What Ana Left Behind

And what she’ll never take back.


Whether Ana comes back or not (which she hasn’t), these are the things I know she will never take with her. She took most of her stuff: the obsession with staying under 800 a day, her funky mirror, the idea that I have to look like a Victoria’s Secret model, and the idea that my Ultimate Goal Weight will never be good enough.

But what she’s left bolted to my things and tattooed to my arms she will never take back.

We got tattoos together long before I was legal age to. It’s a permanent fear of food. I may not count how many calories every time I eat, but I will always fixate on the ingredients and amount of sugars and fats and carbs in each food. There is no way to remove this tattoo. It went onto my arms and stomach and made its way to my brain where it will stay. I can eat a piece of homemade vegan cake (it has to be vegan because even regular homemade cake makes me sick, I think it’s the eggs and milk and crazy amounts of sugar and stuff) and enjoy it, but my brain will be doing the math: how many calories did I have today? How much sugar was in each thing I ate? So I can have this much of the cake. I shouldn’t be eating any of this! And then I start fighting with myself because I want it, but think I shouldn’t have it. I think I know I shouldn’t have it but it tastes so good… No matter how recovered I get there will always be that fear. It may lessen, but it will always be there.

She sewed this onto every piece of clothing I own: I am not worth anything and therefore I deserve nothing until everyone else is pleased, and not even then. I find myself constantly making decisions that impact me on whether or not it will make someone else happy. I recently have had to yell at myself several times a day for months that it doesn’t matter what people think or how things are done now, it’s what I want so it’s okay. It’s no one else’s decision what happens with my life. But even after all that I still keep thinking, what would my mom like? What would they like? Would they enjoy this? I can’t get that even though I want to because so-and-so wouldn’t like it. I often know exactly what I want, but when someone asks what that is I say I don’t know because I think they won’t like it. Even when they ask me what I want for my birthday or Christmas I shrug and say, “I don’t know,” even though at least four things have just flown into my mind. You know you want a new yoga mat. Yeah, but I don’t think they would like to hear that. It doesn’t even matter, but I think it does. I have to please everyone else before myself, and even though I am trying to put myself first sometimes, it rarely is successful.

I can look at my figure in the mirror and be pleased with it now, and know that it’s only going to get stronger with each day and every workout and every good meal I eat. I can step on the scale and think, “Oh, cool! I must have gained more muscle mass from all those bodyweight exercises I’ve been doing!” Maybe it’s Spring and the sun and the promise of a good few months ahead of me. That essay I printed and felt really good about I got a 7 on, which is an A and I was freaking out about last semester because we needed 7 or 8 level 7 essays to get an A. I’ve gotten 3 so far this semester. I’m so excited! But anyway, I am in a really good place right now, and I’m about to go on vacation for a few days. While I’m nervous to be in a new place with new food places that I’m not familiar with I am ready to tackle the challenge head on and come out victorious instead of with a breakdown. I am going to have fun and I am going to eat and relax on my workouts (which I’ll admit does bother me a bit, but I know I’ll get right back into it when I get home) and I am going to be okay with all of it! It’s Spring Break, the yearbook is officially over and sent away to be printed, and I am going on a fabulous vacation!

And Ana is not invited back ever.


4 thoughts on “What Ana Left Behind

  1. Enjoy your vacation–without Ana! I can completely relate to the first thing however–I will forever be analyzing the food I eat, whether it’s the ingredients or the nutritionals. Annoying, but I’m used to it.

  2. Rachel says:

    this is amazing, i’m so happy for you. i hope you continue to get further and further away from your ED and that it never comes back!

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