In the Burning Phase of My Life.

To befriend the shadow girl in the mirror…

24 March 2010, morning.

My eyes open an hour before the alarm goes off. My body is heavy, nearly unresponsive. I can feel the dregs of last night’s persistent headache still swirling apathetically at the base of my skull. It is not so noticeable that I feel it warrants the effort of getting up out of bed to take something for it.

what would you take, anyway? the regular over the counter crap doesn’t work on you, as you well know. you also know that you are not allowed to drug-seek and get any more prescription painkillers, so you may as well just stew in your pain…

A soft sigh, and I turn over onto my side, screwing my eyes shut tight. Shallow, uneasy sleep claims me again. The alarm crashes into me far sooner than I expected. I struggle up, wake up Thor, and spend the next hour doing the things that a good mother does: dress her son, make his lunch, walk him in the pre-dawn coolness the thirteen blocks to his bus stop. I laugh, I make conversation, I reach out an arm to encircle him against my side, this little north star that makes me feel whole again. It appears that it will be fine, until the school bus has come and gone, and I am left with myself for the thirteen blocks back.

it’s only wednesday…christ, how am i going to make it through this day, much less to the end of the week. how can i already be so exhausted when i haven’t done shit?

I stop on the sidewalk at random, not noticing in any conscious way where I am in relation to home. I hardly notice as my right hand flutters down from where it was clenched in front of my chest and the fingers find their way to my hipbone, applying painful pressure, noting the lack of prominence. Fuck. Failed. Fat. Freak. The merciless, critical fingers travel up to the ribs. Or rather, where the ribs should be on anyone who was not as excessive and disgusting as me. I stab with my fingers, ignoring the shooting pain coming from the bundle of nerves wrapped around the rib. My hidden ribcage is an endless disappointment, a friend that no longer comes to visit or cares to call.

A wave of despair washes over me. I should be past this. I am supposed to be an example of health and recovery and positivity.

I pull a cigarette out of my pack with shaking fingers, light up, take a deep drag. I ignore the burn at the bottom of my lungs. I can tell by the all-too-familiar feeling that I have an upper respiratory infection, and that I certainly should not be smoking.

good. the pain is good. die faster, because this is no way to live.

I start to walk again. All of the beautiful and comforting landmarks in my neighborhood are there, but I am blind to them today. I don’t take any photographs on the slow march home, for my eye for beauty is sleeping. How can I see the loveliness all around me when I am so very ugly and dirty all the way down to my soul?

I plan for the rest of my morning. I will drink lots of strong coffee. My comfort, my co-pilot. I will not eat. I ate far too much yesterday. I did not deserve it then, and I certainly do not now. Pig. I am spilling out of my skin in a shocking fashion. Can anyone else see it? This poison plan does not offer me the comfort that it did when I was at my most frail. Fail, again. But I am stuck in the spiral, sliding down, hitting every barb and thorn on the way down.

I need help today, but I quite simply do not know how to ask. All I can do is see to the comfort of others. It is how I am built, for better or for worse. My overheated mind guides me back home. My demon, my friend, my enemy. I paste a smile on my face that I pray is not a grimace. No one needs to see or know the scope of my desperation. Because, after all, it is simply not how I am made.

help me, please. i would never ask, never admit that i am bleeding. but i need it just as much as anyone else…


March 24, 2010 - Posted by | Anorexia and Disordered Days. | , , , , ,


  1. Oh, my dear, how I truly understand. I’m sorry you are going through that hell right now, the cycle is so punishing. What seems to bother me the most is that any time my mood dips more than just a little, I immediately turn my hyper-critical eye onto my body and what I perceive to be it’s many deficiencies. Thank you for listening, and thank you for your words of support.

    Comment by Jen Kamerman-Jenkins | March 24, 2010 | Reply

  2. Your words always ring truth in my ears and my own memories flood my mind. I’m glad I’m not alone with these thoughts, but sad someone else has to feel them too.

    Comment by Carrie | March 25, 2010 | Reply

    • I feel the same way. it’s funny that no matter how far past things we think we are getting, that sometimes we can just come full circle.

      Comment by Jen Kamerman-Jenkins | March 25, 2010 | Reply

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