introductory paragraph of my essay:
my dance style ranges from white dad at a barbecue to stripper whose rent is due tomorrow
THE BEST PRO-ANA TIPS ON THE WEB!!
1) Turn off all the heat in your house and open the windows wide. Walk around in short sleeves and dip your fingers and toes in bowls of ice water every 10-15 minutes. This will do nothing to help you lose weight but it will help train you for the misery that anorexia brings in the form of being constantly cold. You are not allowed reprieve from this “feel the cold” stage as you will never be warm again until you recover.
2) Visit your hairdresser and ask her to pluck 25-50% of the hair from your head. While you’re at it ask her to over-process your hair with whatever chemicals she had on hand. If the over-processing makes you lose even more hair that’s even better. This step will get you used to the dry, brittle, falling out hair you’ll have once you’re nutrient deprived.
3) If you plan on purging you should visit your dentist and ask them to grind all the enamel off your teeth. While there also ask if they can pull out a couple of existing fillings. Your teeth will be wrecked soon anyway so you may as well get a head start and learn what it feels like to have super sensitive teeth once your enamel is gone.
4) Ignore all your friends. Don’t tell them why. Don’t do anything that would give them a chance to try and stop you from cutting them out. You will likely feel utterly miserable. Learn to expect that. You will feel miserable during every day of your eating disorder anyway. The loneliness is a key part of this misery.
5) If you’re in school you should throw away all your textbooks and order their equivalents in a foreign language. This stage will get you started on the cognitive difficulties you will suffer once malnutrition sets in. In a few months of anorexia you will feel like everything is in a foreign language anyway since you can’t read it because your malnourished brain has made you stupid.
6) If you have a job ask your boss to start withholding half your pay. With the amount of sick days you have once your e.d. is bad, you’re going to lose half of your pay anyway. This will help you get used to that. In 3 months you should quit your job with no backup plan. This will let you know what it feels like to be fired because your e.d. made you a lousy employee.
7) Throw away your calendar. Stop asking people their name. Leave your backpack and purse at home every time you go out. You need to learn what it’s like to live without a memory. As well as making you stupid malnutrition will rob you of your memory. Stand up every ten minutes to make sure you turned off the kettle/iron/tap. You know you are forgetful and you are anxious about that. Do this all day every day. You will soon forget why anyway as your memory becomes utterly useless.
8) Throw away all your moisturizer, body wash, anything that makes your skin soft and lovely. Like your hair you need to feel what it’s like for that to be dry and fragile. Think back to the last time you fell down a flight of stairs. With your malnourished body and skin you will feel like that every single day. You will wake up bruised and aching and scraped and you won’t know why. The answer is your e.d. The answer to all misery is your e.d.
9) Lock yourself in a dark room. Put up spotlights everywhere else in the house. Do not shower. Do not even wash your face. Play music that makes you sad. When it’s time for bed play a CD of a jackhammer. The ED will rob your ability to sleep well and you need to experience that. If all of this sounds like torture…it is. With this ED you will be sad, and scared, and panicked all the time. This emotional hell will rob you of the ability to do tasks as simple as brushing your teeth.
10) Write a list of every good thing you want out of life. Burn it. As long as you have an eating disorder that is all you will have. You will watch every good thing go up in smoke.
A boy sprawled next to me on the bus, elbows out, knee pointing sharp into my thigh.
He frowned at me when I uncrossed my legs, unfolded my hands
and splayed out like boys are taught to: all big, loose limbs.
I made sure to jab him in the side with my pretty little sharp purse.
At first he opened his mouth like I expected him to, but instead of speaking up he sat there, quiet, and took it for the whole bus ride.
Like a girl.
Once, a boy said my anger was cute, and he laughed,
and I remember thinking that I should sit there and take it,
because it isn’t ladylike to cause a scene and girls aren’t supposed to raise their voices.
But then he laughed again and all I saw
was my pretty little sharp nails digging into his cheek
before drawing back and making a horribly unladylike fist.
(my teacher informed me later that there is no ladylike way of making a fist.)
When we were both in the principal’s office twenty minutes later
him with a bloody mouth and cheek, me with skinned knuckles,
I tried to explain in words that I didn’t have yet
that I was tired of having my emotions not taken seriously
just because I’m a girl.
Girls are taught: be small, so boys can be big.
Don’t take up any more space than absolutely necessary.
Be small and smooth with soft edges
and hold in the howling when they touch you and it hurts:
the sandpaper scrape of their body hair that we would be shamed for having,
the greedy hands that press too hard and too often take without asking permission.
Girls are taught: be quiet and unimposing and oh so small
when they heckle you with their big voices from the window of a car,
because it’s rude to scream curse words back at them, and they’d just laugh anyway.
We’re taught to pin on smiles for the boys who jeer at us on the street
who see us as convenient bodies instead of people.
Girls are taught: hush, be hairless and small and soft,
so we sit there and take it and hold in the howling,
pretend to be obedient lapdogs instead of the wolves we are.
We pin pretty little sharp smiles on our faces instead of opening our mouths,
because if we do we get accused of silly women emotions
blowing everything out of proportion with our PMS, we get
condescending pet names and not-so-discreet eyerolls.
Once, I got told I punched like a girl.
I told him, Good. I hope my pretty little sharp rings leave scars.