I always said you did not transfer any of your fixation on weight on to me. It was so normal in our household that I disregarded it as much as I could, but these things have a way of coming up when you least expect them.
You look better with more weight on, you look sickly.
Comparing sizes; I’m bigger/smaller, I’m so fat.
I hate how I looked at your weight.
You’ve been gaining a lot of weight.
Angry because the clothes were too small or too big.
Don’t eat so much.
I would cover myself up in 90° F weather because I thought I was too big. Jeans, a t-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt or sweater. I would grow my hair long and keep it down as if it would hide me. I had “fat jeans.” I was hardly even a teenager.
And today I look in the mirror and I repeat the things you said to yourself.
I would feel better if I could finally be skinny.
Two down on the scale, and I’m getting closer.
Don’t. eat. so. much.
The best praise is when other people notice I’m smaller.
I sat in the bathroom in elementary school, feeling sick. I didn’t know why.
When I was older, I had a favourite bathroom for throwing up in. I knew the smell of the water in the toilet, and I was comfortable watching for cockroaches coming out from the walls and shooing them. We called it food poisoning. It was a “me” thing, something about a weak stomach that no one else had.
It scared the shit out of me, not knowing what was going on. I would sit up through the night, wondering what was wrong with me and why I was alone.
Worse yet, the nights where I would wake my mother. It felt safe just to sit in the hall and hear rhythmic breathing. If I woke her, she would be angry sitting with and eventually she would give up and go to bed, something I could not do.
So I started to sit alone again. I counted my ribs each night for the fear that not eating would wither me away.
I sympathized with her fatigue, her desire to sleep instead of being with this.
I asked for a doctor. I sat on the couch with my heart palpitating in my ears, my body shaking and the tiny hope that this could be over.
She said no. That was when I started sleeping on the bathroom floor.
I just didn’t feel safe going home after school. I didn’t feel safe growing up. You can’t treat a kid for a problem other people pretend not to see.
I have nightmares when I sleep, more than ever before. I dream about being in physical danger, rage, violation, and about trying to pack my things and leave but never getting out the door.
fragments of phrases; “this doesn’t feel like home,” or inarticulate screaming that never says enough.
When I wake up, I wonder how I could leave them behind but they could still have such a hold on me. Physical departure is not mental departure, but one day I will wake up, having made it out that door.