Four years. Four years of inpatients and outpatients, the first admission and the slippery sliding of a wheelchair down the narrow corridors of hell. Four years of mayhem, of watered down soup bowls replaced with piled plates, trembling cutlery and spoonfuls of trepidation, tears blending with fatty tides of milk, spicy havoc, oil greasing my mind and the slippery ground I paced upon, torrential tantrums and whitewashed walls painted with bloody tomato sauce. The meticulous meal plans and mantra of eat, rest, repeat, the manipulative mayhem, crumb stuffed bras, defiance, and devious deceit in the chocolate squares up sneaking sleeves.
Four years dominated by petty numbers, scrutinizing tea bag boxes and the back of toothpaste tubes, three times on the scales and three times off, constantly calculating calorie after calorie after insignificant calorie, living by different equations and the same old ridiculed routine, just checking, double checking, figuring figures, rationing macronutrients, quantifying each mouthful and ripping the crust from a slice of bread that was three grams overweight in my angst of becoming that too. The sin of sitting, one hundred star jumps and fifty seven more to be sure, running through the streets like a maniac into the dead of the autumn nights, falling through fall, snowdrifts of confusion throughout winter, and alopecia like dead leaves dropping in spring.
Constantly working out, working out the footsteps traipsed and quantifying every movement, dizzying sit ups, ticking timers, and endless exercise regimes… The looking glasses and distorted perceptions, a dependency on an airy nothingness, standing at each and every possible angle to get a glimpse of a hollow void of daylight between my thighs. All this time with the same sounds — a keyboard ribcage with no tune, creaking floorboards at 6am, crunching of dry crackers and the clicking of brittle bones, the beep beep beep of hospital wards and the groan of the blood pressure cuff, the drumming beat in between the breathlessness, jingling pockets full of fake weight, and the tap tap tapping of the walking calculator I had become.
Four years caught between who I was and who I wanted to be, dismantling my body and erasing it into a blank canvas of sickly paper skin, tinged with the yellow of liver failure, splattered with purple bruises, etchings of red, stained blue on the toes, tips, and lips, smudged shades of grey balancing lifeless eyes. With a two word diagnosis came hunger, craving, and shrinking, goosebumps like scattered stepping stones on the pathway to hypothermia. Less than ten syllables worth of time wasted on shivering muscles and aching bottoms, chipped tea cups, ink stained ramblings, fragmented wings and fluttering heartbeats. “No thank you” to Haribos rolling off my tongue as swiftly as half the christmas dinner slipped from my plate that first year… bony cages, ribbed lies, and fainting on the bathroom floor, walking on clouds, MyFitnessPal, and loss of true friends.
And water water water, empty bottles, filled excuses, eating the egg, then treading on eggshells, chew, swallow, quiver, the taste of shame, frozen and ghostly mid-summer, never satisfied, “just a kilogram more to lose,” numbness in escaping a realm of emotions, little ants of energy swimming in the guilt gushing through my bloodstream, scuttling skeletons, and skin and bone to health and then back to skin and bone again, then tiptoeing somewhere in between and just dancing on the edge of what could be, taking tiny bites of life and then ruining the taste for myself, letting old habits and persistent notions in through the wounded cracks, and allowing them to spill over the surface of some beautiful memories.
A few years ago, I hit rock bottom — the foundation now slathered with the conundrums and fears of recovery that I would begin to rebuild my life onto. But somewhere along the line, I must have stopped clambering up and settled for the borderline in between. Because for years, I’ve merely been traipsing the alleyways of an unshifting mindset... Wandering a walkway of wretched routine every single day, beginning each morning with tiptoes to the mirror where I glare at this control freak that is so tangled in the strings of delusion and messy chaos, a girl whose fire died a little more every time she blew out the candles and refused a slice of cake, a stranger with a scatterbrain who I have lived with for far too long. For some reason, someplace, I settled once more for carrying the mountains I was supposed to be climbing.
But I refuse to stand stagnant whilst my life drifts by anymore. We live on a blue planet that circles around a ball of fire next to a moon that moves the sea — and if that, along with some of the incredible experiences I’ve had, isn’t proof of the extraordinary facets the world has to offer, then I don’t know what is. I built up a cage out of the barriers of my mind and I’m done with being trapped when the key out is right at my fingertips.
I once reached that size zero, that number, that body that I strived for so much. And it gave me exactly what it is. Nothing. You can’t kill the part of yourself that hates yourself without becoming it. I sacrificed every piece of the puzzle I am for a peace of mind I never achieved. I fed it all my elements and it indulged in them and starved me into nothing. That’s what me at size 0 was… Nothing. And now that I amount to something it’s time I made use of it. It’s time to stop merely floating by and just existing, and do one of the rarest things known to us humans as we count on the world to keep dishing out endless moments. It’s time to destroy what destroys me — and it’s time to live.
Written by Gabi Morris