She’s creeping in

There.

Just there.

A little more to the left. Shift slightly upwards.

There.

Did you see that?

I can count every rib.

Wait. No, there’s some missing. There’s too many missing.

There. Just. there. A little to the right, a little to the left. The light is in the wrong place now, and I’ve lost them. They no longer exist. If I can’t find them, even if it’s because the light is wrong, then it’s because they don’t exist.

Lately, my ribs have reappeared. I’m surprised, and relieved, and also excited. It fills me with warmth to see some bones again. Looking down at my wrists, I can see that they’re approaching thinness again, but then I look upwards at my arms and they don’t have quite the concave shape I’m after, and neither does my stomach. There’s no space between my thighs, but at least we’ve dropped a size. Step onto the scales, and then off again – because they’re lying – and then back on and back off before I realise it’s not me that’s broken, it’s the scales, so it’s off to buy a better set, a more advanced set, the kind that determines your fat percentage for you. That obsessive tic has returned, the sideways glance in every reflective surface (I’ve gained weight today), the wrap around the wrist to double check it’s the same width, and if not, then that’s the kind of motivation I need to do better. I take out the clothes I’ve kept specifically for this purpose, to measure my progress back towards my goal, and they still don’t fit the way I like. Deep breath, it’s okay, that just means only coffee today. I slump to the floor in a sudden spell of dizziness and glance at the dark circles in the mirror. I shake when I sleep because my body wants me to eat.

I ignore it.

I only indulge in food twice a day if I can resist the temptation, and if it comes to a third, then it will be once the following day. Nothing processed here, only wholefoods, and if it comes from a packet, then only ingredients I know and can pronounce.

And slowly, she gets louder. Good. Look at us go! Look at our progress! You’re doing so well!

And lately, when I make an inevitable mistake – too much cheese, too much yoghurt, one too many bites, there she is again. Stupid fat fucking bitch worthless useless bitch just go kill yourself you deserve it you don’t deserve life you deserve to be punished fat stupid worthless bitch do it just do it just do it useless ugly disgusting piece of shit. 

And I listen. Because I’m a good girl, and I listen to authority, and in these moments, Ana is my authority.

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Eggs For Breakfast

My eating disorder, who I named Ana, (even once my diagnosis became bulimia) took a lot of things from me. She took my memories, she stole precious experiences, friendship, smiles and joy. She took energy, warmth, strength, focus, self-worth, concentration and control – the irony of that last one is not lost on me. She took my health, my womanhood, my childhood. She took most of the pleasure out of my life.

She took away a long list of bad foods.

She took away eggs.

She took away breakfast.

She took away lazy Sundays with tea and toast and a book and a blanket. My mornings were replaced with strenuous exercise and meticulous calculation of calories in and out for the day ahead.

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This morning, I had eggs for breakfast. I was met with a torrent of guilt, a wave of uncomfortable emotions, and the familiar berating voice of my best friend and worst enemy as I took each bite. But I didn’t listen. I didn’t let Ana control me. I ate my eggs, I read my book, and I wrapped myself in a blanket on the first cold day of the year (winter is my favourite season) before migrating to my desk to study. There was no compensation. That’s what I would call progress.