Frowning in Mirrors
written by: Nadya Hope
He told me that he’s getting stronger.
“I can lift you so much easier now! Aren’t you proud of me, honey?”
And he holds my body in his arms as if I was a weight that he had to slowly built up to.
Like I was a piece of equipment that he needed to prepare himself for with pre-workout and amino acids.
Like I was something he could pick up to improve his appearance and put down when he finally got tired.
Like I was an accomplishment that he prided himself on, a prize he paraded around when it was timely and convenient.
I didn't tell him that I hadn't eaten that morning.
Or the morning before that.
I didn't tell him that I had replaced my vitamins with diet pills and I bought extra safety pins that day to keep my skin from falling to the ground, exposing my bones.
I didn't tell him that I had lost all the weight I had resolved to, against my doctor’s advice, and then some more, because why be thin when you can be thinner?
I didn't tell him that my ribs hurt every time he hugged me because they were brittle and breaking from a lack of a diet that consisted of more than just frowning in mirrors.
I didn't tell him that the drain was full of hair that had been falling out for weeks because God damn hair needs protein and protein is in food and I just couldn't risk it.
I didn't tell him that I drank coffee just to feel full when the mind games stopped working.
I didn’t tell him that I added extra holes to my extra small belts because my stomach shrunk so much it started to fold itself neatly in a pile, preparing to gather dust on a shelf along with my dreams and short-term memory.
I didn't tell him that my fingers were glued together in my mind, so that I could only ingest things I didn't have to pick up. Like air. And self-loathing.
I didn’t tell him that I was tired not from the day, but from a general bodily shut down that comes with starvation.
I didn’t tell him that I forgot where I put my keys not because I was trying to be goofy, but because my mind was becoming more blank the flatter my clothing hung.
I didn't tell him that I stuffed my bras again like back in high school because those breasts he used to find beautiful were now nonexistent. But he wouldn't know that because the most he saw were my vertebrae when he hugged my body with one hand from behind.
Because I was his accomplishment.
And there were so many other women on TV that were thinner. I mean, more beautiful.
And he saw them the way he used to see me. So,
How could I not disappear further to keep his attention?
He said he was getting stronger.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
This slam poem-type piece was written during the height of my eating disorder. I have since been healed and no longer keep these kinds of people in my life.