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By the time 7th grade started in the fall, she had lost almost 15 pounds. School shopping was fun for the first time. There were no tears. Her hair was long now, her acne was under control, the huge gap in her teeth was closing and she finally looked like a girl.
But she still wasn’t good enough.
The compliments she was receiving made her feel amazing. The problem was it just fueled her fire. She ate even less, exercised even more. At lunch they were allowed to walk up to the local pizza joint and get a slice and a pop. She felt so powerful when she could walk with her friends and only get a diet soda. No pizza for her. After school, she would attend basketball or swimming or track for practice. Then she would go home and do her Jane Fonda tape and then run at least 2 miles and then do her sit-ups. Her Mom would then be home from work so it was time for dinner. She managed to eat very little but make it look like she ate a normally amount. Then she’d do the whole thing over again the next day. It was exhausting…but exhilarating.
Before she knew it, she was down to 120 lbs. She was no 5 feet 8 inches tall. She still needed to lose more though. The models in her Young Miss magazine were taller than her and weighed 110 lbs. That was what she needed to weigh. Less than 110 lbs.
No matter what she did, she couldn’t get under 115 lbs. She tried running more, doing Jane Fonda twice, more sit-ups and she was stuck at 115 lbs. It was weird too because everyone kept commenting on how skinny she was now. One of her friends said she was the skinniest girl in their class; they had a lot of skinny girls in their school too.
The skinniest. She treasured that statement. She just kept rolling it over on her tongue. The skinniest. Est. Est. Est.
At Christmas her aunt showed her a picture from an encyclopedia of a woman suffering from anorexia. She didn’t know what THAT was about. So? She wasn’t a skeleton for God’s sake. She wasn’t even as skinny as a model…and see how good they look? She didn’t look like a skeleton. She was not too skinny. There was no such thing.
Even one of her buddies at school, a boy, said to her at lunch one day “Damn girl, you’re getting too skinny. You need to gain some weight.” She just laughed. What do boys know about weight? They didn’t read YM magazine. They didn’t know supermodel stats.
Besides, her parents or Grandma never said anything about her being too skinny; wouldn’t they be the first ones to say something if they thought she was unhealthy? Her Grandma had said at one point that she’ll never be as skinny as her Mom. All she was getting from her Dad was compliments. She loved that.
One day during track practice, she saw black spots, had ringing in her ears and fainted right there on the track. She came to quickly and stood up. No big deal. But then it happened again. And again. And again. Finally her Mom found out and took her to the doctor.
But she wasn’t honest with the doctor. Or her Mom. She was eating and exercising way too much. But now she was the skinniest. She had to stay that way. And it just kept getting harder and harder to maintain.
But she was the skinniest. And she was going to stay that way.
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