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I’m Not Hungry

I’m Not Hungry
Rita Patricio

Funny how a few words can change your entire life. When I woke up on that morning with my typical smile, I never thought I was about to listen to something that still haunts every time I close my eyes.

As I walk to school, I feel so confident in my new sweater that not even the rain can steal my happiness. I see my best friend, Katherine, and my heart gets full of joy.

“Hi,” I smile as I hear her sweet voice.

Kat analyses me from head to toe. “Elizabeth, what have you been eating? You’re getting fat.”

I instantly stop walking. Everything spins. Those words slap me like a tsunami of emotions, drowning me in it. Suddenly, what I’m wearing doesn’t fit and it accentuates all the imperfections that I wanted to hide.

My pen rhythmically hits the table, my head is everywhere except the English class. The word “fat” floats around my mind. Me, the girl who has always defended that everyone is beautiful in their own body, is now facing the pain of hating every single part of herself.

I get home. I’m alone again. My mom is at work like always, my dad is drunk in a bar and my brother hasn’t been home for days. The tears are inevitable. I glimpse the mirror and everything seemed to widen up. My belly isn’t flat. My thighs and arms are excessively big. My face is too round. I
feel disgusted, unloved and not capable of looking at my repulsive body.

My life turned into a routine. Get up. Weigh myself. Eat a carrot. Drink water whenever I feel hungry. Throw up if I eat something. Work out. Skip dinner. Weigh myself once more. Sleep. Repeat. Not eating was a victory.

I became my own prison, trapped inside a cage made of tears and my only company is the voice in my head that tells me not to eat.

The number on the scale kept dropping, but somehow that didn’t show my weight, it showed my self-worth. Years passed by without anyone caring enough to do something. I didn’t care if I died as long
as my bones were visible. Katherine said I looked good. I didn’t believe her. The happiness I thought would come with being skinny never arrived. I felt so tired, so dizzy…

The lights almost blind me when I open my eyes. I realise that I’m in hospital and I see my mom.
I’m not sick, why is she sobbing? She says that I have an eating disorder, one more day and I could have died.

Like the day Katherine told me I was fat, everything spins. As Malala Yousafzai once said, “When the world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” And for the first time, that one voice is my voice. I’ll recover, not for my mom, not for my friends, not for society, but for me. Because I have the courage to care about myself.