for anyone who has ever suffered.

“How much do you weigh?”
i’ve heard this so many times.  
why do people assume that I know?
One friend says I couldn’t weigh more than 110.  Another, 105.
I live three lifetimes in those moments before I answer.
They don’t know.  
They don’t know how it feels to crouch and pull at the rolls of your flesh as you stare at the three numbers,
their pronouncement the end of my world in many ways,
the ‘2’ at the beginning of my worth.
They don’t know the green eyed monster.
pounding a treadmill, eyes down at a magazine, willing your strong italian legs to grow five inches.
They don’t know the teachers telling you to lose weight for parts.
They don’t know the side profile stare as the pants don’t fit in the dressing room,
The size 16 pant with the ‘V’ still present in the zipper.  It ain’t closing,
No matter how raw my hands get.
They don’t know what it feels like to get really pissed off.
202.
They don’t know the euphoria of watching that number drop.  Feeling strong.  Feeling great.
Feeling like everything is falling into place.
Hearing teachers say ‘you could lose more in your hips.’
‘You’ve come so far, you could go even further.’
They don’t know what happens when the pendulum swings, hard, the opposite direction.
They don’t know the feeling of the eyes, rolling back in the head, the sudden cold sweat.
Staring intensely at the calories on the back of a cereal box when my hair is falling out.
Counting my ribs in the mirror, while my skin turns grey.
Feeling power when my finger and thumb can close around my wrist.
Punching in the numbers of a tablespoon of ketchup.
The clothes getting bigger.  And bigger.  6, 4, 2.
Spitting food out in the toilet, watching Hershey Kisses swirl and flush down the drain.
Cutting out days with friends because it cut into my gym time.
Cutting out dates with boys because it wasn’t in my meal plan.
They don’t know what it feels like to feel unbearably alone.
136, 138, 132, 134, 133, 130.  Depending on the day, hour, minute.
They don’t know what it feels like to want to get well.
They don’t know what it feels like to want to get well, then get really, really sick.
130, 145, 133, 138, 143, 131.
To want to eat so badly but to not be able to.
To live on liquids for three months.
To only be able to eat carrots for two weeks and it turns your face orange.
Being confronted by people you love.
It isn’t your brain that’s the problem anymore.
To be scoped, examined, anesthetized, picked apart and probed, before you’re old enough to rent a car.
To feel like you’re rotting on the inside.
To feel like no one will ever love you in this state, despite of all you have to give.
They don’t know what it feels like to start running.
To realize you can have peanut butter without feeling like a failure.
To give yourself to your work and fall head over heels in love with your literature dreams.
To take up yoga and realize it was the one thing you never knew you always needed.
To laugh again.
To dance again.
To not live in fear.
They don’t know what it feels like to feel everything.
To love your legs, chest, belly, and lack of a behind.
To accept that there will be days that absolutely suck.
To throw out your scales.
To not be defined by Numbers.
Math sucks.
“How much do you weigh?”
I have no idea.  Thank God.

in honor of national eating disorder week.  if you’ve ever had a problem with disordered eating, “it’s time to talk about it.”

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4 thoughts on “for anyone who has ever suffered.

  1. as someone who weighed 142 then 175 then up to 286 then down to 234 then up to 314 then to 170, got cancer, down to 138 now up to 170 and trying to get down to 150….I understand. I never had to fight bulimia or anything like that…but I understand how it can come to that.

    We are too obsessed with weight. I just ask myself now…do I feel healthy? Can I move the way I want to.

    Good for you Alysa….you learned this a lot faster than I did…I'm 61 and just learning it…

    Like

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