I Am A Woman

I can pinpoint the moment I said, “Today’s the day you’re gonna stop eating.”

I’d said it about a million times before.

So I guess I really can pinpoint when I said I had to stop eating;

that you couldn’t diet, you couldn’t only eat fruit,

don’t be a vegetarian, be a survival-tarian, eat to breathe (just barely).

Eat to hear your beat through your tiny bony chest, slow.

Beat. Beat. Beat.

Don’t eat.

Beat. Beat. Beat. Don’t eat.

And I can pin point when I so innocently, carefree climbed onto the back of a friend.

I wanted to take the knots out of her backs, so tightened with anger and insecurity and self-hatred themselves that perhaps it was the knots themselves that said,

“You are so fat, how were you a gymnast?”

I was a gymnast because I ate.

Ate. Ate. Ate.

So my head wouldn’t spin when I heard the music

beat beat beat

on a floor routine, I was healthy, maybe bigger,

but I loved the way that once my body learned to fly,

I never gave it up.

And I ate because eating was strength

and I was in elementary school and Iearned that food gives you strength and so you must eat

so I ate and I ate and I flew.

And then I lost my wings.

So from my wings grew feet that loved to run and loved to win but hated to lose

so I tried eating yogurt and yogurt alone and I fell, 10 meters before the finish line,

when the crowd was going wild but the screen in my heading was going

black.

And the track stained my arms red.

Red like my heart that beats beats beats.

Yes I remember all of that.

I remember when I stopped remembering.

When my body stopped responding to any stimulus

but the beeping of a treadmill as I went

faster, faster, faster.

Flying. Control.

I learned how not to eat.

I learned how not to live.

And I hated you, and I hated me, and I hated sex, and I hated men,  and I hated attention, and I hated being questioned, and I hated food, and I hated being awake,

and I hated you,

and I hated me.

I hated living.

And my wings broke. Again.

They said I was a zombie.

I wasn’t a zombie.

I was a woman.

I was a woman.

I am a woman who believed the amount I could be loved was directly proportional to my shrinking size.

The amount I could love myself would only grow as my pants size shrunk.  was not a zombie.

But I am not a zombie.

I am a woman.

Because a zombie is dead and I am more alive than I’ve ever been because I changed and a zombie can’t change or stand here and say that I am a woman and I am beautiful and my love only grows with each flaw in my body because they are unique to me and they are mine. And I love them. I love me. So how was I gymnast when I was so heavy? I was a gymnast because I am a woman. I am a woman and I can do anything.

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