How to Disappear Completely: On Modern Anorexia

Kelsey Osgood (2010)
Overlook, November 2013.

 Three seventh-grade girls who came into the school nurse's office to visit a friend with a bellyache. I was 15, just a month or so away from my first hospitalization, and I was spending my lunch period on the plastic cot nursing a can of Ensure. It was a particularly bad day. I felt chillier and more despondent than usual. I stared in the mirror at the bluish bags beneath my eyes and thought, I look awful. As I sighed and sipped, the seventh-grade girls piled on top of one another on the other cot, nudging at their nauseated friend. Their eyes drifted to the posters on the wall that students had made for Eating Disorder Awareness Month, which they were learning about in health class. The big white paper was decorated with pictures of skinny models cut out from Vogue and Self. Across the top was written in magazine letters, ransom note-style, "How Thin Is Too Thin?" 

"I don't think it would be so bad to be anorexic," one of the girls announced. "I mean, as long as you weren't so bad you were going to die or something." 

"You shouldn't talk about things you don't know," I reprimanded absentmindedly. A blond member of the group turned toward me. Her eyes drifted down toward my wrists.

"Is that a special drink?" she asked. Did you just say that out loud? What an attention whore.