Wednesday, July 28, 2004

A Story

In eighth grade I stopped eating.  I can't really remember what started it.  I came back from a summer long mission trip to Pakistan, and I was skinny as a rail.  I got lots of "Oh my gosh you are so skinny!"  Usually not in a flattering way, but more out of shock.  Still I must've liked being noticed.  I've always liked being noticed.  That must be what started it.  For nine months (a school year) I barely ate.  I might have had a chocolate chip cookie here and there  or  a few spoonfuls of corn at dinner to appease my mother, but that was pretty much it.  For the most part, I dodged dinner time with my family, insisting I wasn't hungry, and dodged cafeteria lunch insisting I had no money.  A friend might offer me her french fries, and I'd eat a couple.  And that was my meal for the day.

Inside I knew I wasn't fat, and even deeper inside I knew what I was doing.  Deep down I knew I was trying to become anorexic.  In the quietest deepest part of my soul I knew this.  I knew that I would get noticed eventually, and someone would pay attention to me-- preferably my mom or dad.  I never would've admitted any of this to myself for that would've shed light on my supreme selfishness. But in my heart I knew that if I had a serious eating disorder, someone would have to care for me and pay attention to me.  Someone would feel sorry for me actually.   Not that my parents didn't care about me, or pay attention to me.  But I had a bad case of middle-child syndrome and felt my parents never took me seriously.  I was desperate for affection, and I wanted them to see how lost and alone I was.  I wrote lots of poetry that year about death, suicide, murder, abortion-- all things dark and bloody.  I stashed these artifacts in my pajama drawer, hoping I'd die and my broken heart would be discovered.  Hoping I'd make everyone pay for what they'd done to my heart.  Death seemed to me a just vengeance.

Nearing the end of the school year, one of my friends commented that I never ate.  Another piped in that they noticed that, too.  I just shrugged and said, "I'm just not usually hungry."  They glanced at each other, obviously not buying it.  They offered me their lunches.  I insisted I didn't want it.  They insisted on taking me to the office.  On the way to the office, one of the school counselors saw me and commented, "My, Lori, you have lost a lot of weight!"  I loved the way that sounded.

In the office, my friends told the receptionist that I wasn't eating, and that I hadn't been eating for a long time.  I don't remember anything about being in the office, and this might be because my friends told me afterward that I had fainted.  Since I can't remember fainting, I can't remember if this is true.  But this is what I was told,  so perhaps I did.  I was sent to the counselor's office after being checked over by the school nurse.   I remember having to show her my body-- my skinny, ribby body that I thought looked so cool and so attractive.  I loved that I didn't even have to suck in to see my ribs poking out.  I didn't so much like being told that wasn't right.

The counselor took me into her office alone and talked to me.  She asked me how long this had been going on, and if I felt fat and other such questions.  It was in that room that I faced the reality of what I had been doing to myself.  It felt a lot stupider then.  I realized that I had succeeded in hurting myself and it was more serious than I had realized.  In that office, I was forced to admit to myself that I had been doing it on purpose, and I was embarrassed.  The counselor called my mom and had me picked up from school.

In the car, I desperately wanted to talk to my mom about it.  I wanted to blurt out all the feelings I had, I wanted to explain why I'd done this, I wanted to cry and have her hug me and tell me it was going to be alright.  But my mom didn't talk about it.  She told me it was nothing to be upset about, and that I was fine.  She didn't take it seriously.  She didn't take me seriously.  We never talked about it again.


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