Content warning: eating disorder, self-deprecation
I whip the medicine cabinet open angrily after scowling at my reflection, unable to bear her pudgy arms and face. Why is my chin always so fat? Why does my stomach protrude like that? And what I wouldn’t give to cut off that skin spilling out my armpit. I wish I could look like the other girls in my grade. It isn’t fair- their nonexistent bellies came naturally to them. While they eat pop tarts for lunch I munch on an apple, and still they look too good in a two-piece for me to stray from my tankini.
I avoid my mirror like the plague as I make my way to the closet, where I grab my go-to sweatshirt—a black number with the words “be kind” written in white—and a pair of loose-fitting jeans. I hold my arms and bask in the coziness of the material, drawing comfort from the way it hides my monstrous demeanor, strapping any fat securely inside my waistband.
I return to the mirror and am instantly frustrated. Lately, my sideburns have spread, giving me somewhat of a beard and making me look like a pubescent teenage boy trying to grow out his facial hair. When I go to inspect it I spot my fingers which, although spindly and spidery, have the knuckle hair of Tarzan. While I am used to my impossibly hairy arms and legs—both of which I shave regularly—this is a new discovery, one that I am not equipped to handle.
An anger fills my fists and I yearn to scream, to beat my body for the way it won’t look the way I want it to. Instead, I go downstairs and starve it, deriving a sort of pleasure from the way my tummy growls as I turn away breakfast. I smile with pride as I walk out the front door, convinced this will be what makes my stomach shrink the way it wasn’t meant to. I can practically feel the fat fall off me as I embark on my morning run, one of three for the day.