No pain, no gain. Isn’t that what they always say? I ignored my stomach’s desperate cries. Every inch of my body ached, deprived of what I most wanted and what I most wanted to avoid.
When I was nine, my mother told me that I could be anything I wanted to be. I looked into her ocean blue eyes and told her I wanted to be skinny. And that’s where it all began.
Other girls obsessed over boy bands and makeup brands. I obsessed over exposed ribs and thigh gaps. I stopped eating meals when I was twelve. Measly crumbs became all-you-can-eat buffets. Detox tea turned into a filling three-course meal.
When I was thirteen, I spent hours scrutinising myself in the mirror. Fat clouded my vision. My eyes could focus on nothing but the unbearable width of my legs and the repulsive stretch marks scarred onto my hips. It hurt to starve.
They whispered about me. She doesn’t eat, they’d say. They’re not rumours when they’re true. Skinny was blinding and I’d lost sight of everything else.
And even when I started fitting into a size XS, even when my bones shone through my paper white skin, I pinched at parts of my body. I pinched hard. I broke down and bled tears, folded myself in half on the bathroom floor and dug my palms into my thighs until it appeared, for just a second, that the fat wasn’t there anymore. It hurt. No pain, no gain, right?