Mirrors are moody objects, and they have unpredictable personalities.
One can understand why: the see so much, and show us the memories we’d rather forget.
Mirrors view time. They don’t watch it, but they look and show us the marks the past has etched upon ourselves.
Most mirrors want to be left in peace to reflect on all they have seen: so of course they become frustrated when we approach them demanding answers.
They tell us what we expect to see so we leave them alone: they are well practised liars.
Anonymous looks in the mirror asking to see defiance.
Before her, a resilient hard worker materialises, and Anorexia sees the potential.
Tired eyes are a sign of endurance; a sign that I can survive pain, alone.
Anonymous is pleased.
Ellie looks in the mirror asking to see achievement.
Before her materialises a resilient hard worker, and Ellie sees determination.
Tired eyes are a sign of satisfaction; a sign that I deserve to take up the space I stand in.
Ellie is pleased.
Today, I looked in the mirror and no longer knew what to ask for.
I tried beauty, but the mirror laughed: “I wouldn’t know how to describe it. What a waste of time.”
I tried happiness, but the mirror snorted: “would you even appreciate it for what it was? What a waste of time.”
Finally I asked for the truth, and the mirror was silent. All it could present before me was a pair of tired and confused eyes.
All I can see in the mirror is lost time.
Every day I starved myself of food, I watched the mirror squeeze my reflection.
Every day I passed running, cycling, swimming, pacing and jigging; I watched the mirror scar my reflection.
I watched the mirror unleash the ghosts of the past on Ellie.
Anonymous saw that I felt threatened and wanted to hide, so asked the mirror to show how truly obvious a target I was.
“Lazy, massive, greedy.”
Anonymous saw that I felt used and hurt, so asked the mirror to show me how truly worthless I was.
“Useless, dismal, empty.”
Anonymous uses my mirror as a weapon in her war against my recovery. She tells me to see things that often aren’t there: only phantoms from the past.
When I eat, Anonymous becomes restless.
On my bad days, I slip.
She makes park further away, or up a hill: so I can walk off that teaspoon of hummus.
I get up early and pace: so I can feel my body working off that banana from yesterday.
“Move. You’re greedy eating so much, you move so little.”
At the end of the day, I weep bitterly when I am forced to reflect on another day wasted.
A day sabotaging myself just to silence Anonymous, even if only for a moment, is lost time.
On my good days, Ellie is restless to see progress.
I never ask the mirror to show me progress, because mirrors live in the past. It will not show me the future.
I let myself withdraw from university to recover: “Ultimate failure”; “Lazy”.
I ruined Anorexia’s plans you see: she can hunt better when her prey is unhappy and isolated.
I don’t recognise myself anymore.
I am pinning my hopes that as the scales shift, Ellie’s reflection will start to emerge.
Each day I either delve into the past, or progress into the future.
As it stands, the scores are even.
Anonymous claims she is winning.
Her victories include the fit I had in a restaurant this week when I tried to eat out I was presented with a menu of the unknown: and it was too much, too big.
The trophy for Anorexia was when my doctor had to use the child’s arm strap to take my blood pressure. (It has purple dinosaurs on it, and I can’t tell if they are laughing at me or not.)
Ellie has won some battles!
I have nudged my weight up by 1lb this week!
I also cooked with some olive oil, and I can confirm that defiance tastes delicious.
And not to boast about how brave I’ve been: but I also ate lunch an hour later than normal, and hardly noticed.
The trophy for Ellie was a job: now that I can adjust my mealtimes a little, I can get a job.
Everyday I feel the progress in my recovery.
I still see a pair of tired eyes, but that is because I am a resilient hard worker.
In comparison to this recovery thing, becoming ill was almost easy.
Changing what I see rather than how I look is draining, but I let myself get into this mess. Therefore, I know I can get myself out again.
(The beautiful featured image is a watercolour painting by Louisa Fox, a very talented friend of mine.)