Imogen *, Grade 6, *
1st in the 'Dream Big 2013' competition
Reflections, they haunt me. All I see is myself from a million different angles. But I am not myself. I am a foot that needs to be corrected, a hip that needs to be turned out, a stomach that should be flatter. Sometimes I play this game with myself where I try to catch my reflection by surprise, but reality wins. The longer I stare at my stomach the more it hits me. My mind starts to race. Wonders I have never wondered before wonder. Thoughts I have never thought before think. My imagination imagines. But is it my imagination? Or is that why I didn’t pass my audition? One thing I do know is that something needs to change. I run to the bathroom, lock the door and open the lid of the toilet. Before I can stop I have shoved a finger down my throat and my lunch is gone. I feel empty. And I like it. If I can’t reshape my body, I will get rid of it, throw it up meal by meal. Now that I have started, I can’t stop. I won’t stop.
It is a month on and despair gnaws at my empty stomach. Somehow my reflection has morphed into something worse. I am a monster, fat and ugly. It is too much to stand so I fall, collapsing under the weight of myself, consumed by my reflection. But I have consumed nothing. I am nothing. I am dying from the outside in.
But I am alive. My heart is beating, my brain is thinking. I open my eyes, afraid of what I will see. Something is beeping, though I do not dare to look at what lies beside me. Someone is speaking then the curtain is flung open and an unfamiliar face appears before me. I realise where I am. I need to get out. I try to get up but moving my head sends a wave of nausea throughout my body. I try lifting up my arm. It is as big as a log. People see my log and call it a twig. They yell at me because I can’t see what they can see. Nobody can explain to me why their eyes work different to mine. Nobody can make it stop. The face is speaking to me, although I can only make out words like eating...sick...recovery...bulimia... I don’t want to recover. I went through pain and sacrifice and I am not even skinny yet. I will keep going until I am a twig, until every bone in my body is exposed. Only then will I be satisfied. A plate of food is placed in front of me. A question races through my mind. Should I eat it? I do eat it. I feel full again, a feeling I despise. As I lift my body, the same face appears, this time with a body, and pushes me down. I writhe and scream but it is no use. It is down. For now.