Thursday, October 27, 2011


You little ant
You vile bug
You imbecilic crawling slug

You craven man
You stupid bitch
I’d rather hear the words with which

You call me out
You put me down
You voice yourself, inane but proud

I’d rather that
You rant and scream
Than that you hide from little me

But you cannot
Or won’t, at least
Forthrightly come out as a beast

Instead you sulk
Inside your hole
A spineless, feckless, witless mole

I’ll dig you out
From in your pit
Your cowardice I’ll not permit

I’ll spit my words
Right in your face
I hope my laughter burns like mace

For laughter’s what
You’ll get from me
Not sorrow and not enmity

You don’t enrage
You just amuse
Pathetic, lonely, short, and used

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Not Invincible

My mood is linked to my appearance far more than it should be. On days when I don't look my best, my self-esteem plummets, sometimes to the point that even talking to other people is difficult. Conversely, when I'm able to pull my look together nicely I ride high on a wave of confidence.

Today was one of those days.

With my weight low (129 pounds on my 5'10" frame, which I would consider "good"); my skin clear, clean, and smooth; my long golden hair falling fluidly down my back; and my clothing relatively fashionable, I strode across campus feeling invincible.

It's funny what an illusion that is.

Even when, as today, I can muster faux swagger, the strength is never real. It's never rooted in a foundation that isn't itself the shallowest of facades. The front is always barely sustained. Don't I know that?

I should.

I walked into my therapist's office in high spirits. He's heard, often, how I love the days when my body is the way I want it to be and I can coast on self-assuredness. I wanted him to see this poised, collected BB.

The relationship between my physical attributes and my self-valuation is, of course, unhealthy, and so it followed that the intersection of those two things was one of our first topics.

"It can be really hard to be here," I said in an uncoaxed burst of honesty. "We're all so young and there are just so many guys who are so beautiful. I could never talk to one of them. I would feel unworthy."

I was probably more surprised than he was when I suddenly started crying.

What had happened? I'd been so untouchable, so strong and triumphant just an hour before. Wasn't today supposed to be my day?

The tears didn't ease, though. They grew stronger.

"Tell me what you're feeling right now," my therapist prompted. His tone was full of gentle encouragement.

"I guess..." I hesitated. "That I just want to be like them. Not just with the way they look, but the way they are. It seems like they're always laughing, like they're always having a good time. They have tons of friends. They don't have to think about everything. I would like to be like that."

I paused to collect myself.

"I'd like to be like them. But I don't think I ever will be."

"Why not?"

This brought us around to the fundamental issue of my chronically low self-esteem and the root cause of its deficiency. I told him how, whenever I attempt to feel cool or stylish or sexy, I immediately hear my parents laughing at me the way they did when I was a child of five and my unconscious projections of gay behavior provided grounds for the harshest of mocking. Whenever I want to move beyond a place where I instinctively deride myself, I become that little boy again. I'm as vulnerable, as shy, as demoralized and lost as I was back then.

"You know, when you're a little kid, your parents are the entire world," I said, waving away the tissues he offered. "When they turn on you, you feel that the whole world has turned on you. They're like gods when you're that age. If they're suddenly saying and doing all these mean things to you, you think, 'Wow, I must be an awful person.' And you don't know that that's what you're thinking, but it is. It's exactly what you're thinking."

Maybe that's why I become frustrated with my doctor. As unhealthy as anorexia is, as harmful as it can potentially be, it's something that makes it easier for me to get by. Should I be doing it? Of course not. But I'm going to take whatever kind of handhold out of this I can get, and if periodically skipping some meals helps alleviate the pain then periodically skipping some meals is what I'm going to do. If exercising on top of that gets me into a better mental place, then I don't mind. Right now, in this moment, it helps me.

I don't really know why I'm writing this down. It just seemed like I should.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

When It Comes

Some days are good. Hell, some weeks are good. The last two weeks have been a veritable cakewalk of self-confidence and motivation.

My therapist thought this was the result of positive thinking. I didn't tell him that it probably had more to do with me losing ten pounds in five days.

So some days are good. And then, often without warning, some days are bad. Today hit me like a truck. One minute I was walking through a store, and the next I'd caught sight of myself in a mirror and couldn't handle the ugliness, the hideousness I saw there. I was mortified. I didn't want people's eyes to fall upon my self-indicting repulsiveness.

My grandmother and I left the mall and I fought the rising nausea in my stomach as I forced myself to respond to her small talk and chirped enthusiastically at the idea of stopping at Subway for a sandwich. I ordered a twelve-inch chicken and bacon ranch sub, wondering as I gave my request to the sandwich maker if he could see the despair through my face.

The steaming chicken gleamed up at me like slime-coated entrails.

You stupid fat piece of shit, I berated myself in my mind. Why would you order a foot-long? Are you going to eat all that chicken? Look at all that chicken.

I could see myself bloating and bulging and hiding behind fabrics. I could see the scale, and the bitter shame those digital numbers would bring.

You won't eat it all, I answered. You'll only eat half of it.

Grand Ma will be angry that you're wasting food, I countered.

She won't know, came my mental retort. You can throw it away.

She'd see that when she takes out the trash.

Say you're bringing it on the road for the ride back to school. Get rid of it there. She'll never find out.

"Sir, that'll be $7.42," the young man behind the counter announced.

I smiled as I handed him the two five-dollar bills.

When we arrived home, I rushed to the guest bedroom and practically threw myself into a large green hoodie. If I covered up, if I hid myself, if I made myself less of what I was, then I'd be okay. Frantic relief surged through me as the thick cotton came over my head and the sturdy hood tugged at my hair. I was so much better this way.

I ate one half of the sub, suppressing both actual nausea and the affected nausea that would be my excuse to end my meal.

"Man, something's upsetting my stomach," I informed my grandmother with pretended confusion, grabbing my midsection through the wonderful hoodie. That blessed thing. I pushed away the potatoes she'd made for me. "I think I need to go sit down. I'm unsettled."

"Okay, honey," she said. "Put some Saran wrap over the potatoes."

I turned to the pantry and, my back to her, was nearly overwhelmed by tears.

I can't do this. I can't do this. I can't do this.

A pause.

I'm not really nauseous. But I do feel sick.

Another pause.

I haven't felt sick like this in a long time. It's been a while since I've cried from it, too.

She was talking about heading out to another mall to look at bedding and then grab a movie, and it took everything I had to refrain from begging her not to make me go out in public. I just couldn't bear it. I'd do anything if only I didn't have to be where they could see my face.

"That sounds good," I told her with upbeat inflection.

The doctor's words came back to me from Friday afternoon.

"Once you get into this pattern, BB, it's extremely hard to get out of it," she said. "My concern is that as it takes hold it may exacerbate existing problems. That could lead to some pretty extensive mental illness and compromise your decisionmaking ability."

My therapist had spoken with her, of course. She didn't actually repeat his verdict of body dysmorphia. I guess she didn't have to.


She stopped as if biting down her frustration.

"BB, if you continue to lose weight, we may need to consider an inpatient program in a hospital setting."

Good luck.

"I want you to be aiming right now for 130 pounds."

Not on your life.

"That's still under what's considered a minimum healthy weight, but at least then it would only be five pounds under."

Maybe if she understood how things are, she'd be inclined to give me a bit of leeway. Maybe if she knew how when I control food my powerlessness becomes empowerment, how my aimlessness becomes directed, how my fears are vanquished by aspiration and certainty, maybe then she'd back off some. Maybe if she knew the relief it is to look at your own reflection and for the first time in months not be overwhelmed by disgust, she would empathize.

I know I'm being unhealthy, both mentally and physically. I've actually been at an even lower weight before, but it never came about this way. This kind of behavior is new.

And even as I recognize my actions for what they are, I don't care. Instead, I love it. I love being able to see myself shirtless and not want to gag. I love knowing that I have taken charge of my body and dictated what form it will assume. I love that I can exercise self-control. I even love the disorientation, the occasional head rush, the disembodied feeling that overtakes me when a Starbucks iced coffee is coursing through my veins on top of precious little else. I love the high. I love corporeally inhabiting the searing pain that has long stalked my mind. I love all of it. I love what it does.

The other day, I showered with the lights on.

And right now, in my hoodie, away from the mirror, I feel good. I feel better. I'm calm. I don't have to go out tonight. It'll be okay.

I'm being harmful. That's a huge part of the appeal, though. I wanted to destroy something but didn't have the heart to hurt anyone else. So I just decided to destroy myself. And I look more attractive in the process. It's a win-win.

It's not, obviously. I can see that. As lost and hurt and wrong as I am, I'm not stupid. I'm aware.

That won't stop me, though. It definitely won't stop me.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Other Quote of the Week

"Just don't tell anyone that I had sex with a Costa Rican beach bum."

This came, believe it or not, during a visit to Grand Ma Normal Family's house.

I feel that a more substantial post, but one that will likely be decidedly uncomfortable, both for me and for my readers, is due in the near future. In the name of honesty and a genuine picture of my life and all that other nonsense I seem to spout off, I'll likely write it despite the attendant awkwardness.

Don't judge me too much.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Quote of the Week

My roommate and close friend, Patrick, strode into our dorm today with all the confidence of someone who's just made a much-needed change.

"What's gotten into you?" I asked, looking up from my computer.

He smiled with deep satisfaction.

"I've made an executive decision."

"Oh, yeah?"


He grinned.

"I'm going to stop banging this girl Sheila and get back on track to banging my lab professor."

I sighed.

"Good for you, Patrick. Good for you."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Selected Entries: April 2004

In April of 2004 I turned sixteen and was preoccupied with the passage of time that the birthday heralded. As I grew one year older my siblings and I fielded the same emotional and physical abuse we always had, and one of my brothers became a perpetrator of domestic violence when he broke my nose.

I reacted ecstatically to the material affluence brought on by our impending move to Deep South State (which signaled our arrival in the upper middle class), but my glee was tempered by the realization of all we'd be leaving behind.

April 2, 2004

At first, everything was great tonight. Then Thomas asked Dad for a cupcake and Dad said no. When Thomas asked again, Dad sent him to bed.

As Thomas started to put the cupcake away, he chewed on its wrapper, as is his habit. My father went completely crazy. He started screaming about disobedience and how the kids were running the house and he wouldn’t take it anymore. Then my father pushed Thomas to the floor. We were all very upset and so the next day Dad made pizza and bought caviar to make up for it.

April 5, 2004

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, the start of the year’s holiest week. Palm Sunday, indeed. It should be called “Fist Sunday.”

Powell and I were upstairs arguing and I shoved him. Then I began to criticize him.

Well, he punched me so hard I saw stars. I cried and he said it was an accident, but I’m not so sure. When I looked in the mirror, my nose was dented.

April 8, 2004

I went to the doctor on Monday and I was x-rayed on Tuesday. By all accounts my nose is probably broken, given that it’s crooked and it feels funny. Thankfully, they will be able to make it straight again. That won’t happen until after Easter, though, which upsets me as I’d really been looking forward to the holiday.

Lent ends this Sunday. I can’t wait. It’s been a long forty days without CDs or radio. No Kelly Clarkson, no Christina Aguilera, no rap, no R&B, no hip-hop. I’m taking a ton of CDs with me to Grand Ma’s house so that I can listen to them on Sunday.

Oh, by the way, we are officially moving to Deep South State. This came as quite a surprise as we thought we’d be going to Dirty State. My mother has to start work on May 17th. This is the day of my chorus’s Spring Concert.

I am a bit disappointed that Mom won’t see the concert, but at the same time I’m happy because I no longer have to sing a solo in front of all of those people. My Chorus teacher made me take it even though I didn't want to, and now that we'll be moving I won't have to sing! I really don’t know if I could have!

April 9, 2004

Tomorrow morning I will be sixteen years old. As of right now, I’m still fifteen. Sixteen isn’t something that I’m ready for. It seems like just yesterday that I was sitting in this very house, contemplating being fifteen. Sixteen is not something I want. And then, a year from now, I’ll be turning seventeen. Seventeen? That’s so unimaginable to me.

It seems as if things are moving so fast. In two years I’ll be getting ready to graduate. The thought scares me to death. Next year (actually, in just five months’ time) I’ll be a junior. A junior in high school. How did this happen? Well, I have a year. A year until I’m seventeen.

April 10, 2004

I am sixteen.

April 11, 2004
Easter Sunday, 2004

After Lent ended, I went to a private place this morning, and I sang there. God, it felt good. The music that had been building up inside of me and clogging my brain for forty days was let out, and my thoughts were silent, finally silent. All I heard was running water, slapping against my skin.

April 13, 2004

Well, it’s official. We are moving to Deep South State, and in less than a month. We found out over Easter vacation.

April 14, 2004

Yesterday afternoon was difficult. I got into a fight with Dad and he said that he didn’t want me to move with the rest of the family to Deep South State. He told me he’d been wanting to live in Deep South State all his life and that he wouldn’t be able to give up paradise to have to deal with me every day.

April 19, 2004

Midnight, our oldest cat, left us yesterday. She’d been here for nearly nine years, longer than Thomas’s entire life. Mom and Dad took her to the Humane Society because she had been peeing on the carpet. It seemed a bit heartless to me; Midnight was practically a member of the family. I miss her dearly. Last night I felt something on the bed and automatically assumed it to be her. It wasn’t, though, and the realization pained me.

Powell was devastated. He and Thomas both cried, but I didn't.

April 23, 2004

My parents are now, even as I write this, on an airplane destined for Native City. They're coming back from Central City, in Deep South State. My mother did put a contract on the house, and it’s incredible.

It has five bedrooms, four living rooms, an indoor swimming room, four full bathrooms, and so much more. The pool has a hot tub in the middle, raised several feet above everything else. So, when we’re hot, we can jump straight from the hot tub into the pool! I have a private bathroom adjoining my bedroom, and a door leading into the swimming room, too! The swimming room has two sun decks, but I doubt that I’ll use these very often. There is a kitchen, a dining room, and a breakfast nook. We are very blessed.

Our yard is a quarter of an acre (which, compared to what we have now, is enormous) with an eight-foot high brick wall surrounding it. In addition, there is an even more formidable wall that encompasses the entire neighborhood. A gate at the front allows for entrance. It is monitored by security guards.

Our high school is the highest rated public high school in the state. It is so huge that it has seven different buildings, and my parents described it as being like a college. Oh, and get this: it has a foot court. Like, McDonald’s, Burger King! Can you believe it? I’m so excited!

April 24, 2004

I got a haircut literally a month ago and my parents are already bugging me to get another one. I give them pretty much no trouble at all but they constantly harass me about chores and my hair. I'm an honor roll student who never does anything wrong. You'd think they'd just be thankful.

April 30, 2004

What is harsher than to be torn away?
What is worse than to be ripped apart?
From all you know, from all you are
A solemn weight upon my heart

What is worse than a wandering soul?
A tragic survivor without a home?

I saw my own land scorched and blast
I heard the bombs, I felt the crash
The buildings fell, the screams were shrill
This vibrant place lay dead and still

They descended like hawks, like hordes from the sky
And we who are left, we still wonder why
Why the loss, why the pain
Why the dead, why the maimed?
Why is our beautiful country slain?

And who could have known, who could feel?
This devastation is still surreal
The shells have fallen, the planes are gone
And still in their absence, it’s all so wrong

My thighs were these fields
My arms were these grains
My hope was these children
My body these plains
And now they are burned, lost, depraved

As much as it hurts, I just have to go
I can’t stay here, can’t live with these ghosts
I must pull away, and that kills me the most

For even the missiles raining down, the bodies piling all around
Was better than a graveyard
And to cling to what was, to desolate rocks
Won’t help me turn back the spinning clock

I wish this place would spring alive
Conceal the truth I’ve tried to hide:
Home will never be home again
Lord Jesus guide me, please

That was a poem called “Refugee.” It just struck me tonight, it really hit me, that we’re not coming back here. Second Twin, Powell, and I sat on Short Boy’s porch reflecting on when we’d first moved here. I can still remember the day that I met Lacrosse Boy. There are so many memories of happiness. It's's bad.

The thought of never seeing any of these people again is like a huge cliff, right in my stomach. It’s a hole inside of me. It’s like losing your brother. I will miss them so much. When I moved from Dirty Town I had no friends, so relocation was deliverance. This place is so, so different. I want to cry. I don’t know where the tears are, but I want to cry, or…I don’t know what I want. I need God’s and Lord Jesus’s help.