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By Julia G.
age: 17
New York

The overweight girl stands in the corner, trying to suck in her pudgy stomach. The boys don’t see her, they are too distracted by the pencil-thin figures standing in the middle of the dance floor- moving their gawky limbs in that ugly, some-what seductive way that girls think is attractive. The bulky girl tries to forget the rolls of skin that are exposed through her tight t-shirt and walks onto the dance floor. Suddenly, she is noticed. The loud whispers can’t be made out over the booming music, but she knows.

She knows that the boys are looking at her and wondering why she wants to draw attention to herself. She knows that she doesn’t fit in with the skinny girls. She knows that she shouldn’t have come to the party because she will just end up going home in tears. She knows that her Dad will be the one to answer her desperate phone call made from the payphone in the bathroom- he will try to convince her that she’s overreacting and that she is one of the most beautiful girls at the party, but her shaking voice will convince him to save her from the embarrassment. She knows that when she walks out of the large swinging doors into the vacant parking lot, she will see her Dad waiting in the running car trying to distract himself with the New York Times. She knows that when she opens the passenger door and flops down on the cool, leather seat, guilt will rush over her.

She knows that it’s all her fault. She knows that she isn’t capable of controlling her eating, no matter how hard she tries. She knows that her parents want her to diet, no matter how much they convince her that she is “perfect the way she is.” She knows that this has to stop. “I just won’t eat tomorrow and see how it goes,” she thinks to herself in the car ride home. And that’s where the thinking stops and the disease takes over.

I wonder who in this room is one of the ten million Americans who suffer from an eating disorder. I know that I used to be a part of that whole. I know that I felt constant pain whenever I looked at myself in the mirror. I know that stupid remarks that I should not have taken seriously were the leading cause of my disorder. I know that every time I skipped a meal I felt that much closer to my goal of being what I considered beautiful.

Looking back, I realize that I lost two years of my life that I can never get back. I missed out on the first high school party and that special first kiss because I was so obsessed with my weight. The constant numbers running through my head were not the calculations of an isosceles triangle; instead I chose to keep a running tab on the few calories that I actually did consume. My friends turned on me, but I don’t want to turn on anyone else.

It makes me sad to think about my life as an anorexic. When I look back at pictures of myself, I cry. I don’t want nine million, nine hundred and ninety-nine other people looking back and feeling like they missed out on a part of their lives. I want people to feel as confident about themselves as I do about myself now.
Julia G on writing:
Author's Note: The Young Writer's Workshop and Margo Figgins

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