I always see stories of mothers losing their daughter’s to anorexia, yet I have yet to see an article on how daughters can too lose their mothers. Here’s the lesser known version of the story.
I used to count the notches in my mother’s spine as she did dishes. Or the way her shoulder blades stuck out like black on white. Her bones rippling aggressively beneath her skin, ones I couldn’t even find in my own body. I used to calculate how small she was every time I hugged her. After awhile I stopped hugging her completely because it made me too sad. It made me too angry.
I noticed when she stopped wearing jeans because even the f*cking double zeros fell right off. I counted her calories. I counted the insane amount of miles she ran in the morning. I counted the number of times I screamed at her to get help. I counted the number of times I screamed that she was beautiful, that she was strong, that she was enough. Even though she should have been saying these things to me. I screamed that she was hurting me, that five years of not eating was too long. I screamed that if she loved me she would eat breakfast. I screamed at my father for not caring that his wife was disintegrating before his own eyes. I screamed at myself for caring too fucking much. I screamed at my friend who didn’t know my mother was the “anorexic lady” running past us when we were driving one time in the car. My mother screamed at me when I hid her laxatives.
Overall there was a lot of anger and a lot of hurt. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care how old you are or that you’re supposed to be taking care of someone. I understand that now. That being said, things can be forgiven but not always forgotten. Here are the confessions of an anorexic’s daughter:
- I’m envious of the song “All About That Bass.”
- I never stare in the mirror too long.
- I never get on the scale.
- I have a deal with the people I love to make sure they tell me if I ever get too skinny.
- I never skip meals, even when I’m not hungry.
- I sprinkle chocolate chips in my cereal.
- I always get In-n-Out Burger when I have even the slightest craving.
- I make sure to skip work out days.
- I never apologize for my body.
- I grab on to my love handles like a security blanket. As long as I have them I am ok. As long as I have them, I am not my mother.
- Every day I make myself promise to never slip down the rabbit hole of not loving myself.
Mental illness affects everyone and it’s okay if sometimes you have to just save yourself first.