Have you ever been asked a question so many times that you feel like you should carry around a business card to hand out that contains the answers? Mine would look a bit like;
Hi! My name is Miles and I’m anorexic. Yes, boys can have eating disorders too. No, I can’t just eat something. I’m aware that I don’t look skinny enough to have an eating disorder. Please do not ask me for advice on how to lose weight, I will not answer.
Having gone through this introduction process hundreds of times you start to memorize the interactions. They’ll try to give you advice, tell you that eating is easy, shame you for not caring enough to fuel your body, comment on your weight, all acting as if they’re a doctor and as if they clearly know what’s best for you. What they fail to realize is anorexia is an addiction. Anorexia is an addiction I have battled since I was ten years old. I became addicted to the feeling of feeling empty, addicted to the way I can’t sleep at night because of hunger pains, addicted to the comments friends and family make about me finally losing weight, addicted to knowing I’m the only one cold in a warm room as my body trembles and, vision blacks out when I stand.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried getting help. Talking to counselors and doctors proves to be as effective as talking to a brick wall that just nods and takes notes. The doctors tell me that I’m not skinny enough to be a concern but don’t worry they’ll keep an eye on it so that way when I completely destroy my body, they’ll be there to bill me for the hospitalization. The counselors try to wrap their minds around how I could be sick if my grades are fine. They give me videos to watch and books to read hoping I’ll use those stories as a warning. I’ve watched the videos but instead of listening to their warnings I use them as a guide. Studying their techniques for burning off fifty calories after eating an apple, or how to mask the feeling of hunger during a fast.
Despite the years of struggling and starvation I’ve finally begun my road to recovery. I no longer idolize the images and media I once used as inspiration, I no longer force myself to burn calories after a meal, I no longer get joy from my addiction because I finally see it for what it is. Yes, there are times where I miss being sick. I miss having that feeling of control over my body and my life. Even though I consider myself recovered, I still have to face the possibility of relapse every time I walk into my kitchen. I know that this is just something I have to live with because while I can’t ever fully recover from anorexia, I can choose to not let it define who I am. I can finally change that business card;
Hi! My name is Miles and I’m a writer. I enjoy music and spoken poetry. My favorite color is green. I love acting and performing. Please feel free to ask me about video games, I could ramble on for hours. Last but not least, the fear of consumption no longer consumes me.
Miles Ortiz is a sixteen-year-old high school student from northwest Arkansas. He never once thought he would start writing, but after some persuasion from his teachers he decided to share his work. Miles took a creative writing course at his high school which is where he wrote his short essay for a final project. This essay, “The Fear of Consumption No Longer Consumes Me”, is based on Miles’ experiences growing up with anorexia. Though it is not ultimately Miles’ goal to become a writer, he appreciates the opportunity to share his story with others.