The Traffic Jam with Puberty (A Dead, Dead Man Walking)

Headlining in the traffic jam was the beginning of puberty or the real real onset of it. I was 11 and having a hard time accepting what was happening to my body. My eyes were playing a cruel game with what it unveiled daily. Especially in comparison to the other girls. I was one of the “plump” kids with access to cable tv. It wasn’t hard for anorexia and bulimia to creep through those cruel eyes and into my mind and take hold of my body.

I started out being quick friends with “Ana”, “Mia” only came along to prevent people catching on. It provided the perfect cover. I guess she was the perfect lookout as I hid my truths of how life really made me feel.

I was anorexic for about a year I think. I was disappearing. That they noticed. My eyes were unusually sunken. My protruding bones were signs of my success. I was thin. I wasn’t the fat kid anymore. I wasn’t the one always bigger, thicker than everyone else. I loved how my clothes without being folded one too many times at the waist would fall, they sagged. I was making strides in this abusive relationship with my body image, my body dismorphic syndrome as I had adopted. My cycles disappeared every now and again and I had to lie hard and quick to keep food away.

Head to Reñe’s house after school, tell her parents I’d eat when I got home, get home tell Daddy I ate at Reñe’s

Ana played hardball. She was tough. She would kill me for sure. It was hard hiding a friend that made herself so apparent once you entered a room, try as you might to tuck her away. We had to go our separate ways but not as big a way as to not have occasional phone calls. So Mia and I joined up. She better understood my needs.

I needed to stay small. I needed her to work her hardest at preventing any further or future marks, from my body stretching, too far. I needed her to slap the food from my mouth as fast as my motors prompted the motion to swallow. I also needed to stay alive. She also made a better partner at hide and seek. No one knew she existed. She was perfect.

Sit at the table, enjoy the meal, get up to go shower, turn the water on, throw up, shower, flush, brush, head out

NO ONE noticed her. My face was a little more plump than Ana would have allowed but the clothes still fell where the success needed to be seen. Then she started to desire more of my time, more of my meals, more of my devotion. She also had my mind so preoccupied I started messing up. I forgot to flush. I lied. Phew. He still wasn’t on to our friendship. I needed to keep more on certain days for sustenance but this girl was millitant. She would have no such increases. I trained hard, danced long, died of hunger in between.

On the day of our grand breakup, she departed on no good terms. She let herself be seen and left me to deal with all the questions and the stalkerish surveillance of every thing that would pass my throat. What did you eat? When? Are you full? Eat some more… They tried to fatten me as fast as they had found us out.

So this last run we had, I had a dance competition at church. We had 3 dance routines. Two of which were very demanding on the very little energy I was running on. We rehearsed for hours. So, I attempted to sneak a few more calories in. She resisted with grave intensity. I had as much as my shrunken stomach would allow. It was already too late and I had no time to entertain her and my body in turn had no time to digest.

But I did eat and I did keep it down. So that should have count, right? Nope!

By the second dance, the music started, I danced the first few lines of the song and then my receptors began to play like a scratched record. I heard but a few lines of the rest of the song. I danced to the lines my brain received. I was as disoriented as could be. I was pulled from the stage mid competition, mid routine, burning up and struggling to continue to exist. I had one friend defend me, tried convincing them that I’d eaten. That defender and the person asking had at least, a week before that day, recognized my disease.

Someone, some concerned Samaritan took that tale to the doorsteps of my home. I felt like I was strung up to an IV being force fed by watchful eyes and incessant interrogation. My secret was out. Mia had decided it was all or nothing. So she left me.

I can admit it took me a good while to fully let her go. To stop calling, stop texting, stop the emails and disconnected the video chats. I had on occasions relapsed. I still felt ugly and stuck in this massive body being stretched and modified by the process of becoming WOMAN. I took it in strides. I had no other choice.

To this day I still have a few ill feelings about my beautiful body but if we are being honest, who doesn’t?

I’ve come to accept that my thighs will always be thick. My rear will always be a little heavier than I desire. My arms will at times plump up along with my cheeks. I have to remind myself that I will not die if I gain a few pounds and I will not die if the pair of jeans I just bought 6 months ago no longer fit. Buy new ones that fit. Exercise. Eat as healthy as I desire to be. Love all of me.

I dare to call myself thick these days. I’m only under 15lbs heavier than I was in the days I was literally dying to be thin. I’m not at my ideal but I’m ok.

I’ve accepted me. Body and all.

Rae Sonson,
June 8, 2016,
17:45 p.m.

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