Bone by bone, she counted.
Searching for her worth, seeking her value. A practice she knew all too well. A movement as natural to her as brushing a faint yellow’d caramel strand of hair out of her face.
The first day’s light was only moments ago, greeting her into the world, enveloping her into its warmth and reality. Sleeping; an opportunity to pass the time and allow her body the time to burn. To burn away the signs of living, the bumps of imperfection and the collections of cellulite.
Where are they? What happened?
Her blood begins to quicken as she moves her perfectly manicured hands around her body, stopping in her favourite points of control, investigating. These are the places she loves. These are the best locations, rewarding her for the hard work and restriction. These are the spots that will tell her how she will feel that day and what she will do. Whether she is worthy of living and being amongst the living on that day. Whether she can be happy.
They must be a certain way, though. They must feel a certain way.
As she digs around the rigid area of her shoulder blade, her mind begins to contemplate the events of the day.
How will I be able to impress them today? What if I fail? What if they notice that my bones are less visible covered by the sins of my indulgence.
I knew I shouldn’t have had dinner, She scolded herself.
Immediately she begins to filter through her methods of coping, deciding whether she should hibernate for the whole day, in hopes that the bone’s surface will reemerge by tomorrow’s morning.
These bones are a symbol of her strength; her ability to control how she lives her life and how she feels; her ability to manipulate who will love her and by how much. She has mastered her method and her techniques are down to second nature. She knows what to do with each scenario and she knows how to understand her body through each section of the month. She knows to rest on her menses, drink coffee and diet coke for anxiety and to carefully eat 5 green grapes a day, split into sections. Water retention was an unsung myth in her eyes. Like unwanted children, to be heard of but not seen.
She knows too much. What happens when her knowledge only takes her too far? What happens when her signs of strength and control disappear? She has it down to a science, the more bone, the stronger and more loveable. According to this science, when the bone disappears, her worth goes with it. No one will love her, no one will want her.
How is it possible? She asked herself in frustration.
How could they be so evident and there one day and all of a sudden, not? What have I done wrong? Why am I so stupid? I’m so weak.
Her knowledge in nutrition takes her only so far, much like her obsession with bones. These are both forms of the mind. These are both elements of control. She knows life goes beyond this. She can even grasp this truth in her mind. So where does she go from here?
She feels a sense of surrendering, though her mind won’t give up easily. The voice continues to ask anxious questions of her worth. She feels something beyond that. A yearning for more. She wishes for a time when she could live outside of her appearance. A time where she wasn’t controlled by her skeleton. When she could enjoy life outside of this box of fear and restriction.
What would life be like, if she knew a life beyond her appearance. What if she could just be, bones or no bones? Who would she be? What would she do? How could she live?
Her daily check-ins continued.