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A Letter to Anorexia

Dear Anorexia,

Once upon a time I would be writing this letter to a friend. Comfort me. Tell me it will be okay. Whisper more crooning words into my ear that I can still succeed, I can still be a success if only I resist the temptation of the things my body most needs.

Honestly, I am terrified. I am terrified of life without you. What happens if I’m rubbish and in getting rid of you I get rid of the best bits of myself. You’ve convinced me I was worthless before you and I can’t help but sometimes look back at myself as flawed in previously having the freedom to view the world through a lens that didn’t involve addition and subtraction every hour. Knowing I have you, you convince me I’m special; stronger, better, wiser than everyone else who dares to live life alone. And now, even now when your kindness turns to cruelty, it’s still so hard to want to rid myself from.

I am a safety pin simultaneously repelled and attracted between your two magnets, trapped incapable of moving midway. An unwitting pawn in your chess game, an unmarked face at the end of your fist, this friendship is not one I feel in control of anymore. You need me, you say, and just like that my ability to see myself as anything of any worth as a healthy person goes out the window.

You said you’d comfort me. Make me feel powerful. All I do is feel broken. How many meals have been avoided in the hope that you would comfort me? I’ve spent too much precious time watching, wondering, nervously waiting for you to tell me it will be okay.

So this letter is to my enemy. I am tired. I am tired of being tired; tired of being trapped like a puppet dangling and manipulated by the string of your tyranny, of being incapable of viewing myself as anything other than a ball for you to cradle in the palm of your hand. Parasitically one by one you have distorted the axis of my universe, displacing the moon and the stars and the sun with illusions of light that actually have just turned out to be shadows and darkness. I stand no longer capable of recognition, my vision shrouded by your fog reducing every summer’s day to a grey, hazy sky.

How did you get so powerful? How have you managed to convince me that blue is actually red, that food, a source of nutrients and nourishment and nurturing, is something my body does not deserve like others? Your clanging and clamor between my ears is crippling, impaling me to a life with skewers of false equations demanding food equals failure. My patience, like myself, is slowly and surely quite literally wearing thin. Five-year old hands do not revel in a lightly salted rice cake, or crave the crunch that is carrot sticks. Meat is not monstrous, bread not barbaric. Even writing those words I can feel your talons shooting down my spine, your voice reverberating inside my bones its usual tirade of horror, and all I can do is say that I am sick of being forced to see the world as a number and my life as a measurement of which I am not allowed very much.

Why do I not deserve to occupy space? Who are you to tell my three-year old self that on the carpet of life my seat shouldn’t take up as much room as everyone else’s? Food is sustenance, and instead you have made it a stranger. Your lies fashion signposts away from pathways amidst forests that actually lead to nowhere, when I’m going somewhere. I deserve somewhere. 

Contributed by Briony