My name’s Lana. No, that’s a lie, my name isn’t Lana. It’s something else that I can’t say because even the slightest taste of my name on my tongue makes me want to rip it out. These are the sort of feelings I live with every day. I have a hate so powerful for my body that I feel I must punish it daily just so I can feel I deserve to stay alive.
I’m sixteen years old. The problems started when I was five. I was in gym class and we were getting changed into our sports clothing. I pulled on my shorts and tee shirt along with everyone else and then I noticed something about everyone else’s body and my own. I turned to the wall and slapped what I believed to be my fat thighs. ‘Stupid fat girl’ I muttered to myself, ‘greedy pig’.
I grew up with that idea from then on and I believed it no matter what anyone else told me. I had problems with bullies throughout school. It wasn’t the usual type of bullying you see. It was secret bullying that I could never prove. My ‘friends’ would say something cruel and then laugh and say ‘only joking’. It was quite clear they weren’t. I would cry all alone.
It began to happen that I would plan all weekend who I would be on the Monday back at school. I would be a cool person, a confident, trendy, popular person. Everything would be different, I would be different and everybody would love me. The teasing would stop and I could be happy. But it never worked out that way.
I began to feel depressed. It’s funny to think of a ten year old being depressed but something made me reach for a pair of tweezers and and run them roughly down my arm. I felt a sharp sting and said it was good.
I had only made a scratch which faded quickly. I was annoyed when it faded. The emotional pain started coming back now I had no physical pain instead. The scratches turned to grazes, then to cuts, slits, deep blood red wounds that scar horribly and leave their mark on you to remind you always how weak you are. I felt trapped in this spiral of cutting and I m still there today.
Then, when I was thirteen I developed bulimia which quickly spiralled into anorexia. I would eat and puke or not eat at all. I quickly shed three stone and people began to comment on my weight loss. I loved hearing it. I felt proud. I was thinner. People respected me. I had done it. This was fun. So I carried on.
Then I started to feel sick. I’d get tired, dizzy and feel faint. It started to not be as fun as I’d thought. It’s like when you’re in the garden and a bee flies past you. You flick at it, playing, laughing at its funny little dance in the air. Then you get far too clever and it stings you. Oops. Hadn’t meant for that to happen.
And now the present. I’m still cutting. I’m still throwing up. I’m still starving. I don’t know how I can ever stop. I don’t see how life can be worth living without my little games. That’s how I see them, as games. But I know one day someone is going to roll the dice so hard that they’ll knock me off the board and I ll start falling, down, down, and hit the floor, shattering into a thousand pieces.