search and find it online if you're interested.))