A Lifelong Companion

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  • Published: 21 Apr 2017
  • Updated: 21 Apr 2017
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A poem (I think, I just kind of wrote it and it's more like a long metaphor) about my encounter with an eating disorder and how it can affect you even after recovery.
I'm fortunate enough that I escaped any lasting damage to my physical health and that it never got too out of control, but I still shudder when I remember how I used to think, and at the time I was completely unaware there was anything "abnormal" about my relationship with food. My purpose in posting this is to maybe help somebody out there who may have had a similar experience.
**Just my own experience, yours or others may have been entirely different to what I experienced.

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1. A Lifelong Companion

I feel like I've known her all my life.

In reality we only met in high school, sometime in year eight during P.E.

undressing and changing in front of girls all confident pretty,

I felt like a black sheep until I caught her eye and saw she hugged her stomach

and in her eyes I saw what I felt like. 

Her eyes scanned the room and assortment of girls chattering and laughing mid-afternoon. 

When her eyes met mine she must have read what mine found in hers, for mouth cracked into a smile. 

Conscious of her stare I imitated her stance crossing my arms over my stomach. 

Her smile widened, and I hurried to dress.

At the end of class she approached me , friendly smile in place, and we instantly connected. 

From the on we were inseparable.

Wherever one was, so too was the other.

She almost immediately integrated herself into my home and family life, joining me at birthdays, Easter and Christmas.

She all but moved in with us, and every night became a sleepover. 

We'd stay up till all hours together, dissecting everything from our bodies, to the bodies of others and how they made us feel, insecurities and everything in between.   

We constantly whispered to each other day and night, chatting endlessly about ourselves and making plans. 

She was amazingly wonderful and innovative, and she made me feel like anything was possible. 

She changed the way I saw myself and others, but she was the one constant. 

A year or so into our friendship, I realised we were no longer equal parts in this relationship.

She was calling almost all the shots, and on the rare occasions I didn't play by her rules she'd sulk.

Sometimes she would ignore me completely, and sometimes she would shout at me. 

I hated the silence when she ignored me, it would stretch on between us for what felt like hours. In reality I was it was mere seconds, but time seemed to drag back then. 

I'd rather she shouted and raged at me, after all she was right to. 

Or so I thought. 

With time I grew less certain she was right and I attempted to drift away from her, which proved increasingly difficult as time went on. 

Each time I kicked her out of my life only to beg her to return seconds later when I caught a glimpse of myself alone in the mirror. 

It was hard to say goodbye to somebody who felt like a part of myself. 

When I look back on our relationship it's hard to see where she ended and I began. 

We were like the mirrors I frequently stood in front of. 

Except I didn't have my own reflection. 

I reflected only a perfectly pristine copy of whatever she showed me.

Most of the time. 

I'm stubborn enough that I know there must have been times I rebelled, but I don't remember those times very clearly. 

The memories that stand out clearest in my mind are the times we sat stubbornly side by side,

us against the world, united in glaring at the nutritional information on a bar of chocolate,

or the first time we met and later that day when I sobbed about the way I looked.

She hugged me close and whispered it was okay because she had a plan. 

She always had a plan.

She always knew what to do.

There was always another suggestion, or another limit we could test together.

I loved her for it all. 

It's no wonder she took up such permanent residence in my life.

When I eventually kicked her out for good, we both knew this time was different.

I'd recently discovered she was not in fact as devoted to me as she'd led me to believe. 

She'd been spending just as many long hours with others, whispering promises and plans all day an night.

I finally saw her for who she really was. 

When she left, she took her time gathering her things, almost everything we had was hers after all. 

When she had finally finished packing, she paused on the doorway, throwing me the same friendly smile she did in year eight, then left.

I knew why she smiled. 

I knew even then that although I'd successfully outed her from my immediate life,

she was not banished from existence. 

Although this was an ending, it was not the ending of her.

I have often heard of her over the years.

She's made the acquaintance of many both before and after me.

Friends, family, celebrities and many more in between without discrimination. 

It's always difficult for me to see her beside them, flashing that smile and whispering to them. 

Her "spell" no longer holds me for long, but I remember a time when it did.

I remember thinking she was the greatest thing that ever happened to me, 

when in fact she was one of the worst. 

That doesn't stop me from occasionally missing her.

Sometimes I'll have a bad day and find myself wanting to reconnect,

to answer the phone when I see her ringing me. 

Oh yes, she tries to ring, almost all of the time in fact.

Most of the time I can press "reject", and continue with my life...

But sometimes I'll stare at the caller ID, let it go to answerphone and listen to her silken voice.

I'm sorely tempted to call back and invite her over, but I don't. 

Whenever I find myself thinking I miss her,

I remind myself of the emaciated bodies of beautiful people she has hurt.

I remind myself of what she is, and that her plans don't work. 

I count myself lucky that I got out when I did.

Before she did any lasting damage to my beautiful body. 

 

She's a killer you see, but she doesn't dirty her own hands for you.

She fills your head, piece by piece, until you see nothing but her. 

 

 

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