Tag Archives: Anorexia

The New Amazons

These are the new amazons, warriors for an age when battles are fought over inches and ounces, ground held firm with a will power you cannot understand and they cannot explain.

Every day when the killing fields is the  site of last resistance,  their own bodies. offered up, suicide bombers all

New bones map out a skirmish won, an enemy routed, another stand made.

The scales record betrayal, defeat, the spirit is strong, but the body weakens, turns tail, offers surrender when all that is required is a tactical retreat….a re-grouping….a re-arming with weapons of mass distraction.

The enemy creeps up in the night, pitches camp, lays siege to the body.

Bared, ready for morning inspection with eyes sharper than a sergeant major and a tongue more vicious too.

Everything must be checked, double checked, you’re in this army now.

The front line moves, an inch here, an inch there, movement hides the cost, becomes just a to and fro, meaningless battle lines with no clear winner…..dug in, all over by Christmas

A war of secret attrition, where the scars are buried deep, not displayed on special days for the curious, the non-combatants,  and those who fell at the first hurdle try not to stare, try not to feel a tiny frisson of envy, a sense of missing out on something big

Mummy, what did you do in the war?

There are no victory parades for these ana warriors, no wreaths of Flanders poppies, no awkward silences, praying that your phone won’t go off….not now.

But, just for  a moment, I imagine them, the ranks of girls, for they are legion, arms whipcord thin, collar bones as sharp as the creases in a demob suit, knees buckle under the weight of banners, but these are the ana warriors, spartan in their stoicism, shrugging off the costs of war.

To save the village we had to destroy it.


Hunger – version 1- original version

A kind friend, thank you Mr S, found the original version of Hunger 1, so just for interest, I’m uploading them both, I would be interested in having your feedback on both versions.


Each morning must start the same way, fingers run down ribs, each rib must be perfectly feeable with no recourse to poking and prodding and then one hand on each side of pelvis, these bones must protrude sufficiently to be visible.

A deep breath, nothing of note has happened overnight, time for a visual check.

Full length mirror, the harsh one, the one that shows each imperfection and the brightest, least forgiving light.

Check one – collar bones, skin must appear tissue thin, a dip where collar and shoulder collide.

Check two – breast bone – a feeling test is insufficient here, the bones should be visible under clothes, she knows she has many months to go before that will be achieved.

Check three – breasts themselves, loose skin can be applauded, evidence that no fat has crept in at night to pad them out.

Check four – stomach, any signs of roundness, softening produce palpable panic, a resolution for sit ups in the evening routine.

Check five – bottom, hands slipped round, the seat bones, a dent should be felt by the open palm.

And finally, the spinal cord, fingers tap out a rythmn on each hard pad.

All these checks can and will be repeated throughout the day without recourse to reflection, a finger caressing the hardness of bone under skin.

And then, a daily decision, an eating day, an almost eating day, a non-eating day.

Once the decision is made it cannot be undone, except of course to downgrade, so an eating day can become a non eating day, but never the other way round.

A non-eating day is the easiest, no decisions to be made, no agonizing over the fruit bowl, hand choosing and then rejecting a banana, a nectarine, replacing them with a small apple,a tiny clementine.

Almost eating days have simple rules, 3 pieces of fruit and a small bowl of meusli, sometimes she cannot control herself and eats the cereal before she is even dressed, standing in the kitchen, spoon, bowl, mouth and repeat, but she has learnt that this is flawed, a poor approach to self control.

The little bowl must be saved until the evening, eaten at the table, slowly, one spoon at a time, savoring each mouthful and one spoonful must be left uneaten,to prove a lack of greed, a demonstration of un-concern.

Eating days are the hardest, the books must be balanced, what is eaten today, must be denied tomorrow, a record kept, no absent minded bovine grazing.

Hunger must be embraced, coldness on even the warmest day proof of negligible calories in and maximum calories out.

Hunger is power, best felt when other eat. She watches their hands reach into bowls, bags, wrappers and the unthinking placing of food into mouths that surely cannot need any more.

Hunger is power, she likes to place herself in danger, next to temptation and admire her own self control. Sometimes she lest her finger touch the sweets, the chocolate, the cake, sometimes, greatly daring, she will quickly lick the sugar, tongue barely touching the skin, fearful that this tiny taste will unleash a flood gate of desire.

Hunger is power, the power of control, the lure of constant vigilance.

“don’t you get hungry?” people ask and she smiles and says “yes, but it’s worth it”

Bed time and the careful physical checks again, a mental note made, subject of course, to a final inspection in the morning.

Eating day, not eating day, almost


Hunger 1 – version 2

After a terrible accidental delete debacle, sadly Hunger 1 has vanished into the Internet ether.
So, it’s a opportunity to have a rewrite of the first piece that started the hunger category.


The routine, the ritual is fixed, set, cannot be ignored, changed. The routine sets the day, imposes a decision, moves her towards the kitchen or away.

So, alarm goes off and immediately, before eyes are properly open, hands run down ribs, count and then onto hip bones.
Check….has fat crept up the stairs, oozed under the door, sneaked through the floor boards, is she bigger than when she went to sleep.

Sometimes, at night, she dreams of eating, her mouth crammed, stomach bloated, hands greasy, sticky, with chicken and pizza and ice cream and chocolate and cheese and full fat cola.

These dreams have woken her up, panicking, heart racing, terrified that this has actually happened, that somehow she has walked, still asleep into the kitchen and stood, hands grabbing into open cupboards, her gluttony lit by the light of the fridge.

So, the ritual, this counting of bones guards against night time weight gain and allows that secret pleasure, the grating of bones against skin.

After ribs and hips comes collar bones, breast bones and the newest discovery, the jutting of her shoulder blades, tiny promises of wings, of flight, of actual weightlessness.

And then, properly awake now, she sits up, runs her fingers down her spine, fingers counting each nodule and then hands swoop down, slip naturally into the dents where her butt used to be.

This is only the first check, the first inspection. Throughout the day, she will allow her hands to seek out bones, take comfort from their presence, a casual glance to monitor for random weight gain, particularly important on eating days.

Time to get out of bed, time for the full visual inspection.
Harshest light, least forgiving mirror, a slow, careful look, front on, sideways and then, head peering over shoulder, inspecting what is happening behind.

Keeping on top of it, keeping a tag on it, staying in control.

The ritual is followed by the decision, the deciding, what kind of day today will be and this can only be decided once the inspections are complete.

There are 3 types of days;
Not eating
Almost eating

Not eating is the easiest, the purest, no grey area, no choices to be made.
Not eating means black coffee, cigarettes, diet cola.
It means imagining bones ready to poke through skin, it means that joyous emptiness, stomach flat,empty, pure.

But, she knows that not eating days have to be rationed, kept in control, the siren call of hunger needs to be kept in check other wise, the vision, the dream of night time eating, the out of control gluttony, the terrible rhythms of hand, mouth, fridge, hand, mouth, fridge will become a reality.

Almost eating days have their own rules, their own structures, a pleasure of control.
Each piece of fruit must be cut into the correct number of slices, each slice savoured, eaten slowly, put back onto the plate between each bite.
Almost eating days allow her to be with others, her apple placed casually on the lunch break table, see it says ” I eat, here I am, eating lunch with everybody else”
Almost eating days allow her into the kitchen, chopping, slicing, making tiny dishes of berries so dark, so shiny, the fridge fill with bowls full of jewelled fruits.

Eating days are dark days, days to dread, their rules so complicated that really she prefers to pretend they never happen.
Eating days perform a function, tell her that there is no problem, no issues .
Eating days are proof, reassurance, here’s me eating pizza ( half a slice, crust crumbled, cheese picked off ), here’s me eating chocolate ( the guilt remains long after the flavour has gone).

Eating days can only happen if the ritual has gone well, the inspection, the routine completed.

There are further rules, once a decision about the day has been made, the day can only be altered to be less, a non eating day cannot become an eating day.
Rules are there to be kept after all.

And then at night, final inspection, final measurement, final tally and then a possible decision, an indication of how tomorrow will go.

Not eating
Almost eating

But the final decision, the marking of tomorrow, today can only happen after the morning, the routine of vigilance.

Tomorrow may be

Not eating
Almost eating.

She falls asleep, gently stroking her ribs, counting herself to sleep.